Experts: Obama’s “Insider Threat” profiling program for government workers probably won’t work

posted at 4:01 pm on July 10, 2013 by Allahpundit

James Poulos is right. The fact that the program doesn’t work and will debilitate personal relations isn’t the story. The story is that the program itself, however flawed, is another step towards “precrime” detection. The feds are already well down that path in virtual space; the whole point of NSA data-harvesting, after all, is to identify and intercept terrorists before they make a move. The more information they collect and the more sophisticated their AI becomes, the more they’ll turn from focusing on terrorists in the early planning stages to “terrorists” who haven’t thought of planning anything “yet.” Insider Threat is an extension of that logic, with the wrinkle that it’s not happening in virtual space and it’s not based on high-tech information processing. It’s happening in real space, among government workers, based on hunches.

Because the state needs every pair of eyes it can get.

In an initiative aimed at rooting out future leakers and other security violators, President Barack Obama has ordered federal employees to report suspicious actions of their colleagues based on behavioral profiling techniques that are not scientifically proven to work, according to experts and government documents…

Federal employees and contractors are asked to pay particular attention to the lifestyles, attitudes and behaviors – like financial troubles, odd working hours or unexplained travel – of co-workers as a way to predict whether they might do “harm to the United States.” Managers of special insider threat offices will have “regular, timely, and, if possible, electronic, access” to employees’ personnel, payroll, disciplinary and “personal contact” files, as well as records of their use of classified and unclassified computer networks, polygraph results, travel reports and financial disclosure forms…

But even the government’s top scientific advisers have questioned these techniques. Those experts say that trying to predict future acts through behavioral monitoring is unproven and could result in illegal ethnic and racial profiling and privacy violations…

“Doing something similar about predicting future leakers seems even more speculative,” Stephen Fienberg, a professor of statistics and social science at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh and a member of the committee that wrote the report, told McClatchy.

The FBI’s insider threat guide lists “a desire to help the ‘underdog’” as one of the alarming behaviors managers should watch out for in potential leakers. If they’re willing to go as far as encouraging government employees to be suspicious of each other, I assume they’re already targeting those employees with special forms of data-mining to increase their chances of predetection. And if they’re willing to invest billions in NSA and risk the PR backlash from initiatives like Insider Threat, I assume that a specialized federal agency devoted to predetection, if only among government workers, either already exists or is in the offing. (Maybe it’s tucked inside the FBI.) Like Poulos says, it’s hard to tackle this topic without descending straightaway into conspiracy theories and speculation, but paranoia is an inevitable side effect of living in a secretive, surveillance state.

And honestly, I don’t see a way to stop it. Which major technological advances have ever been halted and then rolled back due to public disapproval? We’ve lived with nuclear bombs for 70 years; people will allow themselves to live with some form of precrime detection. The trick for the government, I think, is sticking to surveillance and not outright apprehension of “precriminals.” Throw people in a cell because you think they might do something and you’ll see a real backlash. Keep your distance while watching them 24/7 and you might not. We’re already being watched 24/7 via programs like PRISM, after all. Inevitably the feds will have some sort of success story to show the public, intercepting someone whom they claim would have been the next Adam Lanza if they hadn’t intervened, and that’ll win a chunk of the public over. Which is to say, this is a tough, tough battle for civil libertarians. Think of how many populations have learned to live, kinda sorta, with totalitarianism. Even in a precrime world, America will likely still be a bit more free than most other countries, which of course will inevitably install their own precrime apparatuses. Once it’s the norm and you’ve accepted that “it could be worse,” what’s left?

Here’s Mark Levin sounding the alarm. Click the image to listen.

ml


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How is it even possible to ask a federal worker to spy on another worker. I can see if you find something that someone else is doing, but to actively seek info about others lives in order to speculate on what they might do, what they hell?

oldroy on July 10, 2013 at 4:04 PM

Tune in tomorrow when experts say:

Obama’s plan to round up Tea Party members, and have them
taken to camps in the desert probably won’t work.

ToddPA on July 10, 2013 at 4:08 PM

the whole point of NSA data-harvesting, after all, is to identify and intercept terrorists before they make a move.

If that was the whole point of NSA data collection then why are the mosques off limits?

