INCLUDING STORIES ABOUT HOW ROGUE GROUPS INSIDE SPY AGENCIES ARE USING FEDERAL RESOURCES FOR PERSONAL POLITICAL AGENDAS AND PROFITEERING….
ONE OF THE ORGANIZATIONS FIGHTING AGAINST SUCH ATTACKS:
Says GOOGLE is one big false front for Obama Campaign
The EyeOpener- Exposing ‘In-Q –Tel’: The CIA’s Own Venture Capital Firm Sibel Edmonds | October 5, 2011 Leave a Comment Google, Facebook, the IT Sector and the CIA In-Q-Tel was formed by the CIA in 1999 as a private, not-for-profit venture capital firm with the specific task of delivering technology to America’s intelligence community. Publicly, In-Q-Tel markets itself as an innovative way to leverage the power of the private sector by identifying key emerging technologies and providing companies with the funding to bring those technologies to market. In reality, however, what In-Q-Tel represents is a dangerous blurring of the lines between the public and private sectors in a way that makes it difficult to tell where the American intelligence community ends and the IT sector begins. In-Q-Tel has generated a number of stories since its inception based on what can only be described as the “creepiness” factor of its investments in overtly Orwellian technologies. This is our EyeOpener Report by James Corbett presenting documented facts and cases on the CIA’s privately owned venture capital firm In-Q-Tel, in which well-connected board members drawn from the private sector profit from the investments made with CIA funds that come from the taxpayer.
CLICK HERE to watch the full report on Boiling Frogs Post.
TRANSCRIPT AND SOURCES:
Gainspan Corporation manufactures low power Wi-Fi semiconductors that form the heart of modern remote sensing, monitoring and control technologies.
Recorded Future Inc. is a Massachusetts web startup that monitors the web in real time and claims its media analytics search engine can be used to predict the future.
The common denominator? All of these companies, and hundreds more cutting edge technology and software startups, have received seed money and investment funding from In-Q-Tel, the CIA’s own venture capital firm.
Welcome, this is James Corbett of The Corbett Report with your Eyeopener Report for BoilingFrogsPost.com
For decades, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA, has been the American governmental body tasked with conducting high-risk, high-payoff research into cutting edge science and technology. Responsible most famously for developing the world’s first operational packet switching network that eventually became the core of the Internet, DARPA tends to garner headlines these days for some of its more outlandish research proposals and is generally looked upon a a blue-sky research agency whose endeavours only occasionally bear fruit.
In the post-9/11 consolidation of the American intelligence community, IARPA, or the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Agency, was created to serve as the spymaster’s equivalent of DARPA’s defense research.
In contrast to this, In-Q-Tel was formed by the CIA in 1999 as a private, not-for-profit venture capital firm with the specific task of delivering technology to America’s intelligence community.
Publicly, In-Q-Tel markets itself as an innovative way to leverage the power of the private sector by identifying key emerging technologies and providing companies with the funding to bring those technologies to market.
In reality, however, what In-Q-Tel represents is a dangerous blurring of the lines between the public and private sectors in a way that makes it difficult to tell where the American intelligence community ends and the IT sector begins.
In-Q-Tel has generated a number of stories since its inception based on what can only be described as the “creepiness” factor of its investments in overtly Orwellian technologies.
In 2004, KMWorld published an interview with Greg Pepus, then In-Q-Tel’s senior director of federal and intelligence community strategy, about some of their investments. Pepus was especially proud of the CIA’s investment in Inxight, a company that offered software for data mining unstructured data sources like blogs and websites with analytical processing.
In 2006 it was revealed that AT&T had provided NSA eavesdroppers full access to its customer’s internet traffic, and that the American intelligence community was illegally scooping up reams of internet data wholesale. The data mining equipment installed in the NSA back door, a Narus STA 6400, was developed by a company whose partners were funded by In-Q-Tel.
Also in 2006, News21 reported on an In-Q-Tel investment in CallMiner, a company developing technology for turning recorded telephone conversations into searchable databases. In late 2005 it was revealed that the NSA had been engaged in an illegal warrantless wiretapping program since at least the time of the 9/11 attacks, monitoring the private domestic phone calls of American citizens in breach of their fourth amendment rights.
