Calls to overhaul the legacy bureaucratic systems of the U.S. with cutting-edge AI-driven mass tracking and surveillance technologies are intensifying at the top echelons of the National Security state with all eyes on the 2020 election.
Keeping in line with the trend of governance consolidation taking place among current and former members of the American political establishment, such as the recent lovefest between ex-president George W. Bush and liberal elites, Michael Chertoff, once Bush’s DHS Secretary and coauthor of the Patriot Act along with two of his DHS peers sat down at an event hosted by the Atlantic Council on Wednesday to call for a “stepped-up response to election threats.”
Janet Napolitano and Jeh Johnson, both former DHS secretaries under Obama, joined Chertoff in endorsing the findings and recommendations of a report published by the host’s Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security, titled “Future DHS Project.” The study was sponsored by the Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC), a military intelligence contractor with close ties to Michael Chertoff’s D.C.-based security advisory firm, the Chertoff Group, and Century Link; a defense telecommunications contractor, which was just awarded a disputed $1.6 Billion contract to manage core network and access services for the DoD.
The trio of former DHS heads warned that “Russia, China and Iran are actively interfering in the 2020 U.S. elections,” as outlined in an assessment issued by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) in August, which reportedly contains “detailed evidence” of the alleged interference. Janet Napolitano, who last June stepped down as President of the University of California where she was directly implicated in the creation of a $175 million secret slush fund, said that the intelligence on Russian interference was “quite clear” and urged Trump to ramp up international sanctions and “deterrence.”
Chertoff, for his part, dismissed the president’s ability to do anything about the purported Russian interference because of “credibility issues” and instead called for state and municipal authorities across the country to implement voting security measures themselves, such as new “options for voters to cast ballots.”
A Federal ID to save us all
At a Virtual Collaboration Event that was taking place simultaneously and organized by the FedID, “the U.S. Government’s annual identity conference since 1995,” Gay Gilbert of the Department of Labor’s Office of Unemployment Insurance (OUI) delivered her remarks about the “perfect storm” for a federal ID system.
Gilbert, a 10-year veteran of the OUI, is in charge of processing unemployment insurance claims, which skyrocketed as a result of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act from an average 200,000 claims per week to over six million a week, referred to the bill as an “amazing magnet for fraudsters.” According to Gilbert, “billions of dollars [are] walking out the door under these programs due to identity theft,” adding that other agencies are going through the same thing.
The severe strain imposed by pandemic-response legislation and a stalled economy on U.S. bureaucratic institutions is opening the door for private sector companies like SAIC and Century Link, to undertake the massive overhaul of its ‘legacy’ systems to integrate emerging cloud-based, AI-powered governance and security structures.
Michael Mosier, deputy director and digital innovation officer at the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FCEN) of the U.S. Treasury Department, stated that due to the “billions of compromised credentials” swimming through cyberspace, there is “a very high likelihood that a lot of users in the U.S. financial system have had some sort of information about themselves compromised at some point.”
The solution to these problems, they assert, is a new federal identity management system underpinned by a federal digital ID, which Benji Hutchinson, vice president of NEC Corp., believes is a trend that began in the aftermath of 9-11, that is now reaching critical velocity as a result of “pandemic things.”
The cost of chaos
A federal ID system comes hand in hand with a federal police force, which is now in the offing as calls to “defund the police” are dovetailing perfectly with efforts to implement an AI-driven mass surveillance apparatus by people like former Google and Alphabet CEO Eric Schmidt, who heads the National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence NSCIA and who also, along with other Silicon Valley billionaires, funds organizations like the “bipartisan” New America, which looks to confront “the challenges caused by rapid technological and social change and seizing the opportunities those changes create.”
Among those opportunities, apparently, is the 2020 U.S. presidential election, which another “bipartisan” organization, “convened” by New America senior fellow Rosa Brooks, called the Transition Integrity Project (TIP), has been “war-gaming” the election since its inception. As Whitney Webb reports, TIP produced several “scenarios” in their table-top exercises about what would take place should there be a contested election or a Trump victory. In all outcomes, chaos ensues and a number of unconstitutional measures are taken by the “Never Trumper” networks in both parties to guarantee a Biden presidency.
The “perfect storm” Gilbert talked about could very well spill over into the streets of America as election-day nears and the pandemic-induced coma, that afflicts the American economy will, no doubt, leave the most vulnerable among us in a precarious situation with only the power to accept what is offered by the ever-encroaching tentacles of the burgeoning technocratic state composed of members of the ‘uniparty’.
Betting on all horses
Pandemic things also figured in Chad Wolff’s “State of the Homeland” address at DHS headquarters on this same, eventful day. The acting head of DHS praised Donald Trump’s “decisive and rapid action” over the nation’s COVID-19 response, which “led to our federal government to pursue a whole-of-America response.”
Political rhetoric aside, Wolf echoed the same “concerns” presented by his predecessors at the Atlantic Council’s event in regards to the challenges presented by “new aggressive tactics” targeting the United States “through cyber and economic means.” Wolff bolstered the role of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) in “guarding against nation-state actors’ cyber-enabled espionage and malicious influence activity aimed at all levels of government and industry” and its funding of the Election Infrastructure Information Sharing and Analysis Center (EI-ISAC); a cyber threat monitoring initiative operated by the Center for Internet Security, which “deploys and monitors intrusion detection systems on election infrastructure across all 50 states,” according to Wolff.
Among other resources, EI-ISAC offers Google and Alphabet’s “suite of free tools” called Protect Your Election for “candidates, campaigns, publishers, journalists, NGOs, and election monitoring sites to help protect against digital attacks and provide reliable election information.”
Former Google and Alphabet CEO, Eric Schmidt now chairs the U.S. Department of Defense’s Defense Innovation Advisory Board, in addition to his chairmanship of the NSCAI, is leading the charge to implement an AI-driven mass surveillance system, motivated by a desire to maintain U.S. technological hegemony in the 21st century. Like Gilbert and NEC’s Hutchinson, Schmidt has found that the coronavirus crisis has removed many of the “obstacles” preventing its implementation.
Indeed, Schmidt is well-positioned to take advantage. The Trump administration has suffered from a “failure of direction, a failure of leadership at pretty much every level of our government,” Schmidt declared last week on a podcast. A data analytics company he backed and where he is also a board member, was hired by the Biden campaign back in April 2019. Civis Analytics is comprised of a “group of engineers and statisticians,” led by Obama’s 2012 campaign analytics chief, Dan Wagner, who were “credited with producing Obama’s surprising 5 million-vote margin of victory,” according to Bloomberg.
Feature photo | Michael Chertoff, former secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, is recognized during a ribbon cutting ceremony for the Department of Homeland Security’s St. Elizabeths Campus Center Building in Washington, June 21, 2019. Susan Walsh | AP
Raul Diego is a MintPress News Staff Writer, independent photojournalist, researcher, writer and documentary filmmaker.