A few years ago, political scientist Dr. Lawrence Britt wrote an op-ed which listed his findings about the characteristics of a fascist state. He found fourteen similarities between all of the fascist governments he studied, from Mussolini to Pinochet.
It's frightening to read the list and to see how many of these fourteen items are evidenced in the Bush presidency. And with Halliburton and Blackwater, the intermingling of corporate power and government authority is an affirmation of Britt's ninth item on the list:
9. Power of corporations protected. Although the personal life of ordinary citizens was under strict control, the ability of large corporations to operate in relative freedom was not compromised. The ruling elite saw the corporate structure as a way to not only ensure military production (in developed states), but also as an additional means of social control. Members of the economic elite were often pampered by the political elite to ensure a continued mutuality of interests, especially in the repression of “have-not” citizens.
Now, there's even more reason to fear. Consider InfraGard, a quasi-public organization which links corporate entities to the FBI and the Homeland Securities, enlisting these entities as junior G-men in the "war on terror."
InfraGard is a bit of a private country club, where new members must be referred for membership by existing members, and where corporations receive alerts on potential threats even before state and municipal authorities. There's a chapter in your state. Here's the Connecticut website, but don't hope to find out too much, because you need to be a member to get the secure info. I did find out, to my dismay, that my bank is a sponsor. The next (and First Quarterly) meeting of Connecticut's InfraGard is February 28th at the New Haven Fire Academy. They're looking for a sponsor for their Continental Breakfast. If the Hartford Courant volunteers, does that mean they can attend and send a reporter?
I've walked my share of corporate corridors of power, and I can assure you that rampaging egos, ruthless sycophants, and power mad private security forces combine to create a potent and volatile mix which will only become more unstable when adding national security connections as an ingredient.
This is not good news for those of us who hoped our individual desire for freedom and liberty would eventually allow us to drive a wedge between corporations and government. But when politicians are funded by corporations, and when corporations are enlisted as part of a secret army, what hope do we have that we will hear the eventual knock on the door when the Blackwater chickens come home to roost.
It can't happen here? It is happening here.
But don't worry, they're only able to shoot on sight during a period of martial law.
Posted by Ed McKeon at 6:17 AM
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~So CACI is a partner in this program.
Does everyone remember who CACI is?
Not only are they linked to the massacre on 9/11, but here is some of their finer work...
That is right, we told you that torture was evil and only resulted in control/blowback rather than intelligence/information, but did not listen.
Then we were told that private contractor CACI did most of the torture and we said, well that is over there, it is not over here.
Gues what? CACI is running the FBI program to kill us and our babies and your grandmothers. Are we going to wake up now?
You cannot make this up.
CACI is the number 1 torture company around, they are partners with the FBI to controll all citizens during Rockefeller's planned martial law.
What makes us think they will not torture all of a sudden?
That is the only thing they do.
They obviously have no intelligence or we would no longer be in Iraq.
The much anticipated revival of InfowarCon is going to have to wait another few months. Bowing to pressure from defense agencies, educational institutions and international organizations, the event conflicted with too many other senior level commitments during the September time frame.
InfowarCon founder Winn Schwartau said: “We brought back InfowarCon at the request of countless people and organizations, both within the U.S. and internationally. We also made an assumption about timing – a poor one as it turns out. It used to be the end of the fiscal year was perfect for the U.S. government, but times have changed.”
Many of the senior officials who wanted to speak and attend were unable to commit.
To accommodate them and myriad others, InfowarCon has been rescheduled for 2-4 March, 2008, at the same location.
InfowarCon’s original dates also conflicted with the opening schedules of military schools and academies who wanted to participate. Professor Dan Kuehl of the National Defense University said: “This is wonderful news. The end of the fiscal year is a big problem. This move will allow greater support from the educational and defense communities.”
