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Had DataMining Tools Identified Four of the 9/11 Hijackers?:
Yesterday's New York Times has a fascinating but rather vague report that a year before 9/11, a military intelligence unit had used datamining tools to identify Mohammed Atta and three other of the 9/11 hijackers as likely members of of an Al Qaeda cell. As Mickey Kaus notes, however, the Times story appears to significantly downplay the role of datamining tools in the identification of the cell. I'm not quite sure what to make of the story, but hopefully we'll know more details soon.
Brian G (mail) (www):
Can the ACLU sue for retroactive violations of Atta's civil rights? After all, Atta was never once brought to trial for anything, and never convicted of anything, and the feds did not properly seal the crime scene of that incident 4 years ago, tainting any possible evidence that might suggest Atta had something to do with it.
8.10.2005 6:04pm
Tom Hanna (www):
I wouldn't want to be a lawyer if this gets much TV play.

government lawyers advised the military's Special Operations Command, which oversaw "Able Danger," not to forward the information apparently because the four were in the United States legally on visas and should not be subject to a military operation.
8.10.2005 7:12pm
rjh (mail):
If they ever release truthfull details I expect that the kind of software used is very different from that normally called "data mining". Much more likely is the traditional traffic analysis and relationship analysis software. It is similar to the pattern finding in public things like FOAF. Traffic and relationship analysis have been used in intelligence for a long time. You keep track of myriad details about who talks to whom, who is present when and where, who travels where, etc. Then you analyze for the hidden relationships.
8.11.2005 10:46am