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Part 1: Introducing the fish
Harris Corporation, a Delaware corporation headquartered in Melbourne, Florida, is a true corporate behemoth– reporting $5.11 billion in total revenue for 2013, with subsidiaries spanning the globe; from Afghanistan, Iraq and Qatar, to Romania, Russia, China, Chile, Papua New Guinea, the United Kingdom, and on.
Harris has its fingers in many pies– from NASA communications systems to healthcare services– though, arguably, the corporation’s forte falls in the realm of defense/intelligence technologies.
Harris Government Communications Systems Division (Harris GCSD)– a division which holds classified contracts with such defense intelligence heavies as the National Security Agency (NSA), and other intelligence agencies (not all of which are agencies of the United States)– is home to Harris Wireless Products Group (Harris WPG).
Harris WPG produces a set of “cell site simulator” technologies used in interrogating data from and tracking cell phones.
Put simply, a cell site simulator is a device that impersonates the base stations (or “cell towers”) of cellular service providers and forces cell phones within its area of operation to register and share information with it. Through this deception and forced registration, cell site simulator technologies interrogate phones for call data (who the phone has called, who has called the phone– and the times and locations of such calls), device and cellular customer identifying data, registration data (i.e. what towers has the phone been in communication with, and at what times) and Global Positioning System (GPS) data. The contents of communications may also be intercepted through the use of these, and similar, technologies.
Cell site simulators have been in use by such agencies as the U.S. Department of Justice’s (DoJ) Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) since at least the mid 1990’s. However, in recent years– thanks in large part to U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) grant revenue streams available to local law enforcement agencies for the purported aims of “counter-terrorism,” “emergency preparedness,” or “all-hazards” mitigation, Harris WPG cell site simulators have experienced a renaissance of use in the domestic law enforcement/’intelligence’ marketplace.
The most common set of Harris WPG cell site simulators that has been popping up in the hands of local law enforcement personnel nationwide has been some configuration of the following devices.
“Stingray:” according to Harris WPG documents, Stingray is a “transportable [cellular device] interrogation, tracking and location, and signal information collection system” that “performs network base station surveys, dialed number and registration collection, mobile interrogation, and target tracking and location.”
As stated in the Harris WPG documents, “[Stingray’s] active interrogation capability emulates base station to collect MINS [Mobile Identification Number] and ESNs [Electronic Serial Number] through forced [customer cell phone] registration [with the Stingray cell site simulator].”
Stingray, and other Harris WPG products, may also be operated with a “PC interface” and Harris geolocation software that allows the operator to observe real-time geolocation data of phones within the device’s area of operation.
[Note: the Harris WPG documents discussed in this section are Harris WPG law enforcement sales brochures, not intended for distribution outside of law enforcement/intelligence circles. The documents cite Title 18 of the U.S. Code, Section 2512, pertaining to criminal restrictions on the publication of advertising materials for communications intercept devices. Under 18 USC 2512, such advertisements may only be published, transmitted or possessed by lawful communications industry manufacturers of such devices and government employees/government contractors.
The documents are referenced by DBA Press as they appear in the federal court record court record of litigation between Daniel David Rigmaiden and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) concerning Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests filed by Rigmaiden with the FBI seeking records pertaining to these technologies and other related issues.]
“Stingray II:” while the exact distinction between Stingray and Stingray II is not known, photographs of the device suggest that Stingray II is capable of simultaneously operating multiple channels on multiple networks, using multiple direction finding and GPS antennae.
“Kingfish:” as described in Harris WPG documents, Kingfish is a “portable [cellular device] interrogation, direction-finding, and collection system” that “provides investigators with a tool that extracts the telephone number (MIN) and Electronic Serial Number (ESN) from a […] mobile telephone. The active direction-finding (DF) capability enables location of a powered-on phone without depending on the suspect to be involved on a call. Additionally, Kingfish provides passive dialed number recorder (DNR) and registration collection capabilities. Passive operations identify calling patterns and provide information on the suspect’s area of operation.” The system also “provides [a] real-time display of interrogation and passive collection results.”
