TALON’s End Doesn’t Stop Pentagon From Spying on Americans

April 25, 2007 12:00 am

Media Contact
125 Broad Street
18th Floor
New York, NY 10004
United States

Contact: media@dcaclu.org

WASHINGTON, DC – The ACLU applauds Pentagon intelligence chief James Clapper’s decision yesterday to halt the Defense Department’s TALON spying program, but believes that Congress must exercise oversight and hold hearings to determine the extent of this and similar programs.

Threat and Local Observation Notices, or TALON, began in 2003 to collect intelligence about possible threats to military bases within the United States, but was expanded to include reports by local law enforcement agencies and military security personnel about nonviolent demonstrations and rallies. Furthermore, the Department of Defense strayed from its intended mission, sweeping in anti-war protests that occurred far from any military installation, and failing to remove reports of demonstrations that were deemed even by the Department of Defense to be not credible as threats.

The following can be attributed to Caroline Fredrickson, Director of the ACLU Washington Legislative Office:

“Our military has no business spying on Americans. We should not be spied on for exercising our right of free expression. Service members are sworn to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States. Confusing lawful dissent with disloyalty and terrorism betrays the very values military people have sworn to uphold. While we applaud the suggested discontinuance of the program, the fact remains that many such programs continue in secret. We therefore do not know what other sorts of programs are being conducted by the DoD.

“Someone has to watch the watcher. Congress needs to hold hearings and conduct thorough oversight to ensure that all Americans can lawfully express their opinions without being suspected of terrorism.”

The ACLU’s report on the TALON database, ‘No Real Threat,’ is available at

By completing this form, I agree to receive occasional emails per the terms of the ACLU’s privacy policy.

The Latest in National Security

ACLU's Vision

The American Civil Liberties Union is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person in this country by the Constitution and laws of the United States of America.

Learn More About National Security

National Security issue image

The ACLU’s National Security Project is dedicated to ensuring that U.S. national security policies and practices are consistent with the Constitution, civil liberties, and human rights.