The Threat and Local Observation Notice (TALON) Report Program

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"The Threat and Local Observation Notice (TALON) Report Program" report[1] was issued June 27, 2007, by the Office of the Inspector General for Defense[2], U.S. Department of Defense, in which there were three conclusions:[3]

  1. TALON reports were generated for law enforcement and force protection purposes as permitted by DoD Directive 5200.27[4], and not as a result of an intelligence collection operation; therefore, no violation of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act occurred.
  2. The Counterintelligence Field Activity did not comply with the 90 day retention review policy required by DoD Directive 5200.27. We could not determine whether the U.S. Northern Command complied with the policy requirement because all TALON reports were deleted from their database in June 2006 with no archives.
  3. The Cornerstone database[5] that the Counterintelligence Field Activity used to maintain TALON reports did not have the capability to identify TALON reports with U.S. person information, to identify reports requiring a 90-day retention review, or to allow analysts to edit or delete the TALON reports.

Background

"Work began shortly after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks to establish an integrated force protection informationsharing system that would provide common situational awareness around military facilities for all the services. Concept development and design for [Project] Protect America, the precursor to the system, now dubbed the Joint Protection Enterprise Network (JPEN)[6], began in February 2003.[7] By the end of April, the pilot program was operational in the national capital region, and shortly thereafter the project was renamed Vision[8]. With some additional guidance from Defense Department staff and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, the program was focused on Defense Department installations for a proof-of-concept approach. In July 2003, the project took its current name, JPEN," Cheryl Lilie wrote in the October 2004 issue of SIGNAL Magazine.[9]

"Program management responsibilities, originally under the Joint Staff, transferred to U.S. Northern Command (NORTHCOM), Colorado Springs, Colorado, in December 2003.[10]

NORTHCOM plans, programs and directs JPEN funding; coordinates requirements for software enhancements; and prioritizes JPEN deployment with staff elements. In addition, the command provides operational guidance to the JPEN program manager in the command and control program office, U.S. Navy Program Executive Office for Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence and Space, and the JPEN engineering element at the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command Systems Center, both in San Diego," Lilie wrote.

"Although JPEN has changed hands and names several times since its inception, the way the program works essentially has remained the same. Users can document and share suspected criminal and suspicious activity information formatted as threat and local observation notice (TALON) reports. These reports consist of nonvalidated domestic threat information that may or may not be related to an actual threat against a facility. TALON reports include nonspecific threats, suspected surveillance activity, elicitation attempts, tests of security, unusual repetitive activity, bomb threats and any other suspicious, potential terrorist-related activity directed against Defense Department assets. JPEN also records information about other force protection incidents, including vehicles denied entry to installations—or vehicle turnarounds—and 'be on the lookout' (BOLO) reports of suspicious vehicles or individuals. ... Each incident or TALON report is documented in JPEN as an 'event'," Lilie wrote.

CellExchange Inc. is the company that initially developed JPEN.[11]

CIFA - TALON Chronology

In August 2006, Marcy Wheeler put together a CIFA chronology with "some relevant dates", which ties in with the preceding.[12][13] Research and reports by Walter Pincus of the Washington Post are noted in the references section. These and other additional items—identified as Note—have been inserted into the chronology.

