Thursday, July 07, 2005

California National Guard Spy Case: Update

The San Jose Mercury News reports:

.... One day after being denied access to a Guard computer that had its hard drive wiped clean, Sen. Joe Dunn said he would seek legislative subpoenas today to gain access to the information central to his investigation and lashed out at military officials standing in his way.

Dunn launched his investigation last week after the Mercury News reported on the creation of a new National Guard intelligence unit that has been given ``broad authority'' to set up new anti-terrorism projects in California.

.... Concerns that the National Guard was laying the groundwork for domestic spying were heightened by internal e-mails obtained by the Mercury News showing high-level interest in a small Mother's Day anti-war rally at the state Capitol.

One e-mail from a top officer said he was passing along information on the protest to ``our Intell. folks who continue to monitor.''

....Last week, Dunn asked the Guard to preserve any documents related to monitoring of the anti-war rally and the new intelligence unit.

At the same time, computer technicians at the Guard erased the hard drive of a retiring colonel who oversaw the intelligence unit and wrote the e-mail mentioning the ``Intell. folks.''

....After learning that the hard drive had been erased, Dunn demanded immediate access for a computer specialist to recover any data, but was rebuffed by the Guard's top general who said any access would have to be coordinated with Army investigators who launched their own probe Wednesday.

On a separate track, Dunn unveiled new legislation meant to erect stronger anti-spying barriers in California. The senator said he would look to expand federal laws banning the military from engaging in domestic spying to cover the National Guard, which is generally exempt from that regulation.