Flimsy Sanity: Viral Secret Spy Society

Flimsy Sanity

In individuals, insanity is rare; but in groups, parties, nations and epochs, it is the rule. - Friedrich Nietzsche

Friday, February 08, 2008

Viral Secret Spy Society

FBI Deputizes Business' By Matthew Rothschild, The Progressive. Posted February 8, 2008.

Today, more than 23,000 representatives of private industry are working quietly with the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security...In November 2001, InfraGard had around 1,700 members. As of late January, InfraGard had 23,682 members, according to its website, www.infragard.net, which adds that "350 of our nation's Fortune 500 have a representative in InfraGard."

To join, each person must be sponsored by "an existing InfraGard member, chapter, or partner organization." The FBI then vets the applicant. On the application form, prospective members are asked which aspect of the critical infrastructure their organization deals with. These include: agriculture, banking and finance, the chemical industry, defense, energy, food, information and telecommunications, law enforcement, public health, and transportation.

InfraGard is not readily accessible to the general public. Its communications with the FBI and Homeland Security are beyond the reach of the Freedom of Information Act under the "trade secrets" exemption, its website says. And any conversation with the public or the media is supposed to be carefully rehearsed.

One of the advantages of InfraGard, according to its leading members, is that the FBI gives them a heads-up on a secure portal about any threatening information related to infrastructure disruption or terrorism.

The InfraGard website advertises this. In its list of benefits of joining InfraGard, it states: "Gain access to an FBI secure communication network complete with VPN encrypted website, webmail, listservs, message boards, and much more."
InfraGard members receive "almost daily updates" on threats "emanating from both domestic sources and overseas," Hershman says.

"We get very easy access to secure information that only goes to InfraGard members," Schneck says. "People are happy to be in the know."

“There is evidence that InfraGard may be closer to a corporate TIPS program, turning private-sector corporations—some of which may be in a position to observe the activities of millions of individual customers—into surrogate eyes and ears for the FBI,” the ACLU warned in its August 2004 report The Surveillance-Industrial Complex: How the American Government Is Conscripting Businesses and Individuals in the Construction of a Surveillance Society.



Call me paranoid but this all is pretty chilling. Neighbors spying on neighbors and communicating information would have made the inquisition much more efficient. I thought the TIPS idea died, but it just went underground. Where can I place a healthy bet on a national disaster happening before the summer is over?

4 Comments:

  • At 5:26 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Thanks for keeping me so informed Diane!

     
  • At 5:26 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Thanks for keeping me so informed Diane!

     
  • At 9:52 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    If someone can explain why this is necessary, I'll be in my bunker.

    Rudy

     
  • At 3:05 PM, Anonymous R J Adams said…

    Yet another registered "not for profit" company paying no taxes.

     

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