Tag Archives: cia

Tonight on AxXiom For Liberty Live! Dan Feidt, Homeland Security Investigations & Chris Long on the Oklahoma Tea Party

Tonight on Axxiom For Liberty with Kaye Beach and Howard Houchen 6-8 PM CST

We have two great guests lined up for you tonight!

Listen Live Online at Logos Radio Network

Dan Feidt

First up is Dan Feidt to tell us about the Homeland Security Investigations Special Response Team

Dan has the scoop on Fusion Centers, The Military Industrial Complex, anything intel, info ops or top secret government documents.

He is also a boots on the ground activist and citizen reporter and can tell you just how to deal with surly legislators, corrupt officials and the government spies that think that every gathering of citizens is an angry mob on the verge of an uprising.

Check out the article he wrote on HSI at his website HongPong.com

Chris Long

Then we have a very special guest- Chris Long.  Chris is currently Attending University of Oklahoma where he is working on his Master of Arts in Broadcast and Electronic Media.  His current film is Crying out Loud: Messages from the Heartland.  This film is centered on the Tea Party movement. What began as a project for a 5 minute film has evolved into a 2 year study for Chris who has made the project into his Thesis.

We will find out what Chris has learned about this movement in Oklahoma, the people involved in the Tea Party and how this movement fits into the larger populist influence, both left and right, that has shaped politics in the state of Oklahoma since its beginnings.

We welcome your calls!

Call in number  512-646-1984

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DHS Hires General Dyanamics to Track Criticism and Dissent Online

Kaye Beach

Jan. 19, 2012

From an EPIC (the Electronic Privacy Information Center) Alert issued on Jan. 18, 2012;

EPIC: FOIA Docs Reveal DHS Monitoring of Online Political Dissent

As the result of EPIC v. DHS, a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit, EPIC has obtained nearly 300 pages of documents detailing a Department of Homeland Security social media surveillance program. The documents include contracts and statements of work with General Dynamics for 24/7/365 media and social network monitoring and periodic reports to DHS. As part of this contract, General Dynamics was tasked with monitoring media and social networking sites and providing immediate, daily, and weekly summaries to Homeland Security.

The FOIA documents reveal that Homeland Security is tracking criticism and dissent, stating that the contractor should monitor and summarize media stories that “reflect adversely” on DHS or the US government.  (Emphasis mine) DHS also says that the agency is attempting to “capture public reaction to major government proposals.”

No one is surprised. The information gathered here will be combined with all of the other data points on us that the government has access to in order to flesh out the threat assessment being performed, on some level, of all of us.

If you are saying nasty or unflattering things about government agencies or their policies, DHS wants to know so that they will be able to offer effective pressure or counter-propaganda to ideas that they find at odds with their aims.

EPIC continues;

The agency instructs the contractor to generate “reports on DHS, Components, and other Federal Agencies:  positive and negative reports on FEMA, CIA, CBP, ICE, etc. as well as organizations outside the DHS.”

One tracking report held up by the DHS as a example of what a report should include – “Residents Voice Opposition Over Possible Plan to Bring Guantanamo Detainees to Local Prison-Standish, MI” – summarizes dissent on blogs and social networking cites, quoting commenters on popular social networking sites and news media comment boards.

Jan 13, 2012, the New York Times Reports;

Ginger McCall, director of the group’s [EPIC] Open Government Program, said it was appropriate for the department to use the Internet to search for emerging threats to public safety. But, she said, monitoring what people are saying about government policies went too far and could chill free speech.

“The Department of Homeland Security’s monitoring of political dissent has no legal basis and is contrary to core First Amendment principles,” she said.

Read more

From a Reuters exclusive ‘Homeland Security watches Twitter, social media’ Jan 11, 2012;

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s command center routinely monitors dozens of popular websites, including Facebook, Twitter, Hulu, WikiLeaks and news and gossip sites including the Huffington Post and Drudge Report, according to a government document.

. . .News and gossip sites on the monitoring list include popular destinations such as the Drudge Report, Huffington Post and “NY Times Lede Blog”, as well as more focused techie fare such as the Wired blogs “Threat Level” and “Danger Room.” Numerous blogs related to terrorism and security are also on the list.

Some of the sites on the list are potentially controversial. WikiLeaks is listed for monitoring, even though officials in some other government agencies were warned against using their official computers to access WikiLeaks material because much of it is still legally classified under U.S. government rules.

Another blog on the list, Cryptome, also periodically posts leaked documents and was one of the first websites to post information related to the Homeland Security monitoring program.

Also on the list are JihadWatch and Informed Comment, blogs that cover issues related to Islam through sharp political prisms, which have sometimes led critics to accuse the sites of political bias

Read more

Sources from EPIC;

EPIC:  Freedom of Information Act Request to DHS (April 12, 2011)

http://epic.org/redirect/011812-epicvdhs-social-foia.html

EPIC:  FOIA Documents Received from DHS (Jan. 12, 2012)

http://epic.org/redirect/011812-epicvdhs-social-foia-docs.html

NY Times:  ‘Federal Security Program Monitored Public Opinion’

(Jan. 13, 2012)

ComputerWorld: ‘DHS Media Monitoring Could Chill Public Dissent, EPIC 

Warns’ (Jan. 16, 2012)

EPIC: EPIC v. DHS (Media Monitoring)

http://epic.org/foia/epic-v-dhs-media-monitoring/

Tonight! AxXiom For Liberty’s Second Annual Surveillance State Edition

Kaye Beach

Dec. 23, 2011

Listen Live online at LogosRadioNetwork.com

6-8 PM CST

Last year on Christmas Eve, Howard and I presented the initial findings from Washington Post journalists, Dana Priest and William Arkin from their investigation into Top Secret America

Since then, the two have written a book, Top Secret America: The Rise of the New American Security State and continue to update online on the Washington Post, adding to their body of research on ‘Top Secret America’

Tonight’s show will be our Second Annual Surveillance State edition of AxXiom For Liberty!

We will review some of the findings in Dana Priest and William M. Arkin’s book and Howard and I will add our picks for the most alarming advances in government surveillance.

We would like to invite you to call in and give us your views about the past year in the growing surveillance state of America.

The call in number is 512-646-1984

Chapter 7 “Report Suspicious Activity” will, no doubt, get some special attention from us tonight.  If you ever wondered just what it takes for a person to get a Suspicious Activity Report submitted on them or what happens to that report once it is filed-then don’t miss this show!

We will also explore key concepts that underlie the terrible assault to our most fundamental freedoms and hear Howard’s Surveillance State Edition rendition of “Santa Claus in Coming to Town”

www.LogosRadioNetwork.com

**This information is top security. When you have heard it, destroy yourself**

 

Big Brother is ALL Business

Is Lockheed Martin Shadowing You?

William D. Hartung

How a Giant Weapons Maker Became the New Big Brother

Have you noticed that Lockheed Martin, the giant weapons corporation, is shadowing you?  No?  Then you haven’t been paying much attention.  Let me put it this way: If you have a life, Lockheed Martin is likely a part of it.

True, Lockheed Martin doesn’t actually run the U.S. government, but sometimes it seems as if it might as well.  After all, it received $36 billion in government contracts in 2008 alone, more than any company in history.  It now does work for more than two dozen government agencies from the Department of Defense and the Department of Energy to the Department of Agriculture and the Environmental Protection Agency.  It’s involved in surveillance and information processing for the CIA, the FBI, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the National Security Agency (NSA), the Pentagon, the Census Bureau, and the Postal Service.