  • September 2002, then Deputy Secretary of Defense for Counter-Intelligence Burtt (the guy who resigned [August 10, 2006])[14] establishes CIFA to oversee counterintelligence units of the armed services[15]; consulting on the new agency was James King, recently retired director of National Imagery and Mapping Agency and MZM vice president
  • Note: In May 2003, the TALON "fact-gathering operation" was initiated by former Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz and the "data would be fed to CIFA to help the Pentagon's 'terrorism threat warning process,' according to an internal Pentagon memo."[17]
  • Note: "According to its contract, MZM was to 'assist the government in identifying and procuring data' on maps, as well as 'airports, ports, dams, churches/mosques/synagogues, schools (and) power plants.' The company also received three contracts to provide undisclosed 'intelligence services' directly to the White House."[18]
  • Note: In June 2003, the Pentagon revived the citizen-based reporting program Operation TIPS by implementing TALON to "contain 'raw, non-validated' reports of 'anomalous activities' within the United States" and to "provide a mechanism to collect and rapidly share reports 'by concerned citizens and military members regarding suspicious incidents.'"[19]
  • January 2004, Cunningham added $16.5 million to defense authorization for a "collaboration center" that appears to include business for Wade's company[20]
  • Note: "At a May 2004 hearing before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, Carol A. Haave, then deputy undersecretary of defense for counterterrorism and security, said[21] that 'more than 5,000 Talon reports have been received and shared throughout the government' in the program's first year of operation. At that rate, about 12,500 Talon reports would have been filed during the approximately 2 1/2 years the program has existed."[22]
  • Note: In late June 2005, the Pentagon halted any new work for MZM under the 2002 contract and Cunningham "acknowledged ... that his relationship with MZM founder Mitchell J. Wade [was] being examined by federal authorities."[23]
  • Note: In November 2005, the Pentagon proposed to "transform CIFA from an office that coordinates Pentagon security efforts -- including protecting military facilities from attack -- to one that also has authority to investigate crimes within the United States such as treason, foreign or terrorist sabotage or even economic espionage."[24]
  • December 2005, Pincus reveals[25] a CIFA database contains raw intelligence data on peace activists[26][27][28][29][30] (and, presumably, Jesus' General)[31]
  • Note: The Report states that of 1,131 TALON reports deleted between December 2, 2005, through January 18, 2006, 263 "were related to protests and demonstrations".
  • Note: On December 18, 2005, a "former senior Pentagon intelligence official, familiar with CIFA" noted "that there had been no congressional oversight of CIFA, that the Defense Department is 'too big, too rich an organization and should not be left unfettered. They rush in where there is a vacuum.' ... A former senior counterterrorism official, also familiar with CIFA, said, 'What you are seeing is the militarization of counterterrorism.'" In December 2005, the Defense Department "gave CIFA authority to task domestic investigations and operations by the counterintelligence units of the military services. ... CIFA's new authority will give the agency the ability to propose missions to Army, Navy and Air Force units."[32]
  • Note: In January 2006, CIFA admitted to "finding 'irregularities' in about one of every 100 reports of suspicious activity that were entered into its [Cornerstone] database. ... The Pentagon considers 'irregularities' to be reports involving people or groups that have remained in the database too long -- more than 90 days -- without being verified as representing real threats. In some cases, the review has shown they should not have been included in the first place."[33]
  • March 2006, prosecutors in the Cunningham case announce they're reviewing CIFA contracts[34][35]to MZM
  • August 2006, CIFA director and deputy director resign[48]
  • Note: October 18, 2006, Pincus wrote: "Since Cunningham had no authority to award contracts, he needed the acquiescence of some members of Congress, congressional staff members and Defense Department officials, according to the executive summary of an investigation by the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence into his activities as a panel member."[49]

Destruction of TALON reports

On July 2, 2007, Wheeler added to this chronology the new piece of information that, in June 2006 "USNCO [USNORTHCOM?] destroys all the TALON reports".[50]

"Get it?," Wheeler asks. U.S. attorney "Carol Lam is closing in on MZM and its contracting.[51][52] Two very compromised Republicans announce they're going to review this stuff. And then one month later ... POOF!!! All the records of this domestic spying program disappear, like magic!! And then two months later the guys running the program resign, suddenly."[53]

"Here's the sole explanation they offer for the incredible disappearing USNCO [USNORTHCOM?] database," Wheeler wrote July 2, 2007:[54]

"We could not determine whether USNORTHCOM complied with the DoD 90-day retention review policy because all TALON reports were deleted from JPEN [USNORTHCOM's Joint Protection Enterprise Network] on November 30, 2005, without being archived, and the system was turned off in June 2006."[55]

"Notice how they change the date, November 2005 for June 2006? Know what happened just two days before these reports were deleted, on November 28, 2005? Duke Cunningham made his plea deal[56][57] There. That makes you feel better, doesn't it?," Wheeler commented.[58]

Program terminated?

The following is according to the DoD IG's June 27, 2007, Report:[59]

"In April 2007, the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence requested that the Secretary of Defense terminate the TALON program because the results of the last year do not merit continuing the program as currently constituted, particularly in light of its image in the Congress and the media."

"Air Force Lt. General James R. Clapper, Jr. told an informal gathering of reporters April 24 [2007] that he would recommend the program be ended.

"Department of Defense spokesperson Maj. Patrick Ryder said Clapper 'has assessed the results of the TALON program and does not believe they merit continuing the program as currently constituted, particularly in light of its image in the Congress and the media.'

