Wal-Mart operates like a mini-CIA, says security guy it fired

Or maybe a cross between the CIA and the New York City Police Department. Anyway, the Wall Street Journal this morning has an interview with a recently fired Wal-Mart security employee who describes a pretty spooky operation. Here's a bit of it from a Reuters story:

As part of the surveillance, the retailer last year had a long-haired employee infiltrate an anti-Wal-Mart group to determine if it planned protests at the company's annual meeting, according to Bruce Gabbard, the fired security worker, the Journal said.

The company also deployed cutting-edge monitoring systems made by a supplier to the Defense Department that allowed it to capture and record the actions of anyone connected to its global computer network, the Journal said.

The company fired (Bruce) Gabbard, a 19-year employee, last month for unauthorized recording of calls to and from a New York Times reporter and for intercepting pager messages. Wal-Mart conducted an internal investigation of Gabbard and his group's activities, fired his supervisor and demoted a vice president over the group.

A Wal-Mart spokesperson says it's all just a normal part of conducting normal business these days. And the spookiest part of all may be that the spokesperson is correct.

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