More is Better: The Analytic Case for a Robust Suspicious Activity Reports Program

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Authors
Steiner, James E.
Subjects
Advisors
Date of Issue
2010-09-00
Date
2010-09
Publisher
Monterey, California. Naval Postgraduate School
Center for Homeland Defense and Security
Language
en_US
Abstract
In his March 2009 testimony, Gregory Nojeim warned Congress of the potential danger to civil liberties posed by the government's suspicious activity report (SAR) program. But Nojeim, director of the Project on Freedom, Security, ; Technology, raised another concern -- that 'the security 'bang per byte' of information gathered may be diminishing. While 'stove piping' was yesterday's problem, tomorrow's problem may be 'pipe clogging,' as huge amounts of information are being gathered without apparent focus.' [...]. A subsequent CRS [Congressional Research Service] study, in November 2009, endorsed Nojeim's suggestion questioning the need for a data-intensive program and made a similar recommendation: 'Congress may be interested in how a future SAR Program Management Office intends to address this problem -- specifically, which agency or agencies will be responsible for quality control of SARs [sic] to prevent system overload from irrelevant or redundant ones.' This article acknowledges the progress made in protecting civil rights -- an area of legitimate concern -- but rejects categorically the call to reduce or limit the size of the SAR program. Two analytic requirements for the collection of more rather than less information through the SAR process are presented, to increase the probability of identifying pre-operational terrorist activity and to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of critical infrastructure protection regimes. In statistical analysis, more is better.
Type
Article
Description
This article appeared in Homeland Security Affairs (September 2010), v.6 no.3
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Citation
Homeland Security Affairs (September 2010), v.6 no.3
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Approved for public release; distribution is unlimited.
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