Discover Network Security News
Uncloaking Terrorist Networks
Within one week of the attack, information from the investigation started to become public. We soon knew there were 19 hijackers, which planes they were on, and which nation's passports they had used to get into America. As more information about the hijackers' past was uncovered I decided to map links of three strengths (and corresponding thickness). The tie strength would largely be governed by the amount of time together by a pair of terrorists. Those living together or attending the same school or the same classes/training would have the strongest ties. Those traveling together and participating in meetings together would have ties of moderate strength and medium thickness. Finally, those who were recorded as having a single transaction together, or an occasional meeting, and no other ties, I classified as weak ties that were shown with the thinnest links in the network.
The network was created iteratively as data became available. Everyday I checked the major news sources for updated information. Figure 1 shows my computer screen during this process. The browser window shows the news story, the other window shows the network mapping and measuring software. I would add nodes and links to the map as I read the news accounts. Figure 1 shows a link being added between one of the hijackers and an accomplice.
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