“InfowarCon is a serious and important forum for cooperation between government and industry on national and global cyberterrorism. To make this discussion meaningful we need input from as many voices as possible. I absolutely support any move that increases participation. It’s in the best interest of all concerned”, said Richard Marshall, Senior Information Assurance Representative, Office of Legislative Affairs, National Security Agency.
InfowarCon’s sponsors have backed the move. All pre-registered attendees and sponsors will receive upgrades. New registrants will be able to sign-up at revised “Early Bird” rates at www.infowarcon.com
. “Just our way of making sure that InfowarCon’s passionate supporters will now get even more out of the event,” said Schwartau.Media Contact Information:
InfowarCon Tel: 240 396 0007 x 908Eric@infowarcon.comwww.infowarcon.comInfowarCon Advisory Board:
Dr. Dan Kuehl, National Defense University; Amit Yoran, NetWitness; Mark Rasch, FTI; Dorothy Denning, DoD; Richard Forno, Infowarrior.org; Lars Nicander, CATS; Bruce Brody, CACI
.InfowarCon Sponsors & Partners Include:
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Mandiant, Netwitness, Purifile, Secure Computing, Lincoln Group
, White Wolf Security, Department of Defense Cyber Crime Center (DC3), (ISC)2; Homeland Defense Journal, Government Security News, Homeland Defense Week, Officer.com, Continuity Insights, InfraGard National Members Alliance, ISSA NOVA, Terrorism Research Center and National Defense University.
# # #
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">InfowarCon 2008, March 02-04, at the Bethesda North Marriott Hotel & Conference Center in Maryland. You'll get proven techniques and broad perspectives from presenters that include in-the-trenches pros from the military, private, and political arenas. These front-line experts have seen it all, done it all, and done it better than anyone else.
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">InfowarCon even that much more of an important gathering.
The Lessons Our Adversaries Have Learned by Major General Charles Dunlap, USAF JAG
Countering Nation State Infowar by Timothy Thomas, Foreign Military Studies Office, Fort Leavenworth, KS
Data Mining for Intelligence and Operations by Nasrullah Memon, The European Center for Counterterrorism Research and Studies, Esbjerg Institute of Technology, Aalborg University Esbjerg Denmark
To make sure you optimize your conference experience and leverage your travel time, we've added a full day of targeted, intensive learning, Zero-Day Tutorials to help you meet your objectives. Read more... http://www.infowarcon.com
Best of all, earn valuable continuing education credits and invite three of your peers to register and receive a free registration yourself. To receive this special offer, simply email or call Lindsey Green from InfowarCon at 240-396-0007 x908, email@example.com
Or to register today as a member of InfraGard, go to www.infowarcon.com
">www.infowarcon.com and enter priority code INF to save $200. We look forward to seeing you there!
Eric S Green
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The proliferation in recent years of popular television programs and movies featuring FBI agents might lead one to believe entry into that profession is open to virtually anyone with a yearning for adventure and a belief in the agency’s motto – "Fidelity, Bravery, and Integrity." The truth, however, is that rigorous academic, fitness and security standards preclude most Americans from ever becoming FBI agents.
But farmers, ranchers and other rural residents do have a unique opportunity to help the FBI protect America’s food supply, through membership in local chapters of the FBI’s InfraGard program.
InfraGard was initially developed in 1996 to promote protection of critical information systems in the cyberspace arena. Since 9/11, it has expanded to include protection of physical as well as cyber threats to various sectors of the U.S. economy.
The food and agriculture section of the program, dubbed AgriGard, is where farmers and other rural residents have a role to play. Food and agriculture was designated a special interest group because it’s physically impossible for local law enforcement or any government agency to secure every head of livestock, field and tanker truck across the nation.
Members of AgriGard use a secure Internet portal to provide the FBI "on-the-ground" information about their local communities that may be helpful in preventing terrorism and other crimes. They are able to access current information about local threats, advisories, alerts and warnings, many of which are not available to the public. Members also may share information with each other and the FBI through the secure portal, in addition to learning about ongoing research on critical infrastructure protection.
