Total Information Awareness is Back

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Total Information Awareness is Back

Post#1 » Thu Mar 08, 2007 11:52 pm

Total Information Awareness is Back
Resurgence of the mother of all surveillance programs
Steve Watson
Thursday, March 8, 2007

The Pentagon's super snoop "Total Information Awareness" program is back in business, just as we predicted it would be.

Congress attempted to kill the ill-conceived DARPA program in 2003. But instead, the program, designed to somehow find terrorists from documenting everyone's credit card bills, car rental receipts and travel records, went underground and has now returned, bigger and stronger and worse than ever.

The Washington Times is reporting:

Homeland Security officials are testing a supersnoop computer system that sifts through personal information on U.S. citizens to detect possible terrorist attacks, prompting concerns from lawmakers who have called for investigations.

The system uses the same data-mining process that was developed by the Pentagon's Total Information Awareness (TIA) project that was banned by Congress in 2003 because of vast privacy violations.

In an article on domestic surveillance from December 2005, I wrote:

Shortly after the announcement of TIA, the Pentagon backtracked and told us that TIA was shutting down, but the tools are there waiting to be used, They'll just rename it and start it up again at any given time. The Tools of TIA include "LifeLog" which is described as "a multimedia, digital record of everywhere you go and everything you see, hear, read, say and touch". Another tool is the MATRIX database, A federally funded crime database run by multiple states at once.

The AP had reported this in September 2003, in an article entitled Pentagon office creating surveillance system to close, stating "But they left open the possibility that some or all of the high-powered software tools under development might be used by different government offices to gather foreign intelligence from foreigners, U.S. citizens abroad or foreigners in the United States." So it was not hard to predict the return of the all seeing all knowing surveillance agenda program.

It has been revealed that a project called ADVISE -- Analysis, Dissemination, Visualization, Insight and Semantic Enhancement -- was initiated in 2003 following the demise of the TIA project. Data mined by ADVISE can include credit-card purchases, telephone or Internet details, medical records, travel and banking information.

A Government Accountability Office (GAO) investigation of the project was requested by Rep. David R. Obey, Wisconsin Democrat and chairman of the House Appropriations Committee.

This is the latest in a number of examples that indicated that TIA never really went away. In 2004 it was reported that TIA was alive and well in Arlington County. Capitol Hill Blue reported:

Despite Congressional action cutting funding, and the resignation of the program’s controversial director, retired admiral John Poindexter, DARPA’s TIA program is alive and well and prying into the personal business of Americans 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

“When Congress cut the funding, the Pentagon – with administration approval – simply moved the program into a ‘black bag’ account,” says a security consultant who worked on the DARPA project. “Black bag programs don’t require Congressional approval and are exempt from traditional oversight.”
DARPA also hired private contractors to fill many of the roles in the program, which helped evade detection by Congressional auditors. Using a private security firm like Cantwell, instead of the Federal Protective Service, helped keep TIA off the radar screen.

DARPA moved into the Arlington County building shortly after the September 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon and established the TIA project under the USA Patriot Act and a number of executive orders from President George W. Bush.

In 2006 the National Journal revealed that the NSA’s Advanced Research and Development Activity took over TIA and carried on the experimental network in late 2003. ARDA continued vetting new tools and even kept the aggressive experiment schedule.

The National Journal reported that the program is now accessed by, among others: the NSA, the CIA, DIA, CENTCOM, the National Counterterorrism Center, the Guantanamo prison, and Special Operations Command (SOCOM).

Big Brother is most definitely still watching. Enjoy watching your tax dollars at work watching you.

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Pentagon office creating surveillance system to close

Post#2 » Fri Mar 09, 2007 12:18 am

OLDER NEWS from before:

Pentagon office creating surveillance system to close
Associated Press

WASHINGTON - House and Senate negotiators have decided to close a Pentagon office that was developing a vast computerized terrorism surveillance system and to bar spending that would allow those high-tech spying tools to be used against Americans on U.S. soil.

But they left open the possibility that some or all of the high-powered software tools under development might be used by different government offices to gather foreign intelligence from foreigners, U.S. citizens abroad or foreigners in the United States.

The controversial Terrorism Information Awareness program was conceived by retired Adm. John Poindexter and was run by the Information Awareness Office that he headed inside the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. It was developing software that could examine the computerized travel, credit, medical and other records of Americans and others around the world to search for telltale hints of a terrorist attack.

Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., who has led a campaign against the program, hailed the result Wednesday. "Americans on American soil are not going to be targets of TIA surveillance that would have violated their privacy and civil liberties. The government is not going to be able to pick Americans up by their ankles and shake them to see if anything funny falls out," Wyden said in an interview.

"The original Poindexter program would have been the biggest surveillance program in the history of the United States," he added. "Now the lights have gone out on the program." He said the agreement would allow foreign intelligence gathering on terrorism "without cannibalizing the civil liberties of Americans."

Poindexter's office told contractors that he wanted the software to allow U.S. agents to rapidly scan and analyze multiple petabytes of information. Just one petabyte of computer data could fill the Library of Congress more than 50 times. Wyden said Senate negotiators working on the 2004 defense appropriations bill stood up to stiff resistance from their counterparts in the House, which had passed a weaker restriction. Wyden had drawn up the weaker restriction early this year before more details of the Pentagon effort became public. The House restriction allowed the research to continue at the Pentagon but barred its implementation against Americans in the United States without specific congressional approval. Later, the Senate passed a provision in next year's defense appropriation bill killing funding for the TIA program.

In addition to the data-scanning project, other TIA efforts that cannot be pursued by DARPA under the conferees' agreement include projects to identify people at a distance by using radar or video images of their gait or facial characteristics.

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MATRIX - Multistate Anti-Terrorism Information Exchange

Post#3 » Fri Mar 09, 2007 12:22 am

Its here, and it si NOT being used on those who it should be used on.
ALL the Federal Policing agencies in their attempts to create the fourth reich of the Rich.

Police database called intrusive by rights group
Gannett News Service | Jan 02 2004
WASHINGTON — Al Nelson had no idea police were watching him last April when he allegedly tried to scam an elderly woman into paying him $2,800 for spraying bogus sealant on the roof of her Tampa, Fla., home.

As Nelson and his partner shouted demands at the woman, police and an agent with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement moved in and arrested both men.

“They were shocked,” recalled agent Dennis Russo.

Russo was in the right place at the right time because of a powerful tool called MATRIX, for Multistate Anti-Terrorism Information Exchange. The Intranet system combines a variety of public and law enforcement databases, allowing law enforcement agents to quickly search addresses, Social Security numbers, credit card records, criminal histories, drivers license files, property records and other databases to quickly track down suspects.

But MATRIX, which is being tested by eight states — including Michigan — as part of a pilot program, is opposed by members of civil liberties groups who say its purpose is largely undefined. They note that MATRIX offers unprecedented access to information about average citizens.

