The book of rules which we have described our human computer as using is of course a convenient fiction. Actual human computers really remember what they have got to do. If one wants to make a machine mimic the behaviour of the human computer in some complex operation one has to ask him how it is done, and then translate the answer into the form of an instruction table. Constructing instruction tables is usually described as "programming." To "programme a machine to carry out the operation A" means to put the appropriate instruction table into the machine so that it will do A.
As the CIA later admitted, they should have put the names of Almihdhar and Alhazmi on a watch list at this time. The watch list, a database known as TIPOFF, currently consists of over 80,000 names, with about 2,000 new names being added every month. [ Los Angeles Times, 9/22/02 ] Regulations require that the list is checked for visa applications or whenever someone enters or leaves the US (note that it is not checked for domestic flights). Officials are liable to be subject to criminal penalties if they fail to consult TIPOFF when required. The Congressional inquiry noted that “the threshold for adding a name to TIPOFF is low,” explaining that even a “reasonable suspicion” that a person is connected with a terrorist group, warrants the addition of the person’s name to the database. [ Congressional Intelligence Committee, 9/20/02 ] Why were Almihdhar and Alhazmi, whose names were reportedly important enough to have been mentioned to the CIA Director several times that January [ Congressional Intelligence Committee, 9/20/02 ], not added to the watch list?