“Would NSA surveillance have stopped 9/11 plot?”
Effective Counterterrorism and the Limited Role of Predictive Data Mining
by Jeff Jonas and Jim Harper
While this 2006 paper primarily focused on highlighting the limited role of predictive data mining towards counter-terrorism — this paper also presents evidence that 9/11 could have been averted without the currently contested meta-data collection program OR even new technology, for that matter.
I was working with watch lists, private and publically available data immediately after 9/11 in attempts to assist our nation … as such many of the insights presented in the “Hiding in Plain Sight” section are largely based upon my first hand experience.
That said … in my opinion, while “more data (e.g., population-wide meta data collection) could be helpful in uncovering criminal activity” — this was not essential to detect and possibly preempt 9/11. And even if such data was provably helpful, is it really constitutional? Hence the vibrant debate …