. . .A For-Profit Government-in-the-Making

If you want to feel a tad more intimidated, consider Lockheed Martin’s sheer size for a moment. After all, the company receives one of every 14 dollars doled out by the Pentagon. In fact, its government contracts, thought about another way, amount to a “Lockheed Martin tax” of $260 per taxpaying household in the United States, and no weapons contractor has more power or money to wield to defend its turf. It spent $12 million on congressional lobbying and campaign contributions in 2009 alone.

Not surprisingly, it’s the top contributor to the incoming House Armed Services Committee chairman, Republican Howard P. “Buck” McKeon of California, giving more than $50,000 in the most recent election cycle. It also tops the list of donors to Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-HI), the powerful chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, and the self-described “#1 earmarks guy in the U.S. Congress.”

Add to all that its 140,000 employees and its claim to have facilities in 46 states, and the scale of its clout starts to become clearer.  While the bulk of its influence-peddling activities may be perfectly legal, the company also has quite a track record when it comes to law-breaking: it ranks number one on the “contractor misconduct” database maintained by the Project on Government Oversight, a Washington-DC-based watchdog group.

Read More

 

Dec 9, 2010

Lockheed Martin Gives Gift of Support to International Association of Chiefs of Police Foundation

“Lockheed Martin has been a driving force on our board and a leader in our fundraising efforts,” said Chief Michael Carroll, Chief of the West Goshen Township, Pennsylvania Police Department and Chairman of the IACP Foundation. “Their tremendous philanthropic dedication to Foundation programs and initiatives is an outstanding example of truly committed corporate citizenship”

Hera’s an oldie but a goodie!

2008

Lockheed wins $1 billion FBI biometric contract

FBI awards Lockheed Martin a 10-year contract to design, develop, test, and deploy a next-generation biometrics-based identification system

Creating The “Domestic Surveillance State”

Creating the “Domestic Surveillance State” by Alfred W. McCoy

In his approach to National Security Agency surveillance, as well as CIA renditions, drone assassinations, and military detention, President Obama has to a surprising extent embraced the expanded executive powers championed by his conservative predecessor, George W. Bush. This bipartisan affirmation of the imperial executive could “reverberate for generations,” warns Jack Balkin, a specialist on First Amendment freedoms at Yale Law School. And consider these but some of the early fruits from the hybrid seeds that the Global War on Terror has planted on American soil. Yet surprisingly few Americans seem aware of the toll that this already endless war has taken on our civil liberties.
Don’t be too surprised, then, when, in the midst of some future crisis, advanced surveillance methods and other techniques developed in our recent counterinsurgency wars migrate from Baghdad, Falluja, and Kandahar to your hometown or urban neighborhood. And don’t ever claim that nobody told you this could happen — at least not if you care to read on.

Think of our counterinsurgency wars abroad as so many living laboratories for the undermining of a democratic society at home, a process historians of such American wars can tell you has been going on for a long, long time. Counterintelligence innovations like centralized data, covert penetration, and disinformation developed during the Army’s first protracted pacification campaigning a foreign land — the Philippines from 1898 to 1913 — were repatriated to the United States during World War I, becoming the blueprint for an invasive internal security apparatus that persisted for the next half century.

Almost 90 years later, George W. Bush’s Global War on Terror plunged the U.S. military into four simultaneous counterinsurgency campaigns, large and small — in Somalia, Iraq, Afghanistan, and (once again) the Philippines — transforming a vast swath of the planet into an ad hoc “counterterrorism” laboratory. The result? Cutting-edge high-tech security and counter terror techniques that are now slowly migrating homeward.

As the War on Terror enters its ninth year to become one of America’s longest overseas conflicts, the time has come to ask an uncomfortable question: What impact have the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq — and the atmosphere they created domestically — had on the quality of our democracy?

Every American knows that we are supposedly fighting elsewhere to defend democracy here at home. Yet the crusade for democracy abroad, largely unsuccessful in its own right, has proven remarkably effective in building a technological template that could be just a few tweaks away from creating a domestic surveillance state — with omnipresent cameras, deep data-mining, nano-second biometric identification, and drone aircraft patrolling “the homeland.”

Read more

Even if its name is increasingly anathema in Washington, the ongoing Global War on Terror has helped bring about a massive expansion of domestic surveillance by the FBI and the National Security Agency (NSA) whose combined data-mining systems have already swept up several billion private documents from U.S. citizens into classified data banks. Abroad, after years of failing counterinsurgency efforts in the Middle East, the Pentagon began applying biometrics — the science of identification via facial shape, fingerprints, and retinal or iris patterns — to the pacification of Iraqi cities, as well as the use of electronic intercepts for instant intelligence and the split-second application of satellite imagery to aid an assassination campaign by drone aircraft that reaches from Africa to South Asia.

In the panicky aftermath of some future terrorist attack, Washington could quickly fuse existing foreign and domestic surveillance techniques, as well as others now being developed on distant battlefields, to create an instant digital surveillance state.

Declare Your Independence! (from Government Surveillance…)

I was a guest on Declare Your Independence with Ernest Hancock today. Topic; Government surveillance, Biometrics and the new documentary on the OKC bombing by Free Mind Films “A Noble Lie” (See links below for items discussed)

I’m on Hour 2 and into hour 3 (but the whole show is great!) http://www.freedomsphoenix.com/Article/075291-2010-09-13-declare-your-independence-with-ernest-hancock-afternoon-september-13th-2010.htm

Envisioning the Future of the CODIS DNA Database

California Vision 2015

Jesse Trentadue, Salt Lake City Utah Attorney with a portrait of his slain brother, Kenneth Trentadue.

2009 Court Brief

“I didn’t start out to solve the bombing, I started out to find the men who killed my brother,” –Jesse Trentadue

This brief lays out what Jesse Trentadue has found to date as a result of his ongoing battle with the federal government to find out what happened to his brother Kenneth and why.

Fascination read!

More…

From OKC to Abu Ghraib: The Kenneth Trentadue Case

CIA Vaughan Index 2009

FBI surrenders documents that judge ordered
10-21-2005

J.D. Cash

More on Jesse Trentadue’s battle to find justice for his brother, Kenneth.


Terry Yeakey-Always a Hero

HS Today Reports: CIA Aided DOJ Prosecutors in 1995 OKC Bombing Case

CIA Aided DOJ Prosecutors in 1995 OKC Bombing Case
by Anthony L. Kimery   
Tuesday, 30 March 2010

‘Secret’ CIA documents withheld in FOIA suit raise more questions than they answer

Questions about foreign complicity in the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah federal building in downtown Oklahoma City for which Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols were convicted, were disclosed Friday in a ruling by US District court judge Clark Waddoups on a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the CIA for the CIA’s refusal to completely declassify records it has acknowledged it possesses that pertain to the case.

It is the first indication that the CIA and the Department of Justice (DOJ) worked together in the bombing investigations and prosecutions.

The classified materials also were never made available to McVeigh’s defense team, led by attorney Stephen Jones, who has publicly expressed his concern that the federal government knows more about the bombing than it has admitted.

