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tv   Arthur Holland Michel Eyes in the Sky  CSPAN  October 8, 2019 10:10pm-11:42pm EDT

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health. that is wednesday beginning at 8:00 p.m. eastern on c-span2. and enjoy book tv this week and every weekend on c-span2. there is more book to be coming up next with journalist eyes in the sky which examines the pentagon aerial surveillance system known as organs gorgon stair. >> good afternoon i am patrick, a research fellow here and i want to welcome you in the auditorium. at the building in washington, d.c. and those of you watching online or on our website, i believe they are in fact on site here. i just want to go over a few admin items after we ge enter
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before we get to the meeting. please make sure your cell phones are turned off or at least in silent mode and that places smart phones and any other electronic device that might make an annoying noise while having our discussion. we will have a q&a portion as we get close to the end and when that goes down i'll ask folks to wait to be called upon and wait for the microphone so everyone has an opportunity to hear you and i'll ask you to not to name and affiliation. our topic today is this particular absolutely fascinating and terrifying book, eyes in the sky, i have to point out, the little digital version of what i'm calling the eye from lord of the rings which i think
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it's apt in what were going to be discussing today. six years ago this month it in a say contractor whistleblower named edward burst upon the world scene with his absolutely amazing resolutions about mass surveillance taking place during the so-called war on terror. and of course there was literally dozens if not hundreds of stories about the revelations up or down from 2013 and continue to this particular day. that has all been about electronic surveillance in terms of listening and listening to her cell phone conversations, text messages and things of that nature. our guest today brings us what may be as scary or scarier with technological news which is tom cruise minority report scenario is not so far-fetched anymore
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and in fact the technology we will talk about today is inspired by a different movie which i won't still his thunder. over here on the far wing is a journalist researcher and founder and codirector of the -- the list goes on and on. he is a co-author of primer, key issues and drone sightings and close encounters in the national airspace. sitting directly next mr. mclaughlin and national security investigation reporter for yahoo! news where she focuses on the intelligence community foreign-policy and she has previously covered international security for cnn, foreign-policy and mother jones following her graduation from john hawkins in 2014. and in between, and shawn,
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policy council demand progress, he is a counsel for the future and federal policy manager in the google policy fellow of georgetown law for representation. in addition to serving as policy counsel for the progress and demand progress education fund he serves as director of the fourth advisory committee which he cofounded on capitol hill which you may have heard of in california and former representative ted crow of texas. the privacy and technology have been published because of the chicago tribune, washington post, on and on. the legislative fights he's been a part of reforms to the information actor most recently the 2019 effort in the house weighing in foreign intelligence surveillance act section 702 mass surveillance programs. thank you and welcome to all of
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you. i would like to begin by having you tell us how you developed the obsession with drones. >> first i would like to think the institute for having me. i feel honored to be here with such a great panel. it really does mean a lot to be back in the space. and it's been an incredible journey when anything about the fact that seven years ago i was a pretty scrappy undergraduate in upstate new york. every morning i would read the times and the breakfast cafeteria and there would be a story about drone strikes in war zones. and if not that there would be a story about how drones were being increasingly used in the civilian airspace.
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both raised unfamiliar and urgent questions. i was doing my research with history students, immigrations in the 1960s. i was sitting in a bar one day between my junior and senior year and suddenly i had an idea, i have to study drones and have to create something called the study of the drone and i returned to the college and i told the administration, yeah let's do this. and because they are completely insane they allowed me too go forward and we created a research experiment and the rest so to speak is history. i guess her timing was fortunate because we established ourselves with the time when people began to ask these questions in a very broad public form. and those questions have only become more complex and
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challenging and urgent. >> i spent my time at cia as an analyst during the tail and of the cold war. into the mid-90s. i was used to working with both. also very highly classified satellite programs. some of which i talk about. a lot of which i still not unfortunately even though it's been 25 years since have been actively doing any of that. but what do you say in the book about the whole issue of the soda straw and trying to see something from above, that applies to pretty much any conventional imaging platform including relatively advanced satellite, the things i can put you to during the unclassified arena are digital globes
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satellite. these things operate in the electro spectrum that we use on a daily basis to see each other in the world around us. there are other spectrums that are of great interest for the military standpoint and the law enforcement standpoint and i want to talk about some of that in some detail later. but what i find terrifying about this, we are now -- you take a picture here and you take a picture there, you are talking about a we made technology. tell us what it stands for. and tell us what it means in real terms. >> i should say is a drone researcher i spend a lot of time about raising technologies but in a way nothing kept me up at night the way that this technology did. the golden stair.
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so as pat was mentioning, over the course of the cold war the pinnacle area of the satellite systems would take images preyed when she moved into a counterterrorism paradigm there was individual people. with that you wanted moving images and a video cam. the surveillance video system in large are in use operate under the footprint. they give them as telescopes, they very good at watching a narrow area and high fidelity but if something happens outside of the area that you are looking at then you're out of luck. an example was given by one source, the air force in several agencies were tracking a senior leader who was in a convoy of vehicles and they knew this was in the convoy but they did not know which vehicle precisely was
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in. at a certain point they reach an intersection and split up. at that moment it was very difficult decision, do we go left or do we go right. it came down to a flip of a coin. what if you can watch the whole area at the same time. that is the principle behind of what i wrote about in the book whammy. the technology that cost me so many hours of sleep and you basically get a giant camera and watch in entire city at once in the idea being you can follow thousands of vehicles and even if you do not see the vehicle and the thing of him interest in real-time it's a footage to view later. in the genesis of the technology is from the movie enemy of the state. from 1998 with will smith.
