Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

TrapWire: Surveillance goes to a new level

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Ben Doerenberg has an article in Spotify that describes a government surveillance program that has naturally been kept secret from the American public—and given the intensity with which the Obama Administration persecutes those who leak classified information (except for his own Administration and members of Congress, who routinely reveal classified information that puts them in a favorable light), it is likely that this is but one of many security programs focused on the American people. We wouldn’t know about this one except for Wikileaks.

His report begins:

New emails released by WikiLeaks indicate that TrapWire, a defense contractor owned and operated by ex-CIA operatives, sits at the heart of American intelligence. Everything from incidents on military base to calls to NYC’s “See Something, Say Something” are routed through TrapWire.

I. The Bottom Line: TrapWire’s Role In International Intelligence Too Important To Stay Cloaked
II. Introduction
III. What Does TrapWire Do?
IV. Who Uses TrapWire?
V. Who/What Is TrapWire?
VI. Stratfor and TrapWire’s Troubling Revolving Doors

I. The Bottom Line: TrapWire’s Role In International Intelligence Too Important To Stay Cloaked

According to newly released WikiLeaks documents, shadowy private security company TrapWire has taken law enforcement information sharing to an unprecedented level while staying largely under the radar. After 9/11, when agencies failed to “connect the dots” to prevent the World Trade Center attacks, it was common knowledge that coordination between law enforcement agencies became a priority. What has not been clear until now is that a private company run by ex-CIA operatives is at the heart of it.

Many cities encourage citizens to call and report suspicious persons and activity; what callers may not know is that if they live in Las Vegas, DC, Los Angeles, or New York City, their call is processed by a private company (TrapWire), and then forwarded to a national database accessed by the FBI and Department of Homeland Security if analysts believe it to be necessary. The same goes for “suspicious activity reports” generated by surveillance cameras integrated with TrapWire’s threat detection software, such as in 500 locations in the New York Subway system.

TrapWire is also noteworthy because it maintains a centralized database of all these reports submitted by citizens or TrapWire-enabled CCTV cameras. TrapWire not only collects these reports but cross references them across geographic and territorial boundaries; for instance, a report from the London Stock Exchange might be cross referenced with a report from the LAPD, or a citizen’s phone call in Washington, DC. That an intelligence network connecting private businesses, military bases, civilian police, and federal agencies has managed to escape attention for so long is surprising, to say the least.

Finally, TrapWire is raising concerns because of its close ties to the CIA. Its CEO, President, and two of its top three managers are all ex-CIA, with more than 10 years experience each. The CIA is generally “prohibited from collecting intelligence concerning the domestic activities of U.S. citizens.” While the emails released by WikiLeaks do not indicate that information obtained by TrapWire has been shared with the CIA, TrapWire’s former parent company (also run by TrapWire’s CEO) was involved with a number of CIA contracting operations, and it does not seem out of the realm of possibility that lines could at some point be crossed, either due to personal loyalties or an “ends justify the means” approach to combating terrorism.

In any case, it seems clear that TrapWire’s role in the US and international intelligence community bears scrutiny, scrutiny it has largely avoided until WikiLeaks’ latest release.

II. Introduction

According to internal emails from global intelligence firm Stratfor newly released by WikiLeaks, TrapWire’s surveillance analysis system seems to be near the center of the intelligence world. “Designed to provide a simple yet powerful means of collecting and recording suspicious activity reports,” it collects information from and shares information with local police departments, the Department of Homeland Security, the FBI, and in some cases private businesses such as Las Vegas casinos.

TrapWire, run by ex-CIA operatives, is a software program that seeks to prevent terrorist attacks by recognizing patterns in activity. The hope, according to Stratfor Vice President of Intelligence Fred Burton, is that, “a suspect conducting surveillance of the NYC subway can also be spotted by TrapWire conducting similar activity at the DC subway.” There are at least 500 TrapWire-connected surveillance cameras in the New York subway system, according to this blog post by Mr. Burton.

Continue reading. This makes Big Brother seem like small potatoes. We truly now live in a surveillance society. Strange how easily we gave up privacy.

Written by LeisureGuy

11 August 2012 at 7:39 am

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