It appears there was no basis to the widely reported charges that a California National Guard unit was spying/collecting information on citizens:
An Army report has cleared the California National Guard of allegations that it spied on citizens, accusations that triggered an ongoing state Senate investigation.
The California Guard’s acting adjutant general, Brig. Gen. John R. Alexander, said Monday that the Army’s inspector general determined in the confidential report that a Guard intelligence unit did nothing wrong.
“There was never the intent, desire or decision to ever collect intelligence information on any U.S. citizen,” Alexander said in a written release. “Any statement to the contrary is flat wrong.”
State Sen. Joseph Dunn launched an investigation after a series of e-mails and actions suggested the unit had resorted to the same type of civilian monitoring seen during Vietnam War-era protests. In the 1960s and 1970s, the military collected information on more than 100,000 Americans.
The Guard and the state attorney general say the unit merely tries to assess threats to bridges, buildings and other structures and does no spying.
A sister unit monitored a Mother’s Day anti-war demonstration at the state Capitol, but the Guard said that amounted to reviewing media accounts.
Dunn was skeptical of the report’s conclusions, in part because he believes the terminology used in Alexander’s announcement could be used to hide indirect surveillance activity and record-keeping by the Guard.
This report corroborates the Army Times version, but notes that speculation stil exists since the report has not been released publicly:
“Until the Army’s report is made public,” Dunn said, “we cannot draw any conclusions about what they investigated or what the Army concluded about the activities of the California National Guard.”
The Army historically does not release such reports, though it did last year, detailing abuses by U.S. soldiers at Abu Ghurayb prison in Iraq.
Lofgren, who said she plans to raise her concerns about the Guard next month in Washington, met Monday in San Jose with members of the Peninsula Raging Grannies, one of the groups that organized the Mother’s Day rally.
Ruth Robertson, co-chair of the group, said the Grannies believe strongly that the Guard monitored their efforts. “The Peninsula Raging Grannies demand the immediate release of the report to the general public, or at the very least to those groups who were monitored.”
I’ll try to remember to keep up on this.