They have a plan, they have a pattern . . .
Armed with details of billions of telephone calls, the National Security Agency used phone records linked to the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks to create a template of how phone activity among terrorists looks, say current and former intelligence officials who were briefed about the program.
The template, the officials say, was created from a secret database of phone call records collected by the spy agency. It has been used since 9/11 to identify calling patterns that indicate possible terrorist activity. Among the patterns examined: flurries of calls to U.S. numbers placed immediately after the domestic caller received a call from Pakistan or Afghanistan, the sources say.
What about analysts drowning in a sea of bad data?
The current and former intelligence officials say … The database enables intelligence analysts to focus on a manageable number of suspicious calling patterns. . .