Tuesday, May 23, 2006

A Modest Proposal

I spend about half my time in the US these days. As such I do feel that the domestic spying thing does affect me. Here is what I propose to thwart the random surveillance of the innocent: Let's all start our telephone conversations with the name of a landmark and something in Arabic. Like, "Hello, I wish I was at the Golden Gate Bridge, I feel like I've been under a real fatwa at work!"


I have no idea if these are the tags that they are watching for, but it bothers me that they are watching at all. I also think that it's counterproductive. The whole justification for domestic spying is that security agencies need more information.


Everything that they needed to stop 9/11 was at their disposal. There was ample evidence that bin Laden was planning a huge strike inside the US. The FBI had picked up Moussaoui on August 16, 2001. That gave them nearly a month to subpoena his computer, to investigate all foreign-nationals at flight schools, or both. What is being sought now is more raw data, as of August 16th, 2001, the US had all the raw data needed to at least attempt to thwart the 9/11 hijackers.

Anyone familiar with Bloom's taxonomy knows that it organizes thinking from lower order (knowledge) to higher order (analysis, synthesis, evaluation). There was already enough knowledge without domestic spying. The security establishment needs to figure out what to do with the knowledge it already has before it should try to acquire any more.

*Yes, I know that the above was probably an incoherent use of the word "fatwa," but you get my meaning, right?