The National Journal has a very solid piece of reporting on the process by which the Total Information Awareness project at DARPA (which Congress cut off funding for in 2003) went over to the classified world:
Research under the Defense Department’s Total Information Awareness program — which developed technologies to predict terrorist attacks by mining government databases and the personal records of people in the United States — was moved from the Pentagon’s research-and-development agency to another group, which builds technologies primarily for the National Security Agency, according to documents obtained by National Journal and to intelligence sources familiar with the move. The names of key projects were changed, apparently to conceal their identities, but their funding remained intact, often under the same contracts.
The story is full of interesting details, introducing the codenames of the ex-TIA programs in their new incarnations (Genoa II, Topsail, Basketball) and providing a lot of convincing evidence that ties TIA contractual activities together with very similar programs at the NSA-linked Advanced Research and Development Activity. Hopefully the revelations in this story will encourage these programs, if they continue, to strengthen their internal privacy controls – something that was a key element of the original vision for TIA.