Secrecy News

ODNI Report on Data Mining: We Don’t Do It

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence says it does not practice data mining in the narrow sense of searching databases to find anomalous patterns that could be indicative of terrorist activity.  So the latest ODNI annual report to Congress (pdf) on data mining programs (the third such report) has little new information to offer.

Instead of data mining, narrowly defined, the ODNI and other intelligence agencies use “link analysis,” which involves searches that begin with a known or suspected terrorist or intelligence target and work backwards and forwards from there.  But such “link analysis” is outside the strict definition of “data mining,” ODNI says, and so it is not discussed further in the new annual report.

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