esmaspäev, mai 10, 2004

I Feel So Safe

From Atrios:

It was the lead item on the government's daily threat matrix one day last April. Don Emilio Fulci described by an FBI tipster as a reclusive but evil millionaire, had formed a terrorist group that was planning chemical attacks against London and Washington, D.C. That day even FBI director Robert Mueller was briefed on the Fulci matter. But as the day went on without incident, a White House staffer had a brainstorm: He Googled Fulci. His findings: Fulci is the crime boss in the popular video game Headhunter. "Stand down," came the order from embarrassed national security types.

Man, where to begin? Well, first of all, it took that long for someone to think about maybe googling this mysterious evil millionaire? That's the first thing I do when a name I've never heard before comes across my desk and I'm not trying to save millions of lives. It's the most basic research you can do. The FBI doesn't even think of it? It took a White House staffer to conduct this brilliant masterpiece of moden intelligence work? And we spend billions of dollars on this intelligence stuff, right? Jesus, somebody get these guys a couple of high school interns or something. At least someone who's vaguely computer literate. And somebody tells you a "reclusive but evil millionaire" with an Italian name who nobody has ever heard of has formed a terrorist group and this doesn't raise any red flags in your head as a little unlikely?

I think the most frightening thing is, all of this background work gets done. It's the lead item in the threat matrix. It goes to Robert Mueller. What exactly were the FBI agents doing in terms of hunting this guy down and trying to stop him that they never came across the fact that a) he doesn't exist and b) he's a character in a popular video game? They have to have explored the possibility that this was a hoax. How did they not find this? What kind of research were they putting together on the guy? What were they doing?

And what happens the next time a real reclusive but evil Italian millionaire tries to launch a terrorist attack?

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