Although Guard officials said the new unit would not collect information on American citizens, top National Guard officials have already been involved in tracking at least one recent Mother's Day anti-war rally organized by families of slain American soldiers, according to e-mails obtained by the Mercury News.
Creation of California's intelligence unit is already raising concerns for civil libertarians who point to a string of abuses in the 1960s and 1970s when the military collected information on more than 100,000 Americans, infiltrated church youth groups, posed as reporters to interview activists, monitored peaceful protests and even attended an elementary school Halloween party in search of a ''dissident.''
''The National Guard doesn't need to do this,'' said Christopher Pyle, a former Army intelligence officer who first exposed the military's domestic spying operations in 1970. ''Its job is not to investigate individuals, but to clear streets, protect facilities and help first responders.''
I'm very confused by this. What is the CA National Guard's mission?
Generally, the National Guard is called upon to help the state deal with natural disasters and riots.
CA National Guard's Mission:
Provide mission ready forces to the federal government and protect the public safety of the citizens of California by providing military support to civil authorities during natural disasters and other emergencies and provide service and support to the local communities in which we work and live.
(CA National Guard's History)
This comes off as scope creep in a major way. Do we really want all the state guards forming their own agencies to address this particular subject? Won't you just get the same problem the Bush Administration has complained about for decentralized (and therefore uncommunicative with one another) information-gathering?