Back in America, the spying on citizens continues: Intelligence: The Pentagon—Spying in America?:
- Ever since the 1970s, when Army intel agents were caught snooping on antiwar protesters, military intel agencies have operated under tight restrictions inside the United States. But the new provision, approved in closed session last month by the Senate Intelligence Committee, would eliminate one big restriction: that they comply with the Privacy Act, a Watergate-era law that requires government officials seeking information from a resident to disclose who they are and what they want the information for. The CIA always has been exempt—although by law it isn't supposed to operate inside the United States. The new provision would now extend the same exemption to Pentagon agencies such as the Defense Intelligence Agency—so they can help track terrorists. A report by the Senate Intelligence Committee says the provision would allow military intel agents to "approach potential sources and collect personal information from them" without disclosing they work for the government.
They get your emails, too: Interception of E-Mail Raises Questions :
- In an online eavesdropping case with potentially profound implications, a federal appeals court ruled it was acceptable for a company that offered e-mail service to surreptitiously track [and read] its subscribers' messages.
And let's not forget that TIAS is still on the move: What Price Freedom?
- Despite Congressional action cutting funding, and the resignation of the program’s controversial director, retired admiral John Poindexter, DARPA’s TIA program is alive and well and prying into the personal business of Americans 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
“When Congress cut the funding, the Pentagon – with administration approval – simply moved the program into a ‘black bag’ account,” says a security consultant who worked on the DARPA project. “Black bag programs don’t require Congressional approval and are exempt from traditional oversight.”
DARPA also hired private contractors to fill many of the roles in the program, which helped evade detection by Congressional auditors. Using a private security firm like Cantwell, instead of the Federal Protective Service, helped keep TIA off the radar screen. . . .
“Basically, TIA builds a profile of every American who has a bank account, uses credit cards and has a credit record,” says security expert Allen Banks. “The profile establishes norms based on the person’s spending and travel habits. Then the system looks for patterns that break from the norms, such of purchases of materials that are considered likely for terrorist activity, travel to specific areas or a change in spending habits.”
Patterns that fit pre-defined criteria result in an investigative alert and the individual becomes a “person of interest” who is referred to the Department of Justice and Department of Homeland Security, Banks says.