October 8, 2008
According to a report released by the National Research Council, 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.” Inevitable false positives, writes Declan McCullagh for CNet News, will result in “ordinary, law-abiding citizens and businesses” being incorrectly flagged as suspects. McCullagh writes that the report “amounts to at least a partial repudiation of the Defense Department’s controversial data-mining program called Total Information Awareness, which was limited by Congress in 2003.”
|The NSA is not looking for "secret terrorism cells" as claimed, but is rather in the process of implementing the largest and most comprehensive snoop and control apparatus in the world.|
TIA, however, was not put out to pasture by Congress, as the former Clintonite Peter Swire admits. “I believe that Total Information Awareness is continuing under other names,” he told Democracy Now. Reuters obtained a congressional report that revealed nine months after Congress allegedly shut down TIA, the U.S. government continues to comb private records and databases.
“Total Information Awareness — the all-seeing terrorist spotting algorithm-meets-the-mother-of-all-databases that was ostensibly de-funded by Congress in 2003, never actually died, and was largely rebuilt in secret by the NSA, according to the Wall Street Journal’s Siobhan Gorman,” Ryan Singel writes for Wired. Singel reports that “the NSA is collecting and sifting through immense amounts of data about who Americans talk to, what they are interested in, how they spend their money and where they travel in order to find secret terrorism cells inside America.”
The NSA is not looking for “secret terrorism cells” as claimed, but is rather in the process of implementing the largest and most comprehensive snoop and control apparatus in the world, designed to monitor and profile the activity of average Americans and, more specifically, Americans who may actively oppose the government. The NSA works closely with the FBI, the CIA, and military intelligence in this massive effort.
- A d v e r t i s e m e n t
“Since the creation of the NSA by President Truman, its spying capability has frequently been used to monitor the activities of an unsuspecting public,” writes Patrick S. Poole. From Project Shamrock to Project Minaret and Operation CHAOS, the government has not only surveilled those opposed to government policies, but has consistently sabotaged their efforts. As the revelations of the CIA’s so-called “family jewels” revealed, the agency worked with the NSA to monitor the communications of U.S. citizens active in the antiwar movement, a violation of the CIA’s charter.
“During the 1950s and 1960s, FBI director J. Edgar Hoover kicked FBI domestic spying into high gear. FBI agents compiled secret dossiers, illegally wiretapped, used undercover plants, and agent provocateurs, sent poison pen letters, and staged black bag jobs against black activists and anti-war groups,” notes Earl Ofari Hutchinson.
The National Research Council report says “U.S. government agencies should be required to follow a systematic process to evaluate the effectiveness, lawfulness, and consistency with U.S. values of every information-based program” and “should be subjected to robust, independent oversight of the operations of that program.”
Unfortunately, such recommendations miss the point — Total Information Awareness, or whatever the government now calls its high-tech snoop apparatus, is not about sniffing out sleeper terrorists, it is about erecting a control grid for the American people, who are considered the enemy.
“This is the prison without bars,” warns Paul Joseph Watson. “This is the panopticon, a prison so constructed that the inspector can see each of the prisoners at all times, without being seen. This is a portrait of the accelerating movement by western governments to erect giant, powerful, all-pervading mass surveillance, tracking and control grids that will keep all populations firmly under the baleful and watchful gaze of Big Brother.”