Up until 9/11 DARPA had various programs designed to gather information for military purposes but when it became clear that there was information available before 9/11 that could’ve been used to prevent the disaster all together, DARPA decided it was time to reorganize it’s information gathering programs, and the I.A.O. was born.
The I.A.O, or, Information Awareness Office, was created to gather, survey, and analyze information in order to prevent future terrorism. It sounds reasonable enough, comforting even. Surely no one wants a repeat of 9/11. It’s nice to know the government’s watching out for us. How exactly, does the I.A.O. go about doing this?
Here’s the I.A.O’s mission statement from their homepage:
“The DARPA Information Awareness Office (IAO) will imagine, develop, apply, integrate, demonstrate and transition information technologies, components and prototype, closed-loop, information systems that will counter asymmetric threats by achieving total information awareness useful for preemption; national security warning; and national security decision making.”
It says a lot yet not much at all. We can get an idea of their purpose, achieving total information awareness to prevent terrorism, but a lot is left to our own speculation. Maybe a look at their programs will make things a little clearer for us.
First there’s the Total Information Awareness (TIA) system. And it’s quite extensive indeed. The I.A.O gathered all the information it possibly could; any file there might be on any person. Credit, financial, medical, veterinary, travel, and housing histories, county and place entries, and any government communications. Any information available. They continue to watch such information as the amount is constantly growing, and they monitor other information like: phone calls, voice and text messages, emails, social networking sites, (Facebook, Twitter) and any other web trafficking. Any information available.
They also set up a Human ID program to develop automated technologies that can detect people, then analyze, and possibly recognize them based off of unique physical traits such as irises, gait, and face structure. Even more information. That way, the system could identify individuals as dangerous or not, to mark threats.
Another program, Genisys, created massive data repositories and developed systems to store all of this inflowing information. Then humans and computers (now able to “think together” thanks to another program called Genoa II) could analyze the data to make models of potential terrorist activity. That way, with their constant surveillance they could use these models to root out potential terrorist activity and stop it in its tracks.
So basically the I.A.O has a number of programs set up to be totally aware of everyone and everything at all times, for the safety of our country. It’s nice to know someone is watching our back for us, like the big brother we never had. Comforting.
So who’s the mastermind behind this whole operation? One John Poindexter. You may remember him as Reagan’s National security advisor. That is before he was fired and charged with multiple felonies for helping spearhead, and then attempting to hide the Iran Contra Affair scandal. He had these charges, (conspiracy, lying to congress, destroying evidence) dropped on appeal soon afterward. He went on to work as V.P of Syntek Technologies, a government contractor, where he helped develop Genoa, a search engine/ peer-to-peer file sharing system used for military purposes. Genoa just so happens to be one of the I.A.O’s programs now. After the 9/11 attacks Poindexter went to DARPA to propose an agency devoted to awareness. DARPA not only agreed to set up the agency but also put Poindexter in charge of the whole thing.
The Information Awareness Office was first established in January of 2002. Conspiracy theorists were all over the agency, with the I.A.O’s overall Orwellian feel, and use of several Illuminati/Freemason symbols. The logo itself is the Illuminati’s “All Seeing Eye” gazing over the globe. Even the acronym “I.A.O” is one of Aleister Crowley’s most principle magick formulas. But it wasn’t until William Safire published a column in the New York Times that people really became aware of the organization, and began to cry concern.
By 2003 the controversy had become enough for congress to defund the agency all together. On an official level it no longer exists. Some programs are said to continue running, simply under different names, while other surveillance technologies, are known to still operate. MATRIX (Multistate AntiTerrorism Information eXchange) is a data-mining program still in use by our government. It uses information about individuals from various sources to create dossiers available for search by government officials.