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As I noted here at DKos on March 23rd of last year, in my post republished below, Attorney General Eric Holder signed off on "Total Information Awareness."

No matter what you may hear from the mouths of our country’s leaders, or from the MSM parroting their propaganda, much to the contrary it’s all a done deal.

Let me spell it out for you in another manner, via a couple of sentences: Whenever our government wishes to investigate potential national security threats (no matter where they may originate in our country: among all citizens, including members of the press), virtually every database is fair game for that effort; and this relates to historical analysis going back five years on virtually everyone in this country, too. We’re talking everything: email, Twitter, credit and debit card transactions (right now, I may go onto my TBTF bank’s website and, in a few clicks, obtain every transaction I’ve made in the past seven years), bank account information, cellular phone GPS coordinates, landline and cell conversations (per my post here last week), and just about every single piece of data virtually any entity has on any individual in the U.S. (again, going back five years). (You should read these two sentences again.)

Even more succinctly, in other words, the 800 lb. gorilla in the room is this: When our government requests a subpoena, it’s based upon knowledge/information to which it ALREADY maintains access. (It’s not a stretch to state that they have already reviewed that information, too.) And, frankly, it’s just authorization to use it in court.

And, to all those that claim this is “teh conspiracy theory,” here’s the Wiki page link (and an excerpt) on the (Total) Information Awareness Office

Components of TIA projects that continue to be developed

Despite the withdrawal of funding for the TIA and the closing of the IAO, the core of the project survived.[3][4][25] Legislators included a classified annex to the Defense Appropriations Act that preserved funding for TIA's component technologies, if they were transferred to other government agencies. TIA projects continued to be funded under classified annexes to Defense and Intelligence appropriation bills. However, the act also stipulated that the technologies only be used for military or foreign intelligence purposes against foreigners.[26]

TIA's two core projects are now operated by Advanced Research and Development Activity (ARDA) located among the 60-odd buildings of "Crypto City" at NSA headquarters in Fort Meade, MD. ARDA itself has been shifted from the NSA to the Disruptive Technology Office (run by to the Director of National Intelligence). They are funded by National Foreign Intelligence Program for foreign counterterrorism intelligence purposes.

One technology, codenamed "Basketball" is the Information Awareness Prototype System, the core architecture to integrate all the TIA's information extraction, analysis, and dissemination tools. Work on this project is conducted by SAIC through its former Hicks & Associates consulting arm run by former Defense and military officials and which had originally been awarded US$19 million IAO contract to build the prototype system in late 2002.[27]

The other project has been re-designated "TopSail" (formerly Genoa II) and would provide IT tools to help anticipate and preempt terrorist attacks. SAIC has also been contracted to work on Topsail, including a US$3.7 million contract in 2005.

The Information Awareness Office was then folded into The Disruptive Technology Office:
The Disruptive Technology Office (DTO) is a funding agency within the United States Intelligence Community. It was until recently known as Advanced Research and Development Activity (ARDA).

ARDA was created in 1998 after the model of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) by the Director of Central Intelligence and the Department of Defense, and took responsibility for funding some of DARPA's projects. ARDA evaluates proposals and funds speculative research, particularly in the fields of data mining, video processing, and quantum computing.

There has been speculation that the DTO is continuing research efforts started under the Total Information Awareness program (TIA) in DARPA's Information Awareness Office (IAO). Data-mining activities within the US Department of Defense are controversial and have met with public and congressional disapproval.

Although ARDA's budget is presumably classified as part of the intelligence budget, the New York Times quoted an unnamed former government official saying the agency spent about $100 million a year in 2003. The Associated Press reports that ARDA had a staff of only eight in 2004.

Headquartered at Fort George G. Meade in Maryland, site of the headquarters of the National Security Agency, ARDA/DTO has kept a low profile, quietly funding research of interest to the intelligence community.

In December 2007, DTO was folded into the newly created IARPA [1]. A move to a research park near the University of Maryland, College Park was announced at about the same time [2].

From SourceWatch: “Gov't Quietly Brings Back Total Information Awareness
Reuters has obtained a Congressional report that shows nine months after Congress shut down the controversial Pentagon computer-surveillance program called Total Information Awareness, the U.S. government continues to comb private records and databases to sniff out suspicious activity. Peter Swire, who served as the Clinton administration's top official said "I believe that Total Information Awareness is continuing under other names."—reported by Democracy Now!, June 3, 2004.

