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[infowar.de] USAToday 1.07.02 Sicherheitsbehörden kämpfen mit alten Datenbanken
....na da kommt der Ruf nach neuen Geräten und Software und noch mehr
Informationssammlungsrechten bestimmt gelegen - ob das aber wirklich
auch die Sprachprobleme oder gar das Terrorismusproblem mildert, darf
July 1, 2002
U.S. Struggles With Outdated Databases
Aging system makes tracking suspects harder
By John Diamond, USA Today
WASHINGTON ? Since the attacks on Sept. 11, the Bush administration has
been scrambling to increase funding for computer hardware and software
to organize a flood of terrorism-related information.
The FBI's computerized storage and search capability was so woeful that
the bureau went to the Mormon Church for help this year. The Mormons
maintain a database containing millions of names, including alternate
spellings, used by people doing genealogical research on European
Government databases ? with names such as the Modernized Digitized
Intelligence System and Joint Virtual Intelligence Architecture ? remain
far behind their private sector counterparts.
"It's a 30-year-old, archaic system," one senior intelligence official
said. "You can't find anything in there."
Tracking thousands of obscure individuals from countries not known for
their record keeping is a relatively new challenge for an intelligence
community that came of age counting missile silos and bomber bases in
the Soviet Union.
The CIA and the Immigration and Naturalization Service have been
developing sophisticated computer programs to expand the government's
search capability. The capture of hundreds of suspected al-Qaeda members
in Afghanistan and the arrest and questioning of more than 2,000 terror
suspects around the world has helped authorities develop a "biometric"
database ? fingerprints, photographs, DNA samples. Biometric data can
help determine an identity more reliably than "biographic" information,
such as names and birthplaces, which can be falsified.
The INS has developed a forensic document lab with a growing body of
information on terrorists, including standardized procedures for
translating and spelling names. Translating names to English from Arabic
can result in a variety of spellings. But these procedures aren't always
used by other U.S. agencies.
The CIA, meanwhile, has developed a "link analysis system" in its
Counter-Terrorism Center that can help investigators determine family
relations among suspected terrorists.
At the FBI, computer systems lag years behind the latest industry
"The CIA is ahead of us," FBI Director Robert Mueller told a Senate
hearing last week. "One of the deficiencies is, if I put my name in (the
FBI computer) you have to put it in exactly, M-u-e-l-l-e-r, you have to
put it in explicitly. It will not pull up any variations."
A U.S. intelligence official describes how glitches can occur: The
National Security Agency intercepts communications among suspected
terrorists that a "Khalid" will be attending a key meeting. But was that
"Khalid" or perhaps "Khalad"? And given that the name is about as common
in the Arab world as Smith is in the USA, how can intelligence
operatives identify the participant?
Adding to the difficulty is the flood of al-Qaeda suspects that U.S.
intelligence and law enforcement must follow.
In the three months before Sept. 11, the CIA forwarded an average of 300
names per month to U.S. agencies watching for terrorist activity. In
September, the number spiked to nearly 1,000. In October, it peaked at
1,400 names. It has leveled off at less than 900 new names per month.
And that's only the names being gathered by the CIA. The FBI, INS and
other agencies have their own lists.
One former national security official questions the focus on
"Surveillance of the means that terrorists could employ is potentially
more important than surveillance of persons who might be terrorists, and
raises far fewer civil liberties issues," Ashton Carter, a senior
Pentagon official in the Clinton administration who is now at Harvard,
told senators at a recent hearing.
Keeping tabs on all Middle Eastern males in the USA would be excessive,
"But inquiring after all those who take flying lessons but are not
interested in learning to take off or land, who rent crop dusters, or
who seek information on the antibiotic resistance of anthrax strains or
the layout of a nuclear power plant is feasible and extremely useful,"
The government already is tracking individuals who appear interested in
breaking into sensitive government computer networks. The Pentagon and
other agencies try to lure out potential cyber-terrorists using "honey
pots," Web addresses with titles that might attract plotters by
including references to a senior official's personal files or words that
suggest they might contain classified information. The government can
track who logs onto such sites and pursue their identities.
HSFK Hessische Stiftung für Friedens- und Konfliktforschung
PRIF Peace Research Institute Frankfurt
Leimenrode 29 60322 Frankfurt a/M Germany
Tel +49 (0)69 9591 0422 Fax +49 (0)69 5584 81
Mobil 0172 3196 006
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