Saturday, January 07, 2006

Origins of the NSA Wiretapping Story?

Bear with me while I point you to this 12/01 Faux news report

I just can't hear about the NSA wiretap scandal without thinking of the technology that the US found out israeli spies had been using to listen to calls and datamine all US phone records that this fox series uncovers. (4 part video & transcript)
Why Faux? I dunno, but Carl Cameron/Brit Hume did it. It seems that Faux then squashed the story shortly after it aired in 2001.
Let's see, why do I make a connection between this story and the current NSA wiretapping scandal??

CAMERON:... in 1999, the super secret national security agency, headquartered in northern Maryland, issued what's called a Top Secret sensitive compartmentalized information report, TS/SCI, warning that records of calls in the United States were getting into foreign hands – in Israel, in particular...

...An internal Amdocs memo to senior company executives suggests just how Amdocs generated call records could be used. “Widespread data mining techniques and algorithms.... combining both the properties of the customer (e.g., credit rating) and properties of the specific ‘behavior….’” Specific behavior, such as who the customers are calling. The Amdocs memo says the system should be used to prevent phone fraud. But U.S. counterintelligence analysts say it could also be used to spy through the phone system. Fox News has learned that the N.S.A has held numerous classified conferences to warn the F.B.I. and C.I.A. how Amdocs records could be used. At one NSA briefing, a diagram by the Argon national lab was used to show that if the phone records are not secure, major security breaches are possible. Another briefing document said, "It has become increasingly apparent that systems and networks are vulnerable.…Such crimes always involve unauthorized persons, or persons who exceed their authorization...citing on exploitable vulnerabilities." ...

"...The organization discovered communications between organized crime intelligence division detectives, the FBI and the Secret Service." Shock spread from the DEA to the FBI in Washington, and then the CIA. An investigation of the problem, according to law enforcement documents, concluded, "The organization has apparent extensive access to database systems to identify pertinent personal and biographical information."...

When investigators checked their own wiretapping system for leaks, they grew concerned about potential vulnerabilities in the computers that intercept, record and store the wiretapped calls. A main contractor is Comverse Infosys, which works closely with the Israeli government, and under a special grant program, is reimbursed for up to 50 percent of its research and development costs by Israel's Ministry of Industry and Trade.

Wiretapping, Datamining, Spying, NSA. Sound familiar?
The NSA was onto it in 1999? Am I really stretching here?

I think it's more than possible that chimpy and the NSA just took over from there.



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