About 15 minutes ago the ACLU of PA and the national ACLU filed a federal lawsuit in Philadelphia to force the Department of Defense to turn over records it wrongly kept on peace groups and law-abiding Americans throughout the country.
We filed the Freedom of Information Act requests on February 1, 2006 after news reports indicated that the Pentagon was secretly conducting surveillance of protest activities, antiwar organizations and individuals who attended peace rallies. They were sharing the information with other government agencies through the Threat and Local Observation Notice (TALON) database. The TALON program was initiated by former Deputy Secretary Paul Wolfowitz in 2003 to track groups and individuals with possible links to terrorism. (Who names these things, anyway?)
Despite asking nicely, we have yet to receive any of the information we sought about the database and the groups we’re representing. The groups we in PA are representing are Pittsburgh Organizing Group (POG), the Thomas Merton Center, Anti-War Committee, Pittsburgh Bill of Rights Defense Campaign, Save Our Civil Liberties Campaign, Codepink Pittsburgh, and Pittsburgh Raging Grannies. The national ACLU is representing the national offices of the American Friends Service Committee, Veterans for Peace, United for Peace and Justice and Greenpeace.