Total Information Awareness Lives On (TIA)
February 27, 2006 12:55 PM   Subscribe

NSA continues TIA (Total Information Awareness) program under different name "Total Information Awareness Lives On", a Democracy Now follow up on a 2/23 story from the National Journal. This was reported earlier in the Christian Science Monitor US Plans Massive Data Sweep Another Newsweek story, Wanted: Competent Big Brothers talks about TIA activities continuing under a program called TOPSAIL.
posted by notmtwain (25 comments total)
Listening to the Democracy Now segment on this made me realize that this is much, much bigger than the threat of listening in to foreign-domestic phone calls without warrants.
posted by notmtwain at 12:57 PM on February 27, 2006

Democracy Now! report at
Sorry, I cant do HTML.
posted by wheelieman at 12:59 PM on February 27, 2006

Thanks for posting this. The world needs to know whats up.
posted by wheelieman at 1:01 PM on February 27, 2006

The link to the Democracy Now page on this.
posted by notmtwain at 1:05 PM on February 27, 2006

posted by keswick at 1:08 PM on February 27, 2006

But can they do anything with the information that they collect?
posted by QuestionableSwami at 1:12 PM on February 27, 2006

That link from John Dean (that John Dean), "Why Should Anyone Worry...", is great. Thanks honunculus.
posted by notmtwain at 1:15 PM on February 27, 2006

Supersexy anecdotal version available here. via /.
posted by butterstick at 1:40 PM on February 27, 2006

Awesome. I love monitoring. I feel so much safer, I can hardly tell you.

Oh, did I mention that last night my wife was giving our kid a bath, and she told me to take pictures, and I was very reluctant to do so (and made a point of telling her not to share them with anyone else) because I don't want someone to scream "child pornography!" and take my kids away?

Yep, I couldn't be happier that everything is being monitored. Whee!
posted by davejay at 1:51 PM on February 27, 2006

I think they should hire metafilter's double post monitors. Those people are top information analysts.
posted by srboisvert at 2:07 PM on February 27, 2006

I love that convincing d'efesne of the system: we have caught terrorists using the system. We are not able to tell you who or where or when because of the secret nature of our work.

Just trust the administration. Heck, their record to date suggests no need not to trust them, right?
posted by Postroad at 2:11 PM on February 27, 2006

I simply don't see how a TIA-like program can be avoided. These folks are going to pursue it no matter what. The methods are there and will be getting only better, and it's not overtly morally offensive like torture, so it can be conditioned into the populace.
posted by moonbiter at 2:44 PM on February 27, 2006

What are you talking about? They ended the TIA program.
*Steve Forbes stare*
posted by Smedleyman at 2:46 PM on February 27, 2006

STFI lib-tards. The FBI will never bug and blackmail Martin Luther King again. That uppity commie rabble-rouser is dead.
posted by orthogonality at 3:04 PM on February 27, 2006

Everything that's been announced as "ended" or even denied by this current Administration as "non-existent" would appear to have continued or existed. Last year Bush said (famously too) that wiretaps always required warrants -- something that's since proven to be nothing but a lie. TIA was supposedly through? apparently not. The Office of Strategic Influence may have been officially shut down, but the money spent by Washington to literally buy media space for its propaganda seem to indicate that we've been fooled again.

What can one believe from the White House? Really. What are they going to say that won't be proven false a few months of years down the line?
posted by clevershark at 4:24 PM on February 27, 2006

The take-away lesson, as others have pointed out, is that government programs never die. They just get broken up into little pieces, or go underground. Or both.

A possible silver lining is that Bushco provides, on a daily basis, a reminder that the price of freedom is eternal vigilance toward what your government is doing against you.

On the other hand, this thread has elicited a paltry 17 comments, most of them resigned to a bleak future. Outrage fatigue or attention deficit?
posted by oncogenesis at 5:37 PM on February 27, 2006

I can't wait till this is all behind us. But who really thinks that the next guy in line will do any different?
posted by Balisong at 5:40 PM on February 27, 2006

In 2003, lawmakers voted to shut down Total Information Awareness - a program that developed technologies to predict terrorist attacks by mining government databases and the personal records of people in the United States.

Months earlier New York Times columnist William Safire had warned about the dangers of the program. In a column headlined "You Are A Suspect" Safire wrote:

"If the Homeland Security Act is not amended before passage, here is what will happen to you:

"Every purchase you make with a credit card, every magazine subscription you buy and medical prescription you fill, every Web site you visit and e-mail you send or receive, every academic grade you receive, every bank deposit you make, every trip you book and every event you attend -- all these transactions and communications will go into what the Defense Department describes as 'a virtual, centralized grand database.'

"To this computerized dossier on your private life from commercial sources, add every piece of information that government has about you -- passport application, driver's license and bridge toll records, judicial and divorce records, complaints from nosy neighbors to the F.B.I., your lifetime paper trail plus the latest hidden camera surveillance -- and you have the supersnoop's dream: a "Total Information Awareness" about every U.S. citizen.

"This is not some far-out Orwellian scenario. It is what will happen to your personal freedom in the next few weeks if John Poindexter gets the unprecedented power he seeks."

Following public outcry, the program was halted primarily because of privacy concerns, but also because its main advocate was John Poindexter, known for his involvement with the Iran-Contra scandal of the 1980s.

It now appears that the project "was stopped in name only" and that TIA is in fact continuing. The National Journal reports that TIA was moved from the Pentagon's research-and-development agency - known by its acronym DARPA - to another group, which builds technologies primarily for the NSA. The names of key projects were changed, apparently to conceal their identities, but their funding remained intact, often under the same contracts.

The issue resurfaced earlier this month when, during a hearing of the Senate Intelligence Committee.

* Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon questioning John Negroponte, the head of Domestic Security, Robert Mueller, the head of the FBI and General Michael Hayden, the former head of the NSA, about the project.
posted by notmtwain at 6:01 PM on February 27, 2006

“...a reminder that the price of freedom is eternal vigilance toward what your government is doing against you....”

Well, that and granades. Lots of granades.

...the comments are few in number - but they make up for it by being crazy.
(sounds better in Spanish)
Somos pocos, pero estamos locos.
posted by Smedleyman at 6:09 PM on February 27, 2006

/wow...grenades. Up for 36 hours. Bit punchy.
posted by Smedleyman at 6:11 PM on February 27, 2006

You know the Bush administration is using this information to keep order in his own party, and against political enemies.

We've all seen this. Someone opens his or her mouth in protest against a Bush crime one day, and the next day it all turns around. I suppose, after seeing photographs of themselves in bed with a Cub Scout, people can easily be brought around.

Remember that senator crying on the Senate floor? I think it was about what a bad choice Roberts was for the Supreme Court. Cried his eyes out for his grandchildren, then voted the way he was told.

If we can overcome rigged voting machines in 2006, maybe we can throw these rascals out at the mid-term.
posted by BillyElmore at 7:48 PM on February 27, 2006

On the other hand, this thread has elicited a paltry 17 comments, most of them resigned to a bleak future. Outrage fatigue or attention deficit?

Fear that anything said here will be used against the poster in a secret court of classified law twenty years down the track.
posted by -harlequin- at 7:54 PM on February 27, 2006

Does this mean we'll finally see which banks makes the real money off the international drug trade?
Gee, how surprising!
This system must not work very well then.
You say it does work well?
Then why aren't the upper crust corporate bank owning types going to jail for laundering drug money?
Phil Gramm?
Who's that and what's he got to do with anything?
So can terrorists launder money just as easily?
They can?
So what good is this system then?
Political enemies and sedition?
posted by nofundy at 5:28 AM on February 28, 2006

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