In 2009, the Telegraph reported on In-Q-Tel’s investment in Visible Technologies, a company specializing in software that monitors what people are saying on social media websites like YouTube, Twitter, Flickr and Amazon. The software is capable of real-time communications tracking, trend monitoring, and even sentiment analysis that categorizes blog posts and comments as positive, negative or neutral. Just last month, the Federal Reserve tendered a Request For Proposal for just this type of software so the privately owned central bank could monitor what people are saying about it online.
Two of the names that come up most often in connection with In-Q-Tel, however, need no introduction: Google and Facebook.
The publicly available record on the Facebook/In-Q-Tel connection is tenuous. Facebook received $12.7 million in venture capital from Accel, whose manager, James Breyer, now sits on their board. He was formerly the chairman of the National Venture Capital Association, whose board included Gilman Louie, then the CEO of In-Q-Tel. The connection is indirect, but the suggestion of CIA involvement with Facebook, however tangential, is disturbing in the light of Facebook’s history of violating the privacy of its users.
Google’s connection to In-Q-Tel is more straightforward, if officially denied. In 2006, ex-CIA officer Robert David Steele told Homeland Security Today that Google “has been taking money and direction for elements of the US Intelligence Community, including the Office of Research and Development at the Central Intelligence Agency, In-Q-Tel, and in all probability, both the National Security Agency (NSA) and the Army’s Intelligence and Security Command.” Later that year, a blogger claimed that an official Google spokesman had denied the claims, but no official press statement was released.
Steele’s accusation is not the only suggestion of American intelligence involvement with Google, however.
In 2005, In-Q-Tel sold over 5,000 shares of Google stock. The shares are widely presumed to have come from In-Q-Tel’s investment in Keyhole Inc., which was subsequently bought out by Google, but this is uncertain.
In 2010, it was announced that Google was working directly with the National Security Agency to secure its electronic assets.
Also in 2010, Wired reported that In-Q-Tel and Google had jointly provided venture capital funding to Recorded Future Inc., a temporal analytics search engine company that analyzes tens of thousands of web sources to predict trends and events.
But as potentially alarming as In-Q-Tel’s connections to internet giants like Facebook and Google are, and as disturbing as its interest in data mining technologies may be, the CIA’s venture capital arm is interested in more than just web traffic monitoring.
The In-Q-Tel website currently lists two “practice areas,” “Information and Communication Technologies” and “Physical and Biological Technologies.” The latter field consists of “capabilities of interest” such as “The on-site determination of individual human traits for IC purposes” and “Tracking and/or authentication of both individuals and objects.” In-Q-Tel also lists two areas that are “on its radar” when it comes to biotech: Nano-bio Convergence and Physiological Intelligence. Detailed breakdowns of each area explain that the intelligence community is interested in, amongst other things, self-assembling batteries, single molecule detectors, targeted drug delivery platforms, and sensors that can tell where a person has been and what substances he has been handling from “biomarkers” like trace compounds in the breath or samples of skin.
In the years since its formation, many have been led to speculate about In-Q-Tel and its investments, but what requires no speculation is an understanding that a privately owned venture capital firm, created by and for the CIA, in which well-connected board members drawn from the private sector can then profit from the investments made with CIA funds that itself come from the taxpayer represent an erosion of the barrier between the public and private spheres that should give even the most credulous pause for thought.
What does it mean that emerging technology companies are becoming wedded to the CIA as soon as their technology shows promise?
What can be the public benefit in fostering and encouraging technologies which can be deployed for spying on all internet users, including American citizens, in direct contravention of the CIA’s own prohibitions against operating domestically?
If new software and technology is being brought to market by companies with In-Q-Tel advisors on their boards, what faith can anyone purchasing American technologies have that their software and hardware is not designed with CIA backdoors to help the American intelligence community achieve its vision of “Total Information Awareness”?
Rather than scrutinizing each individual investment that In-Q-Tel makes, perhaps an institutional approach is required.
