Friday, August 10, 2007

Tell Us What We Know About Al Qaeda

In the wake of the declassification of the remaining Ahrar documents, it is interesting to consider the argument of Tom Quiggin's new blog. Quiggin is a counter-terrorism expert, who is arguing that civil society needs access to the information the security bureaucracies have on terrorists. Information identifying agents or informers, or that is part of an ongoing investigation, or that was provided by foreign governments on conditions of secrecy needs to be protected. But according to Quiggin (and I have no reason to disbelieve him) vast amounts of information that would not violate any of these interests is kept in secret hands.

For all its faults, the decentralized web is probably ultimately smarter than the smartest bureaucrats. Dump, and people will comb through the stuff to win stupid arguments. That will make it more intelligently searchable, and we'll be better placed to get the bad guys.

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