“Amberjack:” according to Harris WPG documents, Amberjack is a “direction finding antenna system capable of tracking and locating mobile phone users and base stations,” designed for use with Stingray, Stingray II, Kingfish and a number of other Harris WPG cell site simulator-based technologies.
The antenna resembles a large frisbee (17 inches by 4.2 inches, weighing in at 14 pounds) and is outfitted with magnetic mounts for ease of placement on tracking vehicles.
“Harpoon:” according to Harris WPG documents, Harpoon is a “high-power filtered amplifier that maximizes the multichannel transmit capability of the Stingray II and significantly improves the performance of the single-channel Stingray and Kingfish systems.” The amplifier is capable of boosting the total output power of these devices up to 30 watts per band, significantly increasing the area of interrogation/tracking.
“Hailstorm:” this device began appearing in local law enforcement procurement documents in early 2013, generally as an “upgrade” to Stingray II. According to a March, 2014 Harris Corporation General Services Administration (GSA) price list, Hailstorm is also available as an upgrade to Kingfish and Stingray. Hailstorm is available as a standalone product as well.
Very little is known about Hailstorm, aside from the fact that this technology costs agencies approximately $65,000 to $330,000 (the lower end of this price spectrum applies to purchases of Hailstorm upgrades to existing technology), that it stands on the shoulders of Stingray II and Kingfish cell site simulators, and that purchases of Hailstorm also are commonly accompanied by amplifier upgrades and new “cellular utilization” software purchases.
According to procurement documents, Hailstorm is also compatible with hardware manufactured by another contractor that allows for “close quarter and foot tracking [of suspects]”– though this “foot tracking” ability does not appear to be a feature exclusive to Hailstorm, as Stingray systems and Kingfish appear to have similar capabilities.
A number of other Harris WPG accessory technologies to this core set of cell site simulators allow their users to intercept the contents of cellular communications and block/disrupt cellular use.
Accessorize your fish: supplemental surveillance resources
Pen-Link, a Lincoln, Nebraska-based producer of law enforcement Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA)-based intercept/surveillance software and hardware products, produces a number of products that Harris Corporation (according to procurement documents) recommends for use with their cell site simulators Stingray, Stingray II, Hailstorm, and, very likely, Kingfish. However, Harris cell site simulators and Pen-Link equipment are not mutually dependent; these are stand alone products that are often used in conjunction with each other to form a powerful intelligence gathering and analysis system.
CALEA, as passed in 1994, in response to a direct congressional request from the FBI, essentially mandated that all telecommunications carriers in the United States ensure that their networks be open to, and compatible with, law enforcement communications surveillance/interception techniques. In 2006, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) issued further orders based on CALEA, requiring that “facilities-based broadband internet access providers” (as opposed to wireless internet providers– already covered under CALEA 1994) and Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) service providers (such as Skype) come into compliance with CALEA.
Under CALEA, communications carriers are required to provide law enforcement (having obtained appropriate court orders, or citing “exigent circumstances”) with ongoing, recent or historical communications content (CALEA-compliant carriers must be able to provide government agencies with communications “concurrently with their transmission,” or “at such later time as may be acceptable to the government”), as well as non-communications-content “communications identifying information” (such as dialed and received numbers/internet protocol addresses, dates/times of communications, et cetera). Under CALEA, carriers must be able to provide this information electronically, in formats decipherable to law enforcement agencies.
As such, some law enforcement agencies believe that the are entitled, through CALEA, to a direct line of all cellular customer data, and that Pen-Link is, as it describes itself, the key to the kingdom (Pen-Link’s registered trade mark slogan is “[Pen-Link]It’s the Key”).
