recommended reading

Military Shuts Down Allegedly Illegal Money Laundering Investigation

Jiri Hera/Shutterstock.com

The military’s Special Operations Command has shut down an operation in partnership with the Homeland Security Department to use social media monitoring and data mining tools to investigate a $2.5 billion international money laundering case.

The Washington office of the Tampa-based SOCOM kicked off a project called Quantum Leap in August 2012 with Immigration and Customs Enforcement, a DHS agency, to investigate money laundering activities conducted by several multinational and U.S.-based companies, according to an internal SOCOM after-action report obtained by Steven Aftergood of the Federation of American Scientists.

Mike German, senior counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union, said SOCOM’s participation in such an investigation violated the 1878 Posse Comitatus Act, which bars the use of the military in law enforcement activities.

The SOCOM after-action report said a dozen private companies, including defense industry giant Lockheed Martin Corp., participated in the Quantum Leap exercise and signed nondisclosure agreements to “permit open sharing of proprietary and law enforcement sensitive information among the participants.”

Ken McGraw, a SOCOM spokesman, told Nextgov that Quantum Leap “was a very small, little-known, inconsequential experiment that was defunded.” McGraw added, “The people who worked on the experiment are no longer at USSOCOM.”

The draft report on Quantum Leap obtained by Aftergood contained “a number of errors,” McGraw said. “Contrary to the impression the after action [report] gave, social media data mining tools were not a major focus.”

SOCOM did not work with DHS on social media data mining, McGraw said.  “The scenario that was used was a generic counter-threat finance scenario that was based on real events but was not a specific case.” The report said ICE intelligence analyst John Clifton “provided background on the case, which included a wide range of examples and the tactics of advanced money laundering activity.”

McGraw said that currently, “There are no social media data mining projects planned by USSOCOM to the best of my knowledge.”

(Image via Jiri Hera/Shutterstock.com)

Threatwatch Alert

Thousands of cyber attacks occur each day

See the latest threats

JOIN THE DISCUSSION

Close [ x ] More from Nextgov
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from Nextgov.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Data-Centric Security vs. Database-Level Security

    Database-level encryption had its origins in the 1990s and early 2000s in response to very basic risks which largely revolved around the theft of servers, backup tapes and other physical-layer assets. As noted in Verizon’s 2014, Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR)1, threats today are far more advanced and dangerous.

    Download
  • Featured Content from RSA Conference: Dissed by NIST

    Learn more about the latest draft of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance document on authentication and lifecycle management.

    Download
  • PIV- I And Multifactor Authentication: The Best Defense for Federal Government Contractors

    This white paper explores NIST SP 800-171 and why compliance is critical to federal government contractors, especially those that work with the Department of Defense, as well as how leveraging PIV-I credentialing with multifactor authentication can be used as a defense against cyberattacks

    Download
  • Toward A More Innovative Government

    This research study aims to understand how state and local leaders regard their agency’s innovation efforts and what they are doing to overcome the challenges they face in successfully implementing these efforts.

    Download
  • From Volume to Value: UK’s NHS Digital Provides U.S. Healthcare Agencies A Roadmap For Value-Based Payment Models

    The U.S. healthcare industry is rapidly moving away from traditional fee-for-service models and towards value-based purchasing that reimburses physicians for quality of care in place of frequency of care.

    Download
  • GBC Flash Poll: Is Your Agency Safe?

    Federal leaders weigh in on the state of information security

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.