DoD Orders Review of Anti-Threat Intel-Gathering System
By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Dec. 15, 2005 The Defense Department has ordered a review of an intelligence system that compiles information on possible worldwide threats to U.S. military personnel and installations, a senior DoD official said here today.
Some recent news reports allege that the Threat and Local Observation Notice system, known by the acronym TALON, had improperly stored information about some civilian individuals and non-government-affiliated groups on its database.
"It appears as if there may have been things that were left in the database that shouldn't have been left there," DoD spokesman Bryan Whitman told Pentagon reporters.
The TALON system collects and evaluates information about possible threats to U.S. servicemembers and defense civilians at stateside and overseas military installations, Whitman said. Analysts examine the information, he said, to ascertain whether there could be a genuine threat.
The Defense Department announced Dec. 14 that it would conduct a four-point review of the TALON system, Whitman said, that will consist of:
- Examining the TALON reporting system to ensure that it fully complies with DoD procedures and U.S. law;
- Reviewing policies and procedures to make sure that they are being properly applied in respect to any reporting and retention of information on U.S. persons;
- Examining the TALON database to identify any other information that might be improperly stored in the database, and;
- Providing all DoD counterintelligence and intelligence personnel with refresher training concerning the laws, policies and procedures governing the collection, reporting and storage of information related to the warning of potential threats to DoD personnel and facilities.
DoD has an obligation to protect its people and facilities, Whitman said. Yet, TALON information that's been eliminated for further consideration, he said, is supposed to be dropped from the system database.
"We have policies and procedures for intelligence and counterintelligence organizations," Whitman said, "that prohibit the reporting, the processing, or storing of information on individuals or organizations not affiliated with the Department of Defense, except in very limited and narrow circumstances that are defined by the law."