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The "sentiment analysis" is intended to identify potential threats to the nation, security officials said.
Researchers at institutions including Cornell, the University of Pittsburgh and the University of Utah intend to test the system on hundreds of articles published in 2001 and 2002 on topics like President George W. Bush's use of the term "axis of evil," the handling of detainees at Guantánamo Bay, the debate over global warming and the coup attempt against President Hugo Chávez of Venezuela. A $2.4 million grant will finance the research over three years.
It could take several years for such a monitoring system to be in place, said Joe Kielman, coordinator of the research effort. The monitoring would not extend to U.S. news, Kielman said. [probably because it's already under adequate control -r23]
"We want to understand the rhetoric that is being published and how intense it is, such as the difference between dislike and excoriate," he said.
Even the basic research has raised concern among journalism advocates and privacy groups, as well as representatives of the foreign news media. "It is just creepy and Orwellian," said Lucy Dalglish, a lawyer and former editor who is executive director of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press.