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Secretive TrapWire company's affiliations revealed

Published time: September 19, 2012 22:27
Edited time: September 20, 2012 06:34
AFP Photo / NYPD Handout

AFP Photo / NYPD Handout

Just discovered documentation concerning the TrapWire secret surveillance system suggests that the San Diego-based Cubic Corporation did have a direct connection with the program, despite repeated attempts to dismiss allegations of their involvement.

Although Cubic has gone on the record on several occasions to refute claims that they have at one time or another been directly tied to the Abraxas Applications, the Northern Virginia company believed to have developed TrapWire, a post published this week on the PrivacySos.org blog discusses evidence that links the two firms to one another. Cubic has repeatedly insisted that it has no link to TrapWire, a widespread, international surveillance and intelligence system brought to light in emails distributed by WikiLeaks, but new revelations expose a relationship between the two that was documented on a federal website as recently as February of last year.

As RT unraveled the TrapWire saga earlier this year, investigations into both Cubic and Abraxas revealed a number of associations among the two. In an August 13, 2012 press release, Cubic came forth and admitted to acquiring Abraxas Corp in December of 2010, but insisted, “Abraxas Corporation then and now has no affiliation with Abraxas Applications now known as Trapwire, Inc.” The latest revelation directly discredits that claim.

PrivacySos reports that a website maintained by the US Homeland Security Department’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) includes TrapWire as a product for sale to law enforcement agencies and first responders. It’s there that the background and operational concept of the system are described in detail and direct curious customers to AbraxasCorp.com for more information. When a link to the URL is clicked, the banner at the top of the developer’s homepage described Abraxas as “A Cubic Company.” On the FEMA page, the product information is detailed as provided directly by Abraxas Applications

"The Products Section includes commercially available product information that has been uploaded directly and voluntarily by the manufacturer,” the FEMA page acknowledges.

If that is indeed the case, either the federal government is hosting falsified information about TrapWire to prospective customers, or else the program was overseen to a degree by Cubic as previously suspected. If it’s the latter, then the August 13 statement was a downright lie.

On the PrivacySos post, published Tuesday, its acknowledged that Cubic has previously been confirmed as operating fare systems for major mass transit programs and Anonymizer, an IP-masked tool described by its publicists as “the leader in consumer online anonymity solutions.”

“If the government's facts are correct, the Abraxas Corporation was managing sales for the TrapWire system at least as recently as February 2011 – meaning Cubic had its hands on both highly sensitive private information on millions of ordinary people and a networked surveillance system sold to governments,” PrivacySOS notes.

In addition to the press release that attempted to distance Cubic from TrapWire, activist and Project PM founder Barrett Brown uploaded a phone call to YouTube he alleged to be between himself and Cubic Corp. Communication Director Tim Hall. In the clip, published August 21, Mr. Hall denied his company’s involvement with TrapWire and also insisted that Cubic has never been tied to Ntrepid, a separate corporation that was awarded $2.76 million worth of taxpayer dollars to create phony Internet “sock puppets” to propagate US support.

“There is no connection at all with Abraxas Applications and Trapwire and or Ntrepid,” the man perpetrated to be Hall explains in the clip. Research into the entities, however, led to the discovery of Abraxas Corporation’s tax filings from late 2011, and with it, a common bond: TrapWire Inc. was registered in 2009 to a Margaret A Lee from Virginia, who also served on the Ntrepid board of directors.

“Since the government's intelligence and data management contracting operations are so secretive and opaque, we may never know what's really going on – whether Cubic in fact operates transit data systems, so-called IP anonymizers and surveillance systems sold to governments,” the PrivacySOS post reads. “[It] doesn't really matter in the grand scheme of things. That's because we know more than enough to be convinced that we need a mass movement for privacy in the United States, whether or not these connections are real.”