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JIC Post:By ANDREW KEEGANWashington BladePentagon officials spied on student groups opposed to the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” ban on openly gay military personnel, according to media reports.A February protest at New York University was one of the events under government surveillance, NBC News reported last week.The network reported that the law school’s gay advocacy group, OUTlaw, was classified as “potentially violent” by the Pentagon.“I was shocked to read that OUTLaw was classified as a threat and investigated,” OUTlaw Co-chair Rebecca Fisher said. “Since we still don’t know how the Pentagon went about investigating us, I’m wondering how far they went in invading our personal privacy to make their determination. Did they read our e-mail? Monitor our meetings?”Ellen Kranke, a Department of Defense spokesperson who handles issues regarding sexual orientation at the Pentagon, did not return repeated calls for comment.NBC also reported that a “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” protest at University of California Santa Cruz was labeled as a “credible threat” of terrorism by the Pentagon. The protest, conducted near military recruiters, included a gay kiss-in.“While it is alarming, it is not surprising given the Bush administration’s attitude toward secrecy,” said Deb Abbott, director of the Lionel Cantu Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex Resource Center at UC Santa Cruz. “It is really disturbing that not only our group, but other gay groups appear to be the focus.”Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, a group dedicated to helping military members affected by the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, condemned the Pentagon surveillance and monitoring.“The Pentagon is supposed to defend the Constitution, not turn it upside down,” Dixon Osburn, SLDN executive director, said in a statement released Dec. 20. “Students have a first amendment right to protest and Americans have a right to expect that their government will respect our constitutional right to privacy.”SLDN said it plans to submit a Freedom of Information Act request to learn if other gay organizations have also been monitored by the government.“To suggest that a gay kiss-in is a ‘credible threat’ is absurd, homophobic and irrational,” Osburn said. “To suggest the Constitution does not apply to groups with views differing with Pentagon policy is chilling.”
"director of the Lionel Cantu Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex Resource Center at UC Santa Cruz"I work at UC Santa Cruz. I know this center well. I'm sure it does good work. but. honestly. That name. It's embarrassing.
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