The members of the 9/11 Commission recommended that the intelligence agencies do a better job of sharing intelligence information. The direct quote form the 9/11 Commission Report: "We propose that information be shared horizontally, across new networks that transcend individual agencies."
Is this what the commission had in mind as a new network? Intelligence agencies say they plan to create "A-Space," a private social networking site modeled on the popular social networking sites MySpace and Facebook.
This is how The Federal Times described it in an article posted yesterday:
The move is the latest part of an ongoing effort to transform the analytical business following the failure to detect the 9/11 terrorist attacks or find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.
Thomas Fingar, the deputy director of national intelligence for analysis, believes the common workspace â€" a kind of â€œMySpace for analystsâ€ â€" will generate better analysis by breaking down firewalls across the traditionally stove-piped intelligence community. He says the technology can also help process increasing amounts of information where the number of analysts is limited.
A-Space should appeal to younger recruits whom intelligence agencies need to attract. After all, the intelligence agencies are relying on younger employees to develop new ways to fight terrorism, as The New York Times Magazine pointed out in a Dec. 3, 2006, cover article:
[T]hroughout the intelligence community, spies are beginning to wonder why their technology has fallen so far behind â€" and talk among themselves about how to catch up. Some of the countryâ€™s most senior intelligence thinkers have joined the discussion, and surprisingly, many of them believe the answer may lie in the interactive tools the worldâ€™s teenagers are using to pass around YouTube videos and bicker online about their favorite bands. Billions of dollarsâ€™ worth of ultrasecret data networks couldnâ€™t help spies piece together the clues to the worst terrorist plot ever. So perhaps, they argue, itâ€™ s time to try something radically different. Could blogs and wikis prevent the next 9/11?
We'll find out.