At this point, the American people have to ask themselves whether they want the CIA, an agency that has participated in the overthrow of foreign, democratically-elected governments, an agency that has implanted fake stories in the news media to justify American war interests, an agency that at this very moment is engaged in offensive drone strikes, killing suspected “insurgents” and civilians alike in numerous theaters around the world, should be entrusted with developing such close relationships with the IT sector, or whether In-Q-Tel should be scrapped for good.
Exclusive: Google, CIA Invest in ‘Future’ of Web Monitoring
The investment arms of the CIA and Google are both backing a company that monitors the web in real time — and says it uses that information to predict the future.
The company is called Recorded Future, and it scours tens of thousands of websites, blogs and Twitter accounts to find the relationships between people, organizations, actions and incidents — both present and still-to-come. In a white paper, the company says its temporal analytics engine “goes beyond search” by “looking at the ‘invisible links’ between documents that talk about the same, or related, entities and events.”
The idea is to figure out for each incident who was involved, where it happened and when it might go down. Recorded Future then plots that chatter, showing online “momentum” for any given event.
“The cool thing is, you can actually predict the curve, in many cases,” says company CEO Christopher Ahlberg, a former Swedish Army Ranger with a PhD in computer science.
Which naturally makes the 16-person Cambridge, Massachusetts, firm attractive to Google Ventures, the search giant’s investment division, and to In-Q-Tel, which handles similar duties for the CIA and the wider intelligence community.
It’s not the very first time Google has done business with America’s spy agencies. Long before it reportedly enlisted the help of the National Security Agency to secure its networks, Google sold equipment to the secret signals-intelligence group. In-Q-Tel backed the mapping firm Keyhole, which was bought by Google in 2004 — and then became the backbone for Google Earth.
This appears to be the first time, however, that the intelligence community and Google have funded the same startup, at the same time. No one is accusing Google of directly collaborating with the CIA. But the investments are bound to be fodder for critics of Google, who already see the search giant as overly cozy with the U.S. government, and worry that the company is starting to forget its “don’t be evil” mantra.
America’s spy services have become increasingly interested in mining “open source intelligence” — information that’s publicly available, but often hidden in the daily avalanche of TV shows, newspaper articles, blog posts, online videos and radio reports.
“Secret information isn’t always the brass ring in our profession,” then CIA-director General Michael Hayden told a conference in 2008. “In fact, there’s a real satisfaction in solving a problem or answering a tough question with information that someone was dumb enough to leave out in the open.”
U.S. spy agencies, through In-Q-Tel, have invested in a number of firms to help them better find that information. Visible Technologies crawls over half a million web 2.0 sites a day, scraping more than a million posts and conversations taking place on blogs, YouTube, Twitter and Amazon. Attensity applies the rules of grammar to the so-called “unstructured text” of the web to make it more easily digestible by government databases. Keyhole (now Google Earth) is a staple of the targeting cells in military-intelligence units.
Recorded Future strips from web pages the people, places and activities they mention. The company examines when and where these events happened (“spatial and temporal analysis”) and the tone of the document (“sentiment analysis”). Then it applies some artificial-intelligence algorithms to tease out connections between the players. Recorded Future maintains an index with more than 100 million events, hosted on Amazon.com servers. The analysis, however, is on the living web.
“We’re right there as it happens,” Ahlberg told Danger Room as he clicked through a demonstration. “We can assemble actual real-time dossiers on people.”
Recorded Future certainly has the potential to spot events and trends early. Take the case of Hezbollah’s long-range missiles. On March 21, Israeli President Shimon Peres leveled the allegation that the terror group had Scud-like weapons. Scouring Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah’s past statements, Recorded Future found corroborating evidence from a month prior that appeared to back up Peres’ accusations.
That’s one of several hypothetical cases Recorded Future runs in its blog devoted to intelligence analysis. But it’s safe to assume that the company already has at least one spy agency’s attention. In-Q-Tel doesn’t make investments in firms without an “end customer” ready to test out that company’s products.
