Meet In-Q-Tel, the CIA’s Venture Capital Firm (Preview)
Corbett • 10/09/2011
Read at: https://www.corbettreport.com/meet-in-q-tel-the-cias-venture-capital-firm-preview/
In contrast to this, In-Q-Tel was formed by the CIA in 1999 as a private, not-for-profit venture capital firm with the specific task of delivering technology to America’s intelligence community.
Publicly, In-Q-Tel markets itself as an innovative way to leverage the power of the private sector by identifying key emerging technologies and providing companies with the funding to bring those technologies to market.
In reality, however, what In-Q-Tel represents is a dangerous blurring of the lines between the public and private sectors in a way that makes it difficult to tell where the American intelligence community ends and the IT sector begins.
In-Q-Tel has generated a number of stories since its inception based on what can only be described as the “creepiness” factor of its investments in overtly Orwellian technologies.
In 2004, KMWorld published an interview with Greg Pepus, then In-Q-Tel’s senior director of federal and intelligence community strategy, about some of their investments. Pepus was especially proud of the CIA’s investment in Inxight, a company that offered software for data mining unstructured data sources like blogs and websites with analytical processing.
In 2006 it was revealed that AT&T had provided NSA eavesdroppers full access to its customer’s internet traffic, and that the American intelligence community was illegally scooping up reams of internet data wholesale. The data mining equipment installed in the NSA back door, a Narus STA 6400, was developed by a company whose partners were funded by In-Q-Tel.
Also in 2006, News21 reported on an In-Q-Tel investment in CallMiner, a company developing technology for turning recorded telephone conversations into searchable databases. In late 2005 it was revealed that the NSA had been engaged in an illegal warrantless wiretapping program since at least the time of the 9/11 attacks, monitoring the private domestic phone calls of American citizens in breach of their fourth amendment rights.
In 2009, the Telegraph reported on In-Q-Tel’s investment in Visible Technologies, a company specializing in software that monitors what people are saying on social media websites like YouTube, Twitter, Flickr and Amazon. The software is capable of real-time communications tracking, trend monitoring, and even sentiment analysis that categorizes blog posts and comments as positive, negative or neutral. Just last month, the Federal Reserve tendered a Request For Proposal for just this type of software so the privately owned central bank could monitor what people are saying about it online.
Two of the names that come up most often in connection with In-Q-Tel, however, need no introduction: Google and Facebook.
Continue Reading at: https://www.corbettreport.com/meet-in-q-tel-the-cias-venture-capital-firm-preview/
In-Q-Tel: A New Partnership
Between the CIA and the Private Sector
Rick E. Yannuzzi
Read at: https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/intelligence-history/in-q-tel
On 29 September 1999, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) was treated to something different. In many of the nation’s leading newspapers and television news programs a story line had appeared that complimented the Agency for its creativity and openness. The media was drawn to a small corporation in Washington, DC that had just unveiled its existence and the hiring of its first CEO, Gilman Louie. Mr. Louie described the Corporation, called In-Q-It, as having been formed "...to ensure that the CIA remains at the cutting edge of information technology advances and capabilities." 1 With that statement the Agency launched a new era in how it obtains cutting edge technologies. In early January 2000, the name of the corporation was changed to In-Q-Tel.
The origins of the concept that has become In-Q-Tel are traceable to Dr. Ruth David, a former CIA Deputy Director for Science and Technology. She and her Deputy, Joanne Isham, were the first senior Agency officials to understand that the information revolution required the CIA to forge new partnerships with the private sector and design a proposal for radical change. The timing of the proposal was fortuitous. The Director of Central Intelligence (DCI), George Tenet, had just launched his Strategic Direction initiative that included technology as one of its areas for review. The study made a direct link between the Agency’s future technology investments and improving its information gathering and analysis capabilities.
Continue Reading at: https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/intelligence-history/in-q-tel