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Last Updated: Wednesday, 22 August 2007, 14:05 GMT 15:05 UK
US to shut anti-terror database
File photograph of US anti-war protest
The database was found to hold details of anti-war protesters
The Pentagon has said it will shut down a controversial anti-terror database.

US officials said the Talon programme would end on 17 September because the amount and quality of information gathered had declined.

The database was used to compile information on potential threats to US military facilities and personnel.

A Pentagon review found that it had included reports on peaceful protesters and anti-war demonstrations which should have been deleted.

However, the report by the defence department's inspector general said the Pentagon had acted legally in collecting information on US citizens because the reports were gathered for law enforcement rather than intelligence purposes.

Military and defence personnel will still report suspicious activities around military bases, but that information will go onto an FBI database, the Pentagon said.

'Not needed'

The Pentagon said public criticism was not behind the decision to close the database.

"The analytical value of [the database] was pretty slim," spokesman Col Gary Keck told reporters.

"The Talon database was a perfectly legal system, nobody ever said it wasn't, but it was just not meeting our needs any more," he said.

The American Civil Liberties Union, which had criticised the database, welcomed the decision to abandon it.

"There should be no place in a free democratic society for the military to be accumulating secret data on peaceful demonstrators," ACLU executive director Anthony Romero said.

The Talon reporting system was run by a little-known Pentagon agency called the Counter-Intelligence Field Activity (Cifa), whose size and budget are classified.

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