“I think it is a dangerous system,” said Jim Dempsey, executive director of the Center for Democracy and Technology, a nonprofit civil liberties group in Washington, D.C. “You could be looking at purely lawful conduct, trying to infer illegal intent from legal behavior.”

MATRIX was conceived as a tool to fight terrorism after the September 11 attacks. The plane hijackers were able to avoid detection largely because law enforcement officials had no way to rapidly compile and share what they knew about the men.

But it quickly became clear that MATRIX had broad applications for law enforcement agencies across the country.

The pilot program is financed by $12 million in grants from the Justice Department and the Department of Homeland Security. The program is scheduled to end in November.

Its goal: to link public and law enforcement databases across jurisdictions and states to ease investigations of criminals ranging from sex predators to terrorists.

“It is a powerful system. Not scary, not frightening, but much more efficient,” said Bill Shrewsbury, a former cop and now vice president of Seisint Inc., in Boca Raton, Fla., the company that developed the system. “Law enforcement has got to have a tool to do this job.”

Civil libertarians say the same efficiency that makes MATRIX so effective in catching suspects like Nelson also could be used improperly.

“MATRIX can be used cut off from any particular suspicion,” Dempsey said.

He said MATRIX recalls the defunct Total Information Awareness network at the Pentagon. Congress cut off money for the program after it was harshly criticized as a potential threat to privacy rights.

Indeed, some states declined to participate in the MATRIX pilot program based on similar concerns.

But the system’s creator said those objections are baseless.

“MATRIX has been characterized as ‘Big Brother,’ ” Seisint vice president Shrewsbury said. “This stuff we have is nothing more than what law enforcement has had access to for decades.”

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Post#4 » Fri Mar 09, 2007 12:23 am

Database Measured 'Terrorism Quotient'
AP | May 20 2004

NEW YORK (AP) - Before helping to launch the criminal information project known as Matrix, a database contractor gave U.S. and Florida authorities the names of 120,000 people who showed a statistical likelihood of being terrorists - sparking some investigations and arrests.

The "high terrorism factor" scoring system also became a key selling point for the involvement of the database company, Seisint Inc., in the Matrix project.

Public records obtained by The Associated Press from several states show that Justice Department officials cited the scoring technology in appointing Seisint sole contractor on the federally funded, $12 million project.

Seisint and the law enforcement officials who oversee Matrix insist that the terrorism scoring system ultimately was kept out of the project, largely because of privacy concerns.

However, new details about Seisint's development of the "terrorism quotient," including the revelation that authorities apparently acted on the list of 120,000, are renewing privacy activists' suspicions about Matrix's potential power.

"Assuming they have in fact abandoned the terrorist quotient, there's nothing that stops them from bringing it back," said Barry Steinhardt, director of the technology and liberty program at the American Civil Liberties Union, which learned about the list of 120,000 through its own records request in Utah.

Matrix - short for Multistate Anti-Terrorism Information Exchange - combines state records and data culled by Seisint to give investigators fast access to information on crime and terrorism suspects. It was launched in 2002.

Because the system includes information on people with no criminal record as well as known criminals, Matrix has drawn objections from liberal and conservative privacy groups. Utah and at least eight other states have pulled out, leaving Florida, Connecticut, Ohio, Michigan and Pennsylvania.

The AP has received thousands of pages of Matrix documents in records requests this year, including meeting minutes and presentation materials that discuss the project in detail.

Not one indicates that Matrix planners decided against using the statistical method of determining an individual's propensity for terrorism.

When the AP specifically requested documents indicating the scoring system was scrapped, the general counsel's office for Florida state police said it could not uncover any.

Even so, people involved with Matrix pledge that the statistical method was removed from the final product.

"I'll put my 26 years of law enforcement experience on the line. It is not in there," said Mark Zadra, chief investigator for the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

He said Matrix, which has 4 billion records, merely speeds access to material that police have always been able to get from disparate sources, and does not automatically or proactively finger suspects.

Bill Shrewsbury, a Seisint executive and former federal drug agent, said the terrorism scoring algorithm that produced the list of 120,000 names was "put on the shelf" after it was demonstrated immediately following Sept. 11, 2001.

He said the scoring system requires intelligence data that was fed into the software for the initial demonstration but is not commonly available. "Nor are we interested in pursuing that," he said.

The Utah documents included a Seisint presentation saying the scoring system was developed by the company and law enforcement officials by reverse engineering an unnamed "Terrorist Handbook" that reveals how terrorists "penetrate and in live our society."

The scoring incorporated such factors as age, gender, ethnicity, credit history, "investigational data," information about pilot and driver licenses, and connections to "dirty" addresses known to have been used by other suspects.

According to Seisint's presentation, dated January 2003 and marked confidential, the 120,000 names with the highest scores were given to the Immigration and Naturalization Service, FBI, Secret Service and Florida state police. (Later, those agencies would help craft the software that queries Matrix.)

Of the people with the 80 highest scores, five were among the Sept. 11 hijackers, Seisint's presentation said. Forty-five were identified as being or possibly being under existing investigations, while 30 others "were unknown to FBI."

"Investigations were triggered and arrests were made by INS and other agencies," the presentation added. Two bullet points stated: "Several arrests within one week" and "Scores of other arrests." It does not provide details of when and where the investigations and arrests took place.

Phil Ramer, who heads Florida state police's intelligence division, said his agency found the list a useful starting point for some investigations, though he said he could not recall how many. He stressed that the list was not used as the sole evidence to make arrests.

"What we did with the list is we went back and found out how they got on the list," Ramer said.

Dean Boyd, a spokesman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, a descendant of INS in the Department of Homeland Security, said he could not confirm that INS used or was given the list.

Although Seisint says it shelved the scoring system - known as high terrorist factor, or HTF - after the original demonstrations in the wake of Sept. 11, 2001, the algorithm was touted well into 2003.

A records request by the AP in Florida turned up "briefing points," dated January 2003, for a presentation on Matrix to Vice President Dick Cheney and other top federal officials delivered jointly by Seisint, Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Florida's top police official.

One of the items on Seisint's agenda: "Demonstrate HTF with mapping." Matrix meeting minutes from February 2003 say Cheney was briefed along with Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge and FBI Director Robert Mueller.

In May 2003, the Justice Department approved Seisint as sole data contractor on the project, citing the company's "technical qualifications," including software "applying the 'terrorism quotient' in all cases."

"The quotient identifies a set of criteria which accurately singled out characteristics related to the perpetrators of the 9-11 attacks and other terrorist events," said a memo from an Office of Justice Programs policy adviser, Bruce Edwards. "This process produced a scoring mechanism (that), when applied to the general criminal population, yields other people that may have similar motives."

A spokeswoman for the Office of Justice Programs declined to comment.

Ramer, the Florida agent, said the scoring system was scrapped because it was "really specific to 9/11," and not applicable for everyday use. Also, he said, "we didn't want anybody abusing it."