IAO Research

As part of the IAO's "Total Information Awareness" program, several new technologies are being researched.

•    Effective Affordable Reusable Speech-to-text, or EARS, has a stated goal of "developing speech-to-text (automatic transcription) technology whose output is substantially richer and much more accurate than currently possible." This program is focusing on broadcast and telephone human conversations in multiple languages, necessary for the computerized analysis of the massive amount of phone tapping the IAO now has the right to perform without a legal warrant.

•    Futures Markets Applied to Prediction, or FutureMAP, intends to "concentrate on market-based techniques for avoiding surprise and predicting future events." It will analyze data from the world's economy in attempt to predict political instability, threats to national security, and in general every major event in the near future. The IAO's stated strategy for this division includes "the markets must also be sufficiently robust to withstand manipulation," possibly suggesting the intention of altering future events to further the goals of the United States. See prediction market for more detail on the general phenomenon and its relationship to propaganda efforts.

•    Genisys is the name given to the database system which will be implemented as the center of information for the IAO. Currently used database systems designed in the 1980s are insufficient for the massive amount of data to be gathered.

•    Genoa "provides the structured argumentation, decision-making and corporate memory to rapidly deal with and adjust to dynamic crisis management." In essence, this program is designed to make conclusions and decisions based on available information, incorporating human analysis, corporate history, and a structured set of thinking. This research project was finished in fiscal year 2002, and is being followed up by Genoa II, which effectively automates the collaboration between government departments.

•    Human Identification at a Distance, or HumanID, "is to develop automated biometric identification technologies to detect, recognize and identify humans at great distances." This program intends to be able to implement a face and gait identification system effective up to 150 meters at all times by fiscal year 2004. An extreme proposed version of this is called cognotechnology and would rely on nanotechnology.

•    Translingual Information Detection, Extraction and Summarization, or TIDES, is being developed to detect, translate, summarize, and extract information in speech or text in multiple languages. Demonstration of machine capabilities and integration into Total Information Awareness systems is expected in 2003.

•    Wargaming the Asymmetric Environment, or WAE, is intended to develop automated technology capable of predicting terrorist attacks, identifying predictive indicators by examining individual and group behavior in broad environmental context. The WAE will also develop intervention strategies based on the motivation of specific terrorists.

T.I.A. Contractors

•    Booz Allen & Hamilton Inc. is the 'integrator' responsible for tying hardware, artificial intelligence, inputs, etc. together…

So, as to all of this kabuki about the government claiming it doesn’t spy on its citizens (including everyone in the press), essentially, it’s all propaganda. Again, my sentence from above: When our government requests a subpoena, it’s based upon knowledge/information to which it ALREADY maintains access. (It’s not a stretch to state that they have already reviewed that information, too.) And, frankly, it’s just authorization to use it in court.
NYT's Orwellian Lead: AG Holder Officially Signs Off On "Total Information Awareness" For All
Daily Kos
March 23, 2012

Just a week after James Bamford’s stunning cover story in Wired Magazine informed us that the National Security Agency was building a multi-billion-dollar data center near Salt Lake City which will be (more than just “theoretically,” as of its scheduled 2013 completion) capable of warehousing and data-mining virtually every phone call, email, and database (both public and secured) in the world, we’re now learning, via a lead story in Friday’s New York Times that, yesterday, Attorney General Eric Holder signed-off on new guidelines for the National Counterterrorism Center which enable it to: a.) maintain entire copies of as many databases as that organization sees fit, both via its own efforts and those of “other agencies,” b.) datamine those databases,  and then c.) “…retain private information about Americans when there is no suspicion that they are tied to terrorism, intelligence officials said,” for up to five years.

As I noted at the top of my post here on Saturday (see second link in paragraph above)…

I really don’t know where to begin here, so I won’t. Very simply, if you have any doubts that people in the United States maintain ANY rights to privacy, whatsoever, those doubts will be dispelled by James Bamford’s mind-blowing cover story, published online just over 24 hours ago, and appearing in the latest edition of Wired Magazine, “The NSA Is Building the Country’s Biggest Spy Center (Watch What You Say).”
I’ll now amend that for this post to read: “…those doubts will be dispelled by Charlie Savage’s Orwellian news lead in Friday’s New York Times.”
U.S. Relaxes Limits on Use of Data in Terror Analysis
New York Times (Lead Story)
Friday, March 23rd, 2012

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration is moving to relax restrictions on how counterterrorism analysts may retrieve, store and search information about Americans gathered by government agencies for purposes other than national security threats.

Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. on Thursday signed new guidelines for the National Counterterrorism Center, which was created in 2004 to foster intelligence sharing and serve as a terrorism threat clearinghouse.

The guidelines will lengthen to five years — from 180 days — the amount of time the center can retain private information about Americans when there is no suspicion that they are tied to terrorism, intelligence officials said. The guidelines are also expected to result in the center making more copies of entire databases and “data mining them” using complex algorithms to search for patterns that could indicate a threat…

…The changes are intended to allow analysts to more quickly identify terrorism suspects. But they also set off civil-liberties concerns among privacy advocates who invoked the “Total Information Awareness” program. That program, proposed early in the George W. Bush administration and partially shut down by Congress after an outcry, proposed fusing vast archives of electronic records — like travel records, credit card transactions, phone calls and more — and searching for patterns of a hidden terrorist cell.

Upon further reading, we learn that Kate Martin, the director of the Center for National Security Studies, “criticized the administration for not making the draft guidelines public for scrutiny ahead of time.”

Earlier in the piece, Martin stated: “We’re all in the dark, and for all we know it could be a rerun of Total Information Awareness, which would have allowed the government to make a computerized database of everything on everybody.”

The article tells us that national intelligence director James R. Clapper Jr., and the director of the National Counterterrorism Center (NCC), Matthew G. Olsen, also signed-off on the document.

We learn in the Times’ piece that the NCC will have three “tracks” to obtain data “gathered by another agency”, including: a.) by “doing a limited search itself for certain data,” b.) “by asking another agency to perform such a search,” or, c.) “in cases where neither was sufficient — by replicating the database and analyzing the information itself.”

The article comes right out and states that: “…greater emphasis on the third track” will be facilitated under the new guidelines.

Additionally, we learn that restrictions on “pattern analysis,” which were both technologically and administratively prohibited under the first two tracks, to date, will not apply to databases that the NCC has copied.

Numerous individuals and organizations, such as Marc Rotenberg, executive director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, “voiced concerns about how the guidelines would interact with proposals to give the government greater access to telecommunications information in order to protect critical infrastructure from hackers.”

And, apparently, we’re informed that there’s little or nothing noted in the new guidelines relating to the use and/or acquisition of commercial data (i.e.: credit cards, consumer banking information, travel records, etc.) “that may have been acquired by other agencies.”

However, Friday’s NYT story reminds us of a feature in Wired Magazine from September 2009, where that publication obtained a list of databases acquired by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, one of the agencies that shares information with the center. It included nearly 200 million records transferred from private data brokers like ChoicePoint, 55,000 entries on customers of Wyndham hotels, and numerous other travel and commercial records.

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UPDATE NOTE: Jesselyn Radack (read more from and about her, below, as well) has just weighed-in on this morning's news on the NY Times' front page. Her post is here: "Govt. Keeping Data on Americans with No Connection to Terrorism."

(Back to the original post, from earlier this morning.)

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As I also noted in last Saturday’s post…

I cannot wait to read fellow Kossack Jesselyn Radack’s take on this mind-numbing news. (For those reading this who aren’t aware of her work, she’s the director of National Security and Human Rights at the Government Accountability Project.) When it comes to “the whistleblowing beat” in this community and in the real world, she has it covered. We are very fortunate to have her as a contributor to this community! (Click on the link above in this paragraph for links to her most recent posts.)

And, speaking of those whom we are very fortunate to have as contributors to this community, also checkout one of our newest Kossack’s, Thomas Drake’s, first couple of posts, also from this past week, “UPDATE: I was First Whistleblower Prosecuted Under the Espionage Act in Recent Government Rampage,”
and “Release of Stevens Report - Why is Welch Still Practicing Law at the Department of Injustice?

Less than 48 hours ago, Ms. Radack posted this (concerning her appearance on Democracy Now with Thomas Drake, and then both of them with author and journalist James Bamford), right on queue: “Fellow Kossack Thomas Drake and I on Democracy Now Discussing NSA's Warrantless Spying.”

Based purely upon the information reported by Jim Bamford in Wired, last week, and the lead in today’s NY Times, it is fully self-evident to this author that by sometime next year we will all be living in an age of Total Information Awareness, where the government has virtually immediate access to all information—private and public, including all emails, phone calls and data—about everyone, 24/7/365.

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Originally posted to on Sun May 26, 2013 at 10:28 AM PDT.

Also republished by Whistleblowers Round Table.

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