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Tag: intelligence

Artist Offers Whole Life’s Details to FBI, Public

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

When Hasan M. Elahi landed in Detroit, Mich., and walked into the country on June 19, 2002, a customs official asked that Elahi follow him to an Immigration and Naturalization Services office at the airport.

That incident initiated a period of “questioning went on for the next six months and ended with a series of polygraph examinations,” Elahi wrote in the New York Times on Sunday, and it “turned my life upside down,” he said.

Elahi, an associate professor and interdisciplinary artist at the University of Maryland,  describes himself as neurotic about record keeping, and in the office at the airport he and the investigator were able to look at his electronic personal assistant and retrace the steps he took on September 12, 2001, he wrote in the Times. Seeming pleased, the interrogator let Elahi go. But Elahi was soon contacted by federal authorities for more questioning.

The level of detailed information he began sharing with the FBI in the months following inspired a project Elahi pursued on his own websites. Elahi was nervous about the FBI’s interest in him and wanted to cooperate in letting them know all of his travel plans and whereabouts. When an interrogator finally cleared him and said for Elahi to let them know if he needed anything, Elahi-not wanting another hassle upon his return-sent agents his plans for traveling outside of the country in the near future, he wrote.

But Elahi piled the information high. “Soon I began to e-mail the F.B.I. I started to send longer e-mails, with pictures, and then with links to Web sites I made. I wrote some clunky code for my phone back in 2003 and turned it into a tracking device … I created a list of every flight I’ve ever been on, since birth. For the more recent flights, I noted the exact flight numbers, recorded in my frequent flier accounts, and also photographs of the meals that I ate on each flight, as well as photos of each knife provided by each airline on each flight.”

On his own websites, which he sent links to federal agents to, he included databases of his personal financial records, his daily habits and whereabouts, pictures he had taken.

Elahi wrote in the Times: “In an era in which everything is archived and tracked, the best way to maintain privacy may be to give it up. Information agencies operate in an industry that values data. Restricted access to information is what makes it valuable. If I cut out the middleman and flood the market with my information, the intelligence the F.B.I. has on me will be of no value.”

Elahi went further. The actions may be more symbolic than anything, he admitted, “but if 300 million people started sending private information to federal agents, the government would need to hire as many as another 300 million people, possibly more, to keep up with the information and we’d have to redesign our entire intelligence system.” He derided the current intelligence system as stuck in a Cold War mentality, and encouraged the many “incredibly intelligent people and very sophisticated computer systems in various agencies in Washington” to move beyond a 20th century mentality and start creating better ways to use and analyze information, rather than endlessly collect it.

Whether the project seems a poignant response to his experience, or just the overly academic philosophizing of an abstract University artist, questions about responding to and dealing with the flood of information federal agents face is something to be pondered. “What I’m doing is no longer just an art project; creating our own archives has become so commonplace that we’re all — or at least hundreds of millions of us — doing it all the time. Whether we know it or not,” Elahi wrote.

 

FBI Director Mueller Says Cyber-Crimes Making it Easier to Steal Intelligence and Cash

FBI Dir. Mueller testifies Thursday

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III emphasized Thursday that the cyberworld has dramatically changed the landscape when it comes to theft of intelligence and money.

“You have probes and capabilities of intruding into networks..that previously you had to recruit somebody inside to obtain, which makes it much easier for those who are trying to steal our secrets, to steal our secrets, ” Mueller testified before the House Select Intelligence Committee.

And he said there’s the problem of “robbing banks of millions of dollars over night by intruding and upping the limits on say, ATMs.”

He testified that sometimes it’s difficult to tell initially who is behind some cybercrimes.

“At the outset you do not know whether it may be a state actor, a group of individuals operating at the behest of a state actor or a high school kid across the street.”

Mueller appeared on the Hill along with some other notables including Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, National Counterterrorism Center Director Michael Leiter and CIA Director Leon Panetta.

The juicy stuff was supposed to come later during a closed-door session.

Mueller Also Testifies that FBI Scrutinizing Iraqis Who Settled in U.S. and May Have Ties to al Qaeda (AP)

Retired FBI Intelligence Section Chief Cornelius Sullivan Dies at Age 84

fbi logo largeBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — Retired FBI agent Cornelius “Neil” Sullivan, who was the section chief of the intelligence division and was credited with fostering improved relations with the CIA, died earlier this month in Silver Spring, Md. at age 84, the Washington Post reported.

Sullivan joined the FBI in 1951 and served in fields offices in Cleveland, Minneapolis and New York, the Post reported.

He later went to headquarters and retired in 1979 as section chief of intelligence, the Post reported.

Sullivan was born in Fall River, Mass. and joined the Navy at age 17 and served in the Pacific during World War II, the Post wrote. He graduated from Seton Hall University in New Jersey.

He had been married for 44 years to Lucille Friedrich, who died in 1993.

FBI and Justice Likely to Consult With Intelligence Community on Miranda Rights

intelligenceBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — After all the unnecessary political grandstanding, the administration is doing what it probably would have done anyways in the wake of the Christmas Day bombing incident.

The Washington Post’s Walter Pincus, one of Washington’s premier reporters, writes that the Justice Department and FBI will “consult with the intelligence community on information about terrorism suspects arrested in the United States before deciding whether to read them their Miranda rights under a plan now under review in the White House, according to senior administration officials.”

“We are analyzing lessons learned [in the Detroit Christmas Day case] with the goal of ensuring full information from across the government is available to law enforcement personnel on the ground as they conduct interrogations and make decisions on how to handle terrorist suspects,” a senior official said Friday, according to the Post.

To read more click here.