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in will smith has evidence that they want. and they play a whole array of technologies and they put tracking in his pants and smoke detector. but without a doubt the most terrifying technology is a surveillance satellite which seems the entire eastern seaboard all at once and has a video capability and it watches the will smith character as he scuffles around and saying the satellite operation is truly terrifying. and besides anybody knows it did not exist at the time and one night at a movie theater in 1998, an engineer went to see the movie with his wife, everyone else in the audience was terrified of what they saw on the screen, he was absolutely
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thrilled. he thought it was amazing and he thought we should do this. so he rushed home, left a message with his supervisor saying something very simple, i have a great idea. call me. so the scrappy team worked out ideas and thinking about how digital surveillance could be used in airborne capacity and ultimately they strapped cameras together pretty scrappy and able to watch a large area. then the cia got involved and became very interested in what you're doing because they could use it to unravel networks in iraq were these networks were really wreaking havoc with ambushes and attacks. give a very wide area. it does not matter if you don't see the id go off at the very moment. you can rewind and see where the repo responded and where it came
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from. and you could see were the actually went, once you've seen where they went, now you have a location associated with the group. so then you can track all the other ones that came about. in theory you can find the people who played the big decisions in the group. this is obviously thrilling to the cia because they were trained to find a way to identify the groups that were essentially looking like any other civilian. so this went through an incredibly rapid series of development cycles culminating with the system that braces the cover of my book and that's what continues to be in use this very day operating as far as we know in afghanistan, syria and congressional reports called it a crucial capability and everything is classified but what we know it has made a tremendous difference in that
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original role. >> and is a claim is being made on behalf of your sources. >> asked. >> what we learn from the history of surveillance programs in the united states over the course of the last 100 years the often times these claims of efficacy don't necessarily pan out. an example would be the preacher iraq to 16 program which is commonly known as a wrecker program. even though that program was exposed and stopping 0 attacks on the united states in 2015 the congress had to reauthorize the program anyway. that's one thing that concerns me about a lot of the technology out there right now whether we talk about facial recognition
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and other forms of biometric and things of that nature. these programs have a nasty habit of getting funded in taking off and developing a life of their own and never getting the scrutiny that they need, to the best of your knowledge, as any inspector general either within the department of defense or service inspector general's taken a look at any of these programs to see if the claims naturally? >> they certainly have. the technology has faced an uphill battle. there are a lot of skeptics and people who have said one megapixel camera, why would anybody need more than that. there was also very development testing evaluation data that came out about these programs and also there is some evidence that the technology has as you said, escaped beyond its original constraint.
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one senior officer who was involved on the analysis and of the golden stair program said there being useful for capturing aquatics in afghanistan. that had nothing to do with the cia initially intended for the technology. once it's there and battle, those checks don't necessarily apply, use the tools that are at your disposal. so that being said, i feel like the budget data in a way speaks for itself, there are numerous ongoing development programs, the army has new programs that develop similar capabilities and so does the marine corps, air force is continually investing in the technology and one gets the sense that that probably has something to do with that it has
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shown the very least tremendous potential. there is one data point i was able to get about the operations. one system, a set of four aircraft, blue devils and according to one document, and a three year time span it was credited with the capture of killing of more than 1200 people in afghanistan. that to me is a very tiny peak into what exists behind the curtain. >> you just referenced the use of this technology and counter narcotics to make sure we are being as furs we can be with respect to technology.
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any technology can be used for good or evil purposes as we have seen. a lot of the same equipment to manufacture ferguson locals can be used to make aspirin there is a flipside to the story too. i think it's important that we talk about that and i prefer to talk about upfront and warmer pressed for time at the end. let's take a hypothetical. if google had its own capability how much better would google maps be and how much better would your traffic management control system be if you were able to control that. >> i interview one official senior executive at sierra nevada which is the contractor, the prime contractor. and he was driving in d.c. and obviously the traffic was incredibly bad and i did a
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little background on this and technology can be used to identify checkpoints and be used to gather data to create traffic models to figure out how to optimize the flow of traffic through a city and save time in traffic. but there is more to that. about a year before started working on the book i was riding my bike home from a bar in brooklyn and i witnessed a shooting, for people in 19-year-old was shot in the gut. and they disappeared into the night obviously i did not go chasing after them. i contacted the police the next day and i was in touch with the detective trying to get the information that i had and i checked in a week or so later and they were never able to solve the crime. fortunately the teenagers
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survived but it joined a list of thousands of unsold crimes in your city. had this camera been watching that night it would've been a very simple question of tracking his assailants. back in time from where they came from and forward to where they ended up hiding out. even if the police could not have caught up that night it would give them an address to work with. i want those people to be brought to justice. i saw the teenager lying on the ground and if we have the capacity to do so, it's incumbent upon us. so let's make use of it. the story is never so simple. i also heard about terrifying
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things that can be done with the technology in the domestic setting which let's make no mistake is happening and being used and there are groups that are trying to have it be used in a domestic setting and being used in baltimore and other cities and just last week man who i reflected who is henry ford of this technology and he now has his sights on chicago to have the technology fly over the city's recording large areas. and he called the unsolvable crimes. and the last thing i will say, is completely legal. as far as the lawyers are concerned, there's no difference between this man owning an entire city with 120 megapixel camera and me sticking my camera out of it airplane to take a picture of the landscape as a fly cross-country is a public space and operate to do so.
