May 3, 2011

Information As Disinformation

ITWorld relays that the raid on bin Laden's compound yielded a trove of intelligence data.

It also was being reported that the data is being sifted through at a secret site in Afghanistan. "Hundreds of people are going through it now. It's going to be great even if only 10 percent of it is actionable," an unnamed official was quoted by Politico, a Washington, D.C.-based news website. "They cleaned it out. Can you imagine what's on Osama bin Laden's hard drive?"

The site quoted an anonymous government source describing the data as "the motherlode of intelligence."

Which is more valuable, having bin Laden's secrets, or saying you have them? What better demoralizes and destabilizes his followers, hunting them over the coarse of time, or letting them know you can with greater precision? Because it doesn't seem all that likely that a marginalized leader, cut off from the world except by courier, would have all that much current, relevant information at his disposal. We assume a computer puts someone in touch with everyone else, but we're also told that bin Laden had no Internet connectivity in his compound.

Makes me wonder, did US forces glean information from the raid, or hatch disinformation? Or both?