Saturday, March 03, 2018

Snitches Don't Get Stitches, They Get Gubmint Jobs....,


theintercept |  Patrick Ryan, a congressional candidate from New York, is leaning on his experience as a small business entrepreneur to establish his readiness for office, but he has curiously failed to mention the business he used to work in: domestic surveillance.

Seven years ago, Ryan, then working at a firm called Berico Technologies, compiled a plan to create a real-time surveillance operation of left-wing groups and labor unions, hoping business lobbyists would pay top dollar to monitor and disrupt the actions of activist groups across the country. At one point, the proposal included the idea to spy on the families of high-profile Democratic activists and plant fake documents with labor unions in a bid to discredit them.

The pitch, a joint venture with a now-defunct company called HBGary Federal and the Peter Thiel-backed company Palantir Technologies, however, crumbled in 2011 after it was exposed in a series of news reports. 

Years later, Ryan pivoted to a startup called Dataminr, a data analytics company that provided social media monitoring solutions for law enforcement clients. Dataminr, which received financial support from the CIA’s venture capital arm, produced real-time updates about activists for law enforcement. For example, according to documents obtained by the American Civil Liberties Union of California and reported by The Intercept for the first time, Dataminr helped track social media posts relating to Black Lives Matter.

The candidate’s history of spying on progressive groups has been conspicuously absent from the personal history he has presented to voters.

The biography section of Ryan’s campaign website references only another technology business he helped found, called Second Front Systems. That company deploys “cutting-edge data analytics software to our troops on the front lines,” according to the site. Ryan continues to own a 10 percent stake in the firm, valued between $15,000 and $50,000, and has discussed his work with the startup as part of his experience of building a business and providing jobs.

But that business venture appears not to have been as successful as Ryan’s domestic surveillance work — at least not from a moneymaking perspective. His candidate ethics disclosure, which covers money made in 2016 and 2017, does not list any income from Second Front Systems — of which he is still a director — but it reveals that in 2016, Ryan collected $325,510 as a vice president of Dataminr. 

In an hourlong presentation to local Democratic voters with Ulster Activists and Move Forward New York, Ryan stressed his experience as a small business entrepreneur. At one moment during the January 7 event, Ryan referenced his job at Dataminr, but did not mention the company’s name or the type of work it engaged in. In a question about whether taking a job in Congress would constitute a pay cut, Ryan said yes and that he had taken work at another “another tech company” in which he “leads the government team.” In terms of his business career, Ryan talked at length about his efforts to employ former veterans.