Army Probes Charges That Worker Spied on Protesters

Members say employee used alias to get names, email addresses
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 2, 2009 9:00 AM CDT
The Army has opened an inquiry into a claim that one of its employees spent more than 2 years infiltrating anti-war groups near Tacoma, Wash.   (Shutter Stock)

(Newser) – Officials are investigating charges by two anti-war groups that a civilian employee for the Army spent more than 2 years infiltrating their organizations under an assumed name, reports the New York Times. The groups, active near one of the nation’s largest military bases close to Tacoma, Wash., say criminal intelligence analyst John Towery gained access to their personal information and plans to disrupt nearby military shipments.

When the groups inadvertently discovered his true identity, Towery said he was under pressure by local law enforcement to share intelligence on protesters, said a member of one of the organizations. The Army is prohibited from conducting law enforcement among civilians except in very narrow cases. “Infiltration is a really big deal,” says one expert, because “it raises fundamental questions about the role of the military in American society.”