The ruling Friday in Salt Lake City was in response to the December 12, 2006 FOIA suit brought by Jesse Trentadue, an attorney who sought numerous documents from the CIA, “including any [related to] potential involvement of foreign nationals in that attack.”

Waddoups ruled that the CIA materials were properly classified by the CIA for the variety of reasons that the Agency had claimed, and that they would not be made available to the public. It was the first such national security defense ever used by the government in denying records to Trentadue.

While the exact content of the documents – which were not reviewed by Waddoups in camera – were not revealed, Waddoups in his ruling hinted at what they contained based largely on “supporting affidavits” and other materials that the CIA provided to him.

The judge’s ruling constituted the first documented involvement of the CIA in the federal government’s handling and prosecution of the bombing investigation, either before or after the attack that killed 168 persons.

In his ruling, Waddoups stated in reference to a “letter … prepared [for the CIA] in response to a Department of Justice attorney’s request for information related to Mr. McVeigh’s prosecution” that “it is clear that the CIA and DOJ were cooperating in the prosecution of Mr. McVeigh.”

The letter “contains information, legal analysis and opinion prepared by a CIA attorney in contemplation of the prosecution of Mr. McVeigh,” Waddoups wrote.

Another “four-pages of classified handwritten notes summarizing classified information that a DOJ attorney reviewed in connection with the Oklahoma City bombing prosecution” were properly classified “secret,” Waddoups ruled, adding, “to the extent it matters here whether the DOJ attorney who made the notes marked classified had security clearances (and it is not clear that it does), that fact can be inferred from the fact that he or she was allowed access to review classified documents.”

Still another September 6, 1996 eight-page letter from a CIA attorney to a DOJ attorney “respond[ing] to the DOJ’s request for further information related to the Oklahoma City bombing trial” was properly classified secret in “its entirety,” Waddoups ruled.

In another document, dated September 17, 1996, “… the CIA clarifies prior correspondence regarding CIA record searches related to the prosecution of Mr. McVeigh and Terry Nichols,” continued Judge Waddoups.

Read More;

http://www.hstoday.us/content/view/12707/149/

Mind Your Tweets: The CIA Social Networking Surveillance System

From Wikileaks

Jump to: navigation, search

October 24, 2009

By Tom Burghardt (Global Research)[1]
That social networking sites and applications such as Facebook, Twitter and their competitors can facilitate communication and information sharing amongst diverse groups and individuals is by now a cliché.

It should come as no surprise then, that the secret state and the capitalist grifters whom they serve, have zeroed-in on the explosive growth of these technologies. One can be certain however, securocrats aren’t tweeting their restaurant preferences or finalizing plans for after work drinks.

No, researchers on both sides of the Atlantic are busy as proverbial bees building a “total information” surveillance system, one that will, so they hope, provide police and security agencies with what they euphemistically call “actionable intelligence.”

Build the Perfect Panopticon, Win Fabulous Prizes!

In this context, the whistleblowing web site Wikileaks published a remarkable document October 4 by the INDECT Consortium, the Intelligence Information System Supporting Observation, Searching and Detection for Security of Citizens in Urban Environment.

Hardly a catchy acronym, but simply put INDECT is working to put a human face on the billions of emails, text messages, tweets and blog posts that transit cyberspace every day; perhaps your face.

According to Wikileaks, INDECT’s “Work package 4” is designed “to comb web blogs, chat sites, news reports, and social-networking sites in order to build up automatic dossiers on individuals, organizations and their relationships.” Ponder that phrase again: “automatic dossiers.”

This isn’t the first time that European academics have applied their “knowledge skill sets” to keep the public “safe”–from a meaningful exercise of free speech and the right to assemble, that is.

Last year The Guardian reported that Bath University researchers’ Cityware project covertly tracked “tens of thousands of Britons” through the installation of Bluetooth scanners that capture “radio signals transmitted from devices such as mobile phones, laptops and digital cameras, and using the data to follow unwitting targets without their permission.”

One privacy advocate, Simon Davies, the director of Privacy International, told The Guardian: “This technology could well become the CCTV of the mobile industry. It would not take much adjustment to make this system a ubiquitous surveillance infrastructure over which we have no control.”

Which of course, is precisely the point.

As researchers scramble for a windfall of cash from governments eager to fund these dubious projects, European police and security agencies aren’t far behind their FBI and NSA colleagues in the spy game.

The online privacy advocates, Quintessenz, published a series of leaked documents in 2008 that described the network monitoring and data mining suites designed by Nokia Siemens, Ericsson and Verint.

The Nokia Siemens Intelligence Platform dubbed “intelligence in a box,” integrate tasks generally done by separate security teams and pools the data from sources such as telephone or mobile calls, email and internet activity, bank transactions, insurance records and the like. Call it data mining on steroids.

Ironically enough however, Siemens, the giant German electronics firm was caught up in a global bribery scandal that cost the company some $1.6 billion in fines. Last year, The New York Times described “a web of secret bank accounts and shadowy consultants,” and a culture of “entrenched corruption … at a sprawling, sophisticated corporation that externally embraced the nostrums of a transparent global marketplace built on legitimate transactions.”

According to the Times, “at Siemens, bribery was just a line item.” Which just goes to show, powering the secret state means never having to say you’re sorry!

Social Network Spying, a Growth Industry Fueled by Capitalist Grifters

The trend by security agencies and their corporate partners to spy on their citizens has accelerated greatly in the West since the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

This multi-billion industry in general, has been a boon for the largest American and European defense corporations. Among the top ten companies listed by Washington Technology in their annual ranking of the “Top 100” prime government contractors, all ten–from Lockheed Martin to Booz Allen Hamilton–earned a combined total of $68 billion in 2008 from defense and related homeland security work for the secret state.

And like Siemens, all ten corporations figure prominently on the Project on Government Oversight’s Federal Contractor Misconduct Database (FCMD), which tracks “contract fraud, environmental, ethics, and labor violations.” Talk about a rigged game!

Designing everything from nuclear missile components to eavesdropping equipment for various government agencies in the United States and abroad, including some of the most repressive regimes on the planet, these firms have moved into manufacturing the hardware and related computer software for social networking surveillance in a big way.

Wired revealed in April that the FBI is routinely monitoring cell phone calls and internet activity during criminal and counterterrorism investigations. The publication posted a series of internal documents that described the Wi-Fi and computer hacking capabilities of the Bureau’s Cryptographic and Electronic Analysis Unit (CEAU).

New Scientist reported back in 2006 that the National Security Agency “is funding research into the mass harvesting of the information that people post about themselves on social networks.”

And just this week in an exclusive report published by the British high-tech publication, The Register, it was revealed that “the government has outsourced parts of its biggest ever mass surveillance project to the disaster-prone IT services giant formerly known as EDS.”

That work is being conducted under the auspices of the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), the British state’s equivalent of America’s National Security Agency.

Investigative journalist Chris Williams disclosed that the American computer giant HP, which purchased EDS for some $13.9 billion last year, is “designing and installing the massive computing resources that will be needed to analyse details of who contacts whom, when where and how.”

Work at GCHQ in Cheltenham is being carried out under “a secret project called Mastering the Internet.” In May, a Home Office document surfaced that “ostensibly sought views on whether ISPs should be forced to gather terabytes of data from their networks on the government’s behalf.”

