Juliette N. Kayyem, a former member of the National Commission on Terrorism, is a senior fellow at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government and the editor of The First to Arrive: State and Local Responses to Terrorism.
When word leaked that the Department of Defense had funded a scheme to allow investors to use futures-market analysis to predict the likelihood of terrorist acts or international incidents -- and to profit if their predictions were correct -- the public reacted with both shock and awe. The $8 million idea, known as the Futures Markets Applied to Prediction (FutureMAP), was the brainchild of retired Adm. John Poindexter, an indicted figure in the Iran-Contra scandal. The plan would have allowed online betting by terrorism specialists regarding the likelihood of, for example, another attack in Israel or the overthrow of the Jordanian monarchy. The idea was to use a bettors' market to provide government specialists access to what the best thinkers were anticipating.