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>> you buy that? >> i think it's fair to say the law has not kept pace with what you described in the book. it may be before diving in, there's another part of the book that you have not gone to. you see in the book, abi and the technical term talking about the artificial intelligence apparatus around it and other similarities where the increased collection ability generates way too much information for the normal intake process. i have a specific question on the other side but i think we need you to explain a little more before we go. >> one of these cameras, a single one generates an unsalvageable amount of data. i calculated that it would take
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2000 ipads to play the imagery from single camera at any different time if you're looking at real-time and real size revolution. as one engineer put it to me it takes 1 million people to watch 1 million people. and sure enough when air force began analyzing all of the footage they found themselves completely overwhelmed, a vast majority was ending up on the cutting room floor. they could obviously find what happened after an explosion but they were able to find the unknown unknown. there were so many other things happening in the footage but they simply did not have time to get to. so the solution to that is artificial intelligence. not only does this. the grunt work of having to track individual vehicles a simple solution that states the
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algorithm and theory but everywhere it is been in everywhere it's going. you can also say, every other vehicle it's associated with. give me a list of every location and then track the vehicles in those locations as well. but there's more. maybe they don't want to start with somebody who is a known terrorist. maybe you want to get them before the amount and attack. as it turns out, these groups often exhibit pretty predictable behaviors in the lead up to an attack. pretty simple counter surveillance. take u-turns or drive aimlessly to make sure no one is following them. tell me every time a car exhibits on these behaviors in the city. now the system even if we don't touch every single one it will
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touch some number of unknown unknowns. and that is true holy grail of surveillance. and despite everything that happens you're no other way of knowing about. and there has been an intense effort and a lot of people have not heard about project david that google has been involved in another firms. it was to give some automated capabilities to central footage. now it is turned in those that have received less attention is something that we should all definitely be thinking about. i'm not sure we want to live in a city where every time someone does a u-turn it seems suspicious.
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>> from a legal perspective, question about whether this is legal but in part -- and you talked about this in the book, we have two recent -- both have good reference in the book that there is an upper bound to what this looks like. so there's a part of applications but the idea of introducing the trial for true investigative technique. i'm not so sure i would agree with it even though it is legal. unaccounted for perhaps. >> unchallenged as yet. >> here is the thing, the jones decision sean is referring to was in 2012 and it involves police use of a gps tracking device on the subject vehicle, not for a day or two but
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something like weeks. replacing a specific device on a vehicle and having that person track literally for roughly a month and they said no, that's a violation of the fourth amendment. so for me, the question is is jones applicable here? even without the application of a natural device on the subjects vehicle. your literally utilizing a different form of persistent surveillance. you're just not sticking the actual receiver, the deeper tag on the car. so it does make me wonder whether or not jones would be operative. but your point, there is no case in any federal jurisdiction -- part of the reason that may be
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the case that as was the case in baltimore that has persistent surveillance systems, they did everything they could to keep the use of the system absolutely secret. they do not want the public to know about it and officials maintain they had no knowledge of it, lead the community outreach and the rest of that. isn't this penchant for secrecy and the designation sensitive on this information. isn't that one of the reasons we probably have not seen a challenge to this kind of thing? >> without a doubt. if you think about how recently congress has begun to pay attention to simulators that trucks up on location, i think that is integrated to the fact that the fda has allowed local agency to use the technology. you're absolutely right, and
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baltimore it was a secret operation. the reason it was secret because it was not funded by the city, there was a texas billionaire philanthropist who gave the city enough money to run this program to see the technology has the potential it seems to have. as a result of the loophole, they did not tell the mayor or the state legislator or the city council or the public defender. the list goes on. i was lucky enough to find out about the separation while it was happening although i was sworn to secrecy. i spent two days in baltimore exerting the city along with the analyst police department. i was incredible with what this technology was able to do. i sat in on everything with three detectives working on a murder investigation. as shooting similar to the one i witness.
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and the analyst showed how they were able to track this man, the hours following the shooting and leading up to it. one of the detective said it was by far the best briefing it had ever seen in his life. the other detective almost had no words, he was trying to find a way to make sense of what he had seen he said it's like the movie. at the time nobody knew the technology was being directly inspired by enemy of the state which i revealed in the book. i stepped out onto the street following that and they knew the airplane was watching me. i look up into the sky and i see it, it flies high. sure enough it felt pretty uncomfortable to know i was being watched, farmer uncomfortable is seeing everybody else going about their business in the city knowing
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that they are being watched by technology that they cannot even fathom, they do not even know exists. they have no idea. gutfeld wrong this technology watches everybody and nobody knew about it. so strong on a moral level and visceral level. it is also wrong in terms of the secrecy the city council did not have an opportunity to weigh in. the state attorney did not get an opportunity and whether this would be permissible in court. it ended up having a whiplash effect because when it was finally revealed there was so much outrage being kept secret. >> as you read the book what struck you about the techniques in his ability to get these people to talk to him. i was floored of the people who
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worked at the secret lives in our country and worked on supersecret stuff in my former employer tia and other agencies as well were eager to talk to the sky. >> when you report on this intersection between technology and the intelligence community sometimes you pull up on these topics people are excited to talk about. they've worked auto and developed godlike tools and they want to brag about them to a certain extent. especially within the intelligence committee the research labs, i think there is a pre-classification if you will and these people are scientists and they may have a different frame of mind and discussing these things. i would like to hear more about your process of reporting in the amount of information. also on top of that i would love to bring up the a.i. issue as
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well as a journalist who has covered the intersection between technology and something i am often struck by is the reliance on the godlike tool and the tendency in which in the early stages is very prone to error. i wrote about the use of that technology and using that to connect with sources on the ground in china and around and essentially a webpage media source related to yoga. it's a webpage that looks like they're browsing about yoga but there communicating an over alliance that was not the secure led to the deaths of sources around the globe. so i feel like looking at the heirs of that, if we were like much of a.i., that's super dangerous, where will computers make mistakes.