The Register reported earlier this year that telecommunications behemoth Detica and U.S. defense giant Lockheed Martin were providing GCHQ with data mining software “which searches bulk data, such as communications records, for patterns … to identify suspects.” (For further details see: Antifascist Calling, “Spying in the UK: GCHQ Awards Lockheed Martin £200m Contract, Promises to ‘Master the Internet’,” May 7, 2009)

It seems however, that INDECT researchers like their GCHQ/NSA kissin’ cousins in Britain and the United States, are burrowing ever-deeper into the nuts-and-bolts of electronic social networking and may be on the verge of an Orwellian surveillance “breakthrough.”

As New Scientist sagely predicted, the secret state most certainly plans to “harness advances in internet technology–specifically the forthcoming ‘semantic web’ championed by the web standards organisation W3C–to combine data from social networking websites with details such as banking, retail and property records, allowing the NSA to build extensive, all-embracing personal profiles of individuals.”

Profiling Internet Dissent

Pretty alarming, but the devil as they say is in the details and INDECT’s release of their “Work package 4” file makes for a very interesting read. And with a title, “XML Data Corpus: Report on methodology for collection, cleaning and unified representation of large textual data from various sources: news reports, weblogs, chat,” rest assured one must plow through much in the way of geeky gibberish and tech-speak to get to the heartless heart of the matter.

INDECT itself is a rather interesting amalgamation of spooks, cops and academics.

According to their web site, INDECT partners include: the University of Science and Technology, AGH, Poland; Gdansk University of Technology; InnoTech DATA GmbH & Co., Germany; IP Grenoble (Ensimag), France; MSWiA, the General Headquarters of Police, attached to the Ministry of the Interior, Poland; Moviquity, Spain; Products and Systems of Information Technology, PSI, Germany; the Police Service of Northern Ireland, PSNI, United Kingdom (hardly slouches when it comes to stitching-up Republicans and other leftist agitators!); Poznan University of Technology; Universidad Carlos III de Madrid; Technical University of Sofia, Bulgaria; University of Wuppertal, Germany; University of York, Great Britain; Technical University of Ostrava, Czech Republic; Technical University of Kosice, Slovakia; X-Art Pro Division G.m.b.H, Austria; and finally, the Fachhochschule Technikum, also in Austria.

I don’t know about you, but I find it rather ironic that the European Union, ostensible guardians of democracy and human rights, have turned for assistance in their surveillance projects to police and spy outfits from the former Soviet bloc, who after all know a thing or two when it comes to monitoring their citizens.

Read More;

http://wikileaks.org/wiki/Mind_Your_Tweets:_The_CIA_Social_Networking_Surveillance_System

CIA Buys Stake in Firm That Monitors Blogs & Tweets

CIA Buys Stake in Firm That Monitors Blogs & Tweets

America’s spy agencies want to read your blog posts, keep track of your Twitter updates — even check out your book reviews on Amazon.In-Q-Tel, the investment arm of the CIA and the wider intelligence community, is putting cash into Visible Technologies, a software firm that specializes in monitoring social media. It’s part of a larger movement within the spy services to get better at using ”open source intelligence” — information that’s publicly available, but often hidden in the flood of TV shows, newspaper articles, blog posts, online videos and radio reports generated every day.

Visible crawls over half a million web 2.0 sites a day, scraping more than a million posts and conversations taking place on blogs, online forums, Flickr, YouTube, Twitter and Amazon. (It doesn’t touch closed social networks, like Facebook, at the moment.) Customers get customized, real-time feeds of what’s being said on these sites, based on a series of keywords.

“That’s kind of the basic step — get in and monitor,” says company senior vice president Blake Cahill.

Then Visible “scores” each post, labeling it as positive or negative, mixed or neutral. It examines how influential a conversation or an author is. (”Trying to determine who really matters,” as Cahill puts it.) Finally, Visible gives users a chance to tag posts, forward them to colleagues and allow them to response through a web interface.

Read More;

http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2009/10/exclusive-us-spies-buy-stake-in-twitter-blog-monitoring-firm/

Report on the FBI’s Investigative Data Warehouse 2009


Report on the Investigative Data Warehouse

April 2009

Table Of Contents

  1. Overview of the IDW
  2. IDW Systems Architecture
  3. Privacy Impact Assessment
  4. The Future of the IDW is Data Mining

In August 2006, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) sought government records concerning the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)’s Investigative Data Warehouse (IDW) pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). After the FBI failed to respond to EFF’s requests within the timeline provided by the FOIA, EFF filed a lawsuit on October 17, 2006. Records began to arrive in September 2007. On April 14, 2009, the government filed a brief stating that no more documents were going to be provided, despite the Obama Administration’s new guidelines on FOIA.

The following report is based upon the records provided by the FBI, along with public information about the IDW and the datasets included in the data warehouse.

I. Overview of the Investigative Data Warehouse

The Investigative Data Warehouse is a massive data warehouse, which the Bureau describes as “the FBI’s single largest repository of operational and intelligence information.” As described by FBI Section Chief Michael Morehart in 2005, the “IDW is a centralized, web-enabled, closed system repository for intelligence and investigative data.” Unidentified FBI agents have described it “one-stop shopping” for FBI agents and an “uber-Google.According to the FBI, “[t]he IDW system provides data storage, database management, search, information presentation, and security services.”

Documents show that the FBI began spending funds on the IDW in fiscal year 2002, “and system implementation was completed in FY 2005.” “IDW 1.1 was released in July 2004 with enhanced functionality, including batch processing capabilities.” The FBI worked with Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC), Convera and Chilliad to develop the project, among other contractors. As of January 2005, the IDW contained “more than 47 sources of counterterrorism data, including information from FBI files, other government agency data, and open source news feeds.” A chart in the FBI documents shows IDW growing rapidly, breaking the half-billion mark in 2005. By March 2006, the IDW had 53 data sources and over half a billion (587,186,453) documents. By September 2008, the IDW had grown to nearly one billion (997,368,450) unique documents. The Library of Congress, by way of comparison, has about 138 million (138,313,427) items in its collection.

In addition to storing vast quantities of data, the IDW provides a content management and data mining system that is designed to permit a wide range of FBI personnel (investigative, analytical, administrative, and intelligence) to access and analyze aggregated data from over fifty previously separate datasets included in the warehouse. Moving forward, the FBI intends to increase its use of the IDW for “link analysis” (looking for links between suspects and other people – i.e. the Kevin Bacon game) and to start “pattern analysis” (defining a “predictive pattern of behavior” and searching for that pattern in the IDW’s datasets before any criminal offence is committed – i.e. pre-crime).

II. IDW Systems Architecture

According to an FBI project description, “The IDW system environment consists of a collection of UNIX and NT servers that provide secure access to a family of very large-scale storage devices. The servers provide application, web servers, relational database servers, and security filtering servers. User desktop units that have access to FBINet can access the IDW web application. This provides browser-based access to the central databases and their access control units. The environment is designed to allow the FBI analytic and investigative users to access any of the data sources and analytic capabilities of the system for which they are authorized. The entire configuration is designed to be scalable to enable expansion as more data sources and capabilities are added.”

A DOJ Inspector General report explained: “Data processing is conducted by a combination of Commercial-Off-the-Shelf (COTS) applications, interpreted scripts, and open-source software applications. Data storage is provided by several Oracle Relational Database Management Systems (DBMS) and in proprietary data formats. Physical storage is contained in Network Attached Storage (NAS) devices and component hard disks. Ethernet switches provide connectivity between components and to FBI LAN/WAN. An integrated firewall appliance in the switch provides network filtering.”

