Increasing importance of network and data
In addition, the event of 9/11 has enhanced the importance of Social Network Analysis (SNA). The basis of social network analysis is that individual nodes, depending on the type of network can be people, event etc, are connected by complex yet understandable relationships that form networks. These networks are ubiquitous, with an underlying order and simple laws. Networks form the structural basis of many natural events, organisations and social processes. Terrorist organisations are well–suited to study using social network analysis, as they consist of networks of individuals, that span countries, continents, and economic status, and form around specific ideology. Terrorist organisations are different from hierarchical, state–sponsored appointments in characteristics such as leadership and organisational structure. At the juncture social network analysis can provide important information on the unique characteristics of terrorist organisations, ranging from issues of network recruitment, network evolution, and the diffusion of radical ideas. After the attack social network expert in academia, the government, and even mainstream media including the Washington Post and the Dallas Morning News began to look explicitly at the use of network methodology in understanding and countering terrorism.
It is also to mention here that data collection is difficult for any network analysis because terrorist organisations do not provide information on their members, and the government rarely allows researchers to use their intelligence data. One such social network analysis was published in 2004, namely Understanding Terror Networks by Mare Sageman. Using public sources, Sageman collected biographics of 172 Islamic terrorist operatives affiliated with the global Salafi Jihad, the violent revivalist Islamic movement led by Al-Qaeda. He used social network analysis specifically on Al-Qaeda operatives since 1998. This analysis yields four large terrorist clusters. The first cluster resides in the Pakistan–Afghan border and consists of the central staff of Al-Qaeda and the global Salafist Jihad movement. The second cluster is a group of operatives located in core Arab states such as Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Yemen, and Kuwait. The third cluster is known as the Maghreb Arabs who, although they come from North African nations, currently reside in France and England. The final cluster is centered in Indonesia and Malaysia and is affiliated with Jemaah Islamiyah. However for the same work and purpose the federal government had used link analysis which Karl Van Meter describes of two types–the village survey method and traffic analysis. The village survey method is used to understand family and community relationships while traffic analysis emphasises the study of the external characteristics of communication in order to get information about the organisation of the communication system. Thus, the large social network analysis can be used to understand terrorist networks, inform US homeland security policy, and form the basis of a more effective counter–measure to net war.
US always moved unanimously on terror
As the national interests need to clearly take precedence over political partisanship, in America’s hour of crisis both–the Republicans and the Democrats stood united and speaking in one voice. After September 11, 2001, a new world emerged that was harder, fiercer, less tolerant and more assertive. In that kind of situation a totally different approach to counter terrorism is needed. It was a case of doing what has been done before but doing more of it and doing it more effectively. Now at the heart of countering terrorism is the intelligence and the events of September 11 which have also focussed attention on intelligence work as never before. The US has imposed new border controls along with other anti terror measures. It began to take the fingerprint of those who come to the country and has given the FBI investigative powers which were previously unacceptable–for example, the power to monitor suspected terrorists without prior evidence of criminal activity and rolling back restrictions imposed decades ago to curb anti–communist hysteria. Now it became more a acceptable for the government to take more powers to detain or deport those suspected of plotting terrorism in other countries. Before the incident there was greater concern about the quality of the evidence and the nature of the regime alleging terrorist involvement. But on the other hand it is also necessary, especially in countries like the USA to balance the citizens’ right to live their lives in freedom with minimum interference with their privacy from the security agencies, against their responsibility to protect their citizens from harm.
Increasing importance of network and data