By way of Bruce Schneier, I ended up reading a giant feature over at CIO Magazine (that I haven't finished yet) that talks about how data mining is turning into one of the US Government's weapons of choice in thwarting the next terrorist attack:
On the evening of Sept. 27, 2001, Howard Rubin, a computer science professor at City University of New York who had advised the Clinton administration on technology issues, was home observing Yom Kippur, the holiest day on the Hebrew calendar...Observant Jews don’t work, drive or use appliances on Yom Kippur, but Rubin had a strong feeling he should pick up the phone when it rang that night......"My wife didn’t want me to answer it," he recalls. But he did....On the other end of the line was one of the most senior members of the previous administration. He wanted to know if Rubin knew of any technologies the government could use to help catch terrorists....Experts say that the government, and in particular the intelligence community, has come to rely heavily on data mining. A 2004 Government Accountability Office report found that federal agencies were actively engaged in or planning 199 data mining projects. Of these, 14 focused explicitly on catching terrorists and preventing attacks, a total that does not include projects at seven agencies (such as the CIA and the National Security Agency) that did not respond to the GAO survey.
But the story goes on to question the the efficacy of such programs citing budget problems and success rates of government IT projects. Even though it focuses on the value of data mining in the war on terror, there's probably something in it for every IT manager.