Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

September 7, 2010

Finding a gem in homeland security’s information swamp

Filed under: General Homeland Security — by Christopher Bellavita on September 7, 2010

Tony Hoagland is a poet.  He wrote (in the September 2010 issue of Poetry):

...our economic culture specializes in two things: surfeit and counterfeit.  The lack of relative scale between the component parts of our existence, the swamp of excess information in which we each day swim, and our paradoxical lack of influence on that world — they make us ill.  We have communication sickness.  Add to that our drastically increased sense of corruption of commercial and political speech, and the instability of language — surely our resulting collective dizziness is a fundamental symptom of modern life.”


Greta Marlatt is a reference librarian at the Naval Postgraduate School’s Dudley Knox Library.  She specializes in national security, homeland security,  and intelligence issues.

Part of her mission (along with her colleagues in the Homeland Security Digital Library) is to help cure the communication sickness Hoagland describes – at least when it comes to homeland security.

Ms. Marlatt’s talent is the ability to “calibrate the relative scale”  of what’s valuable in the myriad homeland security-related reports produced — like freeway exhaust — daily.  She tempers the surfeit and junks the counterfeit.  She has somehow figured out how to transcend the “collective dizziness” cajoled by homeland security’s information perfume.

Cutting through the purple, Ms. Marlatt has the most far reaching search strategy of anyone I know in homeland security.

Here are some of Greta’s gems — by which I mean documents about issues I’m actively interested in that I probably would not have found because I did not know they existed before Greta told me.  (Information about how to get your own copy of greta’s gems is at the end of this post.)

Air University  Strategic Studies Quarterly,  Fall 2010, v. 4, no. 3 http://www.au.af.mil/au/ssq/fall10.asp

  • How Terrorist Groups End: Studies of the Twentieth Century
  • Cyber Deterrence: Tougher in Theory than in Practice?

American Red Cross

American Security Project


Center for Immigration Studies (CIS)

Child Welfare Information Gateway

Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR)

Council on Foreign Relations

Department of State

Heritage Foundation

Institute for Business and Home Safety

National Guard Bureau

Pew Hispanic Center

Small Wars Journal

Unity Abandoned Buildings Outreach Team

US Institute of Peace (USIP)


There may be other people like Greta and her colleagues in the homeland security enterprise.  I will think wistfully for a moment about what the enterprise would be like if those information gurus — wherever they are —  had the chance to systematically attack what William James might call the “blooming, buzzing confusion” of homeland security’s information swamp.

The “gretalinks” blog can be found here.  You can also ask to be added to her weekly email by sending your request to “gretaslinks [at] gmail.com” remembering, of course, to substitute the “@” for “[at].”

Wistful moment is over.  Now back to actually reading what she provided.

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Comment by William R. Cumming

September 7, 2010 @ 3:09 pm

Well most of the civil agencies over last three decades had to first contract out their libraries and then reduce costs to zero. So perhaps it is of interest that so much of the private sector still maintains better info than the US government on many activities. For FEMA’s years as an independent agency from 1979 to 2003 virtually all library materials were destroyed. Does this make FEMA a learning organization?


September 7, 2010 @ 8:20 pm

“Watching this film is like seeing a strong detective story, with the sleuth pointing out the clues along the way.” — Marshall Fine http://www.afilmunfinished.com/press.html

I found a photo of two kids in the cemetery today. Lives unfinished. Governments get people killed. Bad intelligence & 9-11, Iraq and who knows what else? Kids in FEMA trailers getting poisoned and sick. The newspapers are claiming ignorance and I agree with them. Keep the kids out of the cemetery. Newspaper is a teaching organization with a lesson to learn. Fraud is fatal. There is lots of fraud out there. People can’t see NO TRESSPASSING signs and fall into a trap or snake pit. If you saw the sign you might not of crossed the wrong line and burned your own arses. Too stupid to live and learn. We’re organized. Waste no time wasting people. Just waste the right people.


September 8, 2010 @ 5:43 am

The state is handing out bread cards which are permits to live. Vote the wrong way and lose your card. We used to send the spies home in boxes, now we give them private jets to go back to the motherland. Sometimes you need to waste government people. Government people waste time. Time is money. Get off my lawn.


September 8, 2010 @ 6:28 am

Jul 9, 2009 … 4 charged with digging up graves, reselling plots … Cook County, Illinois, Sheriff Tom Dart says the discovery was “beyond startling and …u ain’t safe under the lawn…Put them under concrete. Get off my driveway. Go back to reselling votes and we’ll keep cooking crooks and killing for re creation. Now they have a vast bureaucratic loom to weave doom on and you people are worried about an information swamp. They are ill in noise. Find a grave, filter out noise. We have our own flight plan and you are first to fight. If you get me, the other guy will follow the plan. I got the bullets, he has the guns. She has the silencer and baby.


September 8, 2010 @ 6:35 am

Because of the investigation, the entire cemetery was declared a crime scene by the Cook County Sheriff’s Office and temporarily closed to the public.[3] The court-assigned receiver managing the cemetery had hoped to reopen it in September, but on October 13, 2009 visiting families found the cemetery still closed, with no statement on when it would reopen. The sheriff’s office set up a searchable database with photographs of most headstones.

The cemetery records were in great disarray…Sounds like Arlington National. Bureaucrats at work. This is a crime scene, keep out. Dead can dance.


September 8, 2010 @ 6:49 am

A study of the records indicated that between 140,190 and 147,568 people were buried at Burr Oak. However, the cemetery has space for a maximum of 130,000 graves…They needed more cash for camp pain donations. We need more blood donations too. You fit more kids in because they are smaller and take up less space and resell the plot later. You are free on bond. I got bonded OGD GOD. 100 proof and I need a shot. My alcohol blood content is getting low. Strike a blow for liberty. Hell strike two. The third one is going to hurt. Same old ballgame.


September 8, 2010 @ 7:00 am

When it’s broke, make it so it stays broken. When they are dead, make sure they stay dead. When they are buried keep them buried. I have a gem, so I’m not looking for one. I have five in fact and you can’t have them. We call it Five 0. Stay safe boys on board.

Support your local sheriff.


September 12, 2010 @ 8:55 am

Thanks! Logo of the day http://www.180fw.ang.af.mil/shared/media/ggallery/hires/AFG-080512-003.jpg
I’m bugging out. Another newsweekend and another week and green to think about. Keep your head in your helmet and money in the bank. If you still have money that is…banks fail, the mission goes on forever.

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