Although electronic distribution of information is a critical element of the program, computer and Internet access is not a membership requirement. AgriGard members also attend meetings of their local chapter, where they share information with each other and representatives of law enforcement, academia, private industry, the FBI and other government agencies.
Promoting ongoing dialogue and timely communication between members and the FBI, whether electronic or in person, is an important focus.
"We’re working to keep the lines of communication open so attacks never get off the ground," is how Supervisory Special Agent Mark Jaroszewski describes it.
Many of the tools terrorists use are widely available and do not require great technical skill. That is one reason the FBI considers agriculture to be a "soft target" for terrorism, with enormous potential for economic damage to crops and livestock.
About 18,000 U.S. citizens from all walks of life participate in InfraGard, exchanging information about a wide range of terrorism, intelligence, criminal and security matters. With chapters in nearly every state, the FBI is always seeking new applicants. To become a member, you must submit an application in writing and agree to an FBI background check.
You may not be an FBI agent, but you can do your part to protect America by joining today.
Cyndie Sirekis is a director of news services with the American Farm Bureau Federation.
InfraGard: An Unhealthy Government Alliance
by Gary D. Barnett, February 22, 2008http://www.fff.org/comment/com0802g.asp
There is an organization that is quietly and secretly becoming very large and powerful. The FBI started this partnership or alliance between the federal government and the private sector in 1996 in Cleveland with a few select people. After September 11, 2001, when the general population replaced their rationality with fear, this organization, called InfraGard, continued growing, and with little notice. By 2005 more than 11,000 members were involved, but as of today, according to the InfraGard website, there are 23,682 members, including FBI personnel. At first glance, many would think this alliance healthy and useful in the fight against “terrorism,” but upon further examination, one has to wonder.
InfraGard began as an alliance between the FBI and local businesses with the objective of investigating cyber threats. Since that time, little resemblance to that design exists. According to InfraGard’s own website,
InfraGard is an information sharing and analysis effort serving the interests and combining the knowledge base of a wide range of members. At its most basic level, InfraGard is a partnership between the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the private sector. InfraGard is an association of businesses, academic institutions, state and local law enforcement agencies, and participants dedicated to sharing information and intelligence [emphasis added] to prevent hostile acts against the United States.
Every InfraGard chapter has an FBI special agent coordinator attached to it, and this FBI coordinator works closely with FBI headquarters in Washington, D.C. Initially, while under the direction of the National Infrastructure Protection Center (NIPC), the focus of InfraGard was cyberinfrastructure protection, but things have gotten much more interesting since September 11, 2001. NIPC then expanded its efforts to include physical as well as cyberthreats to critical infrastructures.
A progression is occurring, but it gets even more interesting as time passes. In March 2003, NIPC was transferred to the Department of Homeland Security which now has total responsibility for critical infrastructure protection (CIP) matters. Part of the Department of Homeland Security’s mission is to facilitate InfraGard’s continuing role in CIP activities and to further develop InfraGard’s ability to support the FBI’s investigative mission, especially as it pertains to counterterrorism and cyber crimes.
InfraGard’s stated goal “is to promote ongoing dialogue and timely communications between members and the FBI.” Pay attention to this next part:
Infragard members gain access to information that enables them to protect their assets and in turn give information to government that facilitates its responsibilities to prevent and address terrorism and other crimes.
I take from this statement that there is a distinct tradeoff, a tradeoff not available to the rest of us, whereby InfraGard members are privy to inside information from government to protect themselves and their assets; in return they give the government information it desires. This is done under the auspices of preventing terrorism and other crimes. Of course, as usual, “other crimes” is not defined, leaving us to guess just what information is being transferred. Since these members of InfraGard are people in positions of power in the “private” sector, people who have access to a massive amount of private information about the rest of us, just what information are they divulging to government? Remember, they are getting valuable consideration in the form of advance warnings and protection for their lives and assets from government. This does not an honest partnership make; quite the contrary.
