Jul 11, 2007
Would You Like To Swing On a STAR?
The Federal Bureau of Investigations is developing a computer-profiling system that would enable investigators to target possible terror suspects, according to a Justice Department report submitted to Congress yesterday [to the Senate Judiciary Committee].
The System to Assess Risk, or STAR, assigns risk scores to possible suspects based on a variety of information, similar to the way a credit bureau assigns a rating based on a consumer's spending behavior and debt. The program focuses on foreign suspects but also includes data about some U.S. residents. A prototype is expected to be tested this year.
Justice Department officials said the system offers analysts a powerful new tool for finding possible terrorists. They said it is an effort to automate what analysts have been doing manually. ...
STAR is being developed by the FBI's Foreign Terrorist Tracking Task Force, which tracks suspected terrorists inside the country or as they enter. ...
After STAR has received the names of persons of interest, it runs them through an FBI "data mart" that includes classified and unclassified information from the government, airlines and commercial data brokers such as ChoicePoint. Then it runs them through the terrorist screening center database, which contains hundreds of thousands of names, as well as through a database containing information on non-citizens who enter the country. It also runs the names against information provided by data broker Accurint, which tracks addresses, phone numbers and driver's licenses.
The report said access to STAR would be limited to trained users and that data would be obtained lawfully. Results would be kept within the FBI's terrorist task force, the report said.