But how do they define these insider threats?
First, consider DARPA's initial announcement of their ADAMS project:
"Each time we see an incident like a soldier in good mental health becoming homicidal or suicidal or an innocent insider becoming malicious we wonder why we didn’t see it coming."
Now, compare this with Georgia Tech's press release about their PRODIGAL project, which is part of ADAMS:
"When a soldier in good mental health becomes homicidal or a government employee abuses access privileges to share classified information, we often wonder why no one saw it coming."
Now. Who on earth could be a government employee abusing access privileges to share classified information. Note that they did not simply say 'a government employee sharing classified information'. They stuck that 'abusing access privileges' phrase in there.
One who has studied the whistleblower case of Thomas Drake case might find such a phrase familiar. Why? It comes straight out of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act of 1986 - it is the only law they could find that Thomas Drake actually violated when he told reporter Siobhan Gorman of the Baltimore Sun about waste, fraud and abuse inside the NSA's Trailblazer program. They started out trying to put him in jail for 30 years on Espionage (spying) charges, but their case collapsed when the media and certain NGOs (like the Government Accountability Project) screamed from the rooftops about the persecution he was enduring for disagreeing with the illegal activities of the government. Drake did actually 'abuse access privilges', and that is a violation of a specific section of the CFAA that the government wound up having to charge him under, after the rest of their case against him collapsed.
The same law is being used against Bradley Manning. Stuck in the 34 charges against him, excepting all the military only stuff (like 'using a computer for other than its intended purpose') and the Espionage Act charges, there are also a number of CFAA charges against him.
What is the problem here with this system?
1. Bradley Manning was not in good mental health at the time of his 'leaking'
2. Thomas Drake did not share classified information
Would this system, even if it achieved it's goal, be able to catch Thomas Drake or Bradley Manning?
Thomas Drake should never even have been 'caught' in the first place, because he wasn't doing anything wrong. In fact, it was his superiors in the NSA who were engaging in 'anomalous' behavior and needed to be stopped, and that is what he tried to do, using the time honored tradition of the free press, just as the founding fathers envisioned when they created the Bill of Rights.
But the people who get to peek into the private communications of hundreds of millions of people with these systems are going to be, by definition, in the top ranks. They are the counterintelligence officers and analysts who will be in charge of reporting the results of these Cryptological Panopticons to their superiors in the government. The same sorts of folks that Thomas Drake was trying to blow the whistle on.
As for Manning - would the system have caught him before he gave out so much data? Perhaps. Perhaps not. Let's take some of the specific charges against him; the charges related specifically to allegedly releasing gunship video from helicopters.
Manning claims that he was not the only person who was viewing helicopter-gunship on that base in Iraq - and websites like apacheclips.com and youtube would seem to prove him right. All of those gunfight videos had to come from somewhere, and it certainly wasn't the local news anchors sitting in helicopter cockpits giving those tapes out to people to upload to the internet. It was insiders in the military, who wanted for various reasons to communicate their experience to the world - a fundamental impulse of human nature. Are you going to lock up all of those people alongside Manning?
Who then could this program possibly be targeted at?
Nidal Hassan, the insane man who murdered a bunch of soldiers at Fort Hood, Texas?
Perhaps. Execpt that his superiors already knew he was a wack-job. He simply fell through the bureaucratic cracks. Computers cannot fix problems in management or in the health care system of the military. There are plenty of unstable people who, as NPR has reported, cannot get the health care they need in the military system for various reasons.
What then, is the point of this ADAMS / PRODIGAL system?
Perhaps the desire is not so much to shut down legitimate threats, but to shut down the flow of information from the government to the population. This would fit the pattern of the recent Obama DOJ Espionage Act prosecutions of Leibowitz, Drake, Kim, Sterling, and Manning. Most of these cases have nothing to do with national security - they are simply about control of information, and a dysfunctional culture of overclassification and political retaliation based on the idea of 'state security'. Whoever decides what is 'anomalous' behavior will then get to more easily decide who to prosecute and persecute. If they lose more of these Espionage Act cases, they can still send a message to employees of the government: 'watch out, we are spying on you, and you will be fired'. That is a big enough threat to stop most would-be whistleblowers, and a much easier threat to carry out than jail time.
Then again maybe I am simply being too paranoid. Perhaps it is simply another jobs program. The military, amongst everything else it is, remains one of our nations biggest jobs agencies.
See the recent Fox News article on Georgia Techs PRODIGAL / ADAMS system
See wikipedia for ADAMS and PRODIGAL
See NPR reports on mental health treatment inside the VA system