Top Secret America's weekly roundup
Here are a few tidbits we came across this week that piqued our interest.
* Intelligent Software Solutions of Colorado Springs, Colo. won a $25 million task order from the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory to do software work. The 12-month deal is part of a $500 million contract that Intelligent Software won last year. The company said in a press release that the program involves "the use of ISS' WebTAS-TK, or Web Enabled Temporal Analysis System Tool Kit," which allows people to "process, analyze, and visualize large amounts of intelligence data from many disparate sources, in multiple form factors."
* Another Top Secret America company, ArcSight of Menlo Park, Calif., is best known for having In-Q-Tel, the Central Intelligence Agency's venture-capital arm, as an investor. According to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, ArcSight has a $1.5 billion buyout offer from Hewlett Packard. In-Q-Tel is staffed and funded by the CIA and provides companies with "intelligence and counter-intelligence expertise and a 'test-bed' for new products," the Journal said.
What makes ArcSight attractive to the CIA? The company builds software that checks computer networks for attacks from hackers. ArcSight has roughly 1,000 employees and went public in 2008. The WSJ said it is unknown how much the CIA (and thereby the taxpayers) earned on the investment.
* More construction is underway to attract contractors who want to be near the Pentagon and the Department of Homeland Security. According to CoStar, a commercial real estate research firm, developer Jackson-Shaw plans to start construction in September on Andrews Federal Campus, an 80-acre business park at Suitland Parkway and the Capital Beltway just southeast of the District.
There's other real estate news -- Exxon Mobile's 118-acre campus in Fairfax could become home for the Defense Intelligence Agency. The spy agency is looking for roughly 523,000 square feet in Northern Virginia to consolidate its operations, according to a recent story in the Post's Capital Business.
* Electronic jammers are a big deal when it comes to trying to prevent radio-controlled IEDs (Improvised Explosive Devices) from going off, and making them has become big business for contractors. ITT of McLean recently won a $455 million Pentagon contract to make up to 5,000 electronic jammers, also known as Joint Counter Radio-Controlled Improvised Explosive Device Electronic Warfare (JCREW).
* Check out SpyTalk's Jeff Stein and his take on Blackwater and its multiple layers.
* Walking through the Pentagon this week, I came across a small trade show featuring tips on how to protect against terrorists and defend the country's national security. On the booth tables, were pamphlets, crossword and sudoku puzzles - all with security themes - that caught my eye.
One pamphlet read, Using your BlackBerry Securely. It raised the question - is it friend or foe? When it comes to classified materials, "a phone is the enemy's cheapest agent," it reminded intelligence workers. And among its Top 10 list of "Tenets of Secure BlackBerry Usage:" Number one, Never store or process classified information on a BlackBerry device.
Another handout was about "Your role in Helping to Prevent Espionage." It describes the different characteristics of a spy. Most spies are narcissistic. .. The psychopath, more aggressive than the narcissist, is impulsive, adventurous, and deceitful. And it reminds readers: Spies do get caught, but often after much damage has already been done.
One of my personal favorites among the handouts is a little red and yellow sign that you can sit on your desk. It reads: "Area Secure. Do Not Leave Classified Materials in This Area."
And here's a word of the day for readers. The crossword clue: a technique of gathering intelligence through what appears to be normal, even mundane, social or professional contact.
Have tidbits, news, cool technology? Share them with Dana at firstname.lastname@example.org. (Please put - tidbits in the subject line.)
| September 17, 2010; 11:07 AM ET
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