Saturday, May 8, 2021

When the U.S. military monitors civilians

The CATO Institute filed a FOIA lawsuit on Wednesday seeking information from the Department of Defense on domestic intelligence gathering. The lawsuit alleges that the Department of Defense, along with the U.S. Air Force, Marines, and Navy, have not reasonably searched records related to such surveillance. The suit comes on the heels of recent revelations that some states improperly used the National Guard to watch protestors following George Floyd’s murder by a Minneapolis policeman.  

The CATO Institute write-up explains they are looking for records related to DoD Directive 5200.27, the directive that sets “general policy, limitations, procedures, and operational guidance pertaining to the collecting, processing, storing, and disseminating of information concerning persons and organizations not affiliated with the Department of Defense.” DoD Directive 5200.27 has previously been used to disrupt lawyers providing legal services to draftees hoping to avoid Vietnam, or to monitor those protesting the 2003 invasion of Iraq.  Certainly, it will be interesting to learn what records CATO can obtain, and to learn whether, and possibly to what extent, the military continues to gather intelligence on the civilian population. 

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