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Intelligence oversight protects Constitutional rights of our citizens

The Air Force Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Agency Interlligence Oversight Training program balances intellligence gathering for national security with protecting the rights of all U.S. persons. (Graphic by Gloria Vasquez)

The Air Force Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Agency Interlligence Oversight Training program balances intellligence gathering for national security with protecting the rights of all U.S. persons. (Graphic by Gloria Vasquez)

The Department of Defense observes Constitution Day and Citizenship Day Sept. 17 to commemorate the signing of the U.S. Constitution in Philadelphia on that day in 1787. (U.S. Air Force illustration/James Borland)

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BRADLEY AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE - East Granby, Conn. -- Members of the 103rd Operations Support Squadron's intelligence office were examined by the 103rd Airlift Wing's inspection team during an intelligence oversight by-law inspection, Dec. 16, 2014 at Bradley Air National Guard Base, East Granby, Connecticut.

The oversight program is directed in the law, and as with many other wing programs the IG conducts an annual by-law inspection to ensure our personnel are trained and working an aggressive oversight program meeting the intent and spirit of that law, said Lt. Col James Guerrera, inspector general for the 103rd Airlift Wing.

"Intelligence oversight involves a balancing of two fundamental interests, obtaining the intelligence information required to protect national security while protecting individual rights guaranteed by the Constitution and outlined within the laws of the United States," said Senior Master Sgt. Peter Martucci, wing inspection team member with a background in intelligence.  "The primary objective of the program is to mitigate infringement upon the rights of U.S. persons."

To accomplish that objective, wing inspection team members work to verify and ensure all intelligence analysts know their responsibilities and make sure know they have an avenue to report any possible violations.

"My focus is to maintain the integrity of the Intel shop by ensuring we have the proper authority and mission to collect and retain all information that we use on a daily basis, or in the support of antiterrorism and force protection, as well as with joint missions like we had during Hurricane Irene and Storm Sandy," said Senior Master Sgt. Matthew LeMasters, who serves as an intelligence oversight monitor for the unit.

"In that respect, an analyst needs to be very cognizant of their responsibilities," said Martucci.  "It is critical to our mission to ensure each analyst knows the boundaries and has an avenue if an instance occurs where information collected may infringe on the constitutional rights of our citizens."