Feds thinking outside the box to plug intelligence gaps
By Robert S. Boyd, McClatchy Newspapers Robert S. Boyd, Mcclatchy Newspapers â€“ 1 hr 48 mins ago
WASHINGTON â€” Three recent events â€” the foiled Christmas Day bombing of a Detroit -bound airliner, the Dec. 30 assassination of seven CIA officers and contractors by a Jordanian double agent in Afghanistan and the difficulties that U.S. Marines in Marjah, Afghanistan , have encountered â€” all have something in common: inadequate intelligence.
To lower the odds of similar troubles in the future, the government has launched a swarm of spooky, out-of-the-box research projects known collectively as the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity.
"The intelligence community needs to place bets on high-risk, high-payoff research that might not work, (but if it did) would give us an overwhelming intelligence advantage over future adversaries," IARPA director Lisa Porter said in an interview at her sparkling new headquarters just outside Washington in College Park, Md. "We need to fundamentally change the way we do business."
Porter's boss, Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair , said that IARPA's task was to be "an intellectual ferment or primordial stew out of which great things will come." He wants Porter's researchers to "generate revolutionary capabilities that will surprise our adversaries and help us avoid being surprised."
IARPA is modeled after the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency , which has conducted far-out research for the Defense Department since 1958. DARPA's many innovations include the Internet, GPS and robotic vehicles.
Founded two years ago, IARPA has contracted with about 75 university research laboratories and 50 technology companies, large and small, to work on innovative solutions to future intelligence needs. More contracts are coming soon, Porter said.
Some IARPA projects have a distinct science-fiction feel.
One program, Reynard, for example, has signed contracts with five research teams, mostly from major universities, to develop systems to observe "avatars" â€” animated computer images â€” that take part in popular "virtual world" games such as Second Life and World of Warcraft.
Such games have more than half a billion players around the globe, according to Reynard program manager Rita Bush . Players include many young Muslim men.
The idea is to study how these avatars â€” like those in the hit movie "Avatar" â€” behave and communicate with one another for insights into how real-life people in hostile cultures think and act.
IARPA officials think that analyzing avatars' behavior in a "virtual world" can produce useful insights into the nationalities, genders, approximate ages, occupations, education levels, even the ideologies of their creators in the "real world." Players also use avatars to communicate with one another.
"One of the goals of this program will be to understand how terror groups might use such virtual worlds to communicate," said V.S. Subrahmanian , the director of the Institute for Advanced Computer Studies at the University of Maryland , who isn't connected with IARPA.
"This is a laudable goal. However, it is also a major challenge," Subrahmanian said in an e-mail message. "To identify how terrorists communicate in a VW (virtual world) requires the ability to first identify which conversations are in fact legitimate or normal and which ones are suspicious. This is hard to do."
"If it weren't hard, we wouldn't be doing it," Porter said. "Failure is OK. We can learn from failure."
Another IARPA project, named ICARUS, will attempt to model the way human brains make sense of a bewildering mass of data. The ALADDIN project is meant to pick out key items in the tsunami of video images that spy agencies collect. A program called TRUST will try to help intelligence officers determine who can be trusted and who can't.
Although IARPA resembles DARPA , there are important differences. DARPA research is aimed at pressing military needs, with a timeline of a year or so. IARPA is designed to help the intelligence community solve long-range problems.
It probably will take five to seven years before the CIA , the FBI, the National Security Agency or other intelligence agencies benefit from IARPA's projects, Porter said.
The ALADDIN project is intended to help intelligence analysts cope with the thousands of video images that pour into their offices each day from unmanned aerial vehicles, on-the-ground surveillance and other sources in danger zones.
"We get way too much video," Porter said. "We have time to look at only a small portion of it. ... We want an automatic tool that looks at 100 percent of the videos and identifies things of interest."
An ALADDIN system could "automate lower-level tasks, such as detecting tiny changes in images that a human might miss or take a lot of time to detect." she said. "Machines are good at that."
The TRUST program differs radically from traditional lie detectors, or polygraphs, which measure people's heart rates and perspiration to see whether they're lying. Instead, a TRUST goal is to measure subconscious biological signals in one's own body.
"We generate signals in ourselves when we first meet people," Porter said. "There's been a lot of research on this."
Porter said a TRUST program might have helped save the CIA officers whom a Jordanian double agent betrayed and killed in Afghanistan last year.
Still another program, called Knowledge Discovery and Dissemination, might have helped detect Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the Nigerian bombing suspect who's alleged to have nearly caused a tragedy on Christmas Day in spite of a raft of clues, which weren't put together in time.
IARPA claims that KDD projects could improve massive databases that don't mesh well with one another, allowing key connections to go undetected.
In the Christmas bombing case, "the dots simply were not connected," Russell Travers , a deputy director at the National Counterterrorism Center, told the Senate Judiciary Committee last week at a hearing on the incident. "The U.S. government needs to improve its overall ability to piece together partial, fragmentary information from multiple collectors."
