“Connecting the dots” is a lousy metaphor that creates unrealistic expectations. The phrase suggests that the only thing our intelligence analysts have to do is draw a line from the point labeled “1” to the point labeled “2” and so on, and soon they’re looking at the unmistakable outline of a terrorist plot. In reality, though, the page is so crowded with dots that they almost touch. Most are irrelevant, and not a single one is numbered.
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