A community of Benedictine nuns based in Texas has called on Wal-Mart to give further details of how they came to appear on a list of potential threats
to the world's largest retailer.
The Benedictine Sisters of Boerne, Texas, have written to Lee Scott, Wal-Mart's chief executive, to say they were "deeply disappointed, appalled
and shocked" by news that Wal-Mart's security department had been asked in a memo to do some initial "threat assessment" work on their group. The nuns had co-filed a critical shareholder resolution for the company's forthcoming
The letter asks Wal-Mart to give the nuns access to "electronic data, tape and video recordings, memorandum, correspondence and communications of any type or nature whatsoever" that make references to them.
"What has been inadvertently
revealed so far may just be the tip of the iceberg," the letter said, noting that the group had been involved in dialogue with Wal-Mart along with other members of the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility since the 1990s. The January memo became public earlier this month, in interviews given to the Wall Street Journal by Bruce Gabbard, a former employee of Wal-Mart's security department.
Mr Gabbard was fired last month for recording a reporter's phone calls to the company without authorisation and intercepting
electronic messages in and around Wal-Mart's HQ in Arkansas. His actions are being investigated by federal authorities, which could lead to the filing of criminal charges.
He has also been ordered by a state judge in Arkansas not to make further public statements about his work at Wal-Mart, after talking extensively about surveillance operations
that included using a long-haired employee equipped with a radio microphone to join an anti-Wal-Mart gathering
at last year's annual meeting.
Wal-Mart has written to shareholder groups saying that no action was taken in connection with the January memo, "given the nature of the matters proposed and our familiarity with the individual proponents".