Over the last few months, it's become increasingly clear that the NSA's eavesdropping is intertwined with Total Information Awareness, the notorious uber-database project. In the new National Journal, scoopster Shane Harris shows just how tightly the two are knotted together.Bottom line: after Congress supposedly pulled the plug on TIA, the NSAs Advanced Research and Development Activity "took over TIA and carried on the experimental network in late 2003."
ARDA continued vetting new tools and even kept the aggressive experiment schedule... But it discontinued some programs, most notably a multimillion-dollar effort to build privacy-protection technologies. ARDA also abandoned the effort to build audit trails in TIA, which would have permanently recorded any abuse by users. The experimental networks name was changed from TIA, to erase any connection to its past. Today its called the Research Development and Experimental Collaboration (RDEC, pronounced ARdeck). The NSA is the biggest player...In an interview, Lewis Shepherd, the chief of the Defense Intelligence Agencys Requirements and Research Group, said that RDEC is "the most successful attempt at bringing together a wide variety of analysts and agencies to work and think outside of the box collaboratively," specifically on counter-terrorism. "[It] opens access to a variety of data sources to different tools that havent been able to access that data."