Sunday, June 20, 2004
"To improve the ability of intelligence personnel of the Department of Defense to recruit sources, it is necessary for Defense intelligence personnel, without having to divulge their affiliation with the Department or the U.S. Government, to approach potential sources and collect personal information from them to determine their suitability and willingness to become intelligence sources."
"The Pentagon has long had the authority to conduct intelligence within the United States to protect its military personnel or bases against an attack, according to experts. But, during the Vietnam War, a scandal broke out when it was revealed that military agents had spied on civilians as well as soldiers for their political beliefs instead of their threat to the Defense Department's security.
"Following the 1970 revelations of Christopher Pyle, then a graduate student at Columbia University, that the Pentagon spied against antiwar groups in the 1960s, Congress held hearings that resulted in recommendations that the Defense Department be barred from conducting domestic intelligence. But no new laws were created specifically prohibiting the practice.
"'The Pentagon gave [Congress] strong assurances they would not return to domestic spying on civilian political activity,' Pyle, now a professor at Mount Holyoke College, said by telephone Tuesday.
"In 1974, the Privacy Act (PL 93-579) was signed into law, requiring representatives from most government agencies -- including the Defense Department -- to identify themselves when they collect information on U.S. citizens and legal resident aliens, and to identify the purpose of their information collection.
"But language inserted in the Senate version of the intelligence authorization bill would exempt the Defense Department from those provisions, opening the door to an expanded authority to surreptitiously collect information on U.S. residents."