Tuesday, April 04, 2006

ABLE DANGER offspring to be hatched?

Data-mining offensive in the works
By Patience Wait, GCN Staff

If Congress is up in arms about the NSA monitoring program, one can only guess at their protests for this next edition of datamining for terrorists.

And a big HT to
TopDog08 at AbleDangerBlog, and Capt Ed at Captain's Quarters for staying on top of this!

A draft proposal floating behind closed doors would reconstitute and improve upon a former Army data-mining program called Able Danger.

Able Providence, as the new program has been dubbed, would establish “robust open-source harvesting capabilities” to give military and law enforcement agencies the information to take the initiative in the war on terrorism—that is, to be able to plan and execute offensive measures—in addition to continued defensive actions.

In addition, the program would be driven by a presumption that use of weapons of mass destruction within the United States is possible. As a result, Able Providence would need to detect, track and target terrorists as they move from location to location and reorganize their cells.

As one part of the new data-mining effort, the proposal suggests using information about terrorist financing and the Islamist system worldwide to identify correlations.

The proposal, which GCN has seen, would place the Able Providence project within the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, with the Defense Department having joint oversight responsibilities.

A first-year budget of a little more than $26 million would cover the cost of a director drawn from the Senior Executive Service, a deputy director from SES (or a brigadier general), five planners, software and hardware, and office space.

To Rep. Curt Weldon (R-Pa.), vice chairman of the House Armed Forces and Homeland Security committees, the idea of implementing a robust data mining program targeting publicly available information is a no-brainer.

“This is what the business community uses. This is what the political community does,” Weldon said in an interview before a Senate committee hearing on Able Danger last month. “You’re getting the same information any corporation can get in America.”

But there are complex legal and practical considerations, such as privacy concerns, data retention policies and the possibility of errors in the information, that dog proposals such as this.

One example is Able Danger, the predecessor program, a pilot data- mining project run in 1999 and 2000 under the auspices of the Army Special Operations Command and the Land Information Warfare Activity.

snip ... read in entirety at link above

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