FC: U.S. creates (another) surveillance office run by J. Poindexter

From: Declan McCullagh (declanat_private)
Date: Mon Feb 18 2002 - 21:03:52 PST

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       No more Mr Scrupulous Guy
       How one of the two brains behind the Iran-Contra scandal this week
       became one of America's most powerful men
       John Sutherland
       Monday February 18, 2002
       Last Wednesday something strange happened. The American population was
       instructed to panic. Place themselves, that is, on a state of highest
       vigilance. Some cataclysmic act of terrorism would happen - within
       hours. But nothing terrible happened. Something creepy did. On
       Thursday there was an inconspicuous news item. John M Poindexter had
       been appointed to head a new agency "to counter attacks on the US",
       such as Wednesday's no-show. It is equivalent, in British terms, to
       Jeffrey Archer being made chancellor of the exchequer.
       The agency which Poindexter will run is called the Information
       Awareness Office. You want to know what that is? Think, Big Brother is
       Watching You. IAO will supply federal officials with "instant"
       analysis on what is being written on email and said on phones all over
       the US. Domestic espionage. You want to test it out? Text-message any
       American friend, "Bmb OK. Allah gr8".
       The IAO is one of two new offshoots of the Pentagon-based Darpa - the
       Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (it's venerable ancestor,
       Arpa, invented the internet). The other new agency is called the
       Information Exploitation Office. Its mission is to supply similarly
       instant analysis about overseas enemy targets. IEO will employ the
       computerised sensor networks that have proved so successful in
       Afghanistan. And, from now on, America - with IEO guiding its smart
       weaponry - will launch sneak attacks. No more Mr Nice Guy.
       IOA and IEO will get a big chunk of the $48bn of the taxpayers' money
       George Bush is pumping into his war on the evildoers. Never again will
       it be said that US intelligence agencies went to sleep on the job - or
       that they were too careful about the American citizen's civil rights
       to do that job. No more Mr Scrupulous Guy.
       Poindexter is frighteningly smart and very unscrupulous. He graduated
       top of his class at the Naval Academy in 1958 and went on to a PhD in
       physics at the California Institute of Technology. He returned to
       uniform as America's best-educated sailor. He wasn't a desk warrior.
       Poindexter commanded missile destroyers. He won medals to hang
       alongside his academic diplomas. He is the model for Tom Clancy's
       hero, Jack Ryan.
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