Maybe the whole point of the NSA watching everyone is to have everyone watched? You are seen as the enemy that needs to be monitored, not the terrorists.

sharrukin on July 10, 2013 at 4:08 PM

report suspicious actions of their colleagues based on behavioral profiling techniques

Obama is profiling?

You mean like “tea party” and “constitution” profiling?

faraway on July 10, 2013 at 4:09 PM

Whose watching the watchers?

Who spies on Obama to keep him in line?

Obama would have loved the DDR and the Stasi…

albill on July 10, 2013 at 4:10 PM

0bama isn’t even doing this for national security. He really wants people to rat out government workers who might be disloyal to 0bama himself.

Something like a Reichstag Fire is going to be next.

LegendHasIt on July 10, 2013 at 4:10 PM

Actually, the basic instructions on what to look out for are the same “adverse information” items that people with DoD security clearances have been told for decades to watch out for to identify possible spies.

dentarthurdent on July 10, 2013 at 4:11 PM

This will give a whole new face to “office politics”.

It will not end well.

Jabberwock on July 10, 2013 at 4:11 PM

Yet they are still arming these same people with billions of rounds of hollow point ammunition.

meci on July 10, 2013 at 4:12 PM

Did these kind of tactics work for the Stasi or the KGB?

Galt2009 on July 10, 2013 at 4:12 PM

Drudge has more cojones than all the old media together, the weasels:

OBAMA ORDERS FED WORKERS: SPY ON EACH OTHER

Watch lifestyles, attitudes and behaviors…

Odd working hours, unexplained travel…

Monitor co-workers stress, divorce, financial problems…

Track online activities…

Those failing to report face penalties, criminal charges…

UPSTREAM: US TAPS UNDERSEA CABLES

Schadenfreude on July 10, 2013 at 4:14 PM

“There’s a reason we separate military and the police: one fights the enemy of the state, the other serves and protects the people. When the military becomes both, then the enemies of the state tend to become the people.”

- Admiral Adama from the not-so-fictional-anymore “BattleStar Galactica”

Turtle317 on July 10, 2013 at 4:15 PM

‘Rats ratting out other ‘Rats. What’s the downside, exactly?

Harbingeing on July 10, 2013 at 4:15 PM

I guess it isn’t bad enough people at jobs have to watch what they say or the jokes they tell, lest they get called on the carpet for ‘offending’ a co-worker. Now Obama wants to make it worse, at least in Federal offices?

There seems no place where this man won’t try to divide people.

Liam on July 10, 2013 at 4:16 PM

Did these kind of tactics work for the Stasi or the KGB?

Galt2009 on July 10, 2013 at 4:12 PM

Soon, we will get what we have been asking for, Obama will build the wall.

faraway on July 10, 2013 at 4:16 PM

The story is that the program itself, however flawed, is another step towards “precrime” detection.

Just wait until the Obama Youth Corps learn how to denounce family and neighbors for prizes and promotion to squad leader.

Happy Nomad on July 10, 2013 at 4:16 PM

“Heck, I’ve always hated Joe in third row” — goons of obama

Schadenfreude on July 10, 2013 at 4:17 PM

If you ever read these stories and wonder “What insane creepy thing will they come up with next?” you can stop wondering. We have to look no further than the recent past to know what they will think up next. http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2006/jul/22/mainsection.international1

dczombie on July 10, 2013 at 4:17 PM

Whose watching the watchers?

Who spies on Obama to keep him in line?

Obama would have loved the DDR and the Stasi…

albill on July 10, 2013 at 4:10 PM

But his excellency, Dear Liar extraordinaire Barrack Hussein is above the need for watching. /sarc.

Just like others from history who have gone down this road.

Galt2009 on July 10, 2013 at 4:17 PM

Did these kind of tactics work for the Stasi or the KGB?

Galt2009 on July 10, 2013 at 4:12 PM

Soon, we will get what we have been asking for, Obama will build the wall.

faraway on July 10, 2013 at 4:16 PM

Yes, at some point they will end up securing the border – but only to keep us in.

Galt2009 on July 10, 2013 at 4:19 PM

Actually, the basic instructions on what to look out for are the same “adverse information” items that people with DoD security clearances have been told for decades to watch out for to identify possible spies.

dentarthurdent on July 10, 2013 at 4:11 PM

True enough but that involves security clearances. The rat-eared coward wants Peace Corps employees to denounce one another. Just wait until somebody decides to use these directions to settle grudges with fellow employees. Going “postal” will be replaced with going “Obama.”