  1. IDW Subsystems

    Pursuant to the IDW Concept of Operations, the IDW has two main subsystems, the IDW-Secret (IDW-S) and IDW-Special Projects Team (IDW-SPT). It also has a development platform (IDW-D) and a subsystem for maintenance and testing (IDW-I).

    1. IDW-Secret

      The IDW-S system is the main subsystem of the IDW, which is authorized to process classified national security data up to, and including, information designated Secret. However, IDW-S is not authorized to process any Top Secret data nor any Sensitive Compartmented Information (SCI). The addition of IDW-TS/SCI, a Top Secret/Sensitive Compartmented Information level data mart, appears to remain in the planning stages. The IDW-S system is the successor of the Secure Counter-Terrorism/Collaboration Operational Prototype Environment (SCOPE).

    2. IDW-Special Projects Team

      According to an Inspector General report, “[i]n November 2003, the Counterterrorism Division, along with the Terrorist Financing Operations Section (TFOS), in the FBI began a special project to augment the existing IDW system with new capabilities for use by FBI and non-FBI agents on the JTTFs. The FBI Office of Intelligence is the executive sponsor of the IDW. The IDW Special Projects Team was originally initiated for the 2004 Threat Task Force.” By May 2006, the “Special Project Team provided services to 5 task forces or operations.”

      As described by the FBI:

      Special Projects Team (SPT) Subsystem
      The Special Projects Team (SPT) Subsystem allows for the rapid import of new specialized data sources. These data sources are not made available to the general IDW users but instead are provided to a small group of users who have a demonstrated “need-to-know”. The SPT System is similar in function to the IDW-S system. With the main difference is a different set of data sources. The SPT System allows its users to access not only the standard IDW Data Store but the specialized SPT Data Store.

  2. IDW Features

    In 2004, the Willie Hulon, then the Deputy Assistant Director for the Counterterrorism Division, said that the FBI was “introducing advanced analytical tools to help us make the most of the data stored in the IDW. These tools allow FBI agents and analysts to look across multiple cases and multiple data sources to identify relationships and other pieces of information that were not readily available using older FBI systems. These tools 1) make database searches simple and effective; 2) give analysts new visualization, geo-mapping, link-chart capabilities and reporting capabilities; and 3) allow analysts to request automatic updates to their query results whenever new, relevant data is downloaded into the database.”

    Deputy Assistant Director Hulon also asserted that “[w]hen the IDW is complete, Agents, JTTF [Joint Terrorism Task Force] members and analysts, using new analytical tools, will be able to search rapidly for pictures of known terrorists and match or compare the pictures with other individuals in minutes rather than days. They will be able to extract subjects’ addresses, phone numbers, and other data in seconds, rather than searching for it manually. They will have the ability to identify relationships across cases. They will be able to search up to 100 million pages of international terrorism-related documents in seconds.” (Since then, the number of records has grown nearly ten-fold).

    At the FBI National Security Branch’s “request, the FBI’s Office of the Chief Technology Officer (OCTO) has developed an ‘alert capability’ that allows users of IDW to create up to 10 queries of the system and be automatically notified when a new document is uploaded to the database that meets their search criteria.”

    Users can search for terms within a defined parameter of one another. For example, the search: ‘flight school’ NEAR/10 ‘lessons’ would return all documents where the phrase ‘flight school’ occurred within 10 words of the word “lessons.” Users can also specify whether they want exact searches, or if they want the search tool to include other synonyms and spelling variants for words and names.”

    “IDW includes the ability to search across spelling variants for common words, synonyms and meaning variants for words, as well as common misspellings of words. If a user misspells a common word, IDW will run the search as specified, but will prompt the user to ask if they intended to run the search with the correct spelling.”

    In its 2004 report to the 9-11 Commission, the FBI used an example (shown on the right) to illustrate the planned use of the IDW for data mining and link analysis, showing i2’s Analyst’s Notebook. i2 described the program as “the world’s most powerful visual investigative analysis software,” which is able to analyze “vast amounts of raw, multi-format data gathered from a wide variety of sources.”

    By 2006, the IDW was processing between 40,000 and 60,000 “interactive transactions” in any given week, along with between 50 and 150 batch jobs. An example of a batch process is where “the complete set of Suspicious Activity Reports is compared to the complete set of FBI terrorism files to identify individuals in common between them.”

  3. Datasets in the IDW

    According to various
    FBI
    documents, the following 38 data soures were included in the IDW on or before August 2004. Of these, IDW-S included at least the first six items.

    1. Automated Case System (ACS), Electronic Case File (ECF). This dataset contains ASCII flat files (metadata and document text) and WordPerfect documents consisting of the ECs, FD-302s, Facsimiles, FD-542s, Inserts, Transcriptions, Teletypes, Letter Head Memorandums (LHM), Memorandums and other FBI documents contained within ACS. The ACS system, which came on-line in October 1995, is the FBI’s centralized electronic case management system. It consists of the following components:
      1. Investigative Case Management — used to open a case and assign a unique 9-digit case number, called the Universal Case File Number, which consists of the FBI crime classification number; a two-letter alpha code designating the field office that opened the case; and a consecutive, numerical designator generated by the system.
      2. Electronic Case File — used to maintain investigative documentation, such as interview transcripts. Upon approval of a paper document, an electronic copy of the completed document is uploaded to the electronic case file.
      3. Universal Index — used to maintain index records for a case and allows the searching of records in a variety of ways.

      [NOTE: While ACS is the current FBI case file system, it may soon be replaced. The FBI originally intended to replace ACS with the “Virtual Case File” system. After what the Office of the Inspector General called “FBI’s failed $170 million VCF project,” the FBI now “plans to replace the ACS system with the Sentinel Case Management System. The projected implementation date is 2009.” “When up and running, Sentinel will provide more current case information, audio, video, pictures and multimedia into the IDW system.”]