Both Google Ventures and In-Q-Tel made their investments in 2009, shortly after the company was founded. The exact amounts weren’t disclosed, but were under $10 million each. Google’s investment came to light earlier this year online. In-Q-Tel, which often announces its new holdings in press releases, quietly uploaded a brief mention of its investment a few weeks ago.
Both In-Q-Tel and Google Ventures have seats on Recorded Future’s board. Ahlberg says those board members have been “very helpful,” providing business and technology advice, as well as introducing him to potential customers. Both organizations, it’s safe to say, will profit handsomely if Recorded Future is ever sold or taken public. Ahlberg’s last company, the corporate intelligence firm Spotfire, was acquired in 2007 for $195 million in cash.
Google Ventures did not return requests to comment for this article. In-Q-Tel Chief of Staff Lisbeth Poulos e-mailed a one-line statement: “We are pleased that Recorded Future is now part of IQT’s portfolio of innovative startup companies who support the mission of the U.S. Intelligence Community.”
Just because Google and In-Q-Tel have both invested in Recorded Future doesn’t mean Google is suddenly in bed with the government. Of course, to Google’s critics — including conservative legal groups, and Republican congressmen — the Obama Administration and the Mountain View, California, company slipped between the sheets a long time ago.
Google CEO Eric Schmidt hosted a town hall at company headquarters in the early days of Obama’s presidential campaign. Senior White House officials like economic chief Larry Summers give speeches at the New America Foundation, the left-of-center think tank chaired by Schmidt. Former Google public policy chief Andrew McLaughlin is now the White House’s deputy CTO, and was publicly (if mildly) reprimanded by the administration for continuing to hash out issues with his former colleagues.
In some corners, the scrutiny of the company’s political ties have dovetailed with concerns about how Google collects and uses its enormous storehouse of search data, e-mail, maps and online documents. Google, as we all know, keeps a titanic amount of information about every aspect of our online lives. Customers largely have trusted the company so far, because of the quality of their products, and because of Google’s pledges not to misuse the information still ring true to many.
But unease has been growing. Thirty seven state Attorneys General are demanding answers from the company after Google hoovered up 600 gigabytes of data from open Wi-Fi networks as it snapped pictures for its Street View project. (The company swears the incident was an accident.)
“Assurances from the likes of Google that the company can be trusted to respect consumers’ privacy because its corporate motto is ‘don’t be evil’ have been shown by recent events such as the ‘Wi-Spy’ debacle to be unwarranted,” long-time corporate gadfly John M. Simpson told a Congressional hearing in a prepared statement. Any business dealings with the CIA’s investment arm are unlikely to make critics like him more comfortable.
But Steven Aftergood, a critical observer of the intelligence community from his perch at the Federation of American Scientists, isn’t worried about the Recorded Future deal. Yet.
“To me, whether this is troublesome or not depends on the degree of transparency involved. If everything is aboveboard — from contracts to deliverables — I don’t see a problem with it,” he told Danger Room by e-mail. “But if there are blank spots in the record, then they will be filled with public skepticism or worse, both here and abroad, and not without reason.”
Photo: AP/Charles Dharapak
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Google Bankrolled By The CIA
By Jon King
The All-Seeing Eye
Ever wondered who is behind the internet’s all-seeing eye, Google? Who put the ‘face’ in Facebook? Who’s ‘pal’ you’ve become when you send or receive through PayPal?
Ever thought Big Brother might be logging every sale and purchase you make on its virtual auction website, eBay?
No? Well if you think the above notions are little more than paranoid conspiracy fears, you’d best think again. Evidence that the CIA, directly or by proxy, bankrolled at least some of these internet giants, is now beyond doubt.
Which means the world’s most powerful intelligence agency has more control over the internet than even the hardiest conspiracy theorist may wish to believe.
Back in 2006 former CIA case officer, Robert Steele (left), made headline news when he revealed that Google was ‘in bed with the CIA’, confirming fears that the internet’s all-seeing eye is more a US government spy tool than a user-friendly search engine.
Further rummaging at the murky end of venture capital investment deals seems to suggest Steele knew exactly what he was talking about, as we shall see.