In my article “The New Crime of Thinking,” I criticized H.R.1955 and Senate 1959, which, if passed, will literally criminalize thought against government. As usual, the exact type of thought is left undefined. This vagueness in the thought-crime legislation together with the secrecy of InfraGard makes for a dangerous combination. S.1959, if passed, will be attached to the Homeland Security Act and InfraGard is already a part of the Department of Homeland Security. This is not a coincidence. Under section 899b of S.1959 it is stated:
Preventing the potential rise of self radicalized, unaffiliated terrorists domestically cannot be easily accomplished solely through traditional Federal intelligence or law enforcement efforts, and can benefit from the incorporation of State and local efforts.
This appears to be a direct reference to the InfraGard program. Moreover, in section 899c of S.1959 the new commission created after passage is to build upon and bring together the work of other entities, and will establish, as designated under 899d, a “Center of Excellence.” This center will be university-based, and is to study “violent radicalization and homegrown terrorism” in the United States. According to InfraGard’s mission statement, it is a group of businesses, academic institutions, state and local law enforcement, and other participants dedicated to sharing information and intelligence. Keep in mind that this new center will be, and InfraGard already is, a part of the Department of Homeland Security. I’m just speculating, of course, but is it possible that InfraGard will be a domestic police and spying arm for the government concerning “thought crime”?
There is a definite and natural link here, and it should give us pause. The definitions concerning thought crime are vague and unclear, left to the interpretation of government only. InfraGard, on the other hand, is an organization cloaked in secrecy. It holds secret meetings with the FBI. It also, according to FBI Director Robert Mueller, shares information (what information, we don’t know) with the Secret Service and all government agencies involved with security in the United States.
One question on InfraGard’s application for membership is, Which critical infrastructures does your organization belong to? Some choices listed are defense, government, banking and finance, information and telecommunications, postal and shipping, transportation, public health, and energy. At least 350 of the Fortune 500 companies have representation in InfraGard, this according to their website. These representatives have access to most of our private records, including phone and Internet use, health records, and banking and finance records. Considering the recent attempts by President Bush and his administration to protect many telecommunications companies and executives from prosecution for releasing private information, how many of the top telecom executives are members of InfraGard? I, for one, would be very interested in this information, but alas, it is not public information; it is secret.
According to InfraGard’s own policies and procedures,
The interests of InfraGard must be protected whenever presented to non-InfraGard members. Independent of the type of presentation, (interview, brief, or published documentation) the InfraGard leadership and the local FBI representative should be made aware of the upcoming presentation. The InfraGard member and the FBI representative should agree on the theme of the presentation. The identity of InfraGard members should be protected at all times.
This means that no one outside InfraGard is to know who is a member unless previous approval has been given. In addition, when interviews with members of the press are forthcoming, all questions should be submitted in writing prior to the interview. The InfraGard leadership and the local FBI representative should review the submitted questions, agree on the character of the answers, and identify the appropriate person to be interviewed prior to the interview. Even demeanor is addressed in this directive, and strict guidelines for behavior are listed. You see, when I said secret, I wasn’t kidding.
The bottom line is this: This is an organization created by the FBI, sanctioning individuals from the private business sector to provide information, sensitive and private information, to government agencies for special concessions. These concessions, or favors, according to an article titled “The FBI Deputizes Business,”in The Progressive magazine, include advance warning on a secure portal about any threatening information related to infrastructure disruption or terrorism. InfraGard notes as much on their website by advertising for members “access to an FBI secure communication network complete with VPN encrypted website, webmail, listservs, message boards and much more.” Also advertised: “Learn time-sensitive, infrastructure related security information from government sources such as DHS [Department of Homeland Security] and the FBI.” Is this elitist group of InfraGard members a group of Americans superior to the rest of us? Are they truly privileged or just selling their souls for protection and favors? And how involved will they be in watchdog activities, activities sanctioned by the U.S. government? Is this a new kind of conscription by government meant to increase its surveillance capabilities so that it can monitor our lives even more than it does now?