As stated by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation in a September, 2013 Pen-Link wiretap system purchase memorandum: “[CALEA] requires telecommunications providers to have a means to deliver call data directly to law enforcement computers […] Law Enforcement must have compatible technology in order to be able to make use of this service.” And, as stated by the Oakland County (Michigan) Sheriff’s Office in an April, 2013 Harris Hailstorm/Pen-Link software purchase order: “[Pen-Link software] connects the Hailstorm equipment to all cellular phone companies through a direct internet connection.”
Pen-Link equipment (which often includes both software packages and dedicated Pen-Link servers/computers– presumably needed for the massive amounts of data storage entailed by Pen-Link use), used in conjunction with Harris WPG cell site simulator technologies, essentially allows law enforcement officers to apply both geolocation (either GPS or cellular base station registration) data and other cellular customer data (i.e. logs of calls and callers, including base station registration data associated with thee calls) to multiple matrices of data– including CALEA cellular service provider data.
For example, according to Pen-Link Territory Sales Manager Shelley Sorensen (procurement records show that Sorensen has been the PenLink representative in a number of Florida law enforcement Pen-Link purchases, so her “territory” is likely the southeast portion of the nation), it is often vitally important for officers employing cell site simulators in tracking cell phone users to be able to place their subject phone within a certain geographical area prior to the deployment of a cell site simulator.
This is done, according to Sorensen, with cellular customer data “streamed down” to Pen-Link from cell service providers …
By Beau Hodai
Intro: the potential bid
A former Corrections Corporation of America “senior director of business development” and lobbyist is planning to run for the office of Arizona’s top law enforcement officer.
View source materials archive.
On September 3, Arizona Department of Gaming Director Mark Brnovich sent a letter to Arizona Governor Jan Brewer, declaring his intention to resign his post, effective September 20. In the months preceding this resignation, Brnovich stated serious consideration of a bid for the office of Arizona Attorney General. While Brnovich has yet to file any formal campaign/committee registration documents with the Office of the Arizona Secretary of State Division of Elections, the Capitol Times reported on September 4, that Brnovich had reserved the website address, “mark4ag.com,” on August 23.
Brnovich, a Republican, would likely be challenging incumbent Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne in the 2014 Republican primary election for the office. Over the past year Horne has been the subject of both federal and Maricopa County (home to Arizona’s urban center, the Phoenix metropolitan area) investigations into alleged campaign law violations, in that Horne allegedly coordinated with an independent expenditure committee in the creation of negative ads targeted at his Democrat opponent during the 2010 election.
While Brnovich may well be qualified for the office of Attorney General, having previously served as an assistant Arizona Attorney General under former Arizona Governor Jane Dee Hull, and having previously served as a deputy Maricopa County Attorney from August of 1991 to May of 1998, Brnovich is not without his own possible serious lapses in ethical judgement. According to statements of financial disclosure filed with the Office of the Arizona Secretary of State Division of Elections by Brnovich’s wife, former Maricopa County Superior Court Commissioner and current Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Susan Brnovich, Mark Brnovich served as a “senior director of business development” for Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) during the course of 2005, 2006 and 2007. As will be discussed, CCA was not Brnovich’s sole source of employment during this time– and Brnovich’s employment by/on behalf of CCA during 2007 in particular may be the source of a severe conflict of interest in the prospective Arizona Attorney General’s past.
DBA Press and the Center for Media and Democracy (DBA/CMD) release FBI records pertaining to Anonymous “hacktivist” group Lulzsec. The heavily redacted records were released to DBA/CMD by the FBI on December 6, 2013, in response to a DBA/CMD Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request submitted on August 9, 2013.
Some of the more salient points of released records include:
— FBI records that discuss “hacktivist” informant activity also reference Backtrace Security, a group that purports to be a spinoff of Anonymous, and that purports to take an adversarial stance to the political activities of both Anonymous and Lulzsec.
As stated in FBI records:
“By way of background, BrackTrace Security is a hacker group that spun off of Anonymous because they disagree with the current direction that Anonymous has taken. BackTrace Security does not believe in the political hacktivism activities that Anonymous has claimed responsibility for lately. One of the goals of Backtrace Security is to put an end to the current incarnation of Anonymous. Backtrace Security has also attempted to identify members of Lulzsec and shut down their operations.
