Far from the centers of worldwide financial trading, Ohio State University gave an award to an intelligence industry academic, while he called for more secrecy. Less than 24 hours earlier, the intelligence community ensured itself a tighter grasp on one of the key tools that we, the global public, use communicate amongst ourselves – Twitter. On November 8, Joshua Rovner came to OSU to present his book “Fixing the Facts: National Security and the Politics of Intelligence,” a study of the influence of intelligence (as in CIA) on decision making in national policy. Rovner also received a prestigious award for its publication. The Edgar S. Furniss Book Award commemorates the founder of OSU's Mershon Center for International Studies and is given once a year. Rovner began by presenting his book as a study of how intelligence professionals are manipulated into presenting estimates to national leadership figures that fit into the latter's pre-decided upon policy positions. He claimed that this historical tendency was caused by leader’s attempts to use intelligence estimates as public political tools. These bolster the policy positions held by loyal constituencies or politically disarm any constituent who may express dissenting positions. He emphasized two strong examples, President Johnson's skewing of estimates of enemy losses and remaining troop strength during the Vietnam War and then-CIA director George Tenet’s misrepresentinng the existence of weapons of mass destruction for George W. Bush before the Iraq War. Rovner concluded that a leader must keep key information about intelligence gathering from the public. The unstated subtext of his conclusion is that public knowledge of the truth breeds dissent on pre-decided national policy questions. During the question and answer period of his presentation, arguments made by the audience that favored transparency on foreign policy in a democracy seemed to fall on deaf ears at the podium. OSU moderators avoided this reporter during Q&A session. Despite Rovner's previous writings for intelligence community publications on intelligence in the “Twitter Age,” he declined to comment on the intelligence community's control of Twitter's infrastructure, claiming a lack of knowledge. Despite his examination of how intelligence is relevant in a more open-source world, he claimed no knowledge of business dealings that are a matter of broad public record. As the reported in June, former Edward Snowden employer Booz Allen Hamilton has access to every single Tweet ever written. Twitter sells its entire database, including deleted tweets, to a number of companies. One of these companies, a British firm named DataSift, re-sells the data to Booz Allen. Another of these firms, Attensity, fuses the Twitter database called “Firehose” with other social media sources. Attensity received start-up money from the CIA's non-profit venture capital firm, In-Q-Tel. The first page of In-Q-Tel's tax return states that its mission is to assist companies that develop technologies which are of later use to the intelligence community. They are heavily invested in software and biotechnology, with nearly 200 companies in their portfolio past and present. Twitter made its initial public offering (IPO) on the stock market on November 7. Although Twitter filed the proper paperwork with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), that paperwork was not accessible through the SEC's online database. The Free Press obtained a copy from a public source. Sales of access to the Firehose database are an increasing source of revenue for Twitter, although no new customers have been added recently. The five customers that do pay for access are not listed in Twitter's S-1. Those customers can apparently re-sell access, as Datasift does to Booz Allen and the company Gnip does to the Library of Congress. Everyone's deleted tweets are filed away by the United States government. Smart investors are making a profit selling us our own tweets. Smart intelligence agencies made a profit developing the technology to analyze them. Buying and selling database access are not the only way that the intelligence community makes a profit on Twitter. The company's recent IPO was underwritten by three major banks and two smaller financial institutions. One of those institutions, the venture capital firm Allen and Company, is the post-government home of former CIA director George Tenet. He is now a managing director at the firm, which turned a tidy profit underwriting Twitter's first public offering of stock. Twitter's stock rose by more than 50% in value on its first day of trading. Tenet must have known it would be a slam dunk. Twitter's IPO is not the first venture into the murky world between intelligence and media that Allen and Company are involved with this year. In August, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos inked a deal to buy the Washington Post for less than 1% of his personal fortune. Allen and Company negotiated the sale. Amazon has an embattled $600 million dollar contract to provide cloud computing services to the CIA. Functionally, the CIA subsidized Jeff Bezos's purchase of one of the best investigative print news sources in America history, just as they were releasing portions on Edward Snowden's archive. The intelligence community has always been very conscious of media. It has used media both offensively and defensively. There are now documented programs focused on the offensive use of new media. The level of access the intelligence community could have to Twitter's infrastructure with combination of archive and stock purchase could have direct influence on global events and public perceptions. Far from struggling to be relevant in the Twitter Age, intelligence agencies now engage it directly through both monitoring and participating.

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