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Defense
Department monitored student groups more extensively than
previously acknowledged

Defense
Department monitored student groups more extensively than
previously acknowledged

Spy

New information released by the Department of Defense shows that the government conducted more extensive surveillance of student groups protesting "don't ask, don't tell" than previously indicated.

New information released by the Department of Defense shows that the government conducted more extensive surveillance of student groups protesting "don't ask, don't tell" than previously indicated. Documents provided earlier this month to counsel representing the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, an advocacy group for gay and lesbian service personnel, show that e-mails sent by student organizers were intercepted and monitored by the Pentagon and that an undercover agent apparently attended a protest at Southern Connecticut State University. The other schools at which protests were surveilled are the University of California, Berkeley; the State University of New York at Albany; and New Jersey's William Paterson University. All the protests were against either the military's ban on openly gay personnel or the war in Iraq. "Federal government agencies have no business peeping through the keyholes of Americans who choose to exercise their First Amendment rights," said C. Dixon Osburn, executive director of SLDN. "Americans are guaranteed a fundamental right to free speech and free expression, and our country's leaders should never be allowed to undermine those freedoms. Surveillance of private citizens must stop." In a nod to apparent concerns by the Pentagon, Osburn added, "It is the suppression of our constitutional rights, and not the practice of them, that undermines our national security. It is patently absurd that this administration has linked sexual orientation with terrorism." None of the Defense Department documents indicated any terrorist activity on the parts of the students who were monitored. Earlier reports of such surveillance were released by the department only after SLDN filed a Freedom of Information Act request. (The Advocate)

Advocate Magazine - KehlaniAdvocate Magazine - Gus Kenworthy

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