The committee makes several clarifying observations about the charge it was given:
• The charge distinguishes explicitly between bulk and targeted collection. In fact, the vast majority of applications interesting to the Intelligence Community demonstrate that bulk collection and targeted collection play complementary roles. Drawing a sharp line between bulk and targeted collection does not accurately reflect how these approaches are used in practice. Furthermore, and as discussed in Section 2.2, bulk and targeted collection exist along a continuum without a bright line to differentiate between them.
• The charge calls for the committee to “use cases” to the extent possible. Although the committee’s report does discuss a number of use cases (Chapter 3), and these use cases helped it to understand how bulk collection functions as a part of the analytic process, in the end the committee did not find that these use cases were particularly helpful in identifying or explicating possible alternatives to bulk collection. The committee found it more useful to rely on general principles to reach its conclusions.
• The charge implicitly assumes that technology alternatives could make a contribution to the missions of the intelligence community that is roughly comparable to the contribution that bulk collection makes. As noted above, the committee found that this was not the case—in many cases, bulk collection does in fact make unique contributions to the mis-
sions of the intelligence community that other kinds of collection cannot provide. See Chapter 4.
• The charge asks the committee to develop relevant criteria or metrics for comparing bulk collection to targeted collection. But the committee found that decisions about bulk versus targeted collection—and indeed about all manner of collection decisions—are driven by the concerns of policy makers, which are themselves shaped by their perception of the threat environment. Thus, it is not at all obvious that metrics for comparing bulk collection to targeted collection are particularly relevant in the big picture.