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[infowar.de] Homeland Security, Homeland Profits
Hier mal ein recht kritischer Blick auf die Hintergründe der
US-Überwachungsvorhaben nach dem 11. September. Wayne Madsen war früher
selber bei der NSA und arbeitet jetzt für das Electronic Privacy
Information Center (EPIC) in Washington. RB
Homeland Security, Homeland Profits
By Wayne Madsen
Special to CorpWatch
December 21, 2001
WASHINGTON, DC -- Recent moves to beef up intelligence gathering in the
wake of the September 11th terrorist attacks have civil libertarians
concerned that law enforcement agencies will entangle many law abiding
citizens and social justice groups in their surveillance missions.
Intelligence networks are setting their sights on the Internet, which
up to now has had no clear privacy guidelines. Under the provisions of
the inaptly named anti-terrorism act, "USA-PATRIOT," the Federal Bureau
of Investigation (FBI), National Security Agency (NSA), Central
Intelligence Agency (CIA), and a number of other smaller law
enforcement agencies are looking for ways to monitor the Internet and
mine useful intelligence from it. And new technology makes it easier
than ever to spy on the Internet.
Although law enforcement and intelligence agencies claim they are
merely looking for information to counter future acts of terrorism, the
definition of "terrorism" is being expanded to cover non-violent groups
that have traditionally used the Internet to marshal resistance to
corporate-inspired globalization. Politicians are already painting
dissent as "unpatriotic" and therefore somehow linked to terrorism.
Meanwhile, a phalanx of software companies, consultants, and defense
contractors stand to reap billions of dollars over the next few years
by selling surveillance and information-gathering systems to government
agencies and the private sector.
Technology Already in the Hands of Law Enforcement
Law enforcement agencies like the FBI already have at their disposal a
massive information sharing network through which federal, state,
local, and foreign police forces can exchange information on groups
felt to pose a threat. The system, RISSNET, or Regional Information
Sharing System Network, which existed before the September 11th
attacks, recently got a boost when Congress authorized additional money
for it in the USA PATRIOT Act.
RISSNET is a secure intranet that connects 5,700 law enforcement
agencies in all 50 states, as well as agencies in Ontario and Quebec,
the District of Columbia, Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico,
and Australia. According to sources close to the Washington
Metropolitan Police, data on targeted local groups such as the Alliance
for Global Justice, the anti-World Bank/International Monetary Fund
activist organization, has been shared with other jurisdictions through
RISSNET has also been used to coordinate the monitoring of the
activities of anti-globalization protestors in Seattle, Quebec City,
Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Washington DC and Genoa. For example, when
the FBI seized network server logs from Independent Media Center (IMC)
in Seattle during the April 2001 anti-free trade protests in Quebec
City, RISSNET was used to coordinate activities across jurisdictional
boundaries. The IMC, founded during the 1999 WTO protests, allows
activists and independent journalists to post directly to its site.
State and metropolitan police intelligence units also monitor the web
sites of activist organizations in their jurisdictions. All RISS
intelligence is archived by an Orwellian-sounding entity called
MAGLOCLEN or "Middle Atlantic-Great Lakes Organized Crime Law
Enforcement Network." There are other regional RISS intelligence
centers around the country with equally mysterious acronyms. MAGLOCLEN,
a nerve center headquartered in Newtown, Pennsylvania, distributes
political intelligence to all police departments hooked up to RISSNET.
MAGLOCLEN allows police investigators to link various activist groups
and members through the Link Association Analysis sub-system, a
relational data base that identifies the "friends and families" of
groups and individuals. The Telephone Record Analysis sub-system can
call up records of phone calls of targeted groups and individuals. A
suspect group's banking and other commercial data can be monitored by
the Financial Analysis sub-system. And through a system that would have
been the envy of J. Edgar Hoover, police and federal agents can also
call up profiles that provide specific information on the composition
of organizations, including their membership lists. The Justice
Department has instituted a project called RISSNET II, which directly
links the individual databases contained within the various RISS
The FBI also runs its own intranet called Law Enforcement On-line or
"LEO," which allows it to communicate intelligence with select other
law enforcement agencies. In the aftermath of September 11th , the FBI
is under pressure to open up LEO to more police agencies so they can
have access to more real-time intelligence. If Attorney General John
Ashcroft lifts restrictions placed on the FBI's collection of political
intelligence, undoubtedly information on the First Amendment activities
of American citizens will wind up in the Bureau's computer databases.
"There has been no indication that the FBI needs expanded spying
powers," says Center for Constitutional Rights attorney Michael Ratner.
"We should learn from history; spying on dissent is not only unlawful
but it is abusive."
This kind of surveillance is not new. In the 1960s and 70s, the FBI's
Counter Intelligence Program, known as COINTELPRO, was used to gather
personal details on the lives and habits of a wide array of activists
ranging from public figures like Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., actress
Jane Fonda and noted pediatrician Benjamin Spock, to members of local
anti-war and civil rights groups. This information was often used to
disrupt lawful organizing and protest activities.
A modern-day FBI list might include any group deemed "terrorist" by any
law enforcement agencies, the military, or criminal prosecutors. That
could subject organizations as varied -- and unconnected to terrorism
-- as Earth First, Greenpeace, the American Indian Movement, the
Zapatista National Liberation Front, ACT UP, and their supporters to a
wide array of high-tech surveillance and eavesdropping tools.
Chief among spy agency tools is an e-mail sniffing program known as
Carnivore. Changes brought about by USA-PATRIOT allow federal law
enforcement officials to petition a secretive federal court called the
Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court for warrants to tap phones,
read e-mail, or break and enter into homes or offices to conduct
searches and plant bugging devices. These spy activities can be carried
out without proof that an organization has links to terrorists or
foreign intelligence agencies.
