Able Danger Blog

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Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Great article on the IDC

A detailed overview that covers the Information Dominance Center portion of Able Danger, from Shane Harris of the National Journal:

"I have been asked by several folks on Capitol Hill, members and staffers alike, whether the capability still exists to do what we did," Kleinsmith said. "My answer is, 'yes and no.' " Paradoxically, analysts are being trained to rely on the technological tools -- what Kleinsmith called "buttonology" -- too much, instead of thinking creatively on their own, he explained.

The technology is powerful, but needs to augment the analyst's work, he said. "There are still those who want to train analysts on how the engine of the car works instead of how to drive the car."

Kleinsmith recognized that the IDC's methods caused some consternation, but he takes pride in his former work and looks at the controversy pragmatically. "We understood that [there were objections], but we also understood that a lot of our customers didn't care."

Today, Kleinsmith is still struggling with the same puzzles. And, to hear him tell it, apart from the advancements in technology, little has changed. So much is still unknown, and undone, about the terrorist threat to the United States, he said. He can simply watch television to know that law enforcement isn't rounding up the terrorist cells he believes his team identified in the United States five years ago.

Ultimately, Kleinsmith sounds less like a man burdened by his past than one nervous about the future. No one seems to be acting on the information the IDC found that terrorists had taken up residence in the United States, far from New York, he said. And, as if they were listening, waiting for him to tip his hand, Kleinsmith cautiously added, "I'd just prefer not to say where they are."