Monday, May 29, 2017

The Military Spies on Citizens Too

When people talk spying in the US, they rarely note the military.

In the interest of enlarging understanding, we're reposting this September 2, 1970 COMPUTER WORLD article, Joseph Hanlon's "Army Transfers Data Bank Control to Ciad."

ALEXANDRIA, Va. -- Movie actress Jane Fonda has been added to the Army's computerized datea bank of civilian political activity.  Meanwhile, control of the data bank has been shifted to a new Army group.

The data bank is maintained because the Army "must be in a position to analyze information in order to prepare necessary civil disturbance plans" in case troops are needed to quell disturbances, according to Under Secretary of the Army Thaddeus R. Beal.

But other sources within the Army report that many of the 3,000 to 5,000 civilians in the computer files have no conceivable relation to potential riots.  Typical listing are folk-singers Judy Collins and Pete Seeger, two ex-military officers who have spoken out against the war in Indochina, and a Baptist minister who writes anti-Semitic letters.

Jane Fonda, star of "Barbarella" and "They Shoot Horses, Don't They?", was added to the file early this summer.  The Army declined comment, but apparently she was added because she joined a group of 100 Indians who attempted to enter Fort Lawton, Wash., March 9, to set up an Indian Cultural Center.

The data bank is maintained by the Counterespionage/Countersubversion Section (CE/CSS) of the Army Counterintelligence Analysis Detachment (Ciad).  Until recently, however, the CE/CSS worked directly under the Directorate of Civil Disturbance Planning and Operation in the Pentagon parking lot.

Now, the Army has transferred control of CE/CSS back to the Ciad and its staff no longer works in the Domestic War Room.

The data bank itself is in the Hoffman Building, 3601 Eisenhower Dr., Alexandria, Va., not in the Domestic War Room as was reported in CW Aug. 12.  But the staff of the Domestic War Room has access to the data bank, even though CE/CSS is no longer working there.

Earlier this year, the Army collected data on civilian political activity in at least four computerized data banks.  When this became public, the ensuing uproar forced the Army to discontinue two of the data banks. Recently, the Army "found" another data bank, and discontinued it [CW, Aug. 12]/  The Ciad-CE/CSS data bank is the only one remaining and the change in authority may have been an attempt to reduce objections.

The Ciad-CE/CSS data bank consists of microfilmed newspaper clippings and FBI and military intelligence reports, indexed by computer.

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