To read e-mail the FBI can order an Internet Service Provider to place
a special monitoring computer called Carnivore (now renamed Data
Collection System 1000) on its network servers. The FBI can then select
the e-mail of surveillance targets for capture and storage. Not content
with this device, the FBI now seeks to expand its surveillance
capability to the entire Internet.
Making a Buck off of Government Spying
Companies that are positioning themselves to help the government
surveill the web came out in force at a recent Homeland Security
Conference in Washington. They included Oracle, Microsoft, Information
Builders, Choice Point, Man Tech, AMS, and Booz Allen & Hamilton.
Government speakers from civilian and military agencies all stressed
that they urgently need the technology to store surveillance-derived
intelligence and exchange it with other agencies. If these corporations
step up to the plate on developing new surveillance, monitoring, and
biometric ID systems, they stand to make billions.
Companies like Top Layer Networks, Inc. of Westboro, Massachusetts, are
developing ways for FBI to install surveillance systems at a few key
Internet hubs which would allow federal agents to remotely flip a
switch and pound a few keys to begin monitoring the e-mail or web-based
mail of any targeted group or individual. According to chief Top Layer
engineer Ken Georgiades, the firm is working with a number of partners
to develop new standards for the legal interception of communications
at the Internet Service Provider level and at higher gigabit speeds.
The higher gigabit intercept equipment would be placed at major
Internet backbone hubs in strategic locations like Washington, DC, the
San Francisco Bay Area, Chicago, Dallas, and Los Angeles. Georgiades
said that the1994 Communications Assistance to Law Enforcement Act
(CALEA) does not currently extend to the Internet and only applies to
telecommunications companies. However, the fact that Top Layer and its
unspecified partners are ramping up to deliver CALEA-like wiretapping
services for the Internet indicates the FBI sees the power of CALEA
growing beyond phone lines to the web. And Georgiades pointed out that
foreign governments are under no such constraints and can use Internet
snooping equipment under existing current wiretapping laws.
David Banisar, Research Fellow at Harvard's Information Infrastructure
Project, said such systems "set a dangerous precedent to allow law
enforcement and intelligence agencies to run the communications
system." He added, "these agencies take an over-inclusive view of who
they think are the enemies and its likely that civil and human rights
groups will, again, be monitored for no legitimate reason."
The large defense and intelligence consulting and engineering firm
Booz, Allen & Hamilton has not only developed the FBI's Carnivore
capability but it has assisted the bureau in ensuring that all
telecommunications companies engineer their systems to ensure they are
"wiretap friendly." The companies are required by the Communications
Assistance to Law Enforcement Act to ensure the FBI has access to all
forms of telecommunications, including cellular calls.
What if a target decides to use encryption to protect their e-mail from
interception? That is not a problem for the FBI. Booz Allen & Hamilton
has helped develop a system code-named Magic Lantern, which permits a
virus containing a key logging program to be secretly transmitted to a
recipient. After installing itself on the target's computer, any time
the target types in a password to decrypt a message, that same password
is immediately picked up by Magic Lantern and transmitted to the FBI.
Essentially, the FBI has a virtual master key to break any encryption
program used by a surveillance target.
A companion program to Magic Lantern, code named Cyber Knight, is a
relational database system that compares and matches information from
e-mail, Internet relay chats, instant messages, and Internet voice
Not to be outdone by the FBI, the CIA has also been extremely active in
developing software than can dig deep within the Internet to harvest
information. The CIA has relied heavily on its wholly-owned and
operated proprietary Silicon Valley company, IN-Q-TEL, to fund research
and development for Internet snooping software. IN-Q-TEL's President
and Chief Executive Officer Gilman Louie is to keynote a January 2002
Las Vegas seminar on the use of emerging intelligence technology to
search and analyze the web. He is to be joined by Joan Dempsey, the
Deputy Director of the CIA for Intelligence Community Management.
IN-Q-TEL's web page describes the aggressive attitude the CIA is taking
toward ensuring new technologies come complete with the spy agency's
seal of approval, "IN-Q-TEL strives to extend the Agency's access to
new IT companies, solutions, and approaches to address their priority
Assisting the government in its goals to gather massive amounts of
personal information on citizens and non-citizens, is a company that
owes its very existence to the CIA. Oracle, Inc. Chairman Larry Ellison
has offered to provide to the government free of charge the database
software required to establish an interactive national ID card system.
Oracle got its start when the CIA gave Ellison a contract in the 1970s
to design a system to enable the agency to store and retrieve massive
amounts if information in databases. Not coincidentally, the code name
of that CIA project was "Oracle."
The rush by the government to monitor the Internet has the backing of a
group of federal contract research facilities that have pounded out
report after report warning about the threat of cyberspace to national
security. These "think tanks" include Rand Corporation and Analytical
Services Corporation (ANSER). They are assisted in this policy
laundering effort by the Center for Strategic and International
Studies, the K Street rest home for former Pentagon, intelligence, and
State Department political appointees.
But all the technology in the world will not protect citizens from
terrorist attacks, unless the government knows how to use the
information effectively. As the government and a few selected companies
and think tanks push for new surveillance laws and more monitoring of
the Internet and telecommunications in general, the words of Mary
Schiavo, the Transportation Department's former Inspector General and
outspoken critic of lax airline security, are particularly poignant.
Speaking in Washington on December 18, Schiavo pointed out that the
"United States already had laws to prevent what happened on September
11th . . . they weren't being enforced."
Wayne Madsen is a Washington-based journalist who covers intelligence,
national security, and foreign affairs. He is also a Senior Fellow of
the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) in Washington, DC and
author of "Genocide and Covert Operations in Africa 1993-1999" (Mellen
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