Social Networking Site Links Spies, Secrets

September 08, 2008 03:48 PM
by Isabel Cowles
Security agencies, including the FBI and CIA, will begin trading top-secret data via A-Space, a networking and information-sharing platform for the intelligence community.

Security Agents ‘Friend’ One Another

Members of the Central Intelligence Agency, Federal Bureau of Investigation, National Security Agency and 13 other American security organizations are being encouraged to use an online network that allows them to share photos, videos and top-secret information. 

The program, A-Space, has been likened to social networking sites. According to Michael Wertheimer, assistant deputy director of national intelligence for analysis, "It's every bit Facebook and YouTube for spies, but it’s much, much more.”

The purpose of A-Space is to allow agents to examine all of the possible information related to an investigation or case. According to CNN, “Missing crucial data can have enormous implications, such as an FBI agent who sent an e-mail before September 11, 2001, warning of people learning to fly airplanes but not learning to land them.”

The site, which was originally intended to open last December, will officially launch on September 22. Wertheimer explains the value of opening up communication online: "I am unable to send email, and even make secure phone calls, to a good portion of the community from my desktop because of firewalls,” he said. A-Space will make otherwise classified information accessible to the entire security community.

A-Space has been undergoing tests for months. Obviously, security is a major concern. Information on the site will be accessible to intelligence personnel with proper security clearance to enter and examine specific, relevant information.

Unlike Facebook and MySpace, which are typically geared toward younger audiences, A-Space has had no difficulty appealing to more mature users. “We have found that participation in A-Space crosses every conceivable age line and experience line. People are excited, no matter what age group,” Wertheimer said.

Related: CIA Networking Initiatives


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