Legislation, bureaucracies, and government/business partnerships created since 9/11 have severely infringed our freedom. Almost all of the so-called terror-protection legislation has been linked — and in many cases it is linked — to increased government oversight of the rest of us. This is evident concerning InfraGard and the Department of Homeland Security. If this program is for the benefit of this country, why are the members’ names and their activities kept so secret? Why do some gain protection and early warning while the rest of us do not? And what information and “intelligence” is being shared? Since these business members are fully protected by government, how far will they go, and when will it be too late to stop this secret assault by this behemoth we call government?
Gary D. Barnett is president of Barnett Financial Services, Inc., in Lewistown, Montana.
Bush's Secret Army of Snoops and Snitches
A new class of everyday spies, from paramedics to utility workers,
are being recruited to be "terrorism liason officers."
By Matthew Rothschild, The Progressive
Posted on July 9, 2008, Printed on July 9, 2008http://www.alternet.org/story/90829/
The full scale of Bush's assault on our civil liberties may not be known until years after he's left office.
At the moment, all we can do is get glimpses here or there of what's going on.
And the latest one to come to my attention is the dispatching of police officers, firefighters, paramedics, and utility workers as so-called "terrorism liaison officers," according to a report by Bruce Finley in the Denver Post.
They are entrusted with hunting for "suspicious activity," and then they report their findings, which end up in secret government databases.
What constitutes "suspicious activity," of course, is in the eye of the beholder. But a draft Justice Department memo on the subject says that such things as "taking photos of no apparent aesthetic value" or "making notes" could constitute suspicious activity, Finley wrote.
The states where this is going on include: Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Tennessee, Wisconsin, and Washington, D.C.
Dozens more are planning to do so, Finley reports.
Colorado alone has 181 Terrorism Liaison Officers, and some of them are from the private sector, such as Xcel Energy.
Mark Silverstein of the Colorado ACLU told Amy Goodman of Democracy Now! that this reminds him of the old TIPS program, which "caused so much controversy that Congress eventually shut it down. But it is reemerging in other forms." Silverstein warns that there will be thousands and thousands of "completely innocent people going about completely innocent and legal activities" who are going to end up in a government database.
On the web, I found a description for a Terrorism Liaison Officer Position in the East Bay.
Reporting to the Alameda and Contra Costa Counties and the city of Oakland, these officers "would in effect function as ad hoc members" of the East Bay Terrorism Early Warning Group, which consists of local police officers and firefighters.
The "suggested duties" of these Terrorism Liaison Officers include: "source person for internal or external inquiry," and "collecting, reporting retrieving and sharing of materials related to terrorism. Such materials might include ... books journals, periodicals, and videotapes."
Terrorism Liaison Officers would be situated not only in agencies dealing with the harbor, the airports, and the railroads, but also "University/Campus."
And the private sector would be involved, too. "The program would eventually be expanded to include Health Care personnel and representatives from private, critical infrastructure entities, with communication systems specifically tailored to their needs."
In this regard, Terrorism Liaison Officers resemble InfraGard members. (See "The FBI Deputizes Business".) This FBI-private sector liaison group now consists of more than 26,000 members, who have their own secure channels of communication and are shielded, as much as possible, from scrutiny.
Terrorism Liaison Officers connect up with so-called "Fusion Centers": intelligence sharing among public safety agencies as well as the private sector. The Department of Justice has come up with "Fusion Center Guidelines" that discuss the role of private sector participants.
"The private sector can offer fusion centers a variety of resources," it says, including "suspicious incidents and activity information."
It also recommends shielding the private sector. "To aid in sharing this sensitive information, a Non-Disclosure Agreement may be used. The NDA provides private sector entities an additional layer of security, ensuring the security of private sector proprietary information and trade secrets," the document states.