"However, Ryder said, Clapper does not have the authority to end the program. That can only come from Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who has given no indication what he will do with the recommendation or when. In the mean time, the program continues."[60]

Resources and articles

Related SourceWatch articles

References

  1. "The Threat and Local Observation Notice (TALON) Report Program" (Report No. 07-INTEL-09 / Project No. D2006-DINT02-0128.000), Office of the Inspector General for Defense, U.S. Department of Defense, June 27, 2007. Report also posted by Federation of American Scientists here. The following comes from the Executive Summary.
  2. Website of the Office of the Inspector General, U.S. Department of Defense.
  3. Also see: Marcy Wheeler's analysis: "More Funny Business with Record-Keeping?" The Next Hurrah Blogspot, July 2, 2007.
  4. DoD Directive 5200.27. "Acquisition of Information Concerning Persons and Organizations not Affiliated with the Department of Defense," U.S. Department of Defense, January 7, 1980.
  5. "Domestic Military Intelligence Is Back," Infowars.com, December 1, 2005: "Cornerstone is the new repository for this combined intelligence and TALON threat reporting. It originated in May 2000, when Deputy Secretary of Defense John Hamre established a requirement to track foreign visitors to DOD installations. Post 9/11, the database came to encompass not intelligence and investigative leads to support foreign visitor tracking, but also 'insider threat' information, counter-intelligence, law enforcement support, counter-terrorism, and force protection. Under a new program -- Project Voyager -- the Cornerstone database is being improved to support coordination with local, state and federal law enforcement."
  6. MAJ Gregg Powell and COL Charles Dunn III, "Homeland Security: Requirements for Installation Security Decision Support Systems," Battle Command Battle Lab, Fort Gordon, GA, March 21, 2004. JPEN is described as a "government-off-the-shelf (GOTS) product" that "essentially serves as a law enforcement database that can be accessed by DoD and non-DoD agencies."
  7. Lt.Gen. Joseph K. Kellogg Jr. and Mark Powell, "Protecting America With Information Technology," SIGNAL Magazine, June 2003.
  8. No other references have been located that mention the renaming of Project Protect America / JPEN as Project Vision or the Vision Project.
  9. Cheryl Lilie, "Multiforce Protection In a Portal," SIGNAL Magazine (CellExchange.com), October 2004.
  10. JPEN was sponsored by the Joint Chiefs of Staff, U.S. Northern Command and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Member profile: CellExchange Inc., Homeland Security & Defense Business Council, accessed July 8, 2007.
  11. Cheryl Lilie, "Multiforce Protection In a Portal," SIGNAL Magazine (CellExchange.com), October 2004.
  12. "GOP Domestic Spying and 'Trepidation'," The Next Hurrah Blogspot, August 11, 2006. Scroll down to "CIFA's Chronology".
  13. Also see the dKosopedia's "Warrantless Eavesdropping Timeline."
  14. Walter Pincus, "Counterintelligence Officials Resign," Washington Post, August 10, 2006.
  15. DoD Directive 5105.67. "Department of Defense Counterintelligence Field Activity (DoD CIFA)," February 19, 2002; posted by Federation of American Scientists.
  16. Walter Pincus, "Pentagon Agency's Contracts Reviewed," Washington Post, March 3, 2006.
  17. Michael Isikoff, "The Other Big Brother. The Pentagon has its own domestic spying program. Even its leaders say the outfit may have gone too far," Newsweek (MSNBC), January 30, 2006.
  18. "Headlines for March 20, 2006," Democracy Now!. Scroll down to "Pentagon Hired Cunningham-Linked Contractor for Domestic Surveillance."
  19. Brian McWilliams, "DoD Logging Unverified Tips," WIRED, June 25, 2003.
  20. Walter Pincus, "Pentagon Agency's Contracts Reviewed," Washington Post, March 3, 2006.
  21. "Statement for the Record," Ms Carol A. Haave, Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Counter Intelligence and Security, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence, before the Subcommittee on Terrorism and Homeland Security, House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence on "Intelligence Community Standards, Sharing and Collaboration: A Policy View", May 13, 2004.
  22. Walter Pincus, "Unverified Reports of Terror Threats Linger. Pentagon Faults 1% of Database Entries," Washington Post, January 31, 2006.
  23. Renae Merle and R. Jeffrey Smith, "Pentagon Ends New Work On D.C. Firm's Contract. MZM to Name New CEO as Relationship With Congressman Is Under Investigation," Washington Post, June 28, 2005.