    2. Secure Automated Messaging Network (SAMNet) — ASCII files in standard cable traffic message format (all capitals with specific header), consisting of all messaging traffic sent either from the FBI to other government agencies, or sent from other government agencies to the FBI through the Automated Digital Information Network (AutoDIN), including Intelligence Information Reports (IIRs) and Technical Disseminations (TD) from the FBI, Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), and others from November of 2002 to present. IDW receives copies of these classified messages up to Secret with no SCI caveats.
    3. Joint Intelligence Committee Inquiry (JICI) Documents — Scanned copies (TIFF images and ASCII OCR text) of “all FBI documents related to extremist Islamic terrorism between 1993 and 2002.” These are counterterrorism files that were scanned into a database to accommodate the JICI’s investigation into the attacks of September 11th.
    4. Open Source News — Includes various foreign news sources that have been translated into English, as well as a few large U.S. publications. The open source data collected for the FBI comes from the MiTAP system run by San Diego State University. MiTAP is a system that collects raw data from the internet, standardizes the format, extracts named entities, and routes documents into appropriate newsgroups. This dataset is part of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Translingual Information Detection, Extraction and Summarization (TIDES) Open Source Data project.
    5. Violent Gang and Terrorist Organization File (VGTOF) — Lists of individuals and organizations who the FBI believes to be associated with violent gangs and terrorism, provided by the FBI National Crime Information Center (NCIC). It includes biographical data and photos pertaining to members of the identified groups in the form of ASCII flat files (data/metadata) and JPEG image binaries (none, one or multiple per subject). The biographical data includes the “individual’s name, sex, race, and group affiliation, and, if possible, such optional information as height and weight; eye and hair colors; date and place of birth; and marks, scars, and tattoos.”
    6. CIA Intelligence Information Reports (IIR) and Technical Disseminations (TD) — A copy of all IIRs and TDs at the Secret security classification or below that were sent to the FBI from 1978 to at least May 2004. Intelligence Information Reports are designed to provide the FBI with the specific results of classified intelligence collected on internationally-based terrorist suspects and activities, chiefly abroad.
    7. Eleven (11) IntelPlus scanned document libraries — Copies of millions of scanned TIFF format documents and their corresponding OCR ASCII text related to FBI’s major terrorism-related cases. IntelPlus is an application that allows the users to view “Table of Contents” lists from large collections of records. The user is able to display the document whether it is in text form or one of several graphic formats and then print, copy or store the information. The application allows tracking associated documents on related topics and provides a search capability.
    8. Eleven (11) Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) Databases — Data related to terrorist financing. “FinCEN requires financial institutions to preserve financial paper trails behind transactions and to report suspicious transactions to FinCEN for its database. FinCEN matches its database with commercial databases such as Lexis/Nexis and the government’s law enforcement databases, allowing it to search for links among individuals, banks, and bank accounts.” At least one of these databases includes all currency transaction report (CTR) forms on bank customers’ cash transactions of more than $10,000: “In 2004, FinCEN first provided the FBI with bulk transfer of [CTRs]” Over 37 million CTRs were filed between 2004-2006.
    9. Two (2) Terrorist Financing Operations Section Databases — Biographical and financial reports on terrorism-related individuals. According to Dennis Lormel, Section Chief of the Terrorist Financing Operations Section, TFOS has a “centralized terrorist financial database which the TFOS developed in connection with its coordination of financial investigation of individuals and groups who are suspects of FBI terrorism investigations. The TFOS has cataloged and reviewed financial documents obtained as a result of numerous financial subpoenas pertaining to individuals and accounts. These documents have been verified as being of investigatory interest and have been entered into the terrorist financial database for linkage analysis. The TFOS has obtained financial information from FBI Field Divisions and Legal Attache Offices, and has reviewed and documented financial transactions. These records include foreign bank accounts and foreign wire transfers.”
    10. Foreign Financial List — Copies of information concerning terrorism-related persons, addresses, and other biographical data submitted to U.S. financial institutions from foreign financial institutions.
    11. Selectee List — Copies of a Transportation Security Administration (TSA) list of individuals that the TSA believes warrant additional security attention prior to boarding a commercial airliner. According to Michael Chertoff, “fewer than” 16,000 people were designated “selectees” as of October 2008.
    12. Terrorist Watch List (TWL) — The FBI Terrorist Watch and Warning Unit (TWWU) list of names, aliases, and biographical information regarding individuals submitted to the Terrorist Screening Center (TSC) for inclusion into VGTOF and TIPOFF watch lists. Also called the Terrorist Screening Database (TSDB), the database “contained a total of 724,442 records as of April 30, 2007.”
    13. No Fly List — A copy of a TSA list of individuals barred from boarding a commercial airplane. According to Michael Chertoff, 2,500 people were on the “no fly” list as of October 2008.
    14. Universal Name Index (UNI) Mains — A copy of index records for all main subjects on FBI investigations, except certain records that might reveal people in witness protection or informants. “A main file name is that of an individual who is, himself/herself, the subject of an FBI investigation.”
    15. Universal Name Index (UNI) Refs — A copy of index records for all individuals referenced in FBI investigations, except certain records that might reveal people in witness protection or informants. A “reference is someone whose name appears in an FBI investigation. References may be associates, conspirators, or witnesses.”
    16. Department of State Lost and Stolen Passports — A copy of records pertaining to lost and stolen passports. “The Consular Lost and Stolen Passports (CLASP) database includes over 1.3 million records concerning U.S. passports. All passport applications are checked against CLASP, PIERS [Passport Information Electronic Records System], the Social Security Administration’s database, and the Consular Lookout and Support System (CLASS), which includes information provided by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and law enforcement agencies such as the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) and U.S. Marshals Service.” “The overall CLASS database of names has risen to over 20 million records in recent years, including millions of names of criminals from FBI records provided to the State Department under the terms of the USA PATRIOT Act.” “The Online Passport Lost & Stolen System permits citizens to report a lost or stolen passport.” It includes “Name, date of birth (DOB), social security number (SSN), address, telephone number, and e-mail address,” as reported by the citizen.
    17. Department of State Diplomatic Security Service — A copy of past and current passport fraud investigations from the “DOS DDS RAMS database.” The Records Analysis Management System (RAMS) Database “allows all Field Offices, Resident Agent Offices (RAO) and the Bureau of Diplomatic Security to track, maintain, and efficiently share law enforcement investigative case information. RAMS contains CLASSIFIED information.” By September 2005, the Department of States was “developing a ‘Knowledge Base’ on-line library that will be a ‘gateway’ to passport information, anti-fraud information, and relevant databases. All passport field agencies and centers can use this system to submit anti-fraud information such as exemplars of genuine and malafide documents, fraud trends in their respective regions, and other information that will be instantly available throughout the department.”

    In August 2004, the FBI was considering adding several more datasets: the “FBI’s Telephone Application, DHS data sources such as US-VISIT and SEVIS, Department of State data sources such as the Consular Consolidated Database (CCD), and Treasury Enforcement Communication System (TECS).” A later document shows that at least “most” of the Telephone Application is now in the IDW.

    The Telephone Application (TA) “provides a central repository for telephone data obtained from investigations.” “The TA is an investigative tool that also serves as the central repository for all telephone data collected during the course of FBI investigations. Included are pen register data, toll records, trap/trace, tape-edits, dialed digits, airnet (pager intercepts), cellular activity, push-to-talk, and corresponding subscriber information.” Records obtained through National Security Letters are placed in the Telephone Application, as well as the IDW by way of the ACS system.

    “The United States Visitor and Immigrant Status Indicator Technology (US-VISIT) Program is an integrated, automated biometric entry-exit system that records the arrival and departure of aliens; conducts certain terrorist, criminal, and immigration violation checks on aliens; and compares biometric identifiers to those collected on previous encounters to verify identity.”

    The Consular Consolidated Database (CCD) is a set of databases that includes “current and archived data from all of the Department of State’s Consular Affairs post databases around the world. This includes the data from the Automated Biometric Identification System (ABIS), ARCS, Automated Cash Register System (ACS), Consular Lookout and Support System (CLASS), Consular Shared Tables (CST), DataShare, Diversity Visa Information System (DVIS), Immigrant Visa Information System (IVIS), Immigrant Visa Overseas (IVO), Non-Immigrant Visa (NIV), Visa Opinion Information Service (VOIS), and Waiver Review System (WRS) applications. The CCD also provides access to passport data in the Travel Document Information System (TDIS), Passport Lookout and Tracking System (PLOTS), and Passport Information Electronic Records System (PIERS). In addition to Consular Affairs data, other data from external agencies is integrated into the CCD, such as the ‘Master Death Database from the Social Security Administration.”