Happy Nomad on July 10, 2013 at 4:19 PM

So he wants us to act like IRS agents?

seven on July 10, 2013 at 4:20 PM

Throw people in a cell because you think they might do something and you’ll see a real backlash.

I’m not so sure anymore. That spirit, if still existed, would’ve ‘backlashed’ already, on countless other topics, already given countless other opportunities.

Midas on July 10, 2013 at 4:20 PM

Soon, we will get what we have been asking for, Obama will build the wall.

faraway on July 10, 2013 at 4:16 PM

Yes – but not to stop anyone from coming IN.
It will be just like the original iron curtain – to keep us in.

As with the Hotel California – “you check out any time you like, but you can never leave…”

dentarthurdent on July 10, 2013 at 4:21 PM

True enough but that involves security clearances. The rat-eared coward wants Peace Corps employees to denounce one another. Just wait until somebody decides to use these directions to settle grudges with fellow employees. Going “postal” will be replaced with going “Obama.”

Happy Nomad on July 10, 2013 at 4:19 PM

Yes – I would guess he got the idea from DoD.
There’s an obvious problem that this is being pushed for civilian agencies where it can’t be justified for protecting classified information.
Basically it looks like Obumble’s view is anyone not 100% loyal to HIM personally is a national security threat.

dentarthurdent on July 10, 2013 at 4:24 PM

Apparently Obama’s snitch line to the White House wasn’t enough. How long until parents have to start mistrusting their own spouses, children, and other relatives?

Liam on July 10, 2013 at 4:25 PM

We’re becoming East Germany.

Akzed on July 10, 2013 at 4:26 PM

I’m assuming this rule applies to government funded schools also.

“Johnny had a Bible.”

faraway on July 10, 2013 at 4:27 PM

I’m assuming this rule applies to government funded schools also.

“Johnny had a Bible.”

faraway on July 10, 2013 at 4:27 PM

Or “Jimmy’s Mom just got a concealed carry permit”.

dentarthurdent on July 10, 2013 at 4:30 PM

They didn’t just think this up last week.

The ammo purchases, the 2009 white Christians are extremists DHS document, NSA, and more, are all legs on the same bug with this.

Drip.. drip…

Akzed on July 10, 2013 at 4:31 PM

Can you spell G-E-S-T-A-P-O?

rplat on July 10, 2013 at 4:31 PM

hope and change

rob verdi on July 10, 2013 at 4:31 PM

The Great Purge:

The Great Purge was a campaign of political repression in the Soviet Union orchestrated by Joseph Stalin from 1936 to 1939.[1] It involved a large-scale purge of the Communist Party and government officials, repression of peasants and the Red Army leadership, and widespread police surveillance, suspicion of “saboteurs”, imprisonment, and arbitrary executions

Large-scale purge of the Democrat Party and government officials: Check.

Repression of citizens and the Army leadership: Check

Widespread police surveillance: Check

Suspicion of “saboteurs”: Check

Imprisonment: Check

Arbitrary executions: One does wonder, eh? Can you say “drones”?

Sounds like Obama is taking a page out of J. Stalin’s book.

BobMbx on July 10, 2013 at 4:32 PM

[Schadenfreude on July 10, 2013 at 4:14 PM]

We’ve come a long way since the outrageous, “See something say something.”

Dusty on July 10, 2013 at 4:32 PM

Yes, yes… please step forward now and reveal just exactly who was behind the IRS scandal… and Benghazi too, and let’s not forget Fast and Furious. Rat them all out. It’s your government duty. The president would want it that way.

Hill60 on July 10, 2013 at 4:33 PM

This is what happens in police states.

rbj on July 10, 2013 at 4:35 PM

This is 100% code for please watch conservatives and alert us if you think they are not 100% on board with big government as well as the possibility for an Obama coup / 1 party rule by fiat, and so on.

preallocated on July 10, 2013 at 4:36 PM

High speed trains, anyone? All aboard!

faraway on July 10, 2013 at 4:37 PM

Yeah guys…but….free condoms!

BobMbx on July 10, 2013 at 4:39 PM

We’re becoming East Germany.

