Poindexter's Recent Op-Ed Reflects Inconsistencies in Statements regarding Total Information Awareness (TIA)

In his September 10 Op-Ed in the New York Times John Poindexter, former director of the Information Awareness Office at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), stated, “[f]rom the beginning [DARPA has] been forthcoming about [Total Information Awareness] program’s aims.”[1]  While that statement might be true, those aims have changed significantly.
As to the Creation of Databases Under TIA:

Department’s New Claim:

Department’s Old Claim:
Q: Can you run over the transactions again? It sounds like every time I would enter or a citizen would enter a credit card, any banking transaction, any medical [information]-- I go see my doctor, any prescription, all of those things become part of this database -- right? -- hypothetically?

Aldridge: Hypothetically they would, although the data that would go along with personal information such as bank accounts, that would all be protected in the Privacy Act just as it is today. Individuals would not be associated with that.

Q: So you need rapid language translation because you are trying to tap into databases of other nations, if they will allow that? Is that --

Aldridge: Or -- yes. Exactly.

 As to TIA's Data Sources:

Department’s New Claim:

Department’s Old Claim:

As to Citizen Surveillance:

Department’s New Claim
Department’s Old Claim:
Q: How is this not domestic spying? I don't understand this. You have these vast databases that you're looking for patterns in. Ordinary Americans, who aren't of Middle East origin, are just typical, ordinary Americans, their transactions are going to be perused.

Aldridge: Okay, first of all --

Q: And do you require search warrants? I mean, how does this work?

Aldridge: First of all, we are developing the technology of a system that could be used by the law enforcement officials, if they choose to do so. It is a technology that we're developing. We are not using this for this purpose. It is technology.  Once that technology is transported over to the law enforcement agency, they will use the same process they do today; they protect the individual's identity. We'll have to operate under the same legal conditions as we do today that protects individuals' privacy when this is operated by the law enforcement agency.

As to the Necessity of a Search Warrant:

Department’s New Claim:

Department’s Old Claim:
As the director of the effort, Vice Adm. John M. Poindexter, has described the system in Pentagon documents and in speeches, it will provide intelligence analysts and law enforcement officials with instant access to information from Internet mail and calling records to credit card and banking transactions and travel documents, without a search warrant.[13]
Q: So they would need a search warrant, then?

Aldridge: They would have to go through whatever legal proceedings they would go through today to protect the individuals' rights, yes.
In order to preserve the sanctity of individual privacy, we're designing this system to ensure complete anonymity of uninvolved citizens, thus focusing the efforts of law enforcement officials on terrorist investigations. The information gathered would then be subject to the same legal projections (sic) currently in place for the other law   enforcement activities.

[1]    John M. Poindexter, “Finding the Face of Terror in Data,” New York Times, Sept. 10, 2003, available at http://www.nytimes.com/2003/09/10/opinion/10POIN.html.
[2]    Department of Defense, “Terrorism Information Awareness Program (formerly “Total Information Awareness Program”) Guide to the Report to Congress,” available at http://www.darpa.mil/body/tia/terrorism_info_aware.htm.
[3]    Deborah Zabarenko, Reuters News Agency, “U.S. Data Bank Raises Privacy Fears,” Toronto Star, Nov. 27, 2002.
[4]    Question and Answer Response by Joint Staff and Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Logistics, and Technology Edward C. "Pete" Aldridge at DoD Press Conference, “DoD News Briefing—ASD(PA) Clark and Adm. Gove,” Nov. 20, 2002, available at http://www.defenselink.mil/news/Nov2002/t11202002_t1120asd.html.
[5]    Poindexter, surpa.
[6]    DoD’s Guide to the Report to Congress, supra
[7]    Zabarenko, supra.
[8]    DoD Press Conference, supra.
[9]    Poindexter, supra.
[10]  News Release, Department of Defense, “Total Information Awareness (TIA) Update,” Feb. 7, 2003, available athttp://www.defenselink.mil/news/Feb2003/b02072003_bt060-03.html.
[11]   Jim Puzzanghera, Mercury News, “Pentagon Defends Trolling for Data,” Pittsburg Post-Gazette, Nov. 21, 2002.  See also Robert O’Harrow Jr., “U.S. Hopes to Check Computers Globally; System Would be Used to Hunt Terrorists, Washington Post, Nov. 12, 2002.
[12]   John Markoff, “Threats and Responses: Intelligence; Pentagon Plans a Computer System That Would Peek at Personal Data of Americans,” New York Times, Nov. 9, 2002.
[13]    Id.