Seisint Inc., is a Boca Raton, Fla., company founded by a millionaire, Hank Asher, who stepped down from its board of directors last year after revelations of past ties to drug smugglers.

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Seven-state info store a potent repository of personal data

Post#5 » Fri Mar 09, 2007 12:24 am

7-state info store a potent repository of personal data
Miami Herald | Jan 23 2004

NEW YORK - A federally funded crime database run by seven states, including Ohio, is looking increasingly to privacy advocates like a potent substitute for the data.m.ining program the Pentagon scrapped after public rebuke.

Law enforcement officials and the private company that manages the database, known as Matrix, say it merely streamlines police access to information about suspects that authorities have long been able to get from disparate sources.

But newly emerging facts about the program, including documents obtained by the American Civil Liberties Union, indicate it could also be made to sift through vast stores of Americans' personal data - some 20 billion records - and proactively finger crime and terrorism suspects.

Combining state records with databases owned by Seisint Inc., Matrix details - among other things - the property, boats and Internet domains people own, their address history, utility connections, bankruptcies, liens and business filings, according to an August report by the Georgia state Office of Homeland Security.

The report, which was once posted on a state Web site, offers a broader glimpse of Matrix - short for the Multistate Anti-Terrorism Information Exchange - than its guardians are generally willing to make public.

"This is a major program with very large ambitions, and it needs to be publicly examined. We shouldn't be forced to read tea leaves," said Barry Steinhardt, who heads the ACLU's technology and liberty program.

The August report touts Matrix's ability to display information quickly, along with pictures of some people on file, and perform analysis: "The user can easily see relationships between people, places and things that were previously impossible to discern."

"With minimal input and the push of a button, witnesses, associates, relatives and suspects can be identified and located," adds the report, which was cited in a December Supreme Court filing by the Electronic Privacy Information Center.

References to Matrix's analysis capabilities also emerged in documents obtained by the ACLU under the open-records law in Pennsylvania, one of the participating states.

Among the files were two 2003 memorandums of understanding between Pennsylvania officials and Florida police that discussed how Matrix would be used for both criminal investigations and "intelligence purposes."

Also, the minutes of an October 2002 planning meeting attended by representatives of 12 states, the FBI and Seisint reveal new details about the involvement of the federal government, which seeded Matrix with $12 million and has access to it through the FBI and Department of Homeland Security.

Those minutes note that the FBI, Secret Service and two agencies now under Homeland Security - the Immigration and Naturalization Service and the Drug Enforcement Agency - helped Florida officials craft data.m.ining software for Matrix.

In another link with the government, Seisint has former federal and state law enforcement officials on staff, including managing director Brian Stafford, former head of the Secret Service.

"This is the state version of TIA," Steinhardt said, referring to the Pentagon's Terrorism Information Awareness program, which was shelved last year after a public uproar and a Congressional inquiry.

The TIA and its original leader, Adm. John Poindexter, aimed to spot patterns in a much bigger pool of data than Matrix possesses, and people involved in Matrix reject any comparison. They say Matrix essentially is a revved-up search engine, not a surveillance tool.

Launched in response to Sept. 11, Matrix lets states share criminal, prison and vehicle information and cross-reference it with databases held by Seisint, including civil court records, voter registrations and address histories going back as long as 30 years.

Officials at the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, which oversees the program, say the files do not include phone records, financial transactions or other material that would require a court order for law enforcement to see.

For now the project involves Ohio, Connecticut, Florida, Michigan, New York, Pennsylvania, and Utah. About 450 law enforcement agents are using the system, according to Clay Jester, Matrix coordinator for the Institute for Intergovernmental Research, the nonprofit group helping to expand the project from its original implementation in Florida.

Several other states considered the program before dropping out, citing concerns about privacy or the long-term costs. They include Alabama, California, Georgia, Louisiana, Kentucky, Oregon, South Carolina and Texas.

"For me, the key issue is that the act of compiling even publicly available data on innocent Americans offends fundamental rights of privacy," California Attorney General Bill Lockyer said. "I feel there are more effective ways to protect the public."

But Jester says opponents of the program ignore the fact that private databases like Seisint's have become so powerful and widely accessible that police were bound to use them eventually.

An organized effort like Matrix is preferable, he argues, because it includes controls, privacy safeguards and penalties for misuse.

Even so, critics say Matrix goes well beyond traditional investigative tools.

"If you start moving information from one state agency to another, you're creating a profile of an individual, and a lot of laws restrict that," said Marc Rotenberg, executive director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center. "And if you go to the private sector for information, that's also raising significant issues."

To be sure, Matrix planners have taken steps to guard against misuse, the documents obtained by the ACLU show.

Its security and privacy policies, dated November and December 2003 and obtained in the Pennsylvania records, specify that Matrix can only be used in active criminal investigations or in responding to "a confirmed intelligence lead."

Also, investigators wanting to query Matrix have to be screened and trained in its use. As well, information from the database is supposed to be double-checked with the original source before "any official action" - such as an arrest or warrant issuance - is taken.

Matrix searches are logged and can be audited; investigators using the system inappropriately are subject to criminal charges. Jester said those rules "absolutely" apply to federal authorities as well.

The federal government's use of the system remains something of a mystery. Jester says the FBI has access through state task forces that it joins on certain cases, but he said he did not believe the Department of Homeland Security has tapped it yet.

A Homeland Security spokesman did not return calls seeking comment. A Justice Department spokeswoman said she could not immediately comment.

With such questions still looming, Steinhardt and others demand much more clarity about Matrix.

Even Pennsylvania officials turned over only a small portion of the records the ACLU requested. The ACLU is appealing and has filed requests with several other states, as has The Associated Press.

"Who's really pulling the strings and funding the program and creating its contours," Steinhardt said, "are answers only hinted at so far."

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Government Spying On Citizens Is Not New

Post#6 » Fri Mar 09, 2007 12:27 am

Government Spying On Citizens Is Not New
How naïve can you get? Evidence shows they've been doing it for decades

Steve Watson | December 19 2005 ... spying.htm

Last week, the New York Times suggested that the Bush administration has instituted "a major shift in American intelligence-gathering practices" when it "secretly authorized the National Security Agency to eavesdrop on Americans and others inside the United States to search for evidence of terrorist activity without [obtaining] court-approved warrants."

Bush defended the actions Saturday, saying that he acted in the aftermath of the Sept.11 attacks because the United States had failed to detect communications that might have tipped it off to the plot.

As a result, "I authorized the National Security Agency, consistent with U.S. law and the Constitution, to intercept the international communications of people with known links to al-Qaida and related terrorist organizations," Bush said. "This is a highly classified program that is crucial to our national security."

Bush acknowledged that he had ordered the National Security Agency to conduct an electronic eavesdropping in the US without first obtaining warrants, and said he would continue the highly classified program because it was "a vital tool in our war against the terrorists."

