Surveillance State: From Inside Secret FBI Terrorist Screening Room to TrapWire Training

From TrapWire training courses to the first time cameras were allowed to record inside a secret FBI terrorist screening room, it seems everyone is on the lookout and reporting suspicious behaviors. Every day, the police in the USA pull over 55 people whose names are linked to being suspected terrorists. Over 520,000 names are on the Terrorist watchlist, a database that is used daily by the "TSA, Border Agents, and state, local and federal law enforcement." In America, the surveillance state is growing and our 'reasonable expectation' of privacy is shrinking.

Joe Wolverton wrote an article on The New American about how TrapWire training courses might reveal the possible purpose for its creation. "The scope and significance of TrapWire, the size of it cannot be exaggerated."

TrapWire is a massive and technologically advanced surveillance system that has the capacity to keep nearly the entire population of this country under the watchful eye of government 24 hours a day. Using this network of cameras and other surveillance tools, the federal government is rapidly constructing an impenetrable, inescapable theater of surveillance, most of which is going unnoticed by Americans and unreported by the mainstream media.

Wolverton got the TrapWire training course information from Darker Net, which stated:

1st course is a Surveillance Awareness Workshop: "The objective is to train network and security personnel to utilize the TrapWire software applications to view their facility the same way as would a terrorist, and then to be alert to the indicators of pre-attack surveillance."

2nd TrapWire class is a Terrorist Pre-Attack Operations Course: "Students will learn how to counter pre-attack operations by exploiting the "Terrorist's Greatest Vulnerability" and gain an understanding of the "Paradigm Shift" introduced by the TrapWire methodologies." They will also learn about suspicious behavior and how to report suspicious activity.

3rd course is Deception Detection and Eliciting Responses: "It is designed to teach students to detect deception and elicit responses in individuals including those which have been identified by TrapWire as having been engaged in suspicious behavior. The results of such an interview may then be entered into the TrapWire system to ratify or modify the original TrapWire report."

Wolverton was interviewed by Tenther Radio about TrapWire and the "growing surveillance state." The episode was posted on the Tenth Amendment Center.  

When asked about how far the government has gone to be able to track us, Joe responded, "I literally could spend every day chronicling the ways that the federal government now has under surveillance. Trapwire, DHS, TSA all having the capability to remotely activate apps on your smart phone that will turn your smart phone into a roving microphone."

With that growing surveillance state in mind, it might be interesting to take a look at the first time cameras were allowed inside the FBI's secret terrorist screening center.

Because the FBI center is "filled with top secret terrorist information," the CBS video was not allowed to record any of the "sounds" there; nor was it allowed to reveal any identities of anyone that works there except for Tim Healy, the director of the Terrorist Screening Center (TSC). "The TSC is a multi-agency center administered by the FBI with support from the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of State, the Department of Justice, the Department of Defense, the Department of the Treasury, and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence."

Healy wants people who work there to constantly be reminded of the terrorist threat and keeps stark in-your-face reminders of previous terrorist attacks, including pieces of wreckage from the World Trade Center. The screening center involves watching and investigating anyone who might have a tie to terrorism. The FBI reported, "TSC maintains the U.S. government's consolidated Terrorist Watchlist—a single database of identifying information about those known or reasonably suspected of being involved in terrorist activity." The video said the watchlist has over 520,000 names. TSC also is in charge of adding names to the "No Fly" list, which currently has more than 20,000 people listed on it—about 700 of whom are Americans. Called imperfect, the No Fly list has kept innocent folks from flying "by mistake."

According to the video, the TSC database is used daily by the "TSA, Border Agents, and state, local and federal law enforcement." Healy gave this example: "If you're speeding, you get pulled over, they'll query that name. And if they're encountering a known or suspected terrorist, it'll pop up and say call the Terrorist Screening Center." Healy added, "We're averaging about 55 encounters with known or suspected terrorists every single day."

CBS reporter Bob Orr pointed out that most of those do not result in an arrest, but "provide additional intelligence," which, according to Healy, might include "the location of where the guy is going or what he's doing; names of additional associates that the subject is hanging around." That means names are "frequently added and subtracted, and always in secret."

How many of those names added have come from the alleged suspicious behaviors that are to be reported since they supposedly indicate terrorist behavior? Is TSC like the huge and wasteful surveillance machine of 77 fusion centers that are thought to have violated the privacy and civil liberties of Americans? A Senate investigation into fusion centers "could identify no reporting which uncovered a terrorist threat," and found them to be filled with a bunch of "crap" and "useless" reports. The TSC said 55 potential terrorists are pulled over daily, and of course we don't want terrorists roaming around in the USA, but that seems like a high number. Could any of those names on the list be a result of suspicious behaviors reported via the TrapWire network of cameras and other surveillance tools?

It seems to leave more questions than answers, but a few things are for certain: In America, the surveillance state and the list of potential terrorist behaviors continue to grow like a monster out of control, while, sadly, our 'reasonable expectation' of privacy continues to shrink.

Like this? Here's more posts:
  • Time to disable Java AGAIN: 1 billion at risk from newest critical Java bug
  • Feds Warn of Zombie Apocalypse! Buy emergency kit, but you might be a terrorist if...
  • Senate report: Fusion centers don't find terrorists, filled with 'crap' that violates privacy
  • Smartphone snoop: Even when phone sleeps, digital assistant always eavesdrops
  • ACLU: Electronic Spying Skyrocketed 64% Since President Obama Took Office
  • 'We will find you' marketing gone wild: Candy bars that guarantee stalkers
  • Microsoft: Companies should pay Uncle Sam $10k per H-1B Visa to hire skilled foreigners
  • Windows Phone 8 has 'baked-in cybersecurity goodness'
  • Laptop fingerprint reader destroys 'entire security model of Windows accounts'

Follow me on Twitter @PrivacyFanatic

Copyright © 2012 IDG Communications, Inc.

7 hot cybersecurity trends (and 2 going cold)