July 31, 2003

Wyden, Dorgan Continue Call for Closure of "Terrorism Information Awareness" Program

Privacy, civil liberties concerns persist after Poindexter resignation

Washington, DC - U.S. Senators Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.) issued a brief statement today following the resignation of Dr. John Poindexter, director of the Terrorism (formerly Total) Information Awareness (TIA) Program at the Department of Defense. On Monday, Wyden and Dorgan drew attention to a proposed program under Dr. Poindexter's authority that would have sold futures contracts on assassinations, coups and military strikes in an attempt to predict terrorist events. The program, FutureMAP, was shut down by the Defense Department's Defense Advance Research Projects Agency (DARPA) the next day. Wyden and Dorgan have said that they favor the shutdown of the entire TIA program, of which FutureMAP was one component. Their statement reads as follows: "As Congress contemplates the future of the Terrorism Information Awareness Program after the resignation of Dr. Poindexter, we want to make one point clear: even with today's announcement, the proposed TIA program would still be the biggest spying and surveillance overreach in America's history, and it should be shut down. Congress will have the opportunity to do just that in the conference for the defense appropriations bill in the fall and we hope to see this program de-funded once and for all. We have always believed that it is possible to fight terrorism vigorously without gutting civil liberties. The TIA program skews that balance and needs to go."