Senator wants answers on Pentagon spying

Sen. Dianne Feinstein on Thursday asked for answers on an obscure
Pentagon agency that included reports on student anti-war protests and
other peaceful civilian demonstrations in a database meant to detect
terrorist activities.

“Under what circumstances can peaceful
protests at universities or by anti-war groups be monitored?”
Feinstein, D-Calif., wrote in a letter to Defense Secretary Donald H.

“What authorities, and under what regulations, do
military counterintelligence units have to conduct investigations on
U.S. persons?” she wrote.

At issue is a classified database of
information about suspicious people and activity inside the United
States that’s maintained by a three-year-old Pentagon agency called the
Counterintelligence Field Activity, whose size and budget also are

The database, which a Pentagon fact sheet says is
meant to capture information “indicative of possible terrorist
pre-attack activity,” came to light a month ago when NBC News obtained
details on its contents. The Pentagon acknowledged including
information on anti-war activities and other meetings that should have
been removed.

The Pentagon announced a review of the program, and
Feinstein’s office has been told that all inappropriate records have
now been removed.

Among the reports until recently maintained in
the database was one on an April protest at the University of
California, Santa Cruz, by UCSC Students Against the War, Feinstein
said Pentagon officials have confirmed to her staff.

spokesman Cmdr. Greg Hicks said Thursday the review was ongoing. He
said he had not seen Feinstein’s letter but that Rumsfeld would respond
to it after reviewing it.