As she spent her days in a windowless room analyzing classified data she sometimes thought about the girl in the old fairy tale. The one who was locked in a room and told she must spin straw into gold even though she possessed no such magical powers. Unlike the girl in the story she was allowed to go home at night, but the pressure of the mission to “solve terrorism” was as confining as any lock.
She needed to spin data into intelligence. She needed to find out a name within three days or more people would die. She needed to find a needle in digital haystack.
In the story, Rumpelstiltskin is ultimately defeated by surveillance and his own lack of attention to data security. She hoped her adversary would make a similar mistake out of similar hubris, but for now she was stuck spinning, spinning, spinning.
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