The "leak" of this story came at a very convenient time as the Neo-Cons were desperately trying to get through the extended Patriot Act in the Senate. Revelations indicate that The New York Times had known about the story for at least a year and had not run it, under government orders.

A New York Times insider, who wishes to remain anonymous has said that “The Bush administration put its ‘rubber stamp’ of approval on the release of the story during the hot Patriot Act debates in order to launch a counter-attack against opposition lawmakers and civil rights groups, depicting them as anti-American and weak on terror protection,”

Further indication, not that we need it, that the corporate media is, at the top, under direct government control. The intention is to make Bush look strong by telling the general public that although it has pained him very much, he has had to instigate such programs and sacrifice liberty for security. The natural response from the sleeping majority will be to assume that the government knows best because there has not been another terror attack since 9/11.

Commenting on the Patriot Act, Bush used his weekly radio address to state that “The terrorists want to attack America again and kill the innocent and inflict even greater damage than they did on September 11th and the Congress has a responsibility not to take away this vital tool that law enforcement and intelligence officials have used to protect the American people,”

Combined with the "leak" of the spying story Bush looks like the saviour and those that criticize him, the outsiders. This is a release valve, eavesdropping on citizens is nothing new, the only shift here is that the can now TELL us that they're spying on us and it will slowly be accepted. Soon enough domestic government spying will become accepted as the norm and somewhere shortly down the line we may end up in a Nineteen Eighty Four type situation whereby citizens begin to spy on each other, reporting those who denounce the accepted policy of eavesdropping.

If the NY Times is to be believed, the National Security Agency engages in “some eavesdropping inside the country,” There are hundreds of sources that prove the intelligence services have been operating similar programs for decades.

“In June 1970 Nixon met with Hoover [FBI], Helms [CIA], NSA Director Admiral Noel Gaylor, and Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) representative Lt. Gen. Donald V. Bennett and told them he wanted a coordinated and concentrated effort against domestic dissenters,” Verne Lyon - former CIA undercover operative.

"For over fifteen years, the CIA, with assistance from numerous government agencies, conducted a massive illegal domestic covert operation called Operation CHAOS. It was one of the largest and most pervasive domestic surveillance programs in the history of this country. Throughout the duration of CHAOS, the CIA spied on thousands of U.S. citizens. The CIA went to great lengths to conceal this operation from the public while every president from Eisenhower to Nixon exploited CHAOS for his own political ends."

There are also multiple Pentagon projects in operation that involve the collection of intelligence through domestic eavesdropping.

One example is the Defense Department's Counterintelligence Field Activity (CIFA)

Consider this from William M. Arkin of the Washington Post:

"CIFA already has these authorities, has its own agents, and collects information on common American citizens under the guise of "sabotage" and "force protection" threats to the military. Since 9/11, functions that were previously intended to protect U.S. forces overseas from terrorism and protect U.S. secrets from spies have been combined in one super-intelligence function that constitutes the greatest threat to U.S. civil liberties since the domestic spying days of the 1970's."

"On May 2, 2003, Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz signed a memorandum directing the military to collect and report "non-validated threat information" relating to U.S. military forces, installations or missions. His memorandum followed from the establishment of the Domestic Threat Working Group after 9/11, the intent of which was to create a mechanism to share low-level domestic "threat information" between the military and intelligence agencies."

Then we have the "Total Information Awareness" program whereby "Every purchase you make with a credit card, every magazine subscription you buy and medical prescription you fill, every Web site you visit and e-mail you send or receive, every academic grade you receive, every bank deposit you make, every trip you book and every event you attend — all these transactions and communications will go into what the Defense Department describes as "a virtual, centralized grand database."
Shortly after the announcement of TIA, the Pentagon backtracked and told us that TIA was shutting down, but read the second paragraph in this article, the tools are there waiting to be used, They'll just rename it and start it up again at any given time. The Tools of TIA include "LifeLog" which is described as "a multimedia, digital record of everywhere you go and everything you see, hear, read, say and touch". Another tool is the MATRIX database, A federally funded crime database run by multiple states at once.

Operation TIPS and similar programs were geared towards turning citizens themselves into domestic spies.

Then of course there is the joint NSA / Government Communications Head Quarters of England (GCHQ) Project Echelon. This long running operation was first exposed in the mid nineties and then again most prominently by author James Bamford in his 1999 book Body of Secrets. Bamford comments, "The cooperation between the Echelon countries is worrying. For decades, these organizations have worked closely together, monitoring communications and sharing the information gathered. Now, through Echelon, they are pooling their resources and targets, maximizing the collection and analysis of intercepted information."

In the greatest surveillance effort ever established, the NSA global spy system captures and analyzes virtually every phone call, fax, email and telex message sent anywhere in the world. Quite obviously they cannot listen to everyone anywhere ALL the time, but they have the capability to choose when to listen and who to listen to, wherever they may be.

James Bamford famously recalled how the NSA successfully intercepted satellite calls from Osama Bin Laden in the late nineties as he was talking to his mother.

"I don't want to see this country ever go across the bridge. I know the capacity that is there to make tyranny total in America, and we must see to it that this agency and all agencies that possess this technology operate within the law and under proper supervision, so that we never cross over that abyss. That is the abyss from which there is no return." - Senator Frank Church, quoted in ECHELON: America's Secret Global Surveillance Network

Under the Clinton Administration Echelon certainly turned its attention to citizens of countries everywhere and monitored millions of calls and other communications.

Echelon expert Mike Frost, who spent 20 years as a spy for the Canadian equivalent of the National Security Agency, told CBS's "60 Minutes" that the agency was monitoring "everything from data transfers to cell phones to portable phones to baby monitors to ATMs."

Domestic spying is nothing new, there has been at least half a century of such activity in America. The naïveté of the public is at an all time high as they would rather switch off than engage in the mess that is modern day politics in America. The general public will believe that government spying on them is new, and secondly, they will just accept it because they are being told in a very unsophisticated fashion, that it is keeping them safe.

The corporate controlled media will keep coming to the aid of the government when it needs to release these stories as it has this time around. The only voice of dissent and reason is coming from the alternative media who will not keep quiet when every time the "story" is simply something we have been saying, proving and explaining for years.

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Pentagon Developing Tool To Monitor Your Life

Post#7 » Fri Mar 09, 2007 12:29 am

Pentagon Developing Tool To Monitor Your Life
Monday June 02, 2003 3:02pm ... _life.html

Washington (AP) - Coming to you soon from the Pentagon: the diary to end all diaries - a multimedia, digital record of everywhere you go and everything you see, hear, read, say and touch.

Known as LifeLog, the project has been put out for contractor bids by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA, the agency that helped build the Internet and that is now developing the next generation of anti-terrorism tools.

The agency doesn't consider LifeLog an anti-terrorism system, but rather a tool to capture "one person's experience in and interactions with the world" through a camera, microphone and sensors worn by the user. Everything from heartbeats to travel to Internet chatting would be recorded.

