CIA Admits It Monitors, Analyzes Facebook, Twitter

The Associated Press published a report today detailing, for the first time, a unit within the CIA, referring to itself as the ‘vengeful librarians,’ that is responsible for monitoring the vast and various social networks, local and international news, radio, and television, Internet chat rooms, and pretty much anything from which they can procure intelligence.

CIA TwitterThe Associated Press published a report today detailing, for the first time, a unit within the CIA, referring to itself as the ‘vengeful librarians,’ that is responsible for monitoring the vast and various social networks, local and international news, radio, and television, Internet chat rooms, and pretty much anything from which they can procure intelligence.

The unit is part of the CIA’s Open Source Center. Their goal is to monitor every facet of the internet in every imaginable language, cross-referencing that information with local news reports and information gleaned in the more traditional, cloak-and-dagger, spy-type espionage. Much of the information, according to the AP, ends up in the hands of White House officials and even in President Obama’s daily intelligence briefings.

Security experts have long suspected that the growing social net was part of the intelligence community’s open source information gathering. Speaking at the SOURCE Boston conference in 2010, researcher Moxie Marlinspike likened Google’s aggregation of data to the Department of Defense’s now-notorious “Total Information Awareness” plan. However, the report is the first public admission by the CIA that – yes – spooks are eyeballing your Tweets and Facebook Wall posts for valuable information. 

The center’s director, Doug Naquin told the AP that his team of open source analysts foresaw many of the uprisings that are now raging across the Middle East, predicting that Social Media would play a pivotal role, and even threaten regimes in places like Egypt.

The facility was reportedly established in response to a recommendation of the 9/11 Commission. The classified number of analysts, hundreds of them, are primarily focused on counter terrorism and counter proliferation, but, as Kimberly Dozier of the AP puts it, they “track a broad range [of things], from Chinese Internet access to the mood on the street in Pakistan.”

The analysts are diverse. There are hackers, a number of them have master’s degrees in library science, and almost all of them either speak, or better yet, grew up speaking a foreign language. As tweets and other Internet postings don’t necessarily reveal an exact geographic location, open source analysts use their knowledge of native language to better infer locations based on dialects and other linguistic identifiers.

In addition to monitoring intelligence-type stuff, the Open Source Center also monitors international public opinion and is even beginning to track the results of polling organizations against data pulled from their observation of the Web. Naquin acknowledges that their surveillance and polling efforts may disproportionately represent the urban elite, among whom social networking is more popular.

Dozier describes the ‘vengeful librarians’ working “in an anonymous industrial park in Virginia, in an unassuming brick-building.” (If you’ve seen the legion of industrial parks with their windowless, unmarked buildings and seemingly empty parking lots on the fringes of the Northern Virginia-DC Metropolitan area, then you know exactly what kind of place she’s describing.) While most are reportedly based in the Commonwealth of Virginia, there’s also a handful of analysts scattered about at any number of US Embassies abroad, according to the report.

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  • Anonymous on

    Where have you guys been? They made it public so that means they have been doing this type of stuff for ten years or so would be my guess. 

  • Anonymous on

    Even though they have just openly admitted it, it stands to reason that they have been doing it from the getgo.

  • Anonymous on

    And so is the FBI, MI5, the Russian FSB, Chinese State Security, etc.

  • Anonymous on

    Nothing to hide = Nothing to fear! Hide and watch me live my life!! No problem!


  • Anonymous on

    Must be a slow news day.  What will the CIA be up to now that they let us know what we already knew?  Any Cyber Jock worth his salt already knew there are several blips in the Field.

  • Anonymous on

    It's the only goddam place you can get the fuggerment to listen to you, so go there and let them know which parts of them you love and which parts if any you don't!  So, Mr. Obama knows I called him 'our alleged president'?  Good.  Keeps the ego down a bit? - maybe.  See, they back off when the peasants get uppity about something, and soften them up a bit more.  So honking off on social media is your civic duty, dudes and dudesses.

  • Anonymous on

    What the point of intelligence gathering, if it doesn't help this country in anyway?? Did it stop any of the corrupt banking system, did it stop any BP executives from getting off scoff free, did it stop Bush and Cheney from getting off scoff free?? Why are we still wasting time on oil wars, or any other wars for that matter? American are loosing jobs, this country is going down, while resources are being squandered. So what is the point!? Wasn't Trillion dollars wasted on war? Why are we still growing corn that isn't fit for human consumption and making cattles sick.... There's so much non-sense. Please start acting sensibly, so that all Americans (not just the top few) can live life in descent conditions. It's high time this country got its act together internally, building infrastructure, jobs, sustainable agriculture(not GMO/pesticide covered food), sustainable energy practices, sustainable business model that hires people here(not china, etc) and one that doesn't wreck the environment for everybody else. End the stupidity now. Thank you
  • Anonymous on

    That's why all my FB accounts are seeded with false information, they've been doing this for years and so have I.
  • Anonymous on

    NSA linguists have been known to be inept.  TIME magazine published an article after 9/11 how the Arab linguists at NSA dropped the ball in translating ¨Al Qaeda¨ until somebody came up with the wonderful discovery that it meant ¨the base¨ or words to that effect.  Spooks are not the supermen MSM paints them to be, although you do have to watch your back with them, heh, heh. :-)

  • Tinman on

      Now where are all the people that used to call us conspiracy nuts and telling us we needed tin foil caps?  They are all pretty quiet right now, aren't they?

  • Anonymous on

     I will strike down upon thee with a great vengeance and furious anger those who attempt to poison and destroy my brothers, and you will know my name is the lulzsec when I lay my vengeance upon thee.

  • ibrahim on

    Please say if those fraud/Scammer, by a way or another , got some money from me, how can I claim for that,  it is through a fals WIN A PRIZR from  YAHOO?MICROSOFT LOTTARY ?

    Please consult/direct me

    Thanks on advance

  • Making Beats on

    big brother is always watching

    making beats

  • Anonymous on

    I'm telling you. Anonymous is CIA run. an Anonymous industrial park.  the legion of parks. Dropping hints?

  • Anonymous on

    hahahaha CIA,FBI, and all Aegencies around the world they Monnitor your emails,phones calls, and all other stuff for years, Enjoy all this so call new  technolgoy lol.

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