By "private KGB," I mean ChoicePoint, Inc., the Atlanta company that keeps over 16 billion records on Americans which it sells to the FBI, Homeland Security and, through a bit of a slip-up, identity thieves.
Randi was on the phone to one James Lee, Marketing Director of ChoicePoint. He was trying to explain some of the good work they do for government -- and responding to the evil lies spread about his corporation by a reporter (me).
I was listening in from a glass booth. The Eichmann treatment was required by ChoicePoint -- they wouldn't let her interview the company if anyone else was in the room. They also warned her, her interview would be "taped" ... AND, they didn't have to add, they know where she lives -- and where she votes and a whole lot more about Randi that maybe Randi herself doesn't know. Just a friendly warning.
It seems the data guys were upset that she had me on her show on Monday to talk about my investigations of the company which I conducted for BBC-TV, for Harper's and for my new book, Armed Madhouse. [Yeah, that's a plug: order it here.]
ChoicePoint's the big banana in the data game, with fat no-bid contracts with Big Brother Bush's agency and the Department of Fatherland Security. (Homeland? Deutschland? Whatever.) Other governments, including Mexico, threatened ChoicePoint operatives with arrest for their use and misuse of data, but Dick and George like'm just fine. That's because ChoicePoint provides just the data that suits their needs -- not necessarily accurate, but accurate is not what is needed.
For example, ChoicePoint is the company that gave Katherine Harris and Jeb Bush the list of Florida voters, most of them Black, which were removed as "felons" before the 2000 election. The list was ridiculously inaccurate -- these were innocent citizens -- but the African-Americans lost their voting rights anyway and Jeb's brother thereby took the White House.
That's not nice, what Jeb and Katherine did -- but ChoicePoint kept silent. In return, they received a high, and highly suspect, fee for their "work."
And that's dangerous. Because, after ChoicePoint selected our president for us, our president selected them for no-bid jobs to save us from terrorists -- which they do by keeping track of us. (Odd, I thought Americans were the VICTIMS of terror -- they've made us the SUSPECTS.)
In Armed Madhouse, I reveal that one ChoicePoint executive confidentially told me they were seeking to build a national DNA database. Dracula's got nothing on these guys: they are already the biggest providers of DNA info to the FBI, they boast. They boast about it one week -- then they deny it another. This week's flavor is denial.
Back to Randi. I wasn't allowed in the room with her, so I waited in the glass booth. ChoicePoint had a huge list of complaints about my latest comment on their activities made relevant by the outing of the National Security Agency's sucking up every American's phone record.
As a public service -- everyone needs a laugh once in a while -- I'm reprinting their inventive rebuttal to my report, "The Spies Who Shag Us."
The company uses some clever rhetorical sleights of hand: "No data files or 'dossiers' exist at ChoicePoint." Now that's just darn strange for a data company.