Pentagon pulls the plug on PAM

The Pentagon today squashed a controversial terrorism-betting plan, promoted online by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, before the effort became reality.

Defense Department brass killed DARPA's Policy Analysis Market initiative after several congressional leaders denounced the program. The market, which still could be accessed this afternoon at www.policyanalysismarket.org, was to begin registering traders on Friday.

DARPA, working with Net Exchange of San Diego, envisioned PAM as an online futures market where traders would buy and sell contracts on predicted Middle Eastern events. The idea behind the system was that investment trends would provide indications of the likelihood of the events occurring.

A DARPA spokeswoman said agency director Anthony Tether tabled the project today.

But not before Senate lawmakers blasted it.

Senate Democratic Leader Thomas Daschle (D-S.D.) called PAM "an incentive actually to commit acts of terrorism."

Yesterday, Sens. Byron L. Dorgan (D-N.D.) Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) said that if DARPA did not shut down the program, the pair of lawmakers would use legislation to kill it.

Dawn S. Onley writes for Government Computer News.


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