Is It Reporting, Or Espionage?
July 25, 2006: The mainstream media has, under the cover of the Israeli incursions into Lebanon, managed to expose another intelligence effort. This time it is a total of eight data-mining programs used to assist analysts in locating terrorists and stopping them before they carry out their plans. Five of these were developed under the efforts of the Total Information Awareness program run by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, and cancelled by Congress.
Tracking terrorists has become a high priority since the September 11 attacks. These efforts have included listening to their communications, tracking finances, and also trying to locate patterns indicating terrorist activity. These programs have helped break up several attacks, usually through arresting cells of terrorists (like the group in Florida). These efforts actually represent two different lines of research. One area is software that filters data to give analysts a much smaller haystack to search though. The other area is a group of programs that allow analysts from various agencies to collaborate via computer networks.
This is not the first time that intelligence efforts have been compromised by the mainstream media. The New York Times has twice blown major intelligence efforts by the National Security Agency involving effort to intercept terrorists' communications and in tracking finances. Other media outlets have blown open programs that involved keeping terrorists under wraps - and have even revealed interrogation techniques by publishing the logs for one of the Guantanamo Bay detainees, Mohammed al-Khatani, who was believed to be slated as the 20th hijacker for the 9/11 attacks.
In a very real sense, what has happened is that the mainstream media has decided to leak as many programs as they can. These days, to find out what the United States is doing, all an al-Qaeda operative has to do is to subscribe to the New York Times and USA Today - a grand total of $1.75 per weekday. Logging onto the websites is free. - Harold C. Hutchison (firstname.lastname@example.org)