Friday, January 08, 2010

Nail. Head. Direct Hit.

As a person who has worked with data in IT for years, I'm gonna have to agree with Eugene Robinson here.  (I know, even a stopped clock is right twice a day.)
The National Counterterrorism Center was established in 2004 for the specific purpose of dot-connecting -- forcing the CIA, the NSA, the FBI, the State Department, military intelligence and other agencies to share what they know. But as those agencies gather more and more data, processing it inevitably becomes harder. The problem may not be that the system is improperly engineered but simply that it's grossly overloaded.

Do we need more analysts? Faster computers? Better software? Maybe all of the above. But I doubt we need to reshuffle the bureaucracy yet again -- and I doubt we need more information.

The very first task should be cutting that list of 550,000 "entities" down to a manageable size. The architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe was right: Less sometimes really is more.

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