As if that's not enough, the Justice Department document recommends that "fusion centers and their leadership encourage appropriate policymakers to legislate the protection of private sector data provided to fusion centers."
Matthew Rothschild is the editor of The Progressive.
© 2008 The Progressive All rights reserved.
View this story online at: http://www.alternet.org/story/90829/
By Matthew Rothschild, March 2008 Issue
23,000 Businesspeople Get Threat Info from FBI Before Public. In Turn, They Supply Tips to FBI. Two Members of Private Sector Group Say They Have “Shoot to Kill” Permission in Emergency. These are the astonishing findings in Rothschild's cover story of the March issue of The Progressive.Today, more than 23,000 representatives of private industry are working quietly with the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security. The members of this rapidly growing group, called InfraGard, receive secret warnings of terrorist threats before the public does—and, at least on one occasion, before elected officials. In return, they provide information to the government, which alarms the ACLU. But there may be more to it than that. One business executive, who showed me his InfraGard card, told me they have permission to “shoot to kill” in the event of martial law.
InfraGard is “a child of the FBI,” says Michael Hershman, the chairman of the advisory board of the InfraGard National Members Alliance and CEO of the Fairfax Group, an international consulting firm.
InfraGard started in Cleveland back in 1996, when the private sector there cooperated with the FBI to investigate cyber threats.
“Then the FBI cloned it,” says Phyllis Schneck, chairman of the board of directors of the InfraGard National Members Alliance, and the prime mover behind the growth of InfraGard over the last several years.
InfraGard itself is still an FBI operation, with FBI agents in each state overseeing the local InfraGard chapters. (There are now eighty-six of them.) The alliance is a nonprofit organization of private sector InfraGard members.
“We are the owners, operators, and experts of our critical infrastructure, from the CEO of a large company in agriculture or high finance to the guy who turns the valve at the water utility,” says Schneck, who by day is the vice president of research integration at Secure Computing.
“At its most basic level, InfraGard is a partnership between the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the private sector,” the InfraGard website states. “InfraGard chapters are geographically linked with FBI Field Office territories.”
In November 2001, InfraGard had around 1,700 members. As of late January, InfraGard had 23,682 members, according to its website, www.infragard.net
, which adds that “350 of our nation’s Fortune 500 have a representative in InfraGard.”
To join, each person must be sponsored by “an existing InfraGard member, chapter, or partner organization.” The FBI then vets the applicant. On the application form, prospective members are asked which aspect of the critical infrastructure their organization deals with. These include: agriculture, banking and finance, the chemical industry, defense, energy, food, information and telecommunications, law enforcement, public health, and transportation.
FBI Director Robert Mueller addressed an InfraGard convention on August 9, 2005. At that time, the group had less than half as many members as it does today. “To date, there are more than 11,000 members of InfraGard,” he said. “From our perspective that amounts to 11,000 contacts . . . and 11,000 partners in our mission to protect America.” He added a little later, “Those of you in the private sector are the first line of defense.”
He urged InfraGard members to contact the FBI if they “note suspicious activity or an unusual event.” And he said they could sic the FBI on “disgruntled employees who will use knowledge gained on the job against their employers.”
In an interview with InfraGard after the conference, which is featured prominently on the InfraGard members’ website, Mueller says: “It’s a great program.”
The ACLU is not so sanguine.
“There is evidence that InfraGard may be closer to a corporate TIPS program, turning private-sector corporations—some of which may be in a position to observe the activities of millions of individual customers—into surrogate eyes and ears for the FBI,” the ACLU warned in its August 2004 report The Surveillance-Industrial Complex: How the American Government Is Conscripting Businesses and Individuals in the Construction of a Surveillance Society.
InfraGard is not readily accessible to the general public. Its communications with the FBI and Homeland Security are beyond the reach of the Freedom of Information Act under the “trade secrets” exemption, its website says. And any conversation with the public or the media is supposed to be carefully rehearsed.