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when you look at algorithms to people talk about how dumb they are at the current stage and how we are not really prepared for. >> absolutely. i'll start with the first question, coming from jenna to see my reporting is tremendously a high praise. i will probably get that tattooed on my arm later. [laughter] it was funny when i started researching the book i would tell people that i was writing a book about grammy and people will say are these guys going to talk to. and i thought i was nervous myself but as it turned out is exactly one of the stories you refer to that people were willing to speak to me. and there were a couple of reasons, i think. one, they are proud of what they've done.
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in the core development. of this technology, the growth of the cameras actually outweigh the growth of microchips which is described by the law. that is an astounding achievement if you think about it because there's appeared from the early 2005 years ago and it really improved in that time. so we might talk about that and brag a little bit. much more important this is the story of broad public interest. they almost had some obligation to get it out there. one of my sources when i finally reached him he said in the way i am been waiting for this call for 15 years. and i said why, he said because we have to answer for what we have done. they have had a sense from the
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very outset of this program that they were creating something formidable. one incredible moment right in the heaviest moments of the development cycle and they felt like every single day was a day that they were not saving u.s. service in the field by getting these networks rolled out. and everything worked down. they were in florida, during surveillance at palm beach. apparently they just sat on the beach and were a little overwhelmed of the enormity of what they had done. perhaps he set off a process that they would no longer have control over. another thing that really amazes me about these discussions, every single one i intended to bring up the question privately. even these guys talking about
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constraints and military uses, i wanted them to talk about privacy. and without exception, every single one broader privacy before i had the chance to. because they were thickened about it too. this just gives you a sense, this is a crucial role that they have to play in the public dialogue. but the technology itself it does raise a different question. in two points of artificial intelligence, you're right, it's one of my favorite antidotes a group at colorado state developing a recognition algorithm by looking at video surveillance. in the system was very impressive in being able to detect a woman in detectors turning around but as the research credit they missed shoes carrying a bowl of fruit. this is a woman carrying a bowl
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of fruit. there are couple things that play that, they don't care famous. even the large number of the suspicious activity. as long as they catch more than they would be able to catch by human analysis alone, that is a pretty compelling idea. also the fact that this stuff is going to get where more capable over time. as i was speaking, they viewed the technology and had tremendous potential in this application. but your question raises a key issue with regards to surveillance which is the question of trust. this is going to be on robust data. the computer needs to give you a
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sense of his own analysis. it needs to say this is 99.9% likely to be true or needs to tell you i'm not really sure. if you think about law enforcement, it's incredibly problematic because it says i have a 71% confidence rate that there's about to be in armed robbery. do you send the police and with the gun strong? do you meander over with a single patrol car? and what if the computer gets it right and you do not pay attention. what if it has had confidence rate, 95% in just some teenager playing ball in the street. the next time it gives you 95% confidence, you will not trust at all.
