Feel Safer Now? 1. In order for organizations to function, there must be a free flow of information. This is a complex process, which becomes even more complicated when information is expected to flow freely from one government agency to another. This is the difficulty which plagued US agencies in the events leading up to September 11 th.
There were several sources of breakdowns in information present before the attacks in New York. One of the large breakdowns in information was due to information overload. There are many agencies in the states which involve national safety, such as the FBI, CIA, NSA and DAIN S. Each agency possesses vast amounts of information and it was difficult for the bureaucracies to decipher which information was credible and important from information that was inconsequential and trivial. Insufficient amounts of information and inadequate flow of information strongly affected information sharing among agencies. First, each agency had different methods and rules for doing business.
Because of this information was not uniformly documented or organized. This caused trouble when it came to relaying facts and suspicions to a different agency. Secondly, the agencies sabotaged adequate flows of information by being incredibly secretive with their own knowledge. Information was not easily or willingly shared between the agencies. Next, the agencies all had critical information about the pilots of the planes which crashed into the Trade Center but failed to adequately communicate their information. The NSA and CIA both held valuable pieces of the puzzle in catching Nawab al-Hazmi but failed to piece them together to actually realize he was a threat.
Lastly, because the FBI was only responsible for crimes already committed, information was not passed on from the CIA regarding al-Hazmi's link to al-Qaida. These are all severe negative results from a system breakdown due to insufficient and inadequate flow of information. Errors also occurred due to interpretation of information. The text states that written messages are more ambiguous and make differences in interpretation much more likely. A written request for a search warrant for a presumed hijacker (Moussaou) was sent to the US national security court. The writers of the request failed to include valuable French reports connecting Moussaou to al-Qaida.
Another interpretation of data error was incredibly blatant. NSA intercepted a conversation in Arabic and failed to translate it. This missed message spoke of a "big event" planned for September 11 th. 2. Most of the errors leading to September 11 th were those which seem to be errors in hindsight.
These were all due complications that are bound to happen when there are several agencies which must deal with security. There is a vast amount of information that these agencies must collect and address. If there was only one agency which covered every issue, it would be more apt to be able to link together events. However, since multiple agencies deal with security it is hard to decode every piece of information and discover every clue.
The two events which really were errors were those which were due to interpretation of information. There is no excuse for not including the suspicions from the French intelligence about Moussaou being connected to al-Qaida. This was simply an exclusion of imperative information which would have ensured an approval for a search warrant. Also, undoubtedly, the phone conversation in Arabic should have been translated.
It is very easy to get a translator to interpret the discussion. It would have revealed the exact day the attacks were going to happen. Clearly, this case shows the importance of clear and free information flow. A few breakdowns in information can have dastardly outcomes. It is crucial to have a sufficient and adequate flow of information and to minimize the differences in interpretation.