Wednesday, July 2, 2008
The U.S. military is looking for a contractor to patrol cyberspace, watching for warning signs of forthcoming terrorist attacks or other hostile activity on the Web.
“If someone wants to blow us up, we want to know about it,” Robert Hembrook, the deputy intelligence chief of the U.S. Army’s Fifth Signal Command in Mannheim, Germany, told United Press International.
In a solicitation posted on the Web last week, the command said it was looking for a contractor to provide “Internet awareness services” to support “force protection” — the term of art for the security of U.S. military installations and personnel.
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“The purpose of the services will be to identify and assess stated and implied threat, antipathy, unrest and other contextual data relating to selected Internet domains,” says the solicitation.
Hembrook was tight-lipped about the proposal. “The more we talk about it, the less effective it will be,” he said. “If we didn’t have to put it out in public (to make the contract award), we wouldn’t have.”
He would not comment on the kinds of Internet sites the contractor would be directed to look at but acknowledged it would “not (be) far off” to assume violent Islamic extremists would be at the top of the list.
The solicitation says the successful contractor will “analyze various Web pages, chat rooms, blogs and other Internet domains to aggregate and assess data of interest,” adding, “The contractor will prioritize foreign-language domains that relate to specific areas of concern … (and) will also identify new Internet domains” that might relate to “specific local requirements” of the command.
Officials were keen to stress the contract covered only information that could be found by anyone with a computer and Internet connection.
This article was posted: Wednesday, July 2, 2008 at 2:37 pm