    The Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) “maintains information on nonimmigrant students and exchange visitors (F, M and J Visas) and their dependents, and also on their associated schools and sponsors.”

    The Treasury Enforcement Communication System (TECS) “is a computerized information system designed to identify individuals and businesses suspected of, or involved in violation of federal law. The TECS is also a communications system permitting message transmittal between Treasury law enforcement offices and other Federal, national, state, and local law enforcement agencies.”

    Unidentified Additional Data Sources Added to IDW

    The FBI set up an Information Sharing Policy Group (ISPG), chaired by the Executive Assistant Directors of Administration and Intelligence, to review requests to ingest additional datasets into the IDW, in response to Congressional “privacy concerns that may arise from FBI engaging in ‘data mining.'” In February 2005, the Counterterrorism Division asked for 8 more data sources. While the names of the data sources are redacted, items 1, 2 and 4 came from the Department of Homeland Security, and items 6, 7 and 8 were additional IntelPlus file rooms. The February 2005 email chain also refers to “2 data sets approved at the meeting yesterday” and “2 data set under consideration.” In context, it appears that one of the two approved datasets was IntelPlus, which contained three file rooms. The FBI would “get all of the DHS data from the FTTTF [Foreign Terrorist Tracking Task Force] including the [Redacted].” In March 2005, the Information Sharing Policy Group approved seven more unidentified datasets for the Special Projects Team version of the IDW. In May 2005, ISPG approved an additional seven unidentified datasets for the IDW-SPT. The IDW Special Projects Team “ingested and published a new telephone-type data source” on two dates: February 18, 2005, and March 18, 2005. In August 2005, the “[Redacted] Reports Collection” was moved from the limited access IDW-SPT to the more widely available IDW-S. “This [Redacted] dataset contains copies of reports regarding [Redacted].”

    Data Retention

    As of March 2005:

    There is no current Disposition Schedule for IDW. We have looked at the system and it is on our list of systems to be scheduled. With no Disposition Schedule, there is really no limitation on importing data, at least not from a records management standpoint. But, they will not be able to delete or destroy any of that information until a Disposition Schedule is approved.

    Nevertheless, the IDW has a process to delete files: “it can occur that data for which IDW-S is not authorized is ingested into IDW-S. When such data is discovered on IDW-S it is necessary to delete this data and to update the Document Tracking Database with the appropriate “DEL” status for the file.” The IDW also has a “secure delete” function.

III. Privacy Impact Assessment

The E-Government Act of 2002, Section 208, establishes a requirement for agencies to conduct privacy impact assessments (PIAs) for electronic information systems and collections.

A May 12, 2005 email from an unidentified employee in the FBI’s Office of the General Counsel to FBI General Counsel Valerie Caproni notes that the author was “nervous about mentioning PIA in context of national security systems.” The author admitted that “It is true the FBI currently requires PlAs for NS [national security] systems as well as non-NS systems.” However, the author thought that the policy might change. Accordingly the author “recommend[ed] against raising congressional consciousness levels and expectations re NS PlAs.” Caproni’s response is short: “ok.”


This email was in reply to a May 11 email from Caproni expressing her desire “slide something in about PIA” to a give a “sense that we really do worry about the privacy interests of uninvolved people whose data we slurp up.”


However, this strategy failed. Congressional consciousness levels were raised by an August 30, 2006 Washington Post article on the IDW, in which EFF Senior Counsel David Sobel raised the issue of the IDW’s lack of a formally published PIA.

The day the Post article ran, several FBI emails discussed the privacy concerns raised by the IDW. One Office of the General Counsel employee (only identified as Bill) explained the FBI’s desire to play down the concerns: “I’m with [Redacted] in view that if everyone ([Redacted]) starts running around with their hair on fire on this, they will just be pouring gas on something that quite possibly would just fade away if we just shrug it off.”


After these discussions, the FBI released the following response to the article:

Federal Bureau of Investigation
Response to Investigative Data Warehouse (IDW) Press Article for Senate Appropriations Committee
September 7, 2006

There are two concerns being expressed about IDW in the article. One deals with whether the FBI has complied with the Privacy Act’s requirement to publish a “systems notice” in the Federal Register and the other is whether the FBI has complied with the privacy impact analysis requirements of the “E-Government Act.”

The answer to the first question is “yes.” We consider IDW to be part of the FBI’s Central Record System, an “umbrella” system that is comprised of all of the FBI’s investigative files. While it is true that “IDW” isn’t specifically mentioned in the CRS Privacy Act System Notice, we don’t believe that is necessary. The system notice does state: “In recent years … the FBI has been confronted with increasingly complicated cases, which require more intricate information processing capabilities. Since these complicated investigations frequently involve massive volumes of evidence and other investigative information, the FBI uses its computers, when necessary to collate, analyze, and retrieve investigative information in the most accurate and expeditious manner possible.” The system notice describes in reasonable detail what information we obtain, what routine uses we make of it, the authorities for maintaining the system and so forth. This notice is published in the Federal Register and is publicly available. In our view, we are compliant with both the letter and spirit of the Privacy Act in this regard.

The answer to the second question is also “yes.” In fact, since IDW has been categorized as a “national security system,” the E-Government Act does not require it to undergo a privacy impact analysis (PIA) at all. Even so, FBI and DOJ policy requires a PIA to be conducted. For IDW, the FBI has done several PIA’s. We did one for the original system and did others as significant datasets were added to IDW. None of these systems were published since the law does not require them to be conducted in the first place. The point is that we have done far more to analyze the privacy implications of IDW than the law requires. Yes, the analyses have not been conducted in the public domain but Congress weighed the costs and benefits of conducting such an analysis in public and chose to exclude national security systems from that requirement when it passed the E- Government act.

For purposes of the E-Government Act, a National Security System is “an information system operated by the federal government, the function, operation or use of which involves: (a) intelligence activities, (b) cryptologic activities related to national security, (c) command and control of military forces, (d) equipment that is an integral part of a weapon or weapons systems, or (e) systems critical to the direct fulfillment of military or intelligence missions.”

A heavily redacted March 2005 FBI Electronic Communication enclosed a completely redacted Privacy Impact Assessment about the IDW. In August 2007, the Office of the Inspector General conducted an audit of “all major Department [of Justice] information technology (IT) systems and planned initiatives.” The OIG noted that it “did not obtain PIAs or explanations for the FBI’s IDW.”

IV. The Future of the IDW is Data Mining

When the FBI explained the IDW to Congress in 2004, it noted that when FBI Director Mueller testified about the IDW in 2003, he “used the term ‘data mining’ to be synonymous with ‘advanced analysis.’ The FBI does not conduct ‘data mining’ in accordance with the GAO definition, which means mining through large volumes of data with the intention of automatically predicting future activities.”

Nevertheless, in March 2003, the FBI issued its Fiscal Year 2004 (Oct. 2003 – Sep. 2004) budget, in which the Bureau had requested a new “Communications Application”:

The FBI requests $4,600,000 to obtain a software application that is capable of conducting sophisticated link analysis on extremely high volumes of telephone toll call data and other relational data. This software would enable the FBI to leverage modern technology to expeditiously conduct analyses of large collections of relational data.

