Sunday, September 20, 2009

Did Bush Continue to Secretly Operate Total Information Awareness?


"This is how night vision works? I can see black."

"Suspicionless Surveillance" of American Citizens was developed by the Pentagon's controversial Total Information Awareness department, led by Adm. John Poindexter, the former national security adviser, who secretly sold weapons to Middle Eastern terrorists in the 1980s during the Iran-Contra affair and was convicted of a felony for lying to Congress and destroying evidence.

Poindexter was involved in a 1984 policy directive criticized by civil liberties groups and lawmakers, who said it would hand the National Security Agency control over privately held information. The directive was voided with the passage of the 1987 Computer Security Act.

In the summer of 2002, a public outcry over the revelation that JetBlue Airways turned over the names and addresses of 1.5 million passengers to the Pentagon so the agency could create a database about Americans' travel patterns, and also authorized the agency to monitor credit card transactions, led Congress to withhold tens of millions of dollars in funding for the project in early 2003.

But the program would have been able to continue to operate if President Bush believed that dismantling it would endanger national security, which is what former NSA officials familiar with the program allege Bush did after the program was publicly dismantled.


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