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4/29/2013
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CIA Invests In Apigee For Better Data Sharing

Intelligence community's venture capital arm, In-Q-Tel, taps API management firm to improve dissemination of data across federal agencies.

Mission Intelligence: NRO's Newest Spy Satellites
Mission Intelligence: NRO's Newest Spy Satellites
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In-Q-Tel (IQT), the Central Intelligence Agency's venture capital arm, is investing in Apigee to help government intelligence agencies improve data sharing via APIs.

Apigee serves as an API management firm and hosts 100 billion API calls a month for several large private customers, including Walgreens, Dell and eBay. IQT said it wants to tap into Apigee's expertise to reduce the complexity of delivering APIs and building apps, using the firm's cloud-based Enterprise API platform for sharing data and services.

"The Apigee platform can support organizations at varying stages of their API initiatives, from building effective APIs to creating meaningful business intelligence from their app ecosystems," Robert Ames, senior VP of IQT's information and communication technologies practice, said in a statement. "We believe that our government customers will be able to benefit from this comprehensive set of capabilities."

APIs can link thousands of previously unreachable users to a company's services by recognizing that an authorized application was trying to access them. A well-documented API can route a mobile or a PC website visitor to the right version of the application. Therefore, API management is important in getting users to tap into a company's services. Apigee's CEO Chet Kapoor said the Enterprise API platform can support intelligence agencies as they "securely foster new innovation and improve efficiencies through APIs."

[ Want to know more about how intelligence agencies use IT to catch bad guys? Read Military Uses Big Data As Spy Tech. ]

Apigee is one of the largest API management companies with 300 employees. Its competitors include Vordel, WSO2, Mashery, Layer 7 and 3 Scale.

IQT's investment in Apigee is significant in light of the ongoing challenges that intelligence agencies have had with information sharing. The CIA and the FBI have come under questioning following this month's Boston Marathon bombings. According to reports, Russia's security agency, the FSB, handed over information on suspected bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev to CIA officials in 2011. Tsarnaev's information was then passed to the National Counterterrorism Center, which maintains a federal database of potential terrorists. But the FBI had closed the investigation because it found no ties to terrorism, and the agency never learned that Tsarnaev returned to the U.S. from Russia in 2012.

Senator Susan Collins of Maine has publically called the incident a "breakdown in critical information sharing." Another Senate member, Dan Coats of Indiana, who is also on the Intelligence Committee, said the government needs to improve simultaneous communications to all agencies involved when a terrorist warning is posted. Coats told Reuters in interview: "That's one of the key things that we have learned and need to work on to make sure it doesn't happen again."

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