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a lot of the police departments will have dysfunctional relationships with their a.i. in that is not only problematic because it means effectiveness of the technology will be compromised but also problematic because people could really get hurt. >> there's another labe level as well. after 71 is a computer number. it is certainly true, two passages that stood out to me. the most behaviors for one of the software involved, people and events of interest including our keep distance for, keep distance close, flip-flop driving, approach, retreat, parallel driving, dropping off, aimless driving and leaving. and presumably those factor
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things like that into the 71 number or some analog trip. even more alarming going back to some of the questions, this is incredibly important and thank you for doing research and building record. additional markers of a pentagon report, those include name, gender, age, elision, skills, biometric, race and e-mail address. so i think how this question is framed as wildly important. and i'm curious of where you fall in the broader spectrum in the evangelist for the word type but just a granularity and these
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are qualities that even in a war zone i think would inspire some cause of triggering life-and-death situation. >> what are they doing about that, and determine what great interviews in the book who has every take one can imagine including have to stop working on this. >> it is not clear all talking about the issues you're talking about. how do we address conspiracy. how well do the systems work? >> absolutely. it touches on overly important point which is the reason this technology is significant is not
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solely because it's powerful in a vacuum on its own but because it's emerging at a time when we have the capability to find the person's name, gender and religious beliefs in their associations using things like social media analysis and wireless communication. when you bring all of this information together and you apply analytics to it that a person is not only doing a suspicious set of u-turns in the middle of the night but they have posted information on facebook that should have a particular leaning that may be of interest, that is tremendously powerful. that is tremendously worrying not only because as a granularity but it touches on the automation element in the
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idea of confident and also because it raises these questions of whether it leaves anything that can remain private in this day and age. that was an incredible passage that i found in one document talking about how a system would bring this together. it does so by doing exactly these things. these folks would give you to your broader question, they have a single mission in mind, and they expect nothing to do. there absolutely dedicated to saving people's lives. in a way i came to realize after being frustrated by the answer. that is the role that they play. you cannot expect the lion to
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decide it is suddenly not going to either gazelle because they're not any gazelles left anymore. these are in the technology space and they will do everything that they can. they have some sense that they will go further than others and suggesting what they can do about it. in a way there are others in the ecosystem that need to respond to it. you spoke to in your earlier question about anybody auditing the stuff within the intelligence and defense community. my answers no, perhaps when they talk about the use of drones and privacy audits. i don't think it's necessarily gone enough. that's what i wrote the book and these guys were willing to speak to me. they've done what they've done and maybe the happy with it and
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maybe the not. and now it's our problem to deal with in a way and i would not put those words exactly in there now. but that's the situation. the cat is out of the back and it's evolving and turning into a frightening tiger, it's automated and is miniaturizing the cameras used to weigh a thousand pounds in one engineer i spoke to calculated that 72 drones equipped with these cameras and you could watch the entire island of manhattan. they are low-flying drones as opposed to one single highflying aircraft. you can see around the building and you can build a 3d model so that now the police would be able to have a 3d explorable environment of the city. imagine a realistic videogame of
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manhattan. where people are moving around in those real people and you comply around in this virtual but not virtual space. that is where we are headed. and these guys are not going to pause. >> talking about granularity with data in one more popular vector recently is what happens if an adversary steals information. how they are protecting it because constantly they seem to charge into the spaces will be collected but we don't actually detect it. and then wait china has it all now. and they're adding it to the data in the echo effect data in a people think about that? >> very much so. in the answer you will get, where we secure the data. i'm not a cybersecurity expert
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and show me the codes that they used to secure the systems but that is another huge question in the scenario i imagine is that you have a city with a well regulated system and in the city, the happens to be a black lives matter protest. and a hacker associated with white supremacist group. now they can track every single person who attended that protest back to the home. >> to your earlier point, if you soon -- if this continues to be domestically. that international terrorism and for instance surveillance,
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that's the stuff the government has for accessing the national security. the specific way that they use, the veto records and it is not just the one person you're looking and you talk about this before, everybody that they talk to in the contacting on the other side. it's a law under 260, you're talking about a program and it needs to be under constant monitoring and people who are not suspected of doing anything but the vast majority who have not been in contact with here trying to follow. that is so much different. >> absolutely. one of the tactics that the baltimore police department experimented with not just to track of people involved in
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shootings the people who are witnesses of shootings. so they can trace them back to the home address and have two police officers knock on the door. we'll have a right to hold testimony if we don't want and if a police officer casually dropping firehouse intimidating, though that may be. this is a way for seeing network. that is by definition what it is for. and we are so interconnected as a mention in all these different ways. that the only possible effect that i can imagine from this is the chilling effect. . . . talked about some of the
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principled surveillance and said we would the pentagon report and the joint operating manual want to give, and this is a close paraphrase, we want to give the adversary the sense that we can perceive that they are very intent. it had not been as far as we
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know deployed domestically and the fbi and department of homeland security has taken a great interest in it. it isn't really toning it down very much, but there's also angelfire, a lot of greek mythology. >> if history teaches anything it is boring when it gets to scrutiny which is what tends to happen. >> it brings together a lot of the things we touched on already that the programs are predicated on race and religion and you know, i'm really curious when you interview people that talk about transparency and somebody that supports transparency but what are they doing to get to these fundamental questions?
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do you see a way for them to actually strip out some of these more obviously problematic components i suppose such as it would be something that would be outlined and i am not saying that it ever would be that you could see them for use domestically. the company has a company privacy policy so we can go beyond and above what is requirerequired and the police departments they are working with and there are some sensible rules like the type of this action by analysts to access the imagery in a way, it's not these
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folks responsibility to hold themselves to account, nor is it particularly wise because they are subjected at the end of the day. i will not be of political surveillance, but i will do a world bank type of thing where you have 20 agitators trying to make trouble. >> if you look at the historical record, some people have been referred to as agitated. think about how the civil rights movement was spoken about at the time. there was another chilling story and another engineer that developed the technology and is trying to commercialize it he
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said that it was simply a test, he just wanted to test some algorithms against the large crowd. >> so the people on the ground were test subjects. >> he also told me that he vehemently opposes the protest and even referred to some of them as thugs so i asked him, fair enough, you are not breaking the law, but if you saw anything that raised concern, would you have told the police, and he said of course. that's my responsibility as an outstanding citizen of what is the threshold for what counts as an activity? he says i think that this pixel on the screen through a brick through a window.
