8.23.2005

Was Atta's name datamined?


I was thinking about something in the NYT story yesterday.
The former contractor, James D. Smith, said that Mr. Atta's name and photograph were obtained through a private researcher in California who was paid to gather the information from contacts in the Middle East.
Whoa, hold the phones. According to Smith, Attas name wasn't found by sifting through information at all, it was found by asking around the neighborhood. Does that sound like datamining open source internet information to any of you? Not to me. It sounds more like good old fashioned human intelligence gathering, or HUMINT, was responsible for naming Atta, assuming Atta actually was named. I had thought yesterday's story was rather ho-hum, but isn't Smith contradicting everything we've heard so far?



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