"Could blogs and wikis prevent the next 9/11?" New York Times magazine contributing writer Clive Thompson asked that question in a fascinating article today on "Open-Source Spying." It's about how "throughout the [U.S.] intelligence community, spies are beginning to wonder why their technology has fallen so far behind — and talk among themselves about how to catch up." Thompson added:
Some of the country’s most senior intelligence thinkers have joined the discussion, and surprisingly, many of them believe the answer may lie in the interactive tools the world’s teenagers are using to pass around YouTube videos and bicker online about their favorite bands.
Billions of dollars’ worth of ultrasecret data networks couldn’t help spies piece together the clues to the worst terrorist plot ever [Al-Qaeda's September 11, 2006, attack on the United States. So perhaps, they argue, it’s time to try something radically different. Could blogs and wikis prevent the next 9/11?"
It's an important question. An even greater question is will the 16 intelligence agencies stop their turf wars and cooperate by sharing information and making available access to each other's databases.
In other words, can they overcome their entrenched "Need to know’ culture and adopt ” what Dale Meyerrose calls moving "to a ‘need to share’ philosophy.”
Meyerrose is "a retired Air Force major general," who "was named the chief information officer in the office of John Negroponte, the much-traveled Director of National Intelligence, and charged with getting the various agencies to share information. It's a daunting task.
NOTE: A version of this post can be found over at The Technology Free Press, my technology blog.