One computer program is becoming something of a mystery object for the United States government. It's a bit of terrorism analysis software, written for the feds back in 2003. But, according to ProPublica, the tool didn't work, and the government is out several million dollars.
But what is the application? There's the mystery. The US is trying to hide the damned thing, "fighting in court to keep information about the technology secret, arguing that the details could compromise national security."
In 2008, the government spent three days “scrubbing” the home computers of Mr. Montgomery’s lawyer of all references to the technology. And this past fall, federal judges in Montana and Nevada who are overseeing several of the lawsuits issued protective orders shielding certain classified material.
The feds won't talk to the New York Times. And the programmer took the Fifth.
What is it? Perhaps it's something to do with travel, and mistakes were made, as they say:
Use of the technology led to several false starts and dead ends over the years, including a 2003 scare that prompted U.S. officials to order that several international flights be turned around or grounded. It even led to discussion of shooting the planes down [!]