Akzed on July 10, 2013 at 4:26 PM

You think it was by coincidence that the rat-eared coward just gave his Berlin speech from East Germany and not the location of the JFK or Reagan speeches? I don’t.

Happy Nomad on July 10, 2013 at 4:40 PM

This is what happens in police states.

rbj on July 10, 2013 at 4:35 PM

Obama’s Police State.

Galt2009 on July 10, 2013 at 4:42 PM

Experts: Obama’s “Insider Threat” profiling program for government workers probably won’t work

A similar program worked great for Stalin, helped keep him in power for about 30 years.

Axion on July 10, 2013 at 4:44 PM

If there was ever any doubt what the “radical transformation” was going to resemble, we now have proof! Sounds just like the Soviet Union’s KGB, a fine Communist organ. And also akin to the Gestapo of Hitler’s era! Just what the Beltway folks want!

Oh, and the drive for amnesty is another leg of the transformation chair!

All in all, a very disturbing situation is upon us…..the USA, as envisioned by Marx and Lenin!

tomshup on July 10, 2013 at 4:45 PM

Was it this tight in WWII, when we had to watch out for real saboteurs who wanted to blow up war industries, trains, and depots? This is a time of peace (more or less), yet Obama wants us watching each other (mosques not included — that’s ethnic profiling and we can’t have that!).

Liam on July 10, 2013 at 4:45 PM

davidk on July 10, 2013 at 4:43 PM


There is a whole thread on that ongoing here already.

LegendHasIt on July 10, 2013 at 4:46 PM

AP,

Hahahah this is only happening because we have a democrat in the White House. As soon as there is another Republican president, all the liberals will be out in full force attacking anything like this as a GOP gestapo.

The irony is that a police state can only reallt happen when the liberals are in charge, because all their liberal allies in the population will happily turn a blind eye “for the greater good”. Yet another reason we need to keep Republican presidents in the White House.

kaltes on July 10, 2013 at 4:53 PM

This isn’t for our safety. This is normalizing a surveillance state.
When government is close to the US’ largest employer (and that now includes all medical personnel) who need to “keep an eye on each other”, that sort of behavior gets transferred into the national conscious.

Then it’s the mandatory re-education centers…

Skywise on July 10, 2013 at 4:53 PM

Which major technological advances have ever been halted and then rolled back due to public disapproval?

Refuse recycling centers.

Dusty on July 10, 2013 at 4:56 PM

Mad rush for brown shirts…

d1carter on July 10, 2013 at 4:59 PM

I can’t get excited about this. In the security field, I’ve had briefings on insider threats for years and there’s nothing in the executive order that varies from what I’ve been taught under both Republican and Democrat administrations. I’m not getting the precrime angle at all.

Look, all the indicators they’re talking about have to do with a person who is already committing the crime. They have been used effectively to catch traitors like Hansen and many others. If I have a co-worker who goes from driving a Plymouth Neon to a Ferrari, that’s an indicator. If the security manager looks at the card access logs and sees this same person spending time at work on the weekends or in the evenings alone when he never did before, that information is reportable to a supervisor in any organization that has a National Security mission. It’s profiling and it typically works.

Cricket624 on July 10, 2013 at 5:00 PM

The biggest insider threat in this “government” is Barky and his junta, who have released real, sensitive national security info to our enemies and have given aid and comfort to those same enemies. But, I won’t hold my breath waiting for this cowardly, spineless GOP House to even talk about doing anything. They sit and watch Barky and his junta carry out these criminal acts and then watch the Indonesian Imbecile run un-American, Soviet-style snitch programs to try and catch people who do nothing (except embarrass this criminal administration) without even a peep.

Pathetic.

ThePrimordialOrderedPair on July 10, 2013 at 5:06 PM

This all from the junta that gave special CIA cooperation to a friggin movie producer in order to help construct a propaganda film for Barky before the 2012 election. Yeah … these America-hating dipsh!ts really care about national security … The same traitors who were giving out private information about CIA interrogators to terrorists … Yep.

ThePrimordialOrderedPair on July 10, 2013 at 5:09 PM

Of course, the real money quote is right here;

Obama mandated the program in an October 2011 executive order after Army Pfc. Bradley Manning downloaded hundreds of thousands of documents from a classified computer network and gave them to WikiLeaks, the anti-government secrecy group. The order covers virtually every federal department and agency, including the Peace Corps, the Department of Education and others not directly involved in national security.