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if that capability had existed, who knows where it would be today because those were exactly the same rationale that we would use against those groups and i have no reason to doubt that and i should be sensitive to the gender element, by and large they are the people that i spoke to in fact the only person we spoke to who said i wasn't on this fly in over m flying over d is one of the women i interviewed. >> were they mostly white house while? >> yesterday where mostly white, and i think it is relevant. his wife that vehemently opposed the movement is black. >> i was fairly confused by that
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point. but there is that subjectivity that was very, very palpable in all of this even though they have the best of intentions they want to have a peaceful society that we all have different ideas of how to get there and perhaps people need access to that technology are not the ones who should be calling the shots. >> within the law enforcement community and the national security community especially, it is an extremely mission oriented culture that the issue is how was the mission defined, and it's always get the bad guy, get the bad guy. i mean, that is the message that the public, politicians, in large part of the press since i'm pretty much a regular basis. and that's why i think a lot of
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skepticism essentially has to be applied to some of the claims and advocates here. on page 18, the interlocutor in question might overlap with me on the hill when i was up there and he was on the majority cited republican side on the house permanent select committee on intelligence and that this is what he said kind of in response to some of the issues that you were raising. the fact of the matter is they told me the first time from years of operating in the surveillance industry is the u.s. intelligence community has the ability to spy on you but it iitdoes not cause, is not because come and here is the secret, listen closely and pause for effect, the community doesn't care about you. if you are watching, you might want to rephrase that, go back
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and rethink about that. when mike was on the hill is when senator chuck grassley revealed and 2012 that the nsa inspector general has found an nsa employee misusing the system to listen in on the conversations of their current spouses or former spouses were former lovers. this wasn't one or two people it was at least a dozen and those were just the ones they caught. so i think for me because i've worked in the intelligence community but also on the hill and like sean i've been around for a lot of these for the last 15 years but always concerns me is the backend process essentially if we are trying to keep tabs on this stuff because you can pass the law and this is what the foreign intelligence surveillance act was ostensibly designed to do and was passed in
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1978 it is designed to actually prevent this stuff that the foreign intelligence is using to day-to-day which is engaged in an awful lot of mass spying on americans. the problem that we have, and this is the point that i want to engage you on is our system as my former employer, the representative say our constitutional system is supposed to be self-correcting, but my caveat to that is always self corrects if we as citizens engaged. what gives you reason to believe that we have a better than even shot of being able to get it right with this technology? because in many respects, i'm like you, i'm fascinated by the technology becausthistechnologyn imagery guide for my whole career. so i love this book. it's superbly written, beautifully edited. but i know the mentality that drives an awful lot of folks in
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the intelligence community, and i worry especially about the mentality of the folks on capitol hill who seem entirely too eager and too willing to just let things slide. we had just this last week another example in congress basically not doing its job of taking a hard workout and existing surveillance program in this case section 702 authority. and in fact we have an amendment offered on the republican side and ms. lofgren on the republican side which in the previous years had easily passed the house and in one year passed by the veto override majority of 93 votes in this yea and this yl short by 175 with only 175 votes. so i think what i fear if i want to hear you address is what is our hope for actually being able to kind of get it right with this technology?
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it's simple. so, it would be there are cases we are at least to the local level we have very strong protections against warrantless wiretapping into private communications are protected. i know this is complicated at the national level by the foreign intelligence work, but the more to get to that question we have the reason. you would think that having spent the better part of four years working on this book about these frightening technologies lying half asleep at night and i would be fairly pessimistic but i don't see that as being an option because i don't think
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that people would really do anything i don't think people that are pessimistic go to their town council meeting or write to their congressmen. it is a little hard to get one to wrap one's head around it. it's been derailed by the public
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pushback there hasn't been a single congressional hearing about the wide-area surveillance technology. >> no public hearings. we don't know whether or not the committees have held close hearings it's important to see whether the community or not come in and obviously they are not doing their jobs.
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at the state and local level you see hope. >> there hasn't been a single congressional research report to address the topic. they do have the desire to take action, but there's a very important caveat to that, which is the law enforcement by nature will only operate according to
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what the rules do say and not according to what they do not say. and i will give you an example of that. let's say we create a law that is very robust, all of the limitations that could imagine on the versions of this technology. this is a ground-based system to be applied with these rules. so the regulation for this technology has to be taken into context elicits potential iterations. it has to be future proofed, which the only solution is to thinking of this as a process rather than the single goal of developing a chalice regulation that will be watertight forever and that there is an emphasis on making sure that the rules that comply to as they are written but also as to what they do not
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say as well. and there is a reason to be hopeful about a lot of it because we have seen the cities take these actions. san francisco just published a very robust municipal ordinance that requires the city to disclose its intentions to purchase any new surveillance technology, so the baltimore operation would not have happened and to submit that technology to the review prior to the u.s. with strict standards and regular audits to make sure nobody gets lazy and enforcing it, i think that is a pretty solid step forward. but perhaps for that to happen at a larger scale i think a lot of people are going to need to participate. so, the one final thing i will say is a lot of the way that we talk about these things can be alienating. i would imagine some of my sources feel a little bit
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alienated by seeing us here on stage talking about the tensions and how evil this technology is and i think that is a little bit unhealthy. even these groups need to be brought into the conversation. i think at the end of the day that is probably healthier and so for that to happen. >> there is maybe an analog here with respect to body worn cameras, and one of the issues there has been sure it applies in orders of magnitude here in the cost of storing this stuff because there's a lot of police departments that have had their officers about for 12 hour shifts and all this stuff gets recorded. how long do you keep it, what is the public access process for it, etc.. talk if you can about the magnitude of the storage challenge here. >> it's absolutely huge, but in
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a way the technology also creates this interesting loophole that doesn't really work with something like a body worn camera. i will give you the case of baltimore again they have a citywide policy but if they have any surveillance data that isn't relevant to an ongoing investigation it has to be deleted within 30 days, fair enough. but, when you have a camera that watches the entire city, there are crimes happening every single day so you can hold onto that data indefinitely. the data storage is becoming a lot cheaper. that actually didn't come up as a big concern among these groups they seem to not worry they would be losing things. you can chop up the data inserted things into baby at the end of the day you cut every third frame is it so now you only have one third of the storage than you had previously.
