UC Santa Cruz protest no longer on Pentagon's 'credible threat' list

The Department of Defense has removed mention of a campus demonstration at the University of California, Santa Cruz, from the TALON (Threat and Local Observation Notice) database, following recent efforts by UCSC Chancellor Denice D. Denton and members of California's congressional delegation.

Chancellor Denton advocated for change in Defense Department database

For more information, go to chancellor.ucsc.edu/pentagon
Denton was notified of the action in a letter co-signed by U.S. Senators Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein, who noted they were "relieved to learn that Department of Defense regulations forbid retaining information on Americans engaged in constitutionally protected activities" and that the UCSC protest "had been removed from the TALON database."

The April 5, 2005, protest of military recruiters at a campus career fair had been listed as a "credible threat" on the database managed by the Pentagon's Counterintelligence Field Agency.

After learning from news releases in December of the UCSC event's inclusion on the TALON database, Denton had challenged the listing and asked members of Congress to investigate, noting that "an environment of surveillance and intimidation threatens the core values of universities and of our nation."

The letter announcing the removal of the UCSC event from the TALON listing followed a meeting arranged by Senator Boxer in her Washington, D.C., office Jan. 31. Denton and Lt. Col. Gary Testut, representing the Pentagon, were among the attendees. Denton also expressed her concerns later that day in a meeting with Senator Feinstein.

In the letter to Chancellor Denton, Senators Boxer and Feinstein said that Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence Stephen A. Cambone has initiated a "comprehensive review of the TALON program to determine if Department of Defense officials violated any regulations governing domestic counterintelligence efforts, and to ascertain whether changes to the program are necessary."

Chancellor Denton and David S. Kliger, campus provost and executive vice chancellor, said they will "continue to do everything in our power to ensure that First Amendment rights are protected on this campus and in our country. We have zero tolerance for violence and incivility, but we vigorously support free expression of opinions, including dissent. Such expressions are hallmarks of a democratic society and are integral to our vital teaching and learning community."

The UCSC protest was one of dozens of protests, demonstrations, and meetings--including one at a Quaker Meeting House in Lake Worth, Florida--around the country listed on the database and revealed in news reports in December.