“The interests of InfraGard must be protected whenever presented to non-InfraGard members,” the website states. “During interviews with members of the press, controlling the image of InfraGard being presented can be difficult. Proper preparation for the interview will minimize the risk of embarrassment. . . . The InfraGard leadership and the local FBI representative should review the submitted questions, agree on the predilection of the answers, and identify the appropriate interviewee. . . . Tailor answers to the expected audience. . . . Questions concerning sensitive information should be avoided.”
One of the advantages of InfraGard, according to its leading members, is that the FBI gives them a heads-up on a secure portal about any threatening information related to infrastructure disruption or terrorism.
The InfraGard website advertises this. In its list of benefits of joining InfraGard, it states: “Gain access to an FBI secure communication network complete with VPN encrypted website, webmail, listservs, message boards, and much more.”
InfraGard members receive “almost daily updates” on threats “emanating from both domestic sources and overseas,” Hershman says.
“We get very easy access to secure information that only goes to InfraGard members,” Schneck says. “People are happy to be in the know.”
On November 1, 2001, the FBI had information about a potential threat to the bridges of California. The alert went out to the InfraGard membership. Enron was notified, and so, too, was Barry Davis, who worked for Morgan Stanley. He notified his brother Gray, the governor of California.
“He said his brother talked to him before the FBI,” recalls Steve Maviglio, who was Davis’s press secretary at the time. “And the governor got a lot of grief for releasing the information. In his defense, he said, ‘I was on the phone with my brother, who is an investment banker. And if he knows, why shouldn’t the public know?’ ”
Maviglio still sounds perturbed about this: “You’d think an elected official would be the first to know, not the last.”
In return for being in the know, InfraGard members cooperate with the FBI and Homeland Security. “InfraGard members have contributed to about 100 FBI cases,” Schneck says. “What InfraGard brings you is reach into the regional and local communities. We are a 22,000-member vetted body of subject-matter experts that reaches across seventeen matrixes. All the different stovepipes can connect with InfraGard.”
Schneck is proud of the relationships the InfraGard Members Alliance has built with the FBI. “If you had to call 1-800-FBI, you probably wouldn’t bother,” she says. “But if you knew Joe from a local meeting you had with him over a donut, you might call them. Either to give or to get. We want everyone to have a little black book.”
This black book may come in handy in times of an emergency. “On the back of each membership card,” Schneck says, “we have all the numbers you’d need: for Homeland Security, for the FBI, for the cyber center. And by calling up as an InfraGard member, you will be listened to.” She also says that members would have an easier time obtaining a “special telecommunications card that will enable your call to go through when others will not.”
This special status concerns the ACLU.
“The FBI should not be creating a privileged class of Americans who get special treatment,” says Jay Stanley, public education director of the ACLU’s technology and liberty program. “There’s no ‘business class’ in law enforcement. If there’s information the FBI can share with 22,000 corporate bigwigs, why don’t they just share it with the public? That’s who their real ‘special relationship’ is supposed to be with. Secrecy is not a party favor to be given out to friends. . . . This bears a disturbing resemblance to the FBI’s handing out ‘goodies’ to corporations in return for folding them into its domestic surveillance machinery.”
When the government raises its alert levels, InfraGard is in the loop. For instance, in a press release on February 7, 2003, the Secretary of Homeland Security and the Attorney General announced that the national alert level was being raised from yellow to orange. They then listed “additional steps” that agencies were taking to “increase their protective measures.” One of those steps was to “provide alert information to InfraGard program.”
“They’re very much looped into our readiness capability,” says Amy Kudwa, spokeswoman for the Department of Homeland Security. “We provide speakers, as well as do joint presentations [with the FBI]. We also train alongside them, and they have participated in readiness exercises.”
On May 9, 2007, George Bush issued National Security Presidential Directive 51 entitled “National Continuity Policy.” In it, he instructed the Secretary of Homeland Security to coordinate with “private sector owners and operators of critical infrastructure, as appropriate, in order to provide for the delivery of essential services during an emergency.”
