Evidence Extraction and Link Discovery (EELD)
Program Manager: Mr. Ted Senator
Remix: David Goldberg

Program Objective: 

The goal of the Evidence Extraction and Link Discovery (EELD) program is development of technologies and tools for automated discovery, extraction and linking of sparse evidence contained in large amounts of classified and unclassified data sources.  EELD is developing detection capabilities to extract relevant data and relationships about people, organizations, and activities from message traffic and open source data.  It will link items relating potential terrorist groups or scenarios, and learn patterns of different groups or scenarios to identify new organizations or emerging threats. 

EELD is a concerted effort to take the dramatic narratives of asymmetric warfare (terrorism) as they are currently understood and make them predictable. In the same way that an individual who has seen enough genre cinema can quickly assess the arc of a given film's narrative, including the motivations and attitudes of its characters, EELD will take the "distributed script" represented by phone calls, emails, web pages and other correspondence and, literally, predict the plot.

Various agencies had all the necessary elements to predict the events of September 11th, but they lacked the computational power and algorithms necessary to resolve the narrative until it was too late. We will not make this mistake again.

Program Strategy: 

EELD’s initial activities demonstrated the feasibility of extracting relationships from text, and validated the detectability of patterns representing terrorist groups and scenarios.  EELD has also developed two promising techniques for learning patterns of activity, developed functional system concepts to guide technology developments, selected techniques to develop for evidence extraction, link discovery and pattern learning, identified scenarios to validate the detectability of patterns in unclassified and classified data, and initiated the collection and characterization of documents for technology evaluations.

EELD's success is entirely dependent on the continued development of Work-Life scenarios that restrict action and dialogue to prescribed patterns. Fortunately, general trends in business are moving towards more restricted modes of communication, not only in terms of surveillance but also in terms of exactly what gets said. As the language of the workplace becomes more restricted and narrowed down to exclusively commercial dialects, future implementations of the EELD system will become more effective. Deviations from accepted patterns of communication will become more readily discernable.

Planned Accomplishments:

FY 02:  EELD will develop and demonstrate technology to extract relationships, and detect and learn single-link type patterns.

FY 03:  EELD will: 1) extend its capabilities to the extraction of data from multiple sources (e.g., text messages and web pages), with an ability to adapt rapidly to new threat domains; 2) develop the ability to detect instances of patterns comprising multiple link types (e.g., financial transactions, communications, travel, etc.); and, 3) will develop the ability to learn patterns comprised of multiple types of entities (e.g., persons, organizations, etc.) and multiple link types. 4) begin a rigorous construction of the Islamic Strategic Narrative to fit all parsed evidence into. It is recognized that future safety cannot rely exclusively on evidence gathered in real time. A forecasting system must be put into place that not only takes economic and political factors into account (see Project FutureMAP) but the overarching "storymode" of terrorism. We must overcome the simplistic Crusades metaphor and dedicate more efforts into truly undersanding the Grand Narrative that the Muslim world is creating in the face of democracy and freedom.

The Evidence Extraction and Link Discovery program logo embodies the sweeping orbits of surveillance that will be deployed in the near future. As far as EELD is concerned, the globe itself is nothing but networks of textual relationships that need to be deciphered and linked in the interest of continued security.