The goal is to create breakthrough software that helps analyze behavior, habits and routines, according to Pentagon documents reviewed by The Associated Press. The products of the unclassified project would be available to both the private sector and other government agencies - a concern to privacy advocates.

DARPA's Jan Walker said LifeLog is intended for users who give their consent to be monitored. It could enhance the memory of military commanders and improve computerized military training by chronicling how users learn and then tailoring training accordingly, officials said.

But John Pike of Global, a defense analysis group, is dubious the project has military application.

"I have a much easier time understanding how Big Brother would want this than how (Defense Secretary Donald) Rumsfeld would use it," Pike said. "They have not identified a military application."

Steven Aftergood, a Federation of American Scientists defense analyst, said LifeLog would collect far more information than needed to improve a general's memory - enough "to measure human experience on an unprecedentedly specific level." And that, privacy experts say, raises powerful concerns.

DARPA rejects any notion LifeLog will be used for spying. "The allegation that this technology would create a machine to spy on others and invade people's privacy is way off the mark," Walker said.

She said LifeLog is not connected with DARPA's data-mining project, recently renamed Terrorism Information Awareness. Each LifeLog user could "decide when to turn the sensors on or off and who would share the data," she added. "The goal ... is to `see what I see,' rather than to `see me."'

One critic sees a silver lining in the government taking the lead.

"If government weren't doing this, it would still be done by companies and in universities all over the country, but we would have less say about it," said James X. Dempsey of the Center for Democracy and Technology, which advocates online privacy. Because the government is involved, "you can read about it and influence it."

DARPA's Web site says the agency investigates ideas "the traditional research and development community finds too outlandish or risky."

But in LifeLog's case, some similar technology is already being funded and researched by well-heeled outfits.

Professor Steve Mann of the University of Toronto has spent 30 years developing a wearable camera and computer, progressing from intricate metallic headgear to dark frame eyeglasses and a cellphone-sized belt attachment. He's working with Samsung on a commercial version.

And Microsoft's Gordon Bell scans his mail and other papers and records phone, Web, video and voice transactions into a computerized file called MyLifeBits. The company may include the capability in upcoming products.

Neither Mann nor Bell intends to bid on DARPA's project. Bell said DARPA wants to go further than he has into artificial intelligence to analyze data.

The Pentagon agency plans to award up to four 18-month contracts for LifeLog beginning this summer. Contracting documents give a sense of the project's scope.

Cameras and microphones would capture what the user sees or hears; sensors would record what he or she feels. Global positioning satellite sensors would log every movement. Biomedical sensors would monitor vital signs. E-mails, instant messages, Web-based transactions, telephone calls and voicemails would be stored. Mail and faxes would be scanned. Links to every radio and television broadcast heard and every newspaper, magazine, book, Web site or database seen would be recorded.

Breakthrough software would automatically produce an electronic diary that organizes the data into "episodes" of the user's life, such as "I took the 08:30 a.m. flight from Washington's Reagan National Airport to Boston's Logan Airport," according to the documents.

LifeLog's software also "will be able to find meaningful patterns in the timetable, to infer the user's routines, habits and relationships with other people, organizations, places and objects," DARPA told contractors in an advisory.

Walker said DARPA has no plans to develop software to analyze multiple LifeLogs. But DARPA advised contractors that ultimately, with proper anonymity, data from many LifeLogs could facilitate "early detection of an emerging epidemic."

Dempsey, the privacy advocate, says his concern is that users ultimately won't control LifeLog data.

"Because you collected it voluntarily, the government can get it with a search warrant," he said. "And an increasing amount of personal data is also available from third parties. The government can get data from them simply by asking or signing a subpoena."

He cites examples from current technology such as traffic cameras and automated toll booth passes that police already use to trace a person's path. Dempsey questions how LifeLog's analytical software will interpret such data and how Americans will be protected from errors.

"You can go to the airport to pick up a friend, to claim lost luggage or to case it for a terrorist attack. What story will LifeLog write from this data?" he asked. "At the very least, you ought to know when someone is using it and have the right to correct the `story' it writes."

Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Thanks Darpa - Fighting terror by terrifying U.S. citizens

Post#8 » Fri Mar 09, 2007 12:31 am

[img] ... /morse.gif[/img]
Rob Morse Banner
Fighting terror by terrifying U.S. citizens ... izens.html
ROB MORSE Wednesday, November 20, 2002

Live by the Internet, be enslaved by the Internet.

DARPA, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, which funded the development of the Internet, is now funding the Information Awareness Office (IAO) to develop a "large-scale counterterrorism database." The idea is to keep track of every bit of information on everyone in the country and "detect, classify and identify foreign terrorists."

So far, the Pentagon scientists have terrified a lot of Americans. The program manager for the IAO is John Poindexter, the retired admiral who masterminded the shameful Iran-Contra arms-for-hostages scheme.

Now he's master-minding the supercomputers that DARPA developed in the '80s,

while he was lying to Congress.

Poindexter doesn't have all our phone calls, Macy's purchases and bridge crossings in a database yet. So far DARPA has an arrows-and-boxes model of what this "Total Information Awareness" (TIA) system will look like.

Your "transactional data" (financial, medical, governmental, etc.) will be combined with biometric data such as fingerprints in "automated virtual data repositories" -- after passing through a dotted line in the flow chart labeled "privacy and security."

It's a very thin dotted line.

Then the data will be fed into a "collaborative multiagency analytical environment," which probably means a bunch of spooks sitting around a table. From there the data goes to the "policy and ops environment," and the ops include "pre-empt."

I don't know if that means Guantanamo or a bullet to the back of the head. But remember who's in charge of the data. And remember that it's data on you.
So far individual crazies and wonks are ahead of Poindexter in mining data from the Internet.

In June, the Illuminati Conspiracy Archive posted a story on the IAO amid stories on UFOs and microchips implanted in humans. It pointed out that the official seal of the IAO is the "all-seeing eye" associated with the Illuminati -- a shadowy group of Freemasons that for centuries has been rumored to rule the world.

Sure enough, the IAO logo shows an eye on top of a pyramid shining onto a globe -- with the Middle East most brightly lit.

Poindexter. The all-seeing eye. The Illuminati. A centralized database measured in petabytes. Thank you, DARPA, for giving us the Total Paranoia System.
How could Big Brother be so dumb? DARPA has hired a proven scoundrel to rummage through all our records without a warrant.

"DARPA was founded in 1958, and the people who sat in that office in those early years were much more attuned to broader policy issues," said Smithsonian Institution historian Martin J. Collins, who wrote "Cold War Laboratory," on science, weapons development and free society during the Cold War.

DARPA's notion of using "Total Information Awareness" to find a few terrorists sounds like SOSUS, the Navy's Sound Surveillance System that picked up all the sound in the ocean to track Soviet submarines.

