- All US Phone Call Records
And Billing Done In Israel
- - Part 2
Carl Cameron Investigates
BRIT HUME, HOST: Last time we reported on
the approximately 60 Israelis who had been detained in connection with the
Sept. 11 terrorism investigation. Carl Cameron reported that U.S.
investigators suspect that some of these Israelis were spying on Arabs in
this country, and may have turned up information on the planned terrorist
attacks back in September that was not passed on.
- Tonight, in the second of four reports
on spying by Israelis in the U.S., we learn about an Israeli-based
private communications company, for whom a half-dozen of those 60
detained suspects worked. American investigators fear information
generated by this firm may have fallen into the wrong hands and had
the effect of impeded the Sept. 11 terror inquiry. Here's Carl
Cameron's second report.
- (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)
- CARL CAMERON, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT
(voice-over): Fox News has learned that some American terrorist
investigators fear certain suspects in the Sept. 11 attacks may have
managed to stay ahead of them, by knowing who and when investigators
are calling on the telephone. How?
- By obtaining and analyzing data that's
generated every time someone in the U.S. makes a call.
- UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What city and
- CAMERON: Here's how the system works.
Most directory assistance calls, and virtually all call records and
billing in the U.S. are done for the phone companies by Amdocs Ltd.,
an Israeli-based private elecommunications company.
- Amdocs has contracts with the 25
biggest phone companies in America, and more worldwide. The White
House and other secure government phone lines are protected, but it is
virtually impossible to make a call on normal phones without
generating an Amdocs record of it.
- In recent years, the FBI and other
government agencies have investigated Amdocs more than once. The firm
has repeatedly and adamantly denied any security breaches or
wrongdoing. But sources tell Fox News that in 1999, the super secret
national security agency, headquartered in northern Maryland, issued
what's called a Top Secret sensitive compartmentalized information
report, TS/SCI, warning that records of calls in the United States
were getting into foreign hands - in Israel, in particular.
- Investigators don't believe calls are
being listened to, but the data about who is calling whom and when is
plenty valuable in itself. An internal Amdocs memo to senior company
executives suggests just how Amdocs generated call records could be
used. "Widespread data mining techniques and algorithms....
combining both the properties of the customer (e.g., credit rating)
and properties of the specific 'behavior.'" Specific behavior,
such as who the customers are calling.
- The Amdocs memo says the system should
be used to prevent phone fraud. But U.S. counterintelligence analysts
say it could also be used to spy through the phone system. Fox News
has learned that the N.S.A has held numerous classified conferences to
warn the F.B.I. and C.I.A. how Amdocs records could be used. At one
NSA briefing, a diagram by the Argon national lab was used to show
that if the phone records are not secure, major security breaches are
- Another briefing document said,
"It has become increasingly apparent that systems and networks
are vulnerable.Such crimes always involve unauthorized persons, or
persons who exceed their authorization...citing on exploitable
- Those vulnerabilities are growing,
because according to another briefing, the U.S. relies too much on
foreign companies like Amdocs for high-tech equipment and software.
"Many factors have led to increased dependence on code developed
overseas.... We buy rather than train or develop solutions."
- U.S. intelligence does not believe the
Israeli government is involved in a misuse of information, and Amdocs
insists that its data is secure. What U.S. government officials are
worried about, however, is the possibility that Amdocs data could get
into the wrong hands, particularly organized crime. And that would not
be the first thing that such a thing has happened. Fox News has
documents of a 1997 drug trafficking case in Los Angeles, in which
telephone information, the type that Amdocs collects, was used to
"completely compromise the communications of the FBI, the Secret
Service, the DEO and the LAPD."
- We'll have that and a lot more in the
days ahead - Brit.
- HUME: Carl, I want to take you back to
your report last night on those 60 Israelis who were detained in the
anti-terror investigation, and the suspicion that some investigators
have that they may have picked up information on the 9/11 attacks
ahead of time and not passed it on.
- There was a report, you'll recall,
that the Mossad, the Israeli intelligence agency, did indeed send
representatives to the U.S. to warn, just before 9/11, that a major
terrorist attack was imminent. How does that leave room for the lack
of a warning?
- CAMERON: I remember the report, Brit.
We did it first internationally right here on your show on the 14th.
What investigators are saying is that that warning from the Mossad was
nonspecific and general, and they believe that it may have had
something to do with the desire to protect what are called sources and
methods in the intelligence community. The suspicion being, perhaps
those sources and methods were taking place right here in the United
- The question came up in select
intelligence committee on Capitol Hill today. They intend to look into
what we reported last night, and specifically that possibility - Brit.
- HUME: So in other words, the problem
wasn't lack of a warning, the problem was lack of useful details?
- CAMERON: Quantity of information.
- HUME: All right, Carl, thank you very
- From David A. Doane
- I have worked in the
telecommunications operational software systems (OSS) business for a
number of years. AMDOCS does have a significant market share of the
local phone billing through their contracts with the "Baby
Bells", BUT does not "own" this market, and, there are
a number of other significant players in the cellular and long
distance. For example all AT&T long distance calls go through a
billing system built by CONVERGYS (a long time supplier to AT&T).
Many very big companies are involved in this billing space of the
total OSS market.
- AND (and this is a very big and), most
of the installed billing systems are nut managed by AMDOCS. When a
system is installed it is managed by the telecom customer. One thing
Telecommunications companies are VERY serious about is owning the
billing service, because in the final analysis that is the only
contact that most end users have with the phone company, therefore it
is the perceived point of value. Some Telecoms contract out the actual
printing and mailing of the bill and some of the software companies
provide this service (AMDOCS is one that does).
- The bottom line is that there are
points in the billing process that third parties MAY get a hold of the
call detail records, BUT it is VERY unlikely that one company can have
a large enough share to undermine the system or mine for data. The
only place that this is possible is with government telecom
contractors and that should be looked into seriously.
- Below is a short list of the software
companies that play in this space.
- Abiliti Solutions
- Apogee Networks
- The Billing College
- Billing World and OSS Today
- The Board Room
- CBILL, Inc.
- Checkfree i Solutions
- ComArch Group
- Comm Soft
- Communications Data Group
- Comporium Data Services
- Comptel Corporation
- CTI Group
- Daleen Technologies
- DST Innovis
- Engel Consulting Group
- EUR Systems
- European Communications
- Exstream Software
- Financial Statement Services
- Fujitsu Consulting
- Group 1 Software
- Hewlett-Packard Company
- High Deal, Inc.
- Info Directions
- Infotech Solutions
- Intec Telecom Systems PLC
- Intrado Inc.
- Isis Papyrus America Inc.
- KPMG Consulting Inc.
- Lucent Technologies
- Mail2000, A UPS Company
- Metavante Corporation
- MIND CTI
- Moore BCS
- nTels Co.
- OSG Billing Services
- Output Technology Solutions
- Platinum Communications, Inc.
- Portal Software
- Quintrex Data Systems
- Schlumberger Sema
- Service Level Corporation
- Smarten U.S.
- SMS Consulting
- SunTec Business Solutions
- Teleflex Systems, Inc.
- TeleStrategies, Inc.
- The Tower Group
- Times Ten Performance Software
- TMNG Inc.
- TSI Telecommunication Services
- United Support Systems
- USHA Communications Technology
- Vertex Inc.
- Vestcom International
- Vibrant Solutions
- XACCT Technologies