Hoiw did the creators of the norotious MATRIX database project get the federal government to pony up $8 million for the system? By showing it off to top officials in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in January 2003, the Washington Post reports.

Accompanied by Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and the state's top police official, [MATRIX creator Hank] Asher showed his creation to Vice President Cheney, FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III and Tom Ridge, who was about to be sworn in as secretary of the new Department of Homeland Security, according to people at the meeting.The demonstration startled everyone in the room who had not seen it before. Almost as quickly as questions could be asked, the system generated long reports on a projection screen: names, addresses, driver license photos, links to associates, even ethnicity. At one point, an Asher associate recalled, Ridge turned toward Cheney and nudged him with an elbow, apparently to underscore his amazement at the power of what they were seeing. A few months later, Ridge approved an $8 million "cooperative agreement" from his department to help states link to the computer system.
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