March 26, 2007 -- WMR has been reporting for some time on the massive thefts of personal data by a covert U.S. intelligence “black bag” program
March 26, 2007 -- WMR has been reporting for some time on the massive thefts of personal data by a covert U.S. intelligence “black bag” program to populate a renewed secret Total Information Awareness System series of databases. Since being cut off from funding by Congress in 2003, the TIA has continued secretly under the aegis of the Department of Homeland Security and the National Security Agency. WMR’s sources in the Intelligence Community have told us on background that many of the so-called data thefts are being carried out by U.S. intelligence black bag teams operating outside of legal authority.
TIA’s former program director, Iran-contra felon Admiral John Poindexter, resigned in August 2003 from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Total Information Awareness Office (IAO) after details of the project emerged. After Congress cut funding, the IAO was closed and its logo, featuring a Masonic “all seeing eye” atop a pyramid scanning the earth, was retired.
TIA was an offshoot of Poindexter’s Genoa project, a deep data mining system developed by SYNTEK, Inc., a company for which he served as Senior Vice President. Poindexter has also worked for other companies engaged in mass data surveillance, including Saffron Technology, Inc. and Presearch, Inc.
However, according to Wired magazine, the TIA’s clone has been developed, in conjunctions with Poindexter’s former assistants at IAO, by the government of Singapore, one of the most invasive governments in the world when it comes to personal surveillance. The new TIA, called Risk Assessment and Horizon Scanning (RAHS), was unveiled. In January, Poindexter joined the board of BrightPlanet, a Sioux Falls-based company that markets one of the most invasive data mining systems in the world and has the U.S. Intelligence Community as a priority target in its marketing plans.
Poindexter's Total Information Awareness System is back, with chopsticks.
BrightPlanet’s partners include Lockheed Martin, the world’s largest war profiteer; Factiva, a Dow Jones company that gathers open source news information; Basis Technology, which extracts “meaningful intelligence from unstructured text in Asian, European, and Middle Eastern languages;” Convera, which markets software tools that searches “video, image and audio information, in multiple languages;” ASP Solutions Ltd., which provides “information services with Internet Monitoring & Surveillance at the core;” Klinx, which “harvests content from sources throughout the Internet, including the Deep Web;” and Phoenix Global Intelligence Systems, which claims it is “comprised of talented, visionary and dedicated individuals from around the globe who have come together with common cause. Embracing the forces of globalisation [sic] and technology, they embody the very spirit that the enemy seeks to destroy. Unrestrained by nationality and not beholden to political leaders, Phoenix Global Intelligence Systems represents the future of global security provision.” Phoenix is composed of 40 “concerned citizens” who monitor the Internet to look for terrorists and pass tips on to the government. A cyber-vigilante group is more like it – former CIA Counter-terrorism chief Vince Cannistraro called Phoenix’s work “a vigilante kind of activity” in an interview last August with the Argus (South Dakota) Leader.
Wired reports that two of Poindexter’s chief assistants at IAO, John Peterson of the Arlington Institute, and Dave Snowden. Were top consultants on developing RAHS. Snowden is Chief Scientific Officer for Cognitive Edge, a Singapore company that developed RAHS. The RAHS system is scheduled to be deployed as a massive data mining program by the Singapore government and will scan data from medical information to raw surveillance data.
Ominously, the RAHS roll out in Singapore was attended by four of the five ECHELON signals intelligence partner nations: United States, Australia, United Kingdom, and New Zealand. In addition, Israel attended the RAHS seminar. Israel and Singapore have become close intelligence and military partners. Wired reports that Singapore sent a high-level delegation to the United States to discuss RAHS with officials of the Department of Homeland Security and the Directorate of National Intelligence in early March. Patrick Neary, a former Senior Executive Analyst for the Army’s Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence and now the chief strategist for DNI chief Admiral Mike McConnell, a former NSA Director, cancelled his meeting with the RAHS team at the last minute. McConnell, after retiring as NSA Director, became a head honcho at Booz Allen Hamilton, a major intelligence contractor that has also been conducting data mining for the US Intelligence Community, including the joint NSA-CIA “First Fruit” database that monitors journalists to identify government leakers.
The Electronic Privacy Information Center successfully sued the Department of Defense over its refusal to provide details of the TIA pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request. However, since Poindexter no longer works for a government agency, as predicted at the time he left the Pentagon, he became much harder to track. Now, he has the government of Singapore to provide him financial and operational cover for his intrusive Orwellian technology.