Asked if the InfraGard National Members Alliance was involved with these plans, Schneck said it was “not directly participating at this point.” Hershman, chairman of the group’s advisory board, however, said that it was.
InfraGard members, sometimes hundreds at a time, have been used in “national emergency preparation drills,” Schneck acknowledges.
“In case something happens, everybody is ready,” says Norm Arendt, the head of the Madison, Wisconsin, chapter of InfraGard, and the safety director for the consulting firm Short Elliott Hendrickson, Inc. “There’s been lots of discussions about what happens under an emergency.”
One business owner in the United States tells me that InfraGard members are being advised on how to prepare for a martial law situation—and what their role might be. He showed me his InfraGard card, with his name and e-mail address on the front, along with the InfraGard logo and its slogan, “Partnership for Protection.” On the back of the card were the emergency numbers that Schneck mentioned.
This business owner says he attended a small InfraGard meeting where agents of the FBI and Homeland Security discussed in astonishing detail what InfraGard members may be called upon to do.
“The meeting started off innocuously enough, with the speakers talking about corporate espionage,” he says. “From there, it just progressed. All of a sudden we were knee deep in what was expected of us when martial law is declared. We were expected to share all our resources, but in return we’d be given specific benefits.” These included, he says, the ability to travel in restricted areas and to get people out.
But that’s not all.
“Then they said when—not if—martial law is declared, it was our responsibility to protect our portion of the infrastructure, and if we had to use deadly force to protect it, we couldn’t be prosecuted,” he says.
I was able to confirm that the meeting took place where he said it had, and that the FBI and Homeland Security did make presentations there. One InfraGard member who attended that meeting denies that the subject of lethal force came up. But the whistleblower is 100 percent certain of it. “I have nothing to gain by telling you this, and everything to lose,” he adds. “I’m so nervous about this, and I’m not someone who gets nervous.”
Though Schneck says that FBI and Homeland Security agents do make presentations to InfraGard, she denies that InfraGard members would have any civil patrol or law enforcement functions. “I have never heard of InfraGard members being told to use lethal force anywhere,” Schneck says.
The FBI adamantly denies it, also. “That’s ridiculous,” says Catherine Milhoan, an FBI spokesperson. “If you want to quote a businessperson saying that, knock yourself out. If that’s what you want to print, fine.”
But one other InfraGard member corroborated the whistleblower’s account, and another would not deny it.
Christine Moerke is a business continuity consultant for Alliant Energy in Madison, Wisconsin. She says she’s an InfraGard member, and she confirms that she has attended InfraGard meetings that went into the details about what kind of civil patrol function—including engaging in lethal force—that InfraGard members may be called upon to perform.
“There have been discussions like that, that I’ve heard of and participated in,” she says.
Curt Haugen is CEO of S’Curo Group, a company that does “strategic planning, business continuity planning and disaster recovery, physical and IT security, policy development, internal control, personnel selection, and travel safety,” according to its website. Haugen tells me he is a former FBI agent and that he has been an InfraGard member for many years. He is a huge booster. “It’s the only true organization where there is the public-private partnership,” he says. “It’s all who knows who. You know a face, you trust a face. That’s what makes it work.”
He says InfraGard “absolutely” does emergency preparedness exercises. When I ask about discussions the FBI and Homeland Security have had with InfraGard members about their use of lethal force, he says: “That much I cannot comment on. But as a private citizen, you have the right to use force if you feel threatened.”
“We were assured that if we were forced to kill someone to protect our infrastructure, there would be no repercussions,” the whistleblower says. “It gave me goose bumps. It chilled me to the bone.”
Matthew Rothschild is the editor of The Progressive magazine and the author of "You Have No Rights: Stories of America in an Age of Repression." This article, "The FBI Deputizes Business," is the cover story of the March issue of The Progressive.http://www.progressive.org/mag_rothschild0308