MC 3.1 Potential Threats: Identify any imminent terrorist threats in the Vastopolis metropolitan area. Provide detailed information on the threat or threats (e.g. who, what, where, when, and how) so that officials can conduct counterintelligence activities. Also, provide a list of the evidential documents supporting your answer.
Our analysis revealed that the group �Citizens for the Ethical Treatment of Lab Mice� will imminently commit the terrorist act of distributing engineered airborne microbes to humans by plane at some point in mid-May through the means of breaching less-than-sufficient airport security.
The imminent threat became apparent to us by examining the source documents and noting the repeated mentioning of the group, �Citizens for the Ethical Treatment of Lab Mice�. This group seeks vengeance on those that have tested on the mice as documented in Article 00008. The livestock deaths (Article 02385) that were determined to be caused by microbes (Article 04085) briefly precede the robbery of Vast University (Article 01785) where expensive equipment capable of easily modifying existing organisms to create new biological hazards was stolen from Professor Patino (Article 01785). Patino is renowned for his familiarity with dangerous microbes (Article 03212) thus making the equipment useful for The Citizens.
The above was determined by a series of searches using the Visual Investigator tool as well as direct queries to a database stocked with the article data for simplicity and to work within the time constraints of the project. The initial search was a matter of finding a pivot to start in developing the investigative corpus. This was done by choosing a variety of words that were representative of our familiarity of the domain of terrorism. The words initially tried were �bomb�, �kill�, �assassinate� and �die� until we realized that these words were more likely to describe terrorism or events that had already happened rather than imminent threats. With this in mind, the first word used that we felt would be a sign of suspicious activity is �stolen�. This was used as the pivot word to investigate further. The search for instances of the word, �stolen� brought Professor Patino into the picture. Patino has had previous conflict with The Citizens group who likely stole the lab equipment to be used for microbial manipulation. The livestock death was attributed to microbes, but Article 03740 reassured the readers that it was not transmittable to humans. The pieces come together with the sub-corpus composed of an aggregation of the above articles that point the greatest likelihood of involvement in an imminent terror threat to The Citizens, as they would have a motive and formally stated (Article 00008) that they want people and not the mice to be �tested on�.
The sequence of articles shows continuity:
April 1, 2011
Manufacturing Dangerous Microbes�03212
April 11, 2011
Update on Animal Deaths�03740
Trespassers on-site of animals� deaths
April 14, 2011
CDC Publication on Bioterrorism-03040
April 18, 2011
Animal Deaths in City Caused by spore forming microbes -04085
April 20, 2011
Robbery at Vast University�01785
April 26, 2011
Animal Activist Threatens Press�00008
May 9, 2011
Fig. 2 After we searched for �stolen�, the database returned information on the word including its TF-IDF and access to the articles containing the word.
Further investigation of the corpus showed that there had been recent issues with food and water services on airlines, particularly in the realm of potential contamination of goods provided to passengers (Article 00028). This paired with the potential for baggage to be checked curbside for domestic flights (article 00152) would allow for a suitable opportunity for the action that we�ve hypothesized for The Citizens to commit. Because the transmission of an engineered airborne microbe would thrive in the close conditions of a plane, this would also maximize the likelihood of retention of the microbe (Article 3040) and prevent detection until it was too late.
Fig 3. After clicking the �See Articles� button, we are returned a list of articles with brief information about each article, an option to add to our corpus and an option to search for similar articles.
A similarity engine and accompanying interactive visualization was also created for the Visual Investigator that allows a rudimentary similarity algorithm to be performed to relate articles to one another through the similarity of keywords. The basis for similarity was found to be insufficient in associating articles in a clustered form like we hoped. This was not because of lack of commonality of articles� content but similarity of articles requires a more domain-specific algorithm beyond word commonality. A better way to have accomplished this would have been to develop some sort of directed graph that exhibits the causal relationship of articles.
Fig 5. After clicking the �similar� button, the user is shown an interface where articles� relevance is depicted spatially with the most relevant articles being closest to the bull�s-eye