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  •  why isn't that a partial success story? (0+ / 0-)

    they did have the Tsarnaevs on their radar and made an informed judgment that happened not to pan out.  What they didn't do is ethnically and religiously profile them, do the dirty work of the Russian intelligence services, or surveil them further, beyond what they felt they could infer from the data they aggregated.  Perhaps it was a reasonable deduction that in most instances, communications between brothers wouldn't be out of the ordinary.  What's more, they were caught very quickly, and potential accomplices flagged.  Seeing the connections to these others would come from the data mining.

    Of course no program is going to be 100% effective, but they got close to the Tsarnaevs.  That bolsters the conclusion that other terror attacks were foiled, because they got close enough to make an educated estimate of the probability these guys were serious.  And part of the reason the Boston bombing was successful is because it was easy to plan and therefore had a lower probability of much more massive casualties.  To the extent the focus is on nuclear proliferation or some such, you might not expect an overabundant focus on these two.  

    This is somewhat devil's advocate, but your conclusion is far too glib.

    Unless they could charge them in the act, what would even justify detaining them?  

    Difficult, difficult, lemon difficult.

    by Loge on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 01:26:52 PM PDT

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    •  I don't see how this is any kind of "win" for (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Words In Action, kurt

      any one in the intelligence services of the USA.

      they got close enough to make an educated estimate of the probability these guys were serious.
      They "got close enough" because the brother was pointed out by Russia. The suspect was handed to us on a silver platter. Then the US bungled the estimate of what they were capable of, their connections, their sympathies, etc.

      The massive collection of phone data and Internet data did nothing to stop this, because obviously it was not stopped.

      There's no good spin to that story.  People died because we're being lied to:  These programs do nothing to increase our security.

      "The law is meant to be my servant and not my master, still less my torturer and my murderer." -- James Baldwin. July 11, 1966.

      by YucatanMan on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 01:47:39 PM PDT

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      •  i actually think trust but verify (0+ / 0-)

        is a valid approach to take with Russian intelligence.  What if Russia said the same thing about two other brothers who were simply political dissidents?  You want to rule that out, or is hindsight all that matters?  It's a similar argument to saying a terrorist attack was foiled  therefore the NSA program foiled it.

        there's a logical fallacy in your claim that if something happens, there was nothing "to" deter it, given that these are dealing with probabilities.  They didn't do nothing to stop it, they took efforts to respond to a lot of different threats, knowing that some low probability events will happen because of the law of large numbers.  Did this lower the probability of an attack, lower the probability of a more dangerous one, and increase the probability that coconspirators could be caught quickly?  Quite likely.  

        Without that, I'm not sure what else could have been done -- are you arguing preemptive detention?  (I wish I had the data skills to sort out every person freaking out about the NSA stuff who's argued for suppressing speech on a bad tendency standard or argued against tax breaks for churches or something much more obviously unconstitutional.)  They took steps that appeared reasonable based on the information that was available, and they had additional evidence to follow such a process that wouldn't otherwise be available.  You don't know it was of no use, but you can see proof that it wasn't ab-used in that instance despite what would look like as a solid temptation to do so.  

        Difficult, difficult, lemon difficult.

        by Loge on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 02:12:09 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

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