IARPA's ICARUS program will exploit the latest research by neuroscientists on how the human brain operates.
"Recent advances in our understanding of brain function ... have laid the groundwork for an ambitious new effort to understand human sense-making," according to IARPA's description of ICARUS.
For example, Juyang Weng , a Michigan State University expert on how robots learn from experience, attended an ICARUS information session in January and intends to submit a proposal to IARPA. He told the group that he's already working to develop machines that demonstrate "brain-like sense-making and reasoning."
"The subject of ICARUS is very challenging, but doable based on the latest breakthroughs," Weng said in an e-mail message. "The machine 'brain' must be autonomously developed so that it can accumulate experience from rich real-world experience."
Similarly, computer giant IBM's "Blue Brain" project aims eventually to use supercomputers to "replicate an entire brain," project director Henry Markham told a computer technology conference last year in Long Beach, Calif.
Computer scientists Robert Sloan and Gyorgy Turan , of the University of Illinois at Chicago , won a $500,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to develop methods to build "common-sense knowledge bases" that can evolve as they take in new information.
This should be required reading for anyone who wants to be a new member at DTV... They need to read this and then check a box saying that they've read it. You need to put a timer on it, to make sure they just scroll down and check the box without reading.
This should be an announcement too, in the Website & Forum section.
slushpup wrote:Okay back.. My computer was racing before it locked on the page.. That is a new one on me. I had to do a quick clean.. All seems good now. I don't think I will go back there.
So Hesop what is your take on this?
Well, I guess if you wanted to figure out if this is an actual scenario, given their primaries.....and their operations...
they would be looking for people most likely in forums to screw with......one's especially that used gamer avatars, or made comments about gaming..maybe even made web art and avatars as well ...ones familiar with game strategies...then hook them somehow and get them over to second life to fuck with them some more, and collect as much data from each one......
But yeah, forums is where they would look for research subjects. Just look at any forum, many members use game avatars, as well as disclose info that may be hard to get elsewhere, you know, ages, maybe education levels...etc They would be stupid not to use forums.
Get a small team together, set up base, and research some forums where people talk all over the board, not just on one subject. And since this is for security purposes, lets find some controversial forums, where better discussions and ranges of emotions take place. Like maybe conspiracy forums.
We'll start pouring over the regulars, and collecting data on each member, and then make a list of ones we might feel a best range to take to second life, so we can study them some more.
Wouldn't that make a Smurfy fucking job?
Some of you do understand, a lot more then I gave you credit for, you're very attentive.
People are being fucked with on a couple of different levels.
It's very close to the point that we open the curtains on the whole fucking thing - because it's a cult. They are pissed and wish to delude people's thinking using symbology and innuendo.
There are a few here that are not the top echelon of the social experiment, but are more patsies - they actually believe the shit - they act as tentacles for the "big wig" douche bags that fly in with righteous angelic indignation and threats and create fear for the remnant that they cupped in their palm for a while.
In the long run - the entire forum gets torn out of shape because they witness this bullshit floating at the bottom everywhere they turn.
It does seem there are some very intellectual people involved. They create the religion as they go making sure they are able to anticipate and manipulate peoples fears.
During the "courting" process - they sit in limbo and watch, then PM people with more esoteric diatribe (a carrot) and drag it along. The person they PM feels privileged to be into an esoteric ring of understanding - and that's the hook.
Regardless of if the person goes along or not, the undertone is in effect to skew their thinking.
At that point they can preach any bullshit they wish - earthquakes - angels killing in the name of God. The whole thing is a constant degradation ceremony, and UNLIKE the military that breaks you and builds you back up and gives you a medal - they just break you - build you a little, and break you again.
I'm sure some have noticed. Some watch and understand.
DTV is not the only site they are at - and the ones that understand their innuendo, regardless of their feelings on it, end up doing their bidding - and they love taking credit for over active imaginations and paranoia. All for gullible mindless twits.
There are many here right now that are wrapped up in the whole bullshit, and they will probably stick to their newly indoctrinated and concocted belief system, and lash out in denial and disdain. They can not be helped.
There are also some that tasted the "fruit" and it was sour - and they are the targets of the bullshit that you guys continually witness and don't understand and get pissed at, and even accuse others as being part of.
Who the people are at the bottom of this - cannot yet be revealed - but at least we can throw some light on their agenda and procedures - and at that point, we are more powerful then their model of fishing to to fuck with.
Yep Hesop, I edited the "smurf' word out of my last post just above you, but what the hell, why by passe?
The thing that blows me away, is that there have been TWO disclosures made in the last two days about the agenda, how they work, and who they are. And people aren't even putting it together yet.
2 things. 1, i've never seen the government admit to doing or claim to start doing anything they haven't been doing for years. 2, its not that a power exists, its the reasons behind its use. i doubt this will be a problem anytime soon, but all of them have the potential to be problems if turned on us.
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