In short, it’s been in effect for over a year and a half already, and they still somehow managed to miss Edward Snowden doing almost exactly what Bradley Manning did. Which was what they were allegedly supposed to be looking for.

My guess is that they were too busy suspecting people of being Tea Party sympathizers or NRA members to worry about, oh I don’t know, some outside-contractor IT guy getting access to classified information he wasn’t supposed to even be cleared to know the existence of.

This is a case of bad news and worse news.

The bad news is that we are about a gnat’s whisker from living in a police state like the one in the movie Minority Report, with a few overtones of Blade Runner.

The worse news is that not only will we be subjected to the tender mercies of the equivalent of that stalwart of Dianetics, The Heterosexual Tom Cruise, but he will be taking orders from the equivalent of Wernher Klemperer, aka Colonel Klink on Hogan’s Heroes.

The Keystone Cops would be more effective at actually doing anything useful. Admittedly, just barely.

clear ether

eon

eon on July 10, 2013 at 5:10 PM

Sort of an SEIU ATTACK WATCH!!!! program.

de rigueur on July 10, 2013 at 5:15 PM

people will allow themselves to live with some form of precrime detection. The trick for the government, I think, is sticking to surveillance and not outright apprehension of “precriminals.” Throw people in a cell because you think they might do something and you’ll see a real backlash. Keep your distance while watching them 24/7 and you might not.

Good to know how you really feel. This is where ALL statist logic eventually leads to and I can’t comprehend your being cool with it.

abobo on July 10, 2013 at 5:24 PM

Next implement the plan in the schools….
“Kids, snitch on your parents. Report them to your union teacher and get a star and extra credit”.

albill on July 10, 2013 at 5:27 PM

Soon everyone will have to spy on everyone else, cuz you don’t know who is spying on whom, so to level the playing field, everyone will be forced to spy and tell tales to survive…

What goes around comes around…

We will all be spies on each other, it is inevitable…

Sad days to come folks…

No one will trust anyone any longer, and that’s the reality of it all…

Scrumpy on July 10, 2013 at 5:29 PM

No one will trust anyone any longer, and that’s the reality of it all…

Scrumpy on July 10, 2013 at 5:29 PM

That’s the idea Obama wants, a get-them-first mentality. Community agitation doesn’t work unless people are first divided from their community.

Liam on July 10, 2013 at 5:36 PM

Law of Unintended Consequences:

Everyone will turn everyone else in. Progressives favor the underdog, right. So they are all suspect. Remember, the first group this “Stazi informer” plan affects is the government bureaucracy.

LarryD on July 10, 2013 at 5:54 PM

The story is that the program itself, however flawed, is another step towards “precrime” detection. The feds are already well down that path in virtual space; the whole point of NSA data-harvesting, after all, is to identify and intercept terrorists before they make a move.

i don’t see this as a pre-crime thing as much as Suppression. Call it changing behavior.

one of the twitters i follow had something from a couple of years ago wrt Lois Lerner. Sending large questionnaire to colleges would make them think twice before claiming the entirity of their income strems exempt

same with Tea Party…suppression and shift future behavior. If every conservative thinks that he may be audited or publicly named would that Suppress his behavior?

This is about suppressing government employees from blowing the whistle. These are things the CIA used to do to monitor for spies inside the wire.

the ‘hook’ is national security…but the application is to any leaker..EPA, Interior, or whatever. Suppress the leaks

r keller on July 10, 2013 at 5:55 PM

When you apply the criteria, isn’t what Obama ordered exactly what Snowden did?

BobMbx on July 10, 2013 at 6:03 PM

For those who have been in the military or civil service, and who have held a security clearance, none of this is new. This kind of stuff is taught when you first apply for a clearance, and is retaught annually (or more often) in refresher training. It has nothing to do with the Obama administration. It is a normal part of having a government security clearance, OK? If you want to get wrapped around the axle on this, it demonstrates that you don’t understand how this stuff really works.

Owain on July 10, 2013 at 6:28 PM

….it demonstrates that you don’t understand how this stuff really works.
Owain on July 10, 2013 at 6:28 PM

Or perhaps you don’t understand how the 0bama Regime really works.

