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« The Christmas Day Intelligence Failure – Part II: Jeff Jonas’ Christmas Wish List | Main | Responsible Innovation: Evil is as Evil Does »

February 12, 2010


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In this specific scenario, are you suggesting that these terrorists didn't already know that phone lines are monitored by the NSA? It's pretty well known that they have this ability.

People get caught all the time by what they shouldn't say or email. And remember criminals typically think they will not be caught before they try to commit a crime.

Ian Story

I think that the point being we don't need to remind the bad guys that we're watching them and cause them to get more will lessen the mistakes that they make. One wonders though if since they know that we watch them, if they deliberately pass misinformation...and then if we know that they know that we know... :)

In the end though, I think it is better to focus on the successful stops, not the HOW people were stopped...although our society (and media) always are fascinated with the details (and there are many good reasons why folks that are involved in civil liberties are concerned with no transparency), to Jeff's point, revealing too much can be more harmful in the end.

Here's a creepy thought - I wonder if any of these bad guys read Jeff's blog?

David Mattox

There is a difference in assuming that all communications are monitored and seeing evidence that your personal communications have been monitored. People are not nearly as careful when there is only a general notion of a threat. Crime still occurs even though criminals know that the police are out there looking for crime. But if criminals know that police are targeting a specific city block then they will avoid it. The NYT story gave a specific example. The persons involved in that particular communications transaction will recognize it know that they have being personally targeted and will adapt accordingly.

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