The Progressive has a story about InfraGard, a program the FBI has in place to essentially deputize selected business connections to do surveillance and provide leads in exchange for networking opportunities and a heads up about threats, often before public officials are alerted. The claim made by a source for the progressive article, that FBI officials assured some of InfraGard’s 23,000 members that they would be authorized to use lethal force in the event of an emergency has been contested by the FBI. Still, the idea that the feds would provide special access to “sensitive but unclassified” information that is not available to others is troubling.
Curt Haugen is CEO of S’Curo Group, a company that does “strategic planning, business continuity planning and disaster recovery, physical and IT security, policy development, internal control, personnel selection, and travel safety,” according to its website. Haugen tells me he is a former FBI agent and that he has been an InfraGard member for many years. He is a huge booster. “It’s the only true organization where there is the public-private partnership,” he says. “It’s all who knows who. You know a face, you trust a face. That’s what makes it work.”
It sounds like a secret society – special handshakes and all. An attempt years ago by the FBI to enlist librarians failed because we weren’t eager to spy on library users. Too bad corporations don’t feel any qualms about spying on their fellow citizens in exchange for preferential treatment.