Fort Carson vigil labeled threat 

A Colorado Springs demonstration opposing military recruitment was one of hundreds of events around the nation identified in a little-known Pentagon intelligence database that fell into the hands of the national media.

It represents the latest in what has been a flurry of revelations that various U.S. agencies have spied on citizens whose views contrast with those of the Bush administration.

Last week, NBC News released eight pages of data it claims are contained in the Pentagon's counterintelligence Threat and Local Observation Notice, or Talon, database.

The database, ostensibly designed to help foil terrorist plots before they are carried out, includes more than 40 anti-war groups and events that feds labeled "threats," including a Feb. 14 demonstration outside Fort Carson's Gate 4.

Bill Sulzman, a member of Citizens for Peace in Space, says his group held one of its regular Monday anti-military recruiting vigils at Gate 4 that day.

"To think that a puny protest like this would get into a database like that surprises even me," says Sulzman, a longtime anti-nuclear activist.

In an interview with the Independent, a Pentagon official said it appears the Talon database had been used improperly. The official, who declined to be quoted by name, said intelligence agents in October began a full review of the system, military directives and federal law to determine if activists were wrongly targeted. The names of wrongly listed peaceful Americans will be removed, the official said, but some could be forwarded to local police or federal agents for further review.

"There is no assurance this won't happen again, or that it will be properly corrected," Sulzman says.

Unnamed Defense Department "entities" enter information into the Talon system, acting on the tips of gate guards, military personnel, law enforcement agencies and intelligence organizations, the Pentagon official said.

Sulzman says that about a month prior to the February vigil at Fort Carson, military police from the base challenged whether activists had a right to be there. They backed down after a local reporter called the base.

Earlier this month, the American Civil Liberties Union released documents it obtained through freedom of information laws that show the FBI opened "domestic terrorism" inquiries on activists in Colorado Springs, including those participating in a 2003 anti-war rally at Palmer Park.

-- Michael de Yoanna


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