Google Bankrolled By The CIA
The PayPal Mafia
In 1999, PayPal became the world’s first virtual banking system, making it possible for surfers everywhere to send and receive money via the internet. The idea was conceived, and the website founded, by US futurist, entrepreneur, and 2009 Bilderberg attendee, Peter Thiel.
These days Thiel is recognized as the godfather of what was recently dubbed by Fortune Magazine the ‘PayPal Mafia’, a group of super-wealthy Silicon Valley venture capitalists with alleged business ties to the CIA.
Indeed, according to some reports, it is largely via Silicon Valley’s venture capital boardrooms that the spy agency has taken control of the internet.
“The CIA is throwing caution (and several tens of millions of dollars) to the wind, joining the dot.com frenzy and investing in Silicon Valley,“ wrote Andrew Gumbel in The Independent way back in April 2000. “It is not looking for the next cool way to swap musical downloads, or place orders for organic groceries. What it wants is a super-smart search engine to marshal all the information on the internet – in secret if possible.”
As the evidence reveals, that “super-smart search engine” would manifest itself in the form of Google. But first, the seemingly ubiquitous Peter Thiel…
For the record, PayPal was not Thiel’s only internet success. He is also the ‘face’ behind Facebook.
While ostensibly true that Facebook is headed up by Harvard graduate Mark Zuckerberg, what is not so well publicized is that the internet’s phattest social networking empire was effectively the brainchild of Thiel and his entrepreneurial VC syndicate.
And that, via this syndicate, Facebook was early on picked up and deployed by the CIA as a social networking experiment.
“Facebook is a deliberate experiment in global manipulation,â” wrote Tom Hodgkinson in the Guardian. “The creators of the site need do very little bar fiddle with the programme. In the main, they simply sit back and watch as millions of Facebook addicts voluntarily upload their ID details, photographs and lists of their favourite consumer objects. Once in receipt of this vast database of human beings, Facebook then simply has to sell the information back to advertisers, or, as Zuckerberg puts it in a recent blog post, ‘to try to help people share information with their friends about things they do on the web’.”
The Guardian article goes on to reveal Facebook’s surprisingly open connections to the CIA.
Aside from Thiel, major investors in Facebook include Silicon Valley’s Accel Partners (also major investors in eBay) and Greylock Venture Capital, both of whom, together with NVCA (National Venture Capital Association), share boardroom execs with an altogether more notorious outfit called In-Q-Tel.
And guess what? In-Q-Tel is the official venture capital wing of the CIA – check out the In-Q-Tel website.
Google Bankrolled By The CIA
A CIA Bed Partner
About the same time as Peter Thiel was busy setting up PayPal, just across the street the CIA was busy setting up In-Q-Tel, ostensibly an investment capital firm for the development of cutting-edge IT and communications technologies.
With the almost overnight global reach of the internet, the US intelligence community realized it was time to gain a length on this new electronic information highway, and in many ways PayPal was seen as an early social experiment in this regard.
As well as providing the means to unwittingly utilize the internet-connected public for intelligence gathering, it would also serve to shift vast sums of money around the globe regardless of national borders or currencies.
The experiment worked well enough. Thiel pocketed a handsome $55 million from the sale of PayPal to eBay in 2002, while the CIA went on to learn new ways of cyber-laundering vast sums of cash worldwide. Ingenious.
But the experiment did not end there. The CIA may have bought its way into PayPal and eBay. But it wanted more, and already had its sights on further, potential acquisitions – one in particular: Google.
What was to become the internet’s most successful “super-smart search engine”, Google, was founded in 1998 by two Stanford University students, Sergey Brin and Larry Page, with seed funding from Sun Microsystems founder, Andy Bechtolsheim.
By the end of that same year the innovative search engine was already the web’s most visited domain, sufficient in itself to make America’s defence and intelligence community sit up and take note.
Indeed, just a few short months later, Google received a further $25 million development funding, primarily from Sequoia Capital (investors in Apple, Atari, eBay, PayPal, and now Google) and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, who just happened to be bed partners with In-Q-Tel. From that point on Google and the CIA became lovers.