By 2005, the FBI was still trying to minimize Congressional concerns over data mining. The FBI was concerned that the “distinction between a data mart and a data mining vehicle will be lost on those who just think we are looking into citizens’ lives too much.” On March 1, 2005, an unidentified Office of Congressional Affairs (OCA) employee noted in an email (emphasis original):

We had agreed on the following sentence as a way of avoiding some of the intricacies of data mining policy: “Where permitted by law, and appropriate to an authorized work activity, information gleaned from searching non-FBI databases may be included in FBI systems and, once there, may be accessed by employees conducting searches in furtherance of other authorized activities.”

Unfortunately, I couldn’t get that to fly, since that was the crux of the Senator’s inquiry.

In October 2005 FBI emails discuss the response to the August 2005 GAO report on data mining by the Foreign Terrorist Tracking Task Force (FTTTF). “In 2001, Homeland Security Presidential Directive-2 established the Foreign Terrorist Tracking Task Force (FTTTF) to provide actionable intelligence to law enforcement to assist in the location and detention and ultimate removal of terrorists and their supporters from the US.” The FTTTF “operates two information systems—one unclassified and one classified—that form the basis of its data mining activities,” using tools such as i2 Analyst Notebook application, Query Tracking and Initiation Program (QTIP), and Wareman. In addition to the FBI, “the participants in the FTTTF include the Department of Defense, the Department of Homeland Security’s Bureaus of Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Customs and Border Protection, the State Department, the Social Security Administration, the Office of Personnel Management, the Department of Energy, and the Central Intelligence Agency.”

In these 2005 emails, an OCA employee suggested a limitation on the scope of the FBI’s response to Congress: “Maybe we say that ‘FTTTF refers to an operational task force. We understand the question to ask about data mining initiatives of FTTTF.'”

Around the same time, an unidentified Office of the General Counsel employee wrote:

Finally – I’m concerned about the statement that we only have 3 data mining projects in the FBI. In the cover letter, you make the point that our definition of data mining only includes large sets of data but I still think the definition is very broad and could include other systems. For example, what about STAS systems? I am not familiar with those systems -(but we are starting work on a PIA so I will be in the near future) but my sense is that they collect and sift through a lot of data. What about EDMS and some of the other systems that collect tech cut data from FISAs and allow analysts to search through the data for relevant info? I would think that could be considered data mining under your definition – but I’ll defer to the CIO’s office on this issue. We just need to make sure we can distinguish these other projects.

A few years later, however, the FBI became less circumspect about marrying the data sets of the IDW with the data mining capabilities of the FTTTF. For the FBI’s FY2007 War Supplemental budget request, the FBI requested $10 million to consolidate the IDW and the FTTTF “and to develop and deploy a robust infrastructure capable of receiving, processing, and managing the quality of substantially increased amounts of additional data.

In its FY2008 “budget justification,” the FBI explained that “[t]he Investigative Data Warehouse (IDW), combined with FTTTF’s existing applications and business processes, will form the backbone of the NSB’s data exploitation system.” The FBI also requested “$11,969,000 … for the National Security Branch Analysis Center (NSAC).” It explains:

Once operational, the NSAC will be tasked to satisfy unmet analytical and technical needs of the NSB, particularly in the areas of bulk data analysis, pattern analysis, and trend analysis. … The NSAC will provide subject-based “link analysis” through the utilization of the FBI’s collection datasets, combined with public records on predicated subjects. “Link analysis” uses datasets to find links between subjects, suspects, and addresses or other pieces of relevant information, and other persons, places, and things. This technique is currently being used on a limited basis by the FBI; the NSAC will provide improved processes and greater access to this technique to all NSB components. The NSAC will also pursue “pattern analysis” as part of its service to the NSB. “Pattern analysis” queries take a predictive model or pattern of behavior and search for that pattern in datasets. The FBI’s efforts to define predictive models and patterns of behavior will improve efforts to identify “sleeper cells.”

“The National Security Analysis Center (NSAC) would bring together nearly 1.5 billion records created or collected by the FBI and other government agencies, a figure the FBI expects to quadruple in coming years.” In June 2007, after seeing this budget request and noting that “[d]ocuments predict the NSAC will include six billion records by FY2012,” the House Science and Technology Committee asked the Government Accountability Office to investigate the National Security Branch Analysis Center.

In 2008, the non-partisan National Research Council issued a 352-page study concluding that data mining is not an effective tool in the fight against terrorism. The report noted the poor quality of the data, the inevitability of false positives, the preliminary nature of the scientific evidence and individual privacy concerns in concluding that “automated identification of terrorists through data mining or any other mechanism is neither feasible as an objective nor desirable as a goal of technology development efforts.”


Acronyms

ABIS

Automated Biometric Identification System

ACS

Automated Case System

ASCII

American Standard Code for Information Interchange

CCD

Consular Consolidated Database

CLASP

Consular Lost and Stolen Passports

CLASS

Consular Lookout and Support System

CIA

Central Intelligence Agency

COTS

Commercial-Off-the-Shelf

CRS

Central Record System

CST

Consular Shared Tables

DARPA

Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency

DHS

Department of Homeland Security

DOJ

Department of Justice

DOS

Department of State

DBMS

Oracle Relational Database Management Systems

DVIS

Diversity Visa Information System

EC

Electronic Communication

ECF

Electronic Case File

EDMS

Electronic Surveillance Data Management System

FBI

Federal Bureau of Investigation

FinCEN

Financial Crimes Enforcement Network

FISA

Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act

FOIA

Freedom of Information Act

FTTTF

Foreign Terrorist Tracking Task Force

GAO

Government Accountability Office

IDW

Investigative Data Warehouse

IIR

Intelligence Information Reports

ISPG

Information Sharing Policy Group

JICI

Joint Intelligence Committee Inquiry

JTTF

Joint Terrorism Task Force

NAS

Network Attached Storage

NCIC

National Crime Information Center

NSAC

National Security Analysis Center

NSB

National Security Branch of the FBI

NSL

National Security Letter

OCA

Office of Congressional Affairs of the FBI

OCR

Optical Character Recognition

OGC

Office of the General Counsel

OIG

Office of the Inspector General

OPLSS

Online Passport Lost & Stolen System

PIA

Privacy Impact Assessment

PIERS

Passport Information Electronic Records System

QTIP

Query Tracking and Initiation Program

RAMS

Records Analysis Management System

SCOPE

Secure Counter-Terrorism/Collaboration Operational Prototype Environment

SCI

Sensitive Compartmented Information

SEVIS

Student and Exchange Visitor Information System

SPT

Special Projects Team

STAS

Special Technologies and Applications Section

TA

Telephone Application

TECS

Treasury Enforcement Communication System

TFOS

Terrorist Financing Operations Section

TIDES

Translingual Information Detection, Extraction and Summarization

TIFF

Tagged Image File Format

TSA

Transportation Security Administration

TSC

Terrorist Screening Center

TSDB

Terrorist Screening Database

TWL

Terrorist Watch List

TWWU

Terrorist Watch and Warning Unit

UNI

Universal Name Index

US-VISIT

United States Visitor and Immigrant Status Indicator Technology

USA PATRIOT

Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism

VCF

Virtual Case File

VGTOF

Violent Gang and Terrorist Organization File

VOIS

Visa Opinion Information Service

WRS

Waiver Review System