The Defense Intelligence Agency filed notice this week that it plans to create a new section called Foreign Intelligence and Counterintelligence Operation Records, whose purpose will be to
But while the unit's name refers to "foreign intelligence," civil liberties advocates and the Pentagon's own description of the program suggest that Americans will likely be included in the new database.
FICOR replaces a program called Talon, which the DIA created in 2002 under then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld as part of the counterterrorism efforts following the 9/11 attacks. It was disbanded in 2007 after it emerged that Talon had retained information on anti-war protesters, including Quakers, even after it was determined they posed no threat to national security.
DIA spokesman Donald Black told Newsweek that the new database would not include the more controversial elements of the old Talon program. But Jeff Stein at the Washington Post reports that the new program will evidently inherit the old Talon database.
The Pentagon's notice states that the database will collect
Newsweek cites two unnamed US officials as suggesting that the new program essentially echoes the old one. When CIFA, the DIA division running Talon, was disbanded in 2008, "many of its personnel and some of its functions were transferred" to the new DIA unit running the new database program. The new program will be housed "in the same office space that CIFA once occupied, in a complex near suburban Washington’s Reagan National Airport."
Mike German, a former FBI agent now working with the ACLU, says "Americans should be just as concerned" about the new database as the previous one under the Bush administration.