The New York Sun’s Josh Gerstein reports: “Atta report hints solons may have acted too quickly.” See also Paul’s post from yesterday evening: “Whitewashing the wall?” Gerstein notes the reluctance of certain citizens to learn from experience:
Most privacy advocates appear to be unmoved by the news that data mining could have helped the government find the September 11 hijackers in advance.
“It actually does not cause us to rethink this,” a legislative counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union, Timothy Sparapani, said. “The American public’s most sensitive personally identifiable information should not be subjected to this kind of experiment unless and until we have some kind of confidence that society is going to get some kind of tangible benefit out of it.”
However, Mr. Sparapani said the failure to act on the information that was developed does merit investigation. “The problem is nobody conveyed it to anyone who could do anything about it. It says to me enormous structural divisions in the intelligence community need to be overcome,” he said.
An attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Kurt Opsahl, said the government should not be allowed to collect personal data on Americans, even if it might prevent an act of terrorism. “It is essential that people be able to maintain their privacy and their day-to-day transactions are not placed under government scrutiny,” he said.
As to Mr. Sparapani’s point, John’s question of yesterday evening applies:
[H]ow long would you have to scrutinize MSM accounts of “Able Danger” before you’d find an acknowledgement of the relationship between this failure–not of intelligence, but of communication–and the Patriot Act?