From Hiro comes word of this scary story: Border breach? It describes how ABC News, preparing an exposé on lax port security, shipped some depleted uranium from Jakarta to LA, easily avoiding detection by the people allegedly safeguarding us from smuggled dirty bombs. Which is a little scary, I guess.
But it’s the second half of the article that is really scary. It describes how, faced with the fact that they’d been made to look bad by the journalists, the government turned around and started hassling them (showing up unannounced at participants’ residences, misidentifying themselves as FBI agents, attempting to obtain taped footage of the incidents, threatening heavy legal sanctions, and so on).
No, I’m not bitching about life in a police state; it sounds like none of the stuff that authorities did to the ABC people was really all that awful. Except for what it says about the administration’s overall approach to homeland security: What? Someone found chinks in our armor? Well then; we’ll just use some of our post-9/11 police powers in an attempt to intimidate the messenger and cover up the problem.
This is, of course, consistent with the Bush administration’s behavior in other areas. And it’s wrong, wrong, wrong. Not in a moral sense (well, it’s wrong that way, too), but in a practical sense. It’s like the mid-level NASA managers trying to ignore the chatter about safety risks bubbling up from the engineers. Yes, acknowledging problems might make someone look bad, and correcting them might cost some time, effort, and money. Guess what? That’s called “accountability,” and if you don’t have it, well, you’ve got even bigger problems than you realize.
This is so wrong. Gah.