"That's an interesting analogy," said Collins, who found the use of acronyms similar to the Cold War. "But it makes it (TIA) sound too benign."

These are not whales, merchant ships and Foxtrot-class subs the government will be listening to. The government will be listening to every move we make. You'll have to take the word of a man who lied to Congress that he's just listening to terrorists.

On "NewsHour with Jim Lehrer" Monday, Marc Rotenberg of the Electronic Privacy Center said: "I think there's a real argument to be made at this point that this project should be suspended by the U.S. Congress until further investigation of the capability and imagined ends are understood."

Perhaps he puts too much faith in Congress. Poindexter has been there before, and Congress is weaker now.

All our technological strength bespeaks weakness. Poindexter's IAO is also funding "Babylon," a handheld automated speech translation system for the soldiers of a country weak on languages.

Maybe that will work, but how about "FutureMAP," which concentrates on "market-based techniques for avoiding surprise and predicting future events."

It sounds like a jobs program for out-of-work stock market analysts. Man, are we in trouble. I am, anyway. This goes straight into the database.

Rob Morse's column appears Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays. His e-mail address is

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Total Information Awareness Alive and Well in Arlington Coun

Post#9 » Fri Mar 09, 2007 12:32 am

Total Information Awareness Alive and Well in Arlington County ... 704tia.htm
Capitol Hill Blue| June 7 2004

Customers of the Bank of America branch at 3625 Fairfax Drive in Arlington, Virginia, often wonder about the Arlington police car that is always parked in front of the building in the next block.

They also can’t help but notice the two armed guards from the private Cantwell Security Service who patrol the street in front of the building and eye each passerby warily.

“What’s going on across the street?” one woman asked while waiting in line to deposit her paycheck last Friday.

“Not sure,” said the man ahead of her in line. “Something to do with the government. The police cars and guards have been there since shortly after 9-11.”

“Oh,” she said. “No matter.”

Actually, if the woman knew what was happening inside the nondescript office building at 3701 Fairfax Drive, she might think it really does matter because the building houses the Pentagon’s Defense Advanced Research Project Agency’s Total Information Awareness Program, the “big brother” program Congress thought it killed.

When the woman in line deposited her paycheck at the Bank of America branch, a record of that deposit showed up immediately in the computer databanks in the office across the street, just as financial, travel and other personal transactions of virtually every American do millions of time every minute.

Despite Congressional action cutting funding, and the resignation of the program’s controversial director, retired admiral John Poindexter, DARPA’s TIA program is alive and well and prying into the personal business of Americans 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

“When Congress cut the funding, the Pentagon – with administration approval – simply moved the program into a ‘black bag’ account,” says a security consultant who worked on the DARPA project. “Black bag programs don’t require Congressional approval and are exempt from traditional oversight.”

DARPA also hired private contractors to fill many of the roles in the program, which helped evade detection by Congressional auditors. Using a private security firm like Cantwell, instead of the Federal Protective Service, helped keep TIA off the radar screen.

DARPA moved into the Arlington County building shortly after the September 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon and established the TIA project under the USA Patriot Act and a number of executive orders from President George W. Bush.

TIA’s mission was to build a giant computer database with real time access to bank records, credit card companies, airlines and other travel companies, credit bureaus and other data banks to monitor, in real time, the financial transactions and travel of Americans and foreign citizens with accounts at the institutions.

Under provisions of the USA Patriot Act, the banks and other companies were forced to allow DARPA to access their files, a move normally considered an invasion of privacy.

When news of TIA first surfaced in 2002, along with the appointment of Poindexter, a key-figure in the Iran-Contra scandal, as director, citizens’ watchdog groups and some members of Congress took a second look. The uproar that followed led to the resignation of Poindexter, who had lied to Congress during the Iran-Contra investigation, and the elimination of funding for TIA.

But Congress left the door open by supplying DARPA with research funding to develop data mining alternatives to TIA. Instead, the Bush administration instructed the Pentagon to move TIA into the convert area of black bag operations and Congress was cut out of the loop.

Lt. Col. Doug Dyer, a program manager for DARPA, defends TIA as a necessary sacrifice in the war on terrorism.

“Americans must trade some privacy for security,” he says. “Three thousand people died on 9/11. When you consider the potential effect of a terrorist attack against the privacy of an entire population, there has to be some trade-off.”

The trade off means virtually every financial transaction of every American is now recorded and monitored by the federal government. Any bank transaction, all credit card charges plus phone records, credit reports, travel and even health records are captured in real time by the DARPA computers.

“Basically, TIA builds a profile of every American who has a bank account, uses credit cards and has a credit record,” says security expert Allen Banks. “The profile establishes norms based on the person’s spending and travel habits. Then the system looks for patterns that break from the norms, such of purchases of materials that are considered likely for terrorist activity, travel to specific areas or a change in spending habits.”

Patterns that fit pre-defined criteria result in an investigative alert and the individual becomes a “person of interest” who is referred to the Department of Justice and Department of Homeland Security, Banks says.

Such data mining is also called “database profiling” and is prohibited under Fourth Amendment’s guarantee against invasion of privacy says Barry Steinhardt, director of the Technology and Liberty Program at the American Civil Liberties Union.

Steinhardt points out the information is already being used to create “no fly” lists of people who are thought to be a danger but that safeguards are not in place to insure the accuracy of the information.

“Once you get on a ‘no-fly’ list, how do you get off it?” Steinhardt asks.

Missouri Congressman William Clay, ranking minority member of the House Committee on Government Reform's Subcommittee on Technology, Information Policy, and Intergovernmental Relations, worries that DARPA is skirting the law by letting private contractors handle the data mining.

"The agencies involved in data mining are trying to skirt the Privacy Act by claiming that they hold no data," said Clay. Instead, they use private companies to maintain and sift through the data, he said.

"Technically, that gets them out from under the Privacy Act," he said. "Ethically, it does not."

When the Senate voted in 2003 to cut funding for TIA, Senators like Ron Wyden of Oregon thought they had put a stop to the problem.

"This makes it clear that Congress wants to make sure there is no snooping on law-abiding Americans," Wyden said after the vote.

But it didn’t. The Bush Administration, already recognized as one of the most secretive Presidencies in modern times, simply put the program under wraps and let it continue.

When Congress voted to cut the funded, the operation at 3701 Fairfax Drive should have shut down and Arlington County should have returned the officers assigned there to normal duty. However, the officers remained in place and additional security was added to the detail.

According to construction records on file in the Arlington County building and zoning office, more than 20 high-speed data lines have been installed at the location in the last 18 months. Microwave data antennas are also installed on the roof.

Pentagon spokesmen refuse to discuss what is happening in the building, citing "national security" as the reason.

When quized about TIA earlier, DARPA officials insist they have safeguards to prevent abuses but the record suggests otherwise.

“Given the military's legacy of privacy abuses, such vague assurances are cold comfort,” says Gene Healy, senior editor of the CATO Institute in Washington.