  24. Walter Pincus, "Pentagon Expanding Its Domestic Surveillance Activity. Fears of Post-9/11 Terrorism Spur Proposals for New Powers," Washington Post, November 27, 2005.
  25. Walter Pincus, "Pentagon Will Review Database on U.S. Citizens. Protests Among Acts Labeled 'Suspicious'," Washington Post, December 15, 2005.
  26. Michael Isikoff, "The Other Big Brother. The Pentagon has its own domestic spying program. Even its leaders say the outfit may have gone too far," Newsweek (MSNBC), January 30, 2006.
  27. William M. Arkin, "No Big Deal, Pentagon Says," Early Warning Blog/Washington Post, February 9, 2006.
  28. Walter Pincus, "Protesters Found in Database. ACLU Is Questioning Entries in Defense Dept. System," Washington Post, January 17, 2007.
  29. "ACLU Report Shows Widespread Pentagon Surveillance of Peace Activists," ACLU, January 17, 2007.
  30. "No Real Threat: The Pentagon's Secret Database on Peaceful Protest," ACLU, January 17, 2007.
  31. J.C. Christian, "The General and the State Security Apparatus," PatriotBoy Blogspot, November 26, 2005.
  32. Walter Pincus, " Washington Post, December 19, 2005.
  33. Walter Pincus, "Unverified Reports of Terror Threats Linger. Pentagon Faults 1% of Database Entries," Washington Post, January 31, 2006.
  34. Walter Pincus, "Pentagon Agency's Contracts Reviewed," Washington Post, March 3, 2006.
  35. Walter Pincus, "Increase in Contracting Intelligence Jobs Raises Concerns," Washington Post, March 20, 2006.
  36. Walter Pincus, "Pentagon Orders Investigation Of Cunningham's MZM Earmark," Washington Post, March 24, 2006.
  37. Robin Wright and Dan Eggen, "Leak Inquiry Includes Iran Experts in Administration," Washington Post, September 4, 2004.
  38. "CIA Director Porter Goss resigns," Associated Press (MSNBC), May 5, 2006.
  39. "Goss: CIA resignation 'one of those mysteries'," CNN, May 6, 2006.
  40. Nico Pitney, "Kristol: ‘Sudden’ Goss Resignation Prompted By ‘Something That Popped This Week’," Think Progress, May 5, 2006.
  41. Larry Johnson, "Why Did Goss Resign?" TPM Cafe, May 5, 2006.
  42. Ken Silverstein, "The Loss of Goss," Harper's Magazine, May 8, 2006.
  43. Tom Regan, "Report: Scandal may have played role in Goss resignation. Media sources say a corruption investigation may have forced White House to act quickly on Goss, and may also touch other defense and intelligence officials," Christian Science Monitor, May 8, 2006.
  44. Walter Pincus, "Many in Government Helped Cunningham Or Yielded, Panel Finds. Report Indicates Widening Investigation," Washington Post, October 18, 2006.
  45. Marcy Wheeler, "Hoekstra's Threat," The Next Hurrah Blogspot, July 9, 2006.
  46. Walter Pincus, "Lawmakers Want More Data on Contracting Out Intelligence," Washington Post, May 7, 2006.
  47. Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2007, 109th Congress, 2d Session Report, U.S. House of Representatives, April 6, 2006. Scroll down to section "Counterintelligence field activity."
  48. Walter Pincus, "Counterintelligence Officials Resign," Washington Post, August 10, 2006.
  49. Walter Pincus, "Many in Government Helped Cunningham Or Yielded, Panel Finds. Report Indicates Widening Investigation," Washington Post, October 18, 2006.
  50. Marcy Wheeler, "More Funny Business with Record-Keeping?" The Next Hurrah Blogspot, July 2, 2007.
  51. Mash, "Carol Lam vs. The White House Gravy Train," Taylor Marsh.com, March 26, 2007.
  52. Josh Marshall, "A few of the reasons why we don't believe Carol Lam was fired because of lax immigration inforcement," Talking Points Memo, April 10, 2007.
  53. Marcy Wheeler, "More Funny Business with Record-Keeping?" The Next Hurrah Blogspot, July 2, 2007.
  54. Marcy Wheeler, "More Funny Business with Record-Keeping?" The Next Hurrah Blogspot, July 2, 2007.
  55. "The Threat and Local Observation Notice (TALON) Report Program," Office of the Inspector General for Defense, U.S. Department of Defense, June 27, 2007. Scroll down to page headed "Reports for Protests and Demonstrations and Reports Containing U.S. Person Information".
  56. "Congressman resigns after bribery plea. California Republican admits selling influence for $2.4 million," CNN, November 28, 2005.
  57. Cunningham Plea Agreement, FindLaw.com.
  58. Marcy Wheeler, "More Funny Business with Record-Keeping?" The Next Hurrah Blogspot, July 2, 2007.
  59. "The Threat and Local Observation Notice (TALON) Report Program," Office of the Inspector General for Defense, U.S. Department of Defense, June 27, 2007. See "Management Actions" in the "Executive Summary".
  60. Eric Resnik, "Pentagon May End Spying on Gay Groups," OutInAmerica.com, May 9, 2007.

Reports

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Background

2004
2005
2006
2007

Response to the Report

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