ACLU demands info on domestic military deployments
Erik Larson | October 21, 2008 at 02:07 pmby
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The ACLU is demanding info on the deployment of US troops on US soil, in violation of Posse Comitatus.
If you missed the news, see Glenn Greenwald's commentary: Why is a U.S. Army brigade being assigned to the "Homeland"?
Following reports that US troops will be permanently on call to work inside the United States handling "civil unrest," "crowd control" and other functions traditionally carried out by civilian law enforcement agencies, activists are demanding to know why the Pentagon is reversing a longstanding prohibition on domestic deployment of the military.
The Department of Defense for the first time is assigning a full-time Army unit to be on call with Northern Command, which was created after Sept. 11 to facilitate military cooperation with the Department of Homeland Security in the event of another terrorist attack.
The American Civil Liberties Union is demanding more details on the domestic deployments, which appear to violate the Posse Comitatus Act, which prohibits use of the military to direct internal affairs of the US. The ACLU warns that without fully knowing the reasoning and justifications behind the Army's plan, the domestic deployments could be used to expand a militarized surveillance apparatus that already includes the National Security Agency's warrantless wiretapping program and DHS's plans to turn military spy satellites inside US borders.
“This is a radical departure from separation of civilian law enforcement and military authority, and could, quite possibly, represent a violation of law,” former FBI Agent Mike German, an ACLU national security policy counsel, said in a news release. “Our Founding Fathers understood the threat that a standing army could pose to American liberty. While future generations recognized the need for a strong military to defend against increasingly capable foreign threats, they also passed statutory protections to ensure that the Army could not be turned against the American people. The erosion of these protections should concern every American.”