Home > Operational analysis > The transatlantic airlines plot – connecting the dots

The transatlantic airlines plot – connecting the dots

Have had a quick skim of  a great piece on the airlines plot: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/26726987/ns/dateline_nbc-the_hansen_files_with_chris_hansen//

There is so much to comment on here, but I’ll leave it for a bit later. I do however have four small words to mutter: edge of network connections, edge of network connections, edge of network connections. Okay, so maybe four words to mutter multiple times, but you get the picture.

For now I just want to say that although the Atlantic plot  is much larger than anything I ever worked on in Australia when I was in the business, there are so many parallels. As much as I can in an open source environment, I’m going to try to coherently explain what I take away from these plots. And the things we still need to learn. And of course the issues we need to beat into the heads of decision makers (particularly those in charge of analytical/intelligence budgets) about the necessity of maintaining and supporting  an active forward looking green fields targeting capacity at all times, regardless of operational priorities. Because it’s out there in ‘them green fields’ that you find your edge of network connection, which can suddenly become a major player in another job (investigation).  You drop them to follow one investigation, you lose them. This is what happened several times in UK, and replays itself over and over in LEA’s and intel agencies the world over.  I’m sure there were probably good analysts in these agencies wanting to chase down such connections, but were prevented from doing so by huge and immediate operational priorities. This happens. Decisions and  priorities have to be made.  But what’s needed is a longer term strategy based on a more nuanced and less reactive position to terrorism. One that looks back now on what we know.

Seen many good action plans or white papers on this? Exactly. Always recomendations for it. Witness the 911 report and the House Intel Committee report in the US, strongly recommending bolstering analytical capacity. Has it happened, and is it enough?  More on this and the nuts and bolts of network connections later.

Categories: Operational analysis
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