Intelligence "Failure"? (VI)
Previous entries start here.
Rev. Donald Sensing writes this about the reality of intelligence analysis:
Think of the process as putting together an enormous jigsaw puzzle with innumerable, small, irregular pieces. Better yet, putting together many different puzzles when all puzzles use some of the pieces of the other puzzles. Sometimes patterns seem clear, often not. You know you do not have all the pieces for any of the puzzles; in fact, you do not know how many pieces of any puzzle you do have, nor how many pieces any puzzle is supposed to have. Not only that, but you don't know how many puzzles there are.
What that means is that very often when you examine a piece, the puzzle it belongs to will not be self-evident. Often it will. But remember, every day a man walks in with a big box full of pieces and dumps them.
It is worth noting some of the terrorist puzzles the FBI and CIA had to piece together between 1993 and 2001.
The OKC bombing
Sheik Raman's plot to bomb New York's tunnels and landmarks.
Terrorist threats against the Atlanta Olympics in 1996
Investigation of the Olympic Park Bombing
Tokyo subway sarin attacks (the cult responsible had adherents in this country)
TWA 800 crash
Egypt Air 990 crash
Khobar Towers Bombing
Embassy Bombings in Kenya and Tanzania
Possible arson conspiracy against black churches
Possible conspiracy behind murder of abortion providers
Terrorist threats against the Millennium celebrations on 12/31/99
Attack on the USS Cole
Each of these investigations required tens of thousands of man hours. Just imagine how many "dots" were thrown up in the 1990s. And in that mass of dots, how many pointed to Atta?