“Even while Google presents a public image of vigorously protecting its users’ privacy,“ wrote Michael Hampton for Homeland Stupidity, “it has quietly provided assistance to several U.S. intelligence agencies, such as the Central Intelligence Agency and Defense Intelligence Agency… In addition, Google may be providing assistance to the National Security Agency.”
In 2004 Google further expanded its cyber-empire by acquiring a company called Keyhole Inc., until then a strategic CIA-front satellite imaging firm funded by In-Q-Tel.
Within a year Keyhole’s cutting-edge ‘virtual satellite imaging’ software had become Google Earth, and In-Q-Tel’s Director of Technology Assessment, Rob Painter, had crossed the street and joined the Google board, becoming the internet spy firm’s Senior Federal Manager. Fait accompli.
The more recent addition of Google Street View and future plans to develop the 360-degree spy-cam service into a live-feed CCTV webcam service streaming directly back to CIA HQ, Virginia, is evidence enough that Orwellian Earth has finally arrived.
Big Brother is watching. His lens is Google. His name is the CIA…
Google Bankrolled By The CIA
The Birth Of Facebook
While Google was busy setting up the CIA’s public domain satellite spy-cam service, three Harvard University students were unwittingly preparing to present the CIA with yet another social experiment.
Indeed, they were already catching the eye of the CIA and its Silicon Valley business fronts.
In June 2004, Mark Zuckerberg, Chris Hughes and Dustin Moskowitz met with PayPal founder Peter Thiel in San Francisco, who invested an initial $500,000 in their fledgling ‘Facebook’ idea. The following April (2005), Thiel’s investment was boosted by a staggering $12.7 million investment stumped up by Thiel’s buddy and former Chairman of NVCA, Jim Breyer.
It is NVCA remember, which shares company execs with the CIA’s In-Q-Tel. And Breyer himself shares CIA associations via his business relationships with Gilman Louie, former CEO of In-Q-Tel and NVCA board member.
Another former Chairman of NVCA, Howard Cox, would later head up a further investment in Facebook of some $27.5 million, this time on behalf of investment firm Greylock Venture Capital. As we have already noted, Greylock and the CIA are conjoined in their business ambitions via shared boardroom interests with In-Q-Tel.
Howard Cox, for one, senior partner in Greylock, is also on the board of the CIA’s In-Q-Tel.
Google Bankrolled By The CIA
An Unprecedented Success
Which brings us full circle. The CIA, via In-Q-Tel and other spy-front investment firms, effectively bankrolled many of the internet’s biggest success stories – no doubt the reason behind their unprecedented successes.
And speaking of unprecedented successes…
In October 2006, Google purchased YouTube for a staggering $1.65 billion. Not bad for a video-sharing website founded eighteen months earlier by three computer nerds with nothing better to do.
Indeed, given what we now know about the internet’s most omnipresent search engine, the question must surely be asked: who really bought YouTube – Google, or the CIA?
The PR story circulated at the time was that the nerds in question (YouTube’s founders) were former PayPal employees, itself sufficient to set sirens wailing.
But it’s the way the story is told that makes it sound so cosy and innocent, deflecting as it does all attention from the incestuous financial links now known to exist between PayPal, Google, Facebook, eBay, the US intelligence community… Oh, and YouTube.
So there we have it. Each in their own unique way, eBay, PayPal, YouTube, Facebook – not forgetting the trusty Google and a small host of others, including the web’s biggest online privacy protection firm, TRUSTe – would appear to be virtual eyes and data collectors for the world’s biggest and most powerful intelligence agency, the CIA.
Even Yahoo is suspected of being used by the CIA, as well as the NSA and other US intelligence agencies.
So the next time you log on to Facebook, or YouTube; or make a search via Google, or Yahoo; or a transaction via PayPal for something you just bought on EBay; take comfort in the knowledge that Big Brother has footprinted your every move.
And that those tracking cookies you’ve just picked up are hotwired back to Central Computer, Langley, Virginia – home of the CIA.
In-Q-Tel: The CIA’s Tax-Funded Player In Silicon Valley