“[REDACTED] has agreed to work with the writer [REDACTED THROUGH REMAINDER OF PARAGRAPH].”
December 1, 2013
DBA Press releases records obtained from the office of Arizona Governor Jan Brewer pertaining to private prison operators, private prison lobbyists.
Jump to archive.
Key pieces of information contained in this records set include:
– ADC Director claimed knowledge of CCA’s role in driving prison privatization plan:
On July 14, 2009 Arizona Department of Corrections (ADC) Director Charles Ryan wrote a letter to then-Brewer Chief of Staff Eileen Klein, stating that capitol staff, as well as Geo Group and Management and Training Company (MTC) lobbyists, had informed him that a massive private prison concession agreement for the operation of many of the state’s correctional facilities had been advanced by Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) and their chief lobbyist, Jaime Molera. The letter also details a heated exchange that had taken place between Ryan and CCA Vice President of State Partnership Relations Brad Regens when Ryan raised this issue with Regens.
Download (PDF, 388KB)
Records also contain a number of other Ryan communications pertaining to the prison privatization plan wherein Ryan voices various concerns and objections.
This initial concession agreement eventually resulted in the August 31, 2012 award of an Arizona state contract with CCA for inmates to be housed at the corporation’s Red Rock Correctional Center in Eloy, Arizona.
– CCA lobbyists work with the Governor’s Office and Legislature to shape the state budget, award contract:
Records show that both CCA lobbyists Jaime Molera and Kathryn Senseman (wife of former Brewer Communications Director and CCA lobbyist Paul Senseman) were engaged with the Governor’s office and the Arizona Legislature in drafting budgetary language that resulted in the 2012 CCA contract award.
CCA lobbyist handpicked Governor’s judicial appointee:
Records show that CCA lobbyist Jaime Molera essentially nominated Pima County Superior Court Judge Catherine Woods for appointment to the bench by the Governor. Woods, per Molera’s nomination, was subsequently appointed to the bench by Brewer in 2011. Woods’ law firm, Rusing and Lopez, PLLC (currently Rusing, Lopez and Lizardi), had worked closely with Molera and Molera’s lobby firm, Molera Alvarez Group, in a number of business ventures.
By Beau Hodai
November 18, 2013
DBA Press and the Center for Media and Democracy (DBA/CMD) release records obtained from the Department of Homeland Security Office of Intelligence and Analysis (DHS I&A) pertaining to the operations of the Domestic Security Alliance Council (DSAC). These records were recently obtained through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request originally filed with DHS I&A in August, 2012.
Among other things, these records disclose DHS I&A/DSAC private sector intelligence sharing concerning Wikileaks (a journalistic outfit) and ‘hacktivist’ group Anonymous; Booz Allen Hamilton work on behalf of DHS I&A/DSAC; and aspects of private sector involvement (corporations such as Merck & Co.) in the workings of the U.S. intelligence community.
As previously reported by DBA/CMD ("Dissent or Terror: How the Nation’s Counter Terrorism Apparatus, in Partnership with Corporate America, Turned on Occupy Wall Street,”>May 20, 2013), DSAC is a public-private intelligence sharing partnership between the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), DHS I&A and several of the nation’s leading corporate/financial interests– most of which are Fortune 100 corporations.
Some of these DSAC-member corporate/financial interests comprise the DSAC Leadership Board. The DSAC Leadership Board consists of 29 corporations and banks. Corporate/financial interests active in the DSAC Leadership Board include/have included: Bank of America, MasterCard, Citigroup, American Express, Barclays, RBS Citizens, 3M, Archer Daniels Midland, ConocoPhillips, Time Warner and Wal-Mart.
Along with DSAC chairpersons from the FBI and U.S. DHS I&A, DSAC is co-administered by a representative of these private sector interests (the chairman of the DSAC Leadership Board). During the time period covered by available records (2011 and 2012), pharmaceutical giant Merck & Co. Vice President of Global Security Grant Ashley served as the DSAC Leadership Board Chairman.