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then you automate it and press it and do all sorts of things there are technological fixes that need to be considered. >> and then the other driver that i've heard about with respect to a state and local police departments moving away from helicopters because of the cost and moving towards drowns, do you see a movement like that accelerating or potentially being a factor that accelerates the adoption of the technology we are talking about? >> now the police department in a town with 300 people can put in by in the sky something they could previously do. the most recent account of more than 900 public safety departments in the country that operate. these are very small. they still couldn't carry one of these very large cameras there are a few things that are converging. the first is getting smaller so
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eventually it will fit on the drone of this size but also the airspace is continually opening up more and more to the large drums that would be able to carry something like this. this. then eventually you get to the point that you have these swaths of drowns that can watch a whole area, very, very constantly and actively and intelligently and that will be a few more years down the line and something to keep an eye out for. >> you can easily sell the idea of the eye in the sky is going to solve all these problems and see everything and catch every bad thing before it happens, but just immediately thinking, i could think of all these different problems that might have for example north korea is very cloudy, the terrain is very mountainous. i've heard a lot of imagery and talk about how that is a difficult target because it is a
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serious issue. you could have people shooting down we just saw that in iran. with the middle east at this kind of easier to use an aeriall technology like this to see these things. do you think people have thought about these issues and are starting to work to counter that and on the other side do you feel like it is being billed as this in a way it gets them a lot of money that might leave out the potential issues? >> mike gave a very good answer to that question. he said that our job never ends. we can develop the best system ever and it can seem like it will launch everything but our job is not done. we will continue to do what we will do and go bigger and better if we want to see this it didn't exactly say that it certainly reflected in the program if we
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want to see this class sheila felt the system that could pick up faint traces picks up through the clouds and extrapolate those full views on the ground. now you can see through the cloud maybe you don't use a camera that features a multi-spectrum imaging radar. these are all minor roadblocks in the way no one is throwing up their arms and another system im comes along that is able to achieve the same goals more effectively, than money will get put to the side. and i should say no one is referring to it as a sort of cure-all or as the only game in town and i think this is an important thing to stress that this is an important technology in the context of all the other systems that are out there.
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in fact, a lot of the systems that are in use today probably have other surveillance devices so that once it detects something suspicious happening in another part of town it .-full-stop to take a closer look or use as a simulator to track every cell phone in the area or cues up the radar to see that little bit of cloud cover. it's when all that stuff comes together that i think you really get to that sort of style of viewing. >> so we kind of started this with enemies of state. so i would kind of like two before we go to the q-and-a and with an enemies of the state and this whole idea of a satellite-based capability and you spend some time talking about that. walk us through kind of your understanding of where things stand with that kind of development. >> succumb as we know from the recent events, drones are very
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vulnerable. we are approaching a time when arwe had unfettered access to te airspace now transforming into those where we don't have that privilege and so in theory a simple solution to that is to put these technologies into space and what i found if there is a convergence of the members of the technological trend lines that take us in that direction whereas it used to cost half a billion dollars and cost enormous amounts of money and resources to launch into space now you can launch for less than $100,000. once the imaging technology is small enough to put on we can collect the wide area video. satellites travel at about
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17,000 miles an hour and get about 90 seconds over the target before they cross over the horizon. why not just put a bunch over there so that once the first one crosses over the horizon of second one is ready to pop up on a deal decided to pick up the slack. you start to get to the point but you can see things pretty consistently. we are already at the point today where most is at least photographed on a daily basis and that is still at a relatively early time in what people refer to as a sort of new space revolution which as one engineer put it to me leads to a very inevitable conclusion, the idea of the wide area surveillance as large as he put it. the whole view persistently, unblinkingly, like google moving.
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i took that with a little bit of a pinch of salt when i respond to someone saying we will all have flying cars and a couple of years but in a couple of months after that conversation a company called earth now and that is what they were going to do, not only that, but they have financing from bill gates and a number of other eminent investors who probably don't think that's on totally ludicrous ideas but they didn't say who they were going to allow to use it in what they were going to use it for. we still have an information void when it comes to us now, but they've got their eye on that. >> we have a little bit of time for q-and-a so i would like to unveil us of the opportunity to do that. again, wait for the microphone to come to you, and it then i will ask you to identify your self and affiliation. please, do phrase it in the form
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of a question. down over here in front the of gentleman and a striped polo. retired member of the foreign service, i would like to ask you how we move from the permissible to the impermissible if you start at about on the one end wa police man on the street corner then we have four policemen on the same street corner one at each intersection and then we have four policemen on each corner of a so-called bad neighborhood and then four policemen on every intersection of the city. when do we go from what is
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permitted to what is not permitted? >> is a good question. in a way this is one of the fundamental questions of modern life is how we balance safety and privacy. some will tell you is a very simple answer to that question. anything that makes us safer we should embrace because it will only be a problem for those of us who don't think society safer which is a pretty troubling way to think about it. but i think that now we are coming to the point of actually, no, that is not a one-sided equation. look at all the cities around the country that have removed traffic light cameras. in theory it is a pretty simple
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technology i think not hard to argue with. i mean we don't want people running traffic lights but yes, we understand that but we still don't want everyone in the city program to photograph us every time we run through one of these systems. my sense is that there will be more of a conversation on this similar to how the equation about our relationship with social media companies has changed. before we said this is a great service i'm happy to give them all my data if that is to be the case and now it's like actually, hold on i don't think that giving up all of my data is worth the minor increment of convenience that i gained as a result so i think that there could be a change happening. again i want to be an optimist.
