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RMS: Social Network Led to Bin Laden's Demise

Source: Risk Management Solutions

Posted on 03 May 2011

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Sunday night we learned that Osama bin Laden was finally brought to justice.  As with all ranks of terrorists, finding him ultimately rested on contacts within his social network.  U.S. intelligence services have long attempted to track individuals who might be in his network.

Tracking a courier finally led to a compound in northwest Pakistan, where the Al Qaeda leader was found and killed. The analytical process of identifying terrorist social network links has been successful in thwarting all but a few plots against the western alliance since 9/11, despite the high Jihadi threat level.

“In the asymmetric war with terrorists, the forces of the state have a vast superiority in the domain of communications security – except in countries such as Pakistan, where the security services are compromised,” said Gordon Woo, catastrophist at RMS. “Because the Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence organization, ISI, has a tradition of actively supporting and encouraging the Jihad to liberate Kashmir from Indian rule, Jihadis in Pakistan are largely unconstrained in their manifold terrorist activities. Therefore, it is not surprising that Osama bin Laden should have found sanctuary amidst the Pakistan military establishment.”

Compared to Pakistan, a country that supports terrorism, the U.S. has  strict security focuses aimed at both foiling and preventing these attacks. In 2010, there were more than a thousand significant terrorist incidents in Pakistan – typically more than a hundred each month.

Over the past ten years, there have been numerous failed and foiled terrorist attempts which were identified by U.S. intelligence through social network analysis, such as the Time Square Bombing, further validating RMS’ theory of social networking analysis, which is reflected in the RMS® U.S. Probabilistic Terrorism Model.

President Obama has stated that ‘There’s no doubt that Al-Qaeda will continue to pursue attacks against us. We must – and we will – remain vigilant at home and abroad.’ Through persistent vigilance, terrorism risk in the countries of the western alliance will continue to be effectively controlled.