Press Releases

Senator Feinstein Seeks Explanation of Recent Counter Intelligence Field Activity Domestic Investigations

- “Pentagon Investigation” of anti-war protest calls CIFA’s practices into question -

Washington, DCPrompted by recent reports of a “Pentagon investigation” of an anti-war student protest held on the University of California, Santa Cruz campus, U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) has written to Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld to express her concern about alleged improper domestic surveillance of U.S. citizens on U.S. territory.

In a letter to Secretary Rumsfeld, Senator Feinstein asked him to explain the practices and authority of the Counter Intelligence Field Activity (CIFA) in collecting information and conducting surveillance in the course of its domestic investigations, and to clarify what types of activities are recorded.

“What Department of Defense components are authorized to collect or maintain information on U.S. Persons on U.S. territory without court approval?” Senator Feinstein asked. “Under what circumstances are Department of Defense components authorized to collect, report, maintain, database, analyze, fuse, or otherwise handle information concerning U.S. Persons engaged in activities protected by the First Amendment?”

The following is the text of Senator Feinstein’s letter:

January 10, 2006

The Honorable Donald H. Rumsfeld
Secretary
Department of Defense
The Pentagon
Washington, D.C. 20301

Dear Secretary Rumsfeld:

I am very concerned by several recent media articles that allege improper surveillance or collection of information on U.S. Persons on U.S. territory, many of which involve the Counter Intelligence Field Activity (CIFA). One recent example describes a “Pentagon investigation” of an anti-war protest on the University of California, Santa Cruz campus (see attached). In discussions with my staff, CIFA personnel have confirmed that a “TALON” report was written on this student protest and was, until recently, maintained in CIFA’s database.

I understand that Under Secretary Cambone has initiated a review of the CIFA program and that a number of TALON reports have been removed from the database. As part of that ongoing review, as well as to allay public concerns over domestic information collection and surveillance by the Department of Defense, I request that you provide me with the following information:

  1. What Department of Defense components are authorized to collect or maintain information on U.S. Persons on U.S. territory without court approval? What intelligence activities are so authorized?
  2. Under what circumstances are Department of Defense components authorized to collect, report, maintain, database, analyze, fuse, or otherwise handle information concerning U.S. Persons engaged in activities protected by the First Amendment? Under what circumstances can peaceful protests at universities or by anti-war groups be monitored?
  3. What, if any, responsibilities or authorities to conduct domestic investigations does CIFA have?
  4. What authorities, and under what regulations, do military counterintelligence units have to conduct investigations on U.S. Persons?
  5. Under the new policy, what information will be recorded through TALON reports, how will that information be used, and how will that information be reviewed to ensure compliance with relevant statutes and regulations?

I appreciate your response to these questions by January 31, 2006, and thank you for your attention to this matter.

Sincerely,

Dianne Feinstein
U.S. Senator

cc: The Honorable John D. Negroponte

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