“During World War I, concerns about German saboteurs led to unrestrained domestic spying by U.S. Army intelligence operatives,” says Healy. “Army spies were given free reign to gather information on potential subversives, and were often empowered to make arrests as special police officers. Occasionally, they carried false identification as employees of public utilities to allow them, as the chief intelligence officer for the Western Department put it, ‘to enter offices or residences of suspects gracefully, and thereby obtain data.’”

In her book Army Surveillance in America, historian Joan M. Jensen noted, “What began as a system to protect the government from enemy agents became a vast surveillance system to watch civilians who violated no law but who objected to wartime policies or to the war itself.”

The Army’s recent debacle with treatment of Iraqi prisoners also suggests the American military system lacks either the ability or the restraint to police itself.

“There's a long and troubling history of military surveillance in this country,” Healy adds. “That history suggests that we should loathe allowing the Pentagon access to our personal information.”

While TIA allows the government to snoop on American citizens, experts in the data mining field say it won’t help fight terrorism.

"Terrorism is an adaptive problem,” says Herb Edelstein, president of data-mining company Two Crows. “It's pretty unlikely the next terrorist attack will be people hijacking planes and crashing them into buildings.”

Simson Garfinkel, author of Database Nation: The Death of Privacy in the 21st Century, agrees.

“Data mining is good for the purpose of increasing sales and figuring out where to place products in stores,” he says. “This is very different from figuring out if these products are going to be used for terrorist activities.”

Other experts say the chances for mistakes are huge.

“With meaningful pattern recognition, the order of magnitude of errors from inferences is huge, something like ten to the third (power),” says Paul Hawken, author of The Ecology of Commerce and the chairman of information mapping software company Groxis. “There would be an incalculable expense to monitor a thousand wrong hits for one correct inference.”

DARPA tried to interest Groxis in becoming part of the TIA project but the company declined, saying the project was neither feasible nor ethical. Hawken says he knows people with the National Security Agency who refused to work on TIA because of ethical concerns.

The dangers of TIA have created a coalition of strange bedfellows. The American Civil Liberties Union has teamed up with conservative Phyllis Schlafly’s Eagle Forum and even the Heritage Foundation to fight not only TIA but other abuses of Constitutional rights under the USA Patriot Act. Even former member of Congress Bob Barr, a conservative firebrand, has joined the effort.

Yet even with all this attention, TIA still exists and still watches Americans 24/7 from the office building on Fairfax Drive in Arlington. Although employees who work in the building are supposed to keep their presence there a secret, they regularly sport their DARPA id badges around their necks when eating at restaurants near the building. The straps attached to the badges are printed with “DARPA” in large letters.

“Yeah, they’re the spooks who work in the building over there,” says Ernie, the counterman at a deli near 3701 Fairfax Drive. “If this is how they keep secrets, I guess we should really be worried.”

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Report: NSA continues controversial data-mining program

Post#10 » Fri Mar 09, 2007 12:34 am

WTF??? they violate specific rules in clear violation. Why arent these fuckers in JAIL or strung up by their nuts for their anti-freedom acts?

Report: NSA continues controversial data-mining program

Total Information Awareness projects, shut down by Congress in 2003, funded under different plan.
By Tom Regan |
In 2003, Congress voted to shut down a controversial program called Total Information Awareness (TIA). The project, which would have linked major information databases together in order to "hunt for terrorists," was shut down primarily because of privacy concerns, but also because its main advocate was Adm. John Poindexter, known for his involvement with the Iran-Contra scandal of the 1980s. reported at the time that US senators from both parties, saying " they feared government snooping against ordinary Americans," voted to block funding for TIA.

It now appears, however, that the controversial program, which was first brought to the public's attention in 2002, is continuing. The National Journal reported Thursday that TIA "was stopped in name only" and has been continued within the National Security Agency (NSA), the intelligence agency now fending off charges that it has violated the privacy of US citizens in the domestic wiretapping scandal.

Research under the Defense Department's Total Information Awareness program – which developed technologies to predict terrorist attacks by mining government databases and the personal records of people in the United States – was moved from the Pentagon's research-and-development agency to another group, which builds technologies primarily for the National Security Agency, according to documents obtained by National Journal and to intelligence sources familiar with the move. The names of key projects were changed, apparently to conceal their identities, but their funding remained intact, often under the same contracts.

The National Journal reports that the Pentagon transferred two of the most important TIA components of TIA to Advanced Research and Development Activity (ARDA), located at NSA headquarters in Fort Meade, Md. One piece was the Information Awareness Prototype System. It helped extract, analyze and disseminate data collected under the project. Once the Senate cut off funding, ARDA stepped forward to fund the program and it was given a new name "Basketball." All references to TIA were dropped.

The other key component of the original plan was known as Genoa II, "which focused on building information technologies to help analysts and policy makers anticipate and pre-empt terrorist attacks." It was renamed "Topsail." While Topsail was active as late as October of 2005, intelligence sources indicate that its funding, also from ARDA, may be in question.

This is not the first time the story of continued funding for TIA programs has surfaced. The Associated Press first reported two years ago to the day that the government is still financing research to create powerful tools that could mine millions of public and private records for information about terrorists despite an uproar last year over fears it might ensnare innocent Americans."

"The whole congressional action looks like a shell game," said Steve Aftergood of the Federation of American Scientists, which tracks work by US intelligence agencies. "There may be enough of a difference for them to claim TIA was terminated while for all practical purposes the identical work is continuing."

The issue resurfaced again earlier this month when, during a hearing of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Sen. Ron Hayden (D) of Oregon, one of the chief critics of TIA, asked John Negroponte, the head of Domestic Security, Robert Mueller, head of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and Gen. Michael Hayden, the former head of the NSA, if " Poindexter's programs are going on somewhere else?" While Mr. Negroponte and Mr. Mueller said they did not know the answer to the question, Gen. Hayden said he would only answer the question in closed session. In early February, the Christian Science Monitor reported on the government's plan for a massive data sweep that "could troll news, blogs, even e-mails." The program that would do this is called "ADVISE," Analysis, Dissemination, Visualization, Insight, and Semantic Enhancement.

ADVISE "looks very much like TIA," [Lee Tien, a staff attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation] writes in an e-mail. "There's the same emphasis on broad collection and pattern analysis."

But [Peter Sand, director of privacy technology], the DHS official, emphasizes that privacy protection would be built-in. "Before a system leaves the department there's been a privacy review.... That's our focus."

Paul Craig Roberts, former Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan administration, former Associate Editor of the Wall Street Journal editorial page and one-time Contributing Editor of National Review, writes in the liberal website Counterpunch that the repeated assaults on America's freedoms under the guise of "fighting terrorism" mean that "Americans have forgotten what it takes to remain free. Instead, every ideology, every group is determined to use government to advance its agenda. As the government's power grows, the people are eclipsed."

