Transparency Project

TALON Reporting

In December 2005 NBC News reported that the Department of Defense had created a database of more than 1500 “suspicious incidents” throughout the United States over a ten-month period. The DOD insisted that all of its domestic intelligence was “properly collected” for the “protection of Defense Department installations interests and personnel.” However the DOD later admitted that it had improperly collected Threat and Local Observation Notice (“TALON”) reports on peaceful demonstrators.

In the wake of the discovery that the DOD had improperly maintained information about protest activities the Deputy Secretary of Defense issued a memorandum (pdf) which directed certain DOD personnel and components to take steps to improve oversight of the TALON Reporting System.

In EFF's 2006 FOIA request we sought agency records from March 2006 to November 2006 related to:

(1) The memorandum that ordered the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence to organize a working group tasked to “examine the integration of threat information across the DoD intelligence counterintelligence law enforcement force protection and security communities.” The Under Secretary was to report the findings of the working group to the Deputy Secretary by September 15 2006. We sought all reports statements memoranda or other documents created by this working group.

(2) The Deputy Secretary ordered the Assistant to the Secretary of Defense (Intelligence Oversight) to conduct annual reviews on the status of the TALON Reporting System and to submit a report on the status of the first review within 60 days of the issuance of the memorandum. We sought any reports from the Assistant to the Secretary of Defense (Intelligence Oversight) on the status of TALON Reporting System reviews.

(3) The Deputy Secretary also ordered “lead components” within the Military Departments to provide the Counterintelligence Field Activity (“CIFA”) copies of their guidance for implementing TALON reporting procedures by May 12 2006. CIFA was then to review each Department’s guidance for compliance with applicable DOD requirements and provide a status report to the Deputy Under Secretary of Defense (Counterintelligence and Security) by May 30 2006. We sought:

    1. Copies of each Military Department's guidance for implementing TALON reporting procedures.
  1. All reports from CIFA to the Deputy Under Secretary of Defense (Counterintelligence and Security) on TALON reporting guidelines.

In June and August 2009 the Department of Defense began releasing documents responsive to EFF's request.

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