By Beau Hodai
November 11, 2013
Records recently obtained by DBA Press and the Center for Media and Democracy (DBA/CMD) shed light on a technology, OpenMIND, utilized by law enforcement/counter-terrorism fusion center personnel in gathering and analyzing mass amounts of ‘open source intelligence’ derived from the online lives of Americans.
According to records obtained by DBA/CMD, this technology, employed by state/regional ‘homeland security’ ‘fusion centers,’ is able to access to password protected sites and is deliberately designed to hide both the presence of inquiring analysts, as well as their subjects of interest.
Furthermore, these technologies serve as vacuums that amass, store and collate vast amounts of data in order to monitor shifts in public opinion and predict the possible future actions of those being monitored.
OpenMIND and Open Source Intelligence
Traditionally, intelligence personnel have referred to information gleaned through news publications, academic journals, governmental or other openly-available sources, as “open source intelligence.” Commensurate to the increasing practice of uploading the details of an individual’s personal life to the World Wide Web, “open source intelligence” has come to serve largely as a euphemism (in the world of ‘homeland security’ practitioners, at least) for information trolled from citizens’ Facebook, Twitter, or other online social media presence.
One tool utilized by fusion center personnel in gathering and analyzing such ‘intelligence’ en masse is the OpenMIND “open source intelligence harvesting” system produced by Swiss intelligence software corporation, 3i-MIND Technologies GmbH (3i-MIND).
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DBA Press releases an additional 1,784 pages of Phoenix Police Department Homeland Defense Bureau (PPDHDB) records pertaining to Occupy Phoenix and other Phoenix area activist groups.
These records complete a public records request filed by DBA Press and the Center for Media and Democracy in June of 2012 as part of a joint project,“Dissent or Terror: how the nation’s counter-terrorism apparatus, in partnership with corporate America, turned on Occupy Wall Street.”
Much of this final set of records– which were only recently released by PPD, on September 16, 2013– detail the efforts of counter-terrorism/law enforcement personnel involved in the Arizona Counter Terrorism Information Center (ACTIC) in tracking the activities of Phoenix area activists through the first half of 2012.
Some key points of interest include:
— FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force personnel, along with ACTIC and Scottsdale Police Department “terrorism liaison officers” actively investigated Phoenix area anarchists and other activists who were organizing a February, 2012 rally in protest of the murder of a Scottsdale man by Scottsdale Police Department officer James Peters.
Peters had killed six other citizens prior to his shooting of John Loxas in early February of 2012. The activists investigated by the FBI and ACTIC personnel were calling for the immediate dismissal of Peters from the police department, Peters’ indictment for murder, and an investigation into whether the Scottsdale Police Department was engaged in a conspiracy to shelter the actions of Peters.
Records do not indicate any alleged or suspected criminal activity on the part of these activists who were investigated by ACTIC and FBI personnel.
— FBI, Tempe Police Department, PPDHDB/ACTIC monitoring of an Occupy Phoenix Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) protest held in June, 2012. Communications pertaining to this event disclose the fact that ACTIC “terrorism liaison officers” shared the names of several specific Occupy Phoenix activists with the FBI, as well as other information pertaining to these individuals. Again, records do not indicate that the activists whose names were given to the FBI were accused, or even suspected, of any crime.
— Communications disclose that PPDHDB/ACTIC personnel, Scottsdale Police Department personnel and FBI personnel attempted to identify Phoenix area anarchists and other activists who took part in a 2012 May Day march. This identification was attempted through the use of open source videos posted by activists to YouTube. Again, no alleged or suspected crime on the part of activists was disclosed as an impetus for this investigative activity.
— Open source intelligence products created by PPDHDB/ACTIC “Terrorism Liaison All-Hazards Analyst” Brenda Dowhan were shared during the course of 2012 with the U.S. Marshals Service and the FBI. These open source intelligence products created by Dowhan were a distillation of information gathered from Occupy Phoenix/Occupy Wall Street-related social media sites, such as the Facebook pages of both activist organizations and individuals. These open source intelligence products did not disclose any illegal activity on the part of activists.
