We have received the following response from Andrew Lewman, Executive Director of the Tor Project, in response to our earlier “Open Letter” inquiring about the sources of Tor’s funding, which, in 2011, consisted largely of donations from the US Department of Defense and the US State Department:
Subject: Re: [tor-assistants] (no subject)
From: “Andrew Lewman” <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Thu, January 3, 2013 5:48 pm
On Thu, 3 Jan 2013 06:33:29 -0800
> Jacob Appelbaum suggested we write to you to ask you some questions
> that have arisen over the funding sources for the Tor Project.
I’m surprised Jake didn’t just answer them on the spot. However, I’ll
> 1) We would like to know what the relationship of the Tor Project to
> the U.S. Department of Defense and the U.S. State Department is
> today, in 2013. In 2011, you received over $800,000.00 in funding
> from U.S. government agencies: $503,706.00 from the U.S. Department of
> Defense via the cutout NGO “SRI International”; $227,118.00 from the
> U.S. State Department via the cutout company “Internews Network” and
> $143,062.00 from the National Science Foundation via the cutout entity
> known as Drexel University: a total of $873,886.00 for the year ended
> December 31, 2011. This makes the U.S. Defense Department and the
> U.S. State Department your two biggest financial sponsors.
Yes. The ‘cutout entities’ you state are real companies and entities.
We apply for research grants with these organizations because we aren’t
large enough, nor bureaucratic enough, to handle direct funding in
most cases. In most cases, these “cutout” organizations approach us and
ask how they can improve Tor as part of their overall proposal to the
funding entity. Generally, Tor is receiving less then 25% of the
overall proposal/grant from the US Government agencies when going
through these “cutout” orgs.
> 2) Why is this information about the sources of your current funding
> not revealed to people who visit your website on the “Tor: Sponsors”
> page? There, it is very misleadingly stated that your funding from
> the US Defense Department (“DARPA”) ENDED in 2006, and that the
> sponsorship of Tor by the only other overt US Military entity, the US
> Naval Research Laboratory ended in 2010. It also very misleadingly
> hides the true source of your current funding behind the very small
> fig leaf of the “Broadcasting Board of Governors” – a CIA/State
> Department operation that runs such notorious CIA-run US propaganda
> operations as the Voice of America, Radio Liberty and Radio Marti.
Due to GAAP and OMB-110 financial accounting rules, we can only publish
audited financial statements. Financial audits take 6-9 months on
average for a non-profit due to data sampling, process audits, and due
diligence. We publish the documents as our audit firm completes the
audit. The last year audits are complete is 2011. As 2012 just
finished, we’ll start our audit in February 2013 and likely publish the
documents in August of 2013.
As you can see for yourself, the content on the sponsor page hasn’t been
“r25361 | phobos | 2012-01-31 16:06:59 -0500 (Tue, 31 Jan 2012) | 2
update the sponsors.” There have been some minor updates since then
to fix missing tags and broken links, but the content about the
sponsors is updated once a year, roughly. Our website code is available
at https://svn.torproject.org/svn/website/trunk/. Feel free to check for
yourself. It’s on my todo list to update the sponsor content soon to
reflect 2011 numbers. Feel free to submit a patch if you get to it
The DARPA grant ended in 2006. We’re part of a conglomerate of
organizations working with SRI on a project to improve anonymous
communications and censorship circumvention. Our funding is from SRI,
not DARPA. If you looked at the CFDA numbers, you’d find our funding is
really from SPAWAR, not DARPA. If you don’t understand the Dept of
Commerce Data Collection Form, just ask. Here’s the link to the CFDA,
BBG is a government agency, which as you state, promotes Voice of
America, Radio Libery, and Radio Marti, amongst other media vehicles,
like satellite, AM/FM radio, and newspapers. I’m not sure where you get
the CIA-link from.
> 3) Most damningly, why does Tor Project appear to hide its U.S.
> Defense Department “sponsor” behind the utterly false flag of “An
> Anonymous North American NGO” on the “Tor: Sponsors” page? Who
> could that be, but “SRI International” – identified in your own
> amended financial documents as a “pass through” for the US DoD –
> since they appear to be the only other organization in 2011 that
> donated over $500,000 to your operation?
The “Anonymous North American NGO” is Internews, not SRI. They didn’t
give us permission to post their name on our sponsor page. If we
cannot respect their privacy, who can? They didn’t donate to Tor, very
few organizations donate to Tor. We applied for a grant with our
funders to do specific work on Tor. See
for a general explanation.
In general, you’re on a fishing expedition, but not thorough enough to
understand the real evidence. We publish pretty much everywhere that we
take government money (yet you missed the Swedish Govt funding from
Sida) and we publish what we work on, in gory details. Please learn to
use https://www.muckrock.com/ and make progress on FOIA requests. Maybe
you should talk to “frihet null” since he/she/it is on a deep-sea
fishing expedition to find out more about Tor. See his/her/its post at
and it was posted on cryptome.org as well.
And since you’re “Friends of WikiLeaks – Chicago”, I’d love to see
transparent documentation about Wikileaks itself. Please publish that
Please ask more questions if you have them.
[To be continued – FoWL Chicago]