Senate seeks TIA halt

The Senate is seeking to stop the Defense Department's controversial Terrorism Information Awareness (TIA) program.

The Senate's Defense appropriations bill, passed July 17, contains an amendment preventing DOD from spending any more money on TIA research and development. Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) proposed the amendment in May. The project — being developed by the Defense Advanced Research Proj-ects Agency — involves collecting and storing myriad data on individuals, then scouring it for patterns or activities that might relate to terrorism. It has spawned congressional and public opposition. "No funds appropriated or otherwise made available to the Department of Defense, whether to an element of [DARPA] or any other element...of the federal government, may be obligated or expended on research and development of the Terrorism Information Awareness program," the amendment read. The Bush administration opposed the amendment, saying it strips the government of "an important potential tool in the war on terrorism," according to a statement. Privacy advocates are closely watching as the bill goes to the House/Senate conference committee to see whether the amendment remains in the final version. The House Defense appropriations bill, which passed July 8 with little debate, carried no such TIA provision — leaving the door ajar for some interesting conference committee debates.

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