— The sharing of information between the FBI, Transportation Security Administration and PPDHDB/ACTIC, as pertained to an Occupy Phoenix promotional event held on Phoenix light rail in November, 2011.
May 20, 2013
DBA Press and the Center for Media and Democracy release the result of a year-long investigation: “Dissent or Terror: How the Nation’s Counter Terrorism Apparatus, In Partnership With Corporate America, Turned on Occupy Wall Street.”
The report, a distillation of thousands of pages of records obtained from counter terrorism/law enforcement agencies, details how state/regional “fusion center” personnel monitored the Occupy Wall Street movement over the course of 2011 and 2012. Personnel engaged in this activity at fusion centers include employees of municipal, county and federal counter terrorism/homeland security entities. Such entities include local police departments, the FBI and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (including U.S. DHS components such as the Transportation Security Administration).
The report also examines how fusion centers and other counter terrorism entities that have emerged since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 have worked to benefit numerous corporations engaged in public-private intelligence sharing partnerships.
While the report examines many instances of fusion center monitoring of Occupy Wall Street activists nationwide, the bulk of the report details how counter terrorism personnel engaged in the Arizona Counter Terrorism Information Center (ACTIC, commonly known as the “Arizona fusion center”) monitored and otherwise surveilled citizens active in Occupy Phoenix, and how this surveillance benefited a number of corporations and banks that were subjects of Occupy Phoenix protest activity.
Report with photos (4.2 MB):
Report Appendix : [Note: documents contained in an appendix to this report are referenced throughout. The appendix is available though DBA Press and SourceWatch at the URLs listed above. While many central documents are contained in this appendix, the appendix does not contain all referenced documents. For further documentation, consult the source materials archive.]
While small glimpses into the governmental monitoring of the Occupy Wall Street movement have emerged in the past, there has not been any reporting– until now– that details the breadth and depth of the degree to which the nation’s post-September 11, 2001 counter terrorism apparatus has been applied to politically engaged citizens exercising their Constitutionally-protected First Amendment rights.
The report reveals for the first time:
— How law enforcement agencies active in the Arizona fusion center dispatched an undercover officer to infiltrate activist groups organizing both protests of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and the launch of Occupy Phoenix– and how the work of this undercover officer benefited ALEC and the private corporations that were the subjects of these demonstrations.
— How fusion centers, funded in large part by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, expended countless hours and tax dollars in the monitoring of Occupy Wall Street and other activist groups.
— How the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has financed social media “data mining” programs at local law enforcement agencies engaged in fusion centers.
— How counter terrorism government employees applied facial recognition technology, drawing from a state database of driver’s license photos, to photographs found on Facebook in an effort to profile citizens believed to be associated with activist groups.
— How corporations have become part of the homeland security “information sharing environment” with law enforcement/intelligence agencies through various public-private intelligence sharing partnerships. The report examines multiple instances in which the counter terrorism/homeland security apparatus was used to gather intelligence relating to activists for the benefit of corporate interests that were the subject of protests.
— How private groups and individuals, such as Charles Koch, Chase Koch (Charles’ son and a Koch Industries executive), Koch Industries, and the Koch-funded American Legislative Exchange Council have hired off-duty police officers– sometimes still armed and in police uniforms — to perform the private security functions of keeping undesirables (reporters and activists) at bay.
— How counter terrorism personnel monitored the protest activities of citizens opposed to the indefinite detention language contained in National Defense Authorization Act of 2012.
— How the FBI applied “Operation Tripwire,” an initiative originally intended to apprehend domestic terrorists through the use of private sector informants, in their monitoring of Occupy Wall Street groups. [Note: this issue was reported on exclusively by DBA/CMD in December, 2012.]
The full report, along with accompanying articles, may also be viewed on SourceWatch: