analysts' activity is carefully monitored, recorded, and reviewed to ensure that every use of data serves a legitimate foreign intelligence purpose.
American soldiers have sworn an oath to protect the constitution. Robert Barkan has not.
Torvalds responded "no" while shaking his head "yes," as the audience broke into spontaneous laughter.
The first possibility is that we may have had the data, but didn't fully understand what it meant. This is the proverbial connect-the-dots problem. As we've learned again and again, connecting the dots is hard. Our intelligence services collect billions of individual pieces of data every day. After the fact, it's easy to walk backward through the data and notice all the individual pieces that point to what actually happened. Before the fact, though, it's much more difficult. The overwhelming majority of those bits of data point in random directions, or nowhere at all. Almost all the dots don't connect to anything.
All of these explanations point out the limitations of intelligence. The NSA serves as an example. The agency measures its success by amount of data collected, not by information synthesized or knowledge gained. But it's knowledge that matters.
The NSA's belief that more data is always good, and that it's worth doing anything in order to collect it, is wrong. There are diminishing returns, and the NSA almost certainly passed that point long ago. But the idea of trade-offs does not seem to be part of its thinking.
Although information from informants can quickly give direction to (a narcotics) nvestigation, any such information must be corroborated using other resources. Corroboration reduces the likelihood that informants will have to testify in court, ensures that the information obtained is reliable, and provides a cover for information that could lead investigative targets directly back to informants.
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