Pentagon admits having info it shouldn't have in its spying database

Wednesday, April 05, 2006 at 05:07 PM

Just today the Pentagon acknowledge that, according to The Jackson Tribune "some information stored in a database of possible terrorist threats should not have been kept there."

This comes after an internal review sparked by recent news reports that they had been spying on some of the most innocuous "activist" groups, like vegetarians who hand out meals to the homeless.

Not surprisingly, though, the admission came with the boilerplate reasons it's no big deal.  Prime among those?  Of the more than 13,000 entries in the database (the Talon reporting system),  "less than 2 percent should not have been there or should have been removed at a certain point in time."

Ahh, numbers, those beautiful deceivers.  So small, compact, concrete.  Just so you know, 2% of "more than 13,000 entries" works out to a minimum of 260 improper entries..

And notice that the explanation of the "improper" info muddles stuff that "should not have been there" with stuff that "should have been removed at a certain point in time."  So how much was improperly collected, how much was kept too long (i.e., what's the real story)?  I should live so long as to find out.

And I'm sure you don't need me to tell you that Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman "declined to state the nature of these entries or the people they involved, noting that the contents of the database were classified."