But there are now questions about whether [Counterintelligence Field Activity (CIFA)] exceeded its authority and conducted unauthorized spying on innocent people and organizations. A Pentagon memo obtained by NEWSWEEK shows that the deputy Defense secretary now acknowledges that some TALON reports may have contained information on U.S. citizens and groups that never should have been retained. The number of reports with names of U.S. persons could be in the thousands, says a senior Pentagon official who asked not be named because of the sensitivity of the subject…Next on C-SPAN: Xtreme Spiez, with your host, Donald “Trix6” Rumsfeld.
[An internal CIFA PowerPoint slide presentation], which [William Arkin, a former U.S. Army intelligence analyst] provided to NEWSWEEK, shows that CIFA analysts had access to law-enforcement reports and sensitive military and U.S. intelligence documents. (The group's motto appears at the bottom of each PowerPoint slide: "Counterintelligence 'to the Edge'.")
Shock of all shocks, an internal Pentagon review, that I’m totally sure was planned even before Newsweek started asking questions, has discovered CIFA’s database contains information that violates regulation, which requires them to dispose of information about US citizens after 90 days if they are not “reasonably believed” to have some link to “terrorism, criminal wrongdoing, or foreign intelligence.”
There was information that was "improperly stored," says a Pentagon spokesman who was authorized to talk about the program (but not to give his name). "It was an oversight." In a memo last week, obtained by NEWSWEEK, Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon England ordered CIFA to purge such information from its files—and directed that all Defense Department intelligence personnel receive "refresher training" on department policies.Phew. I always feel much better when the government gets busted doing something and then says it was only a mistake and won’t happen again. Especially when it’s part of a coincidental pattern of such “oversights.”
New entry for my Most Hated Euphemisms list: Improper, when the correct word is illegal.