The Pentagon has announced that it is to close the controversial TALON database, which was designed to identify possible terrorist threats to military installations but ended up improperly storing information on anti-war activities, organizations and individuals who attended peace rallies, none of whose actions posed any threat. But there's a catch or two.
It will be closed on Sept. 17 and information collected subsequently on potential terror or security threats to Defense Department facilities or personnel will be sent by Pentagon officials to an FBI database known as Guardian, according to Army Col. Gary Keck, a Pentagon spokesman.Let's see now - all the TALON information will be handed to the FBI, so that they can spy on the peace activists, there will be a new system at the Pentagon (and if not a database then what?) and the Pentagon will also keep a copy of the data but will double-dog promise not to do anything illegal like use it, after doing something illegal by collecting a portion of it in the first place. This is "closing" in Pentagon-speak.
Keck said the Pentagon database is being shut down because ``the analytical value had declined,'' but not because of public criticism of how it was used. Eventually the Pentagon hopes to create a new system -- not necessarily a database -- to ``streamline such threat reporting,'' according to a brief statement issued Tuesday.
Keck said that after the TALON database is shut down in September, a copy of the data it contains will be maintained at the Pentagon for record-keeping purposes but not for further analytical use.