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MATRIX: Neo vs Mr. Smith in MI, CT, NY, OH and PA

Reported by Marie Therese - August 12, 2004 -

The O'Reilly Factor. August 11, 2004. 8:29 PM to 8:33 PM EDT
Guest: Chris Kozlow, Counterterrorism Expert, President, H3 Group

Welcome to the Multistate Antiterrorism Information Exchange, or MATRIX, a data-mining program now playing in police stations across the states of Michigan, Connecticut, New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania. A large number of states have opted out of the program.

"The MATRIX is run by a private corporation -- Seisint, Inc. of Boca Raton, Florida -- on behalf of a cooperative group of state governments. However, it is, at least in part, federally funded -- and may, in future, allow federal access." (Disinfopedia,com)

"The program has received $4 million from the Justice Department. It has been promised a further $8 million from the Department of Homeland Security. In addition, news reports indicate that MATRIX officials have said they are considering giving access to the CIA." (Disinfopedia.com)

MATRIX is, for all intents and purposes, Total Information Access with a hip new name.

According to their website Seisint specializes in: Debt Recovery, Due Diligence, Fraud Detection, Identity Verification, Law Enforcement, Legal Investigations, Pre-Employment Screening, Resident Screening and Data Supercomputing.

MATRIX was developed by Hank Asher, whose former company, Database Technologies, created the list that resulted in thousands of African-Americans being disenfranchised in Florida in Election 2000.

Bill O'Reilly and his guest, Chris Kozlow, both favor the MATRIX program, believing that law enforcement must have new tools to fight global terrorism.

KOZLOW: "...[T]he point the ACLU needs to look at is - I can go out as an everyday citizen and buy that information and use it any way that I want and purchase if off of the private internet. We have to assume that the people that are using this MATRIX system, which is law enforcement intelligence organizations, are using it for a purpose, to combat terrorism, to combat crime, and are gonna be responsible and use it properly."

O'REILLY: "But the ACLU says 'Look, we don't want law enforcement because they have powers, alright, to have information at their fingertips about anybody.' That's their argument. They don't want people with guns and arrest powers to be able to get private people's information, even if you and I could get the same information. The ACLU see the authorities as a potential abuse, you see, that's what it's all about." And, later, he continues the thread: "Well then, the ACLU says 'Well, the terrorists already won, if we embolden or empower the law enforcement any more than we have...We can't give them any more power. We can't give the police any more power or we evolve into a police state.' And you know, that's the philosophical disagreement goin' on across the country."

KOZLOW: MATRIX would give us informaton - or any database system - would give the cop who makes the stop on the beat the information that this guy could be bad and, basically, will either disprove that you're bad or prove that you're bad and then we can take an action on that information.."

O'REILLY: "No, it makes the police and surveillance easier. And that's the same thing with the Patriot Act....Why did they [the ACLU] pick Michigan? This MATRIX thing is used in a lot of states."

Kozlow answers that Michigan is a very pro-active law enforcement state, but admits "There is no reason."

Dissatisfied, O'Reilly claims that Michigan has a lot of liberal judges and that the ACLU cherry-picked the site for the suit.

Comment:

With regard to the claim that "anyone" can buy the databases, how many of us have a loose million or two lying around the house to purchase the kind of database they are talking about? So much for the accessibility argument.

The word MATRIX conjures up the dark, oppressive, mind-controlled world of the movie of the same name. Let's be realistic here, white people probably don't have to worry about MATRIX (unless they're activists like the News Hounds). But if you're non-Caucasian, I fear MATRIX will be just another way to "stop and search" people guilty of nothing more than being non-white.

In closing, I discovered that Mr. Kozlow has had a number of jobs in the past four years. In December 2001 he worked as a Deputy Commissioner for Westchester New York and co-authored a book published by Jane's Information Group entitled "Jane's Facility Security Handbook". By May 2002 he was employed by Research Planning, Inc. In January 2003, he had moved to Innovative Emergency Managment. And now he's working for The H3 Group, which does not have an internet site (or at least not yet).