The Pentagon has eliminated a question to an antiterrorism refresher course for all employees that described protests as a form of terrorism, calling it "poorly worded," reports Fox News.
Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col. Les Melnyk told Fox News on Thursday that the question should have distinguished between different kinds of protests.
“They should have made it clearer there’s a clear difference between illegal violent demonstrations and peaceful, constitutionally protected protests,” Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col. Les Melnyk said on Thursday.
Asked when a protest becomes an “illegal, violent demonstration,” Melnyk said, “I’m not a lawyer. I couldn’t get into the specifics of when you cross the line.”
“If you’re doing physical damage to people or property, that could fall into that,” he said.
On Tuesday, Daily Headlines reported that the American Civil Liberties Union had written a letter to the Pentagon demanding it remove the question because it equated "protests" with "low-level" terrorist activity.
The question read: "Which of the following is an example of low-level terrorism activity?"
Test takers had four choices: "Attacking the Pentagon," "IEDs," "Hate crimes against racial groups," and "Protests."
The correct answer to the question was "Protests."
Melnyk said that service members often serve in countries where protests become violent and are directed at the United States.
“In those situations, that anti-Americanism might be taken out on an American in the crowd,” Melnyk told Fox News.
Of the Pentagon's 3 million employees, only 1,546 took the exam. Each will be sent a letter explaining the question was an error and the difference between unlawful and lawful demonstrations.
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