March 15, 2004

Spiritual Kung Fu Part 2

Oops there it is:

Army review: Agents erred in UT conference investigation Fort Worth Star-Telegram March 15, 2004

Army Screwed The Pooch by Spying on Academic Conference Attendees Capitol Hill Blue March 16, 2004

Agents' probe at law school criticized: Army's review sees procedural lapses
Houston Chronicle Austin Bureau March 16, 2004

Editorial: A rare but needed apology San Antonio Express March 17, 2004

Original blog entry: Spiritual Kung Fu

Army Says Its Lawyers and Intelligence Officers Overstepped Their Authority
in Texas Inquiry
Monday, March 15, 2004 By MICHAEL ARNONE

U.S. Army lawyers and intelligence agents were out of order when they
attended a conference on Islam last month at the University of Texas at
Austin's law school and aggressively questioned students and staff members a
few days later, the Army said in a written statement on Friday.

"The special agents and their detachment commander exceeded their authority
by requesting information about individuals who were not within the Army's
counterintelligence investigative jurisdiction," read the statement, which
was issued by the Army's Intelligence and Security Command.

In response to the incident, the Army command has provided all of its
counterintelligence operatives in the United States with extra training to
remind them of the legal limits on their investigations, the statement read.
The command could not be reached for comment on Friday.

It could not be learned if its agents had been punished for their actions in
the Texas incident.

The law school is "very glad the Army took this seriously," said Douglas
Laycock, associate dean for research at the law school. He said he
understands that law-enforcement agencies have been extra vigilant since
September 11, 2001, to prevent another terrorist attack and that it is
sometimes easy to overreact to situations. But it is important, he
continued, that law-enforcement leaders stress to investigative agents that
they know the law.

The statement confirmed that on February 4, two Army lawyers attended a
university-approved conference, "Islam and the Law: The Question of Sexism?"
The symposium drew a multiethnic crowd interested in an academic discussion
of how traditional Islamic law treats women (The Chronicle, March 5).

The lawyers were from Fort Hood, an Army base in nearby Killeen, Tex., and
were preparing to go to southwestern Asia to handle legal issues between the
U.S. military and the local Muslim population, the statement read.

At the Texas conference, the lawyers became suspicious of a man who
pointedly and persistently questioned them about who they were and what they
were doing there, the statement read. Following Army regulations, the
lawyers reported the man and two associates to intelligence officials at the

On February 9, two counterintelligence agents visited the law school to
identify the three men, the statement continued. The agents identified
themselves and requested a list of people who had attended the conference.
But no one cooperated with them, and they left the campus.

The incident aroused some of the same concerns that emerged at Drake
University last month, after federal officials subpoenaed the Iowa
university for information on an antiwar student group and persuaded a judge
to impose a gag order on the institution (The Chronicle, March 5). The
University of Texas has not received any subpoenas for information.

Sahar Aziz, the Texas conference's organizer, and William C. Powers Jr.,
dean of the law school, said at the time that they did not know why the
conference had attracted the interest of the military.

After the Army's visit, Ms. Aziz speculated that the word "Islam" in the
conference title had triggered an inquiry by intelligence officials. Malcolm
N. Greenstein, her lawyer, said that one of the counterintelligence agents
had told her he was seeking three "Middle Eastern-looking" men.

Mr. Greenstein could not be reached for comment on the Army's statement.

Copyright © 2004 by The Chronicle of Higher Education

Posted by Yahya at March 15, 2004 03:45 PM
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