LegendHasIt on July 10, 2013 at 6:50 PM

Or perhaps you don’t understand how the 0bama Regime really works.
LegendHasIt on July 10, 2013 at 6:50 PM

It has nothing to do with the Obama Regime, but I do know security procedures, and it appears you do not.

Owain on July 10, 2013 at 6:58 PM

I’m more and more reminded of Issac Asimov’s “Foundation.” But who is our Hari Seldon?

schmuck281 on July 10, 2013 at 7:35 PM

Ofcourse it’ll work. Obama was a Constitutional Law professor. He knows what he can get away with.

RdLake on July 10, 2013 at 7:41 PM

Owain on July 10, 2013 at 6:58 PM

Appearances can be deceiving.

LegendHasIt on July 10, 2013 at 7:42 PM

Or perhaps you don’t understand how the 0bama Regime really works.
LegendHasIt on July 10, 2013 at 6:50 PM

It has nothing to do with the Obama Regime, but I do know security procedures, and it appears you do not.

Owain on July 10, 2013 at 6:58 PM

We could put this to the test, and drop a dime on Owain’s employer or straight to the FBI as having exhibited anti-government tendencies by visiting and commenting on a deeply conservative weblog.

I’m sure an interview with an FBI, TSA, or CIA agent would dis-spell any mis-understanding.

See something, say something.

BobMbx on July 10, 2013 at 8:05 PM

It has nothing to do with the Obama Regime,….
Owain on July 10, 2013 at 6:58 PM

Oh wait, it does!

President Barack Obama has ordered federal employees to report suspicious actions of their colleagues

No one would have thought anything about this if it had come from the head of CIA Internal Security, the head of D.S.S., The various M.I. and opsec, comsec heads in the Pentagon, etc. It wouldn’t have even raised too many eyebrows if political appointee Butch Napolitano issued the decree.

But when the order comes from the President himself, a guy with a long and evil history of using ‘secret’ information for his own gain, rather than for national security, if one DOESN’T look for the underlying meaning, the potential for political abuse, then one is a fool.

LegendHasIt on July 10, 2013 at 10:02 PM

Actually, the basic instructions on what to look out for are the same “adverse information” items that people with DoD security clearances have been told for decades to watch out for to identify possible spies.

No kidding. Anyone who knows someone who’s applied for a clearance or especially for an NSA job knows that this is a laughably minor concern. Two people I know who applied to NSA internships had to give them a lot of information and were ultimately rejected. Neither is sure why; both were model citizens, the most upstanding people I know. Yet one of the people I knew who was an NSA intern is glad Snowden leaked.

calbear on July 11, 2013 at 12:16 AM

What a great way to weed out that 20% of the federal workforce who can be identified as conservative or libertarian! Bravo, Maximum Leader!

olesparkie on July 11, 2013 at 8:17 AM

For those who have been in the military or civil service, and who have held a security clearance, none of this is new. This kind of stuff is taught when you first apply for a clearance, and is retaught annually (or more often) in refresher training. It has nothing to do with the Obama administration. It is a normal part of having a government security clearance, OK? If you want to get wrapped around the axle on this, it demonstrates that you don’t understand how this stuff really works.

Owain on July 10, 2013 at 6:28 PM

Bravo Zulu, Owain.

And for the rest of you still yearning for evidence of evil, evil, EVIL, here’s the link to the online training, which is about 10 years old.

http://www.dhra.mil/perserec/osg/home.htm

It’s also covered under Executive Order 12968 (which was signed by Bill Clinton, who has gained new street cred because Justin Bieber doesn’t like him).

LegendHasIt on July 10, 2013 at 10:02 PM

OPSEC is a presidential order, NSDD 298. So you should think nothing of this.

Toodles.

Cricket624 on July 11, 2013 at 9:22 AM

The FBI’s insider threat guide lists “a desire to help the ‘underdog’” as one of the alarming behaviors managers should watch out for in potential leakers.

The Washinton Redskins just lost their fan base now that cheering for the ‘underdog’ has become illegal.

Carnac on July 11, 2013 at 10:29 AM

We are to believe that SEIU employees are going to start tattling on fellow SEIU employees?

Welcome to Fantasyland, Mr. President.

Carnac on July 11, 2013 at 10:31 AM