Chapter 5

Interpretation and Insider Threat

Rereading the Anthrax Mailings of 2001 Through a “Big Data” Lens

Bethany Nowviskie,  and Gregory B. Saathoff


This chapter addresses the notion of insider threat, using the anthrax mailings of 2001 as a practical case study. The chapter explores how Big Data could aid investigators on major cases such as an anthrax attack by helping investigators visualize and identify patterns emerging from dense, rich, and very large sets of behavioral and transactional data that play out across metadata-bearing axes such as space and time. The chapter argues, however, that Big Data analysis is no substitute for careful, close, interpretive reading of sources.


Anthrax; Behavioral analysis; Insider threat ...

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