WikiLeaks documents reportedly reveal the existence of a secret surveillance program "more accurate than modern facial recognition technology," which is being utilized by a clandestine organization made up of a number of former members of U.S. intelligence agencies, including the CIA and the Pentagon.
The documents, comprised of emails hacked by Anonymous, identify the program as "TrapWire," and this could be the biggest of all previous leaks if the documents turn out to contain accurate information. WikiLeaks began releasing the emails hacked from the geopolitical intelligence company Stratfor earlier this year.
"Hacktivists" with the group Anonymous took credit for hacking Stratfor on Dec. 24, 2011 and said they had collected more than five million emails from within the organization, some of which show a collaboration between Stratfor and the TrapWire creators at Abraxas, a company based in northern Virginia that is staffed with some of the most elite members of America’s intelligence community.
As much as we'd prefer not to cite the Russian-state controlled media network RT, there are no other mainstream media outlets currently covering the issue. This how RT described TrapWire based on information found in WikiLeaks documents:
Former senior intelligence officials have created a detailed surveillance system more accurate than modern facial recognition technology — and have installed it across the US under the radar of most Americans, according to emails hacked by Anonymous.
Every few seconds, data picked up at surveillance points in major cities and landmarks across the United States are recorded digitally on the spot, then encrypted and instantaneously delivered to a fortified central database center at an undisclosed location to be aggregated with other intelligence. It’s part of a program called TrapWire and it's the brainchild of the Abraxas, a Northern Virginia company staffed with elite from America’s intelligence community. The employee roster at Arbaxas reads like a who’s who of agents once with the Pentagon, CIA and other government entities according to their public LinkedIn profiles, and the corporation's ties are assumed to go deeper than even documented.
The details on Abraxas and, to an even greater extent TrapWire, are scarce, however, and not without reason. For a program touted as a tool to thwart terrorism and monitor activity meant to be under wraps, its understandable that Abraxas would want the program’s public presence to be relatively limited. But thanks to last year’s hack of the Strategic Forecasting intelligence agency, or Stratfor, all of that is quickly changing.
It may sound like something right out of a spy novel, but according to the documents, TrapWire has access to all the cameras popping up on every street corner and various other technologies and they are using that data to monitor you and anyone else they think needs to be watched via facial recognition. Talk about Big Brother.
It sounds eerily similar to a program unveiled in New York City earlier this month called the "Domain Awareness System," created out of a partnership with Microsoft.
According to the city’s statement, the DAS "aggregates and analyzes existing public safety data streams in real time, providing NYPD investigators and analysts with a comprehensive view of potential threats and criminal activity."
In other words, the system will link the city's roughly 3,000 CCTV cameras, license plate readers, environmental sensors and other law enforcement databases so they can "protect" American citizens. There's no way privacy issues could arise out of such a program.
That begs the question: If New York City is being monitored by such an invasive surveillance system, is it really that far fetched that the rest of the United States may be as well?
More from RT on the TrapWire system:
According to a press release (pdf) dated June 6, 2012, TrapWire is “designed to provide a simple yet powerful means of collecting and recording suspicious activity reports.” A system of interconnected nodes spot anything considered suspect and then input it into the system to be "analyzed and compared with data entered from other areas within a network for the purpose of identifying patterns of behavior that are indicative of pre-attack planning.”
In a 2009 email included in the Anonymous leak, Stratfor Vice President for Intelligence Fred Burton is alleged to write,“TrapWire is a technology solution predicated upon behavior patterns in red zones to identify surveillance. It helps you connect the dots over time and distance.” Burton formerly served with the US Diplomatic Security Service, and Abraxas’ staff includes other security experts with experience in and out of the Armed Forces.
What is believed to be a partnering agreement included in the Stratfor files from August 13, 2009 indicates that they signed a contract with Abraxas to provide them with analysis and reports of their TrapWire system (pdf).
(H/T:: Business Insider)