Americans need to understand that many interests are using the "war on terror" to achieve their agendas. The Federalist Society is using the "war on terror" to achieve its agenda of concentrating power in the executive and packing the Supreme Court to this effect. The neocons are using the war to achieve their agenda of Israeli hegemony in the Middle East. Police agencies are using the war to remove constraints on their powers and to make themselves less accountable. Republicans are using the war to achieve one-party rule--theirs. The Bush administration is using the war to avoid accountability and evade constraints on executive powers. Arms industries, or what President Eisenhower called the "military-industrial complex," are using the war to fatten profits. Terrorism experts are using the war to gain visibility. Security firms are using it to gain customers. Readers can add to this list at will. The lack of debate gives carte blanche to these agendas.

Finally, the National Journal also reports that ARDA is being taken out of the NSA and placed under the control of Negroponte. It will renamed "Disruptive Technologies Office," a reference to a term of art describing any new invention that suddenly, and often dramatically, replaces established procedures."

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2 FBI Whistleblowers Confirm Illegal Wiretapping

Post#11 » Fri Mar 09, 2007 2:15 am

2 FBI Whistleblowers Confirm Illegal Wiretapping of Gov't Officials & Misuse of FISA Sibel Edmonds

Synopsis: State Secrets Privilege Was Used to Cover Up Corruption and Silence Whistleblowers
Source: National Security Whistleblowers Coalition
Published: January 1, 2001 Author: Sibel Edmonds ... ch5-07.htm

Two FBI Whistleblowers Confirm Illegal Wiretapping of Government Officials and Misuse of FISA

State Secrets Privilege Was Used to Cover Up Corruption and Silence Whistleblowers

The National Security Whistleblowers Coalition (NSWBC) has obtained a copy of an official complaint filed by a veteran FBI Special Agent, Gilbert Graham, with the Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General (DOJ-OIG). SA Graham’s protected disclosures report the violation of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) in conducting electronic surveillance of high-profile U.S. public officials.

Before his retirement in 2002, SA Gilbert Graham worked for the FBI Washington Field Office (WFO) Squad NS-24. One of the main areas of Mr. Graham’s counterintelligence investigations involved espionage activities by Turkish officials and agents in the United States. On April 2, 2002, Graham filed with the DOJ-OIG a classified protected disclosure, which provided a detailed account of FISA violations involving misuse of FISA warrants to engage in domestic surveillance. In his unclassified report SA Graham states: “It is the complainant’s reasonable belief that the request for ELSUR [electronic surveillance] coverage was a subterfuge to collect evidentiary information concerning public corruption matters.” Graham blew the whistle on this illegal behavior, but the actions were covered up by the Department of Justice and the Attorney General’s office.

Click here to read the unclassified version of SA Graham’s Official Report.

The report filed by SA Graham bolsters another FBI whistleblower’s case that became public several months after Graham’s official filing with the Justice Department in 2002. Sibel Edmonds, former FBI Language Specialist, also worked for the FBI Washington Field Office (WFO), and her assignments included the translations of Turkish Counterintelligence documents and audiotapes, some of which were part of espionage investigations led by SA Graham. After she filed her complaint with the DOJ-OIG and Congress, she was retaliated against by the FBI and ultimately fired in March 2002. Court proceedings in Edmonds’ case were blocked by the assertion of the State Secrets Privilege by then Attorney General John Ashcroft, and the Congress gagged and prevented from investigating her case through retroactive re-classification of documents by DOJ. To read the timeline on Edmonds’ case Click here.

Edmonds’ complaint included allegations of illegal activities by Turkish organizations and their agents in the United States, and the involvement of certain elected and appointed U.S. officials in the Department of State, Pentagon, and the U.S. Congress in these activities. In its September 2005 issue, Vanity Fair ran a comprehensive piece on Edmonds’ case by reporter David Rose, in which several former and current congressional and Justice Department officials identified former House Speaker Dennis Hastert as being involved in illegal activities with the Turkish organizations and personnel targeted in FBI investigations. In addition, Rose reported: “…much of what Edmonds reportedly heard seemed to concern not state espionage but criminal activity. There was talk, she told investigators, of laundering the profits of large-scale drug deals and of selling classified military technologies to the highest bidder.” In January 2005, DOJ-OIG released an unclassified summary of its investigation into Edmonds' termination. The report concluded that Edmonds was fired for reporting serious security breaches and misconduct in the agency's translation program, and that many of her allegations were supported by convincing evidence.

Another Former Veteran FBI Counterintelligence and Espionage Specialist at FBI Headquarters in Washington DC also filed similar reports with DOJ-OIG and several congressional offices regarding violations of FISA implementation and the covering up of several espionage cases involving FBI Language Specialists and public corruption cases by the Bureau. The cases reported by this whistleblower corroborate those reported by SA Graham and Sibel Edmonds. In an interview with NSWBC investigators the former FBI Specialist, who wished to remain anonymous, stated: “…you are looking at covering up massive public corruption and espionage cases; to top that off you have major violations of FISA by the FBI Washington Field Office and HQ targeting these cases. Everyone involved has motive to cover up these reports and prevent investigation and public disclosure. No wonder they invoked the state secrets privilege in Edmonds’ case.”

William Weaver, NSWBC Senior Advisor noted that,”These abuses of power are precisely why we must pay attention to whistleblowers. Preservation of the balance of powers between the branches of government increasingly relies on information provided by whistleblowers, especially in the face of aggressive and expanding executive power. Through illegal surveillance members of Congress and other officials may be controlled by the executive branch, thereby dissolving the matrix of our democracy. The abuse of two powers of secrecy, FISA and the state secrets privilege, are working hand in hand to subvert the Constitution. In an abominably perverse arrangement, the abuse of FISA is being covered up by abuse of the state secrets privilege. Only whistleblowers and the congressional and judicial oversight their revelations spawn can bring our system back into balance.”

Several civil liberties and whistleblowers organizations have joined Edmonds and NSWBC in urging congress to hold public hearing on Edmonds’ case, including the supporting cases of SA Graham and other FBI witnesses, and the erroneous use of state secrets privilege by the executive branch to cover up its own illegal conduct. The petition endorsed by these groups is expected to be released to public in the next few days.

About National Security Whistleblowers Coalition

National Security Whistleblowers Coalition (NSWBC), founded in August 2004, is an independent and nonpartisan alliance of whistleblowers who have come forward to address our nation’s security weaknesses; to inform authorities of security vulnerabilities in our intelligence agencies, at nuclear power plants and weapon facilities, in airports, and at our nation’s borders and ports; to uncover government waste, fraud, abuse, and in some cases criminal conduct. The NSWBC is dedicated to aiding national security whistleblowers through a variety of methods, including advocacy of governmental and legal reform, educating the public concerning whistleblowing activity, provision of comfort and fellowship to national security whistleblowers suffering retaliation and other harms, and working with other public interest organizations to affect goals defined in the NSWBC mission statement. For more on NSWBC visit

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