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>> the question down in front right here. >> often times when a technology is developed, there are good applications ideally. 50, 60 years ago there was no such thing as private settlement. today i don't go anywhere near 95 south of turning on my google maps to give me real-time. what are some of the positive applications do you see coming out of the technology? >> is a great question and important question. in the aftermath of hurricane katrina, there were hundreds of people stranded on their rooftops around the city of new orleans and above responding agencies had to spend a great deal of time flying helicopters around the city to try to find everybody. if you have something like vigilance within infrared capability particularly coming you could just park it over a city and anybody that is stranded on the rooftop would
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light up and so you would be able to find them in theory much for quickly so the disaster response is one of the forest service operators have a small number of the systems because you can watch a very large section so you have some smoke jumpers and the line of fire you can anticipate before the fire. it is of interest in using the technology to monitor the borders and pipelines, for example, now that can go either way. there is one company that has used the technology to find these in alaska to make sure oil and gas companies operating in the area and maintain a minimum distance so as to not disturb the animals. one of the models proposed to me is that since the technology is so extensive, instead of having
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a single entity operating and keeping the data for themselves, you could have a company provide something like a google earth service where they put the information out there and anybody that wants it can buy in and that is predicated on the notion that there are potential applications of the technology that we haven't even imagined yet and that by doing so, you've distributed cost and give rise to innovation and we could have this everywhere. maybe you have a real estate company that wants th once the o the location or setting up a price or insurance companies to take a great interest in this technology for a praising the damage or maybe seeing what happened and who is to blame in a traffic accident so that is one of the models that has been proposed. again though, we need to ask ourselves whether we want these
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at any given time. i guess i would use it before i decide to go there but i could imagine there are more nefarious uses people could conceivably have been conceived of it. >> i would think they would be super interested in this. >> they have been testing a system which is incredible actually come it is a fairly small camera, but it has a tremendously powerful computer vision algorithms that is able to detect any object on the surface of the water that is not the water itself, which sounds simple enough but it is not because when you are operating about altitudes, the sea isn't one monolithic enough color. all of the reflections that very much like objects floating in the water they have shown tremendous success and the
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benefit is that you can put it on a pretty small drone and one exercise that took one of these about 50 hours to scan in detail an area the size of wales and this is an area that costs hundreds of thousands of dollars, yes the coast guard definitely has its eye on it. >> i think we have time for one more. let's go over here, the gentleman in the blue striped short sleeve shirt. >> peter higgins formerly of the intelligence community. i see in many u.s. cities a very large launch of drones that hoover over the cities and i'm curious if you think maybe part of this activity and why he waited until dos?
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>> that is an interesting question. i am not familiar with that happening. at the moment he only groups that are using very large drones are the military under some very constrained circumstances so if they are not operating in restricted airspace, it is because they have a single individual permission for something like search and rescue or wildfire fighting support, so again i'm not totally familiar with it. i mean come if you are talking about a drone within infrared capability then it will show its value at night as opposed to the daytime system. >> that is actually a very good point. this technology, the aerial surveillance systems that i'm talking about are the daytime camera versions. so the ones with the white pointing out of an airplane when
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no, but it is a strong legal precedent that bars the use of infrared camera technology to survey people not just from the sky of it from ground level, t too, without a warrant because it is much more powerful and because it has this on the standard of being a non- publicly accessible technology as the supreme court would've wt it. with that being said, a billion pixel military grade camera doesn't to me sounds like a publicly accessible technology either, so perhaps it is time that as you mentioned the wall began to catch up a little bit with the reality that we live in. >> we have seen how the government itself have the
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resources to buy drones because of their cost and now any of us could basically go to a best buy or fill in the blank. >> which raises a very interesting possibility. in baltimore, the camera recorded a number of police shootings, and that could be used to audit the claims of police officers on the ground. the camera also record records f movement around locations that were later searched under a warrant and found that the basis was actually dubious at best but it did not exhibit patterns that resembled those of the sites associated in the drug trade which leads to a very interesting possibility. >> i want to thank you for a great panel. there are books available out here in the lobby for those of you that have been fortunate enough to come to the auditorium
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and to all of those in the audience and in the auditorium, thank you for coming out. [applause]
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up next on booktv, former cia counterterrorism official
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philip mudd talks about the detention centers used to interrogate suspected terrorists following the 9/11 attacks. later cnn national security correspondent examines how the u.s. is engaged in a shadow war with russia and china good afternoon, everyone. i am doug swanson, service manager for the national archives museum and producer. on behalf the day that i would like to welcome you all to the theater located in the national archives building in washington, d.c. and i'd also like to give a special shout out to our friends from c-span who are also joining us today. before we hear from philip mudd about his new book black cite the cia


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