Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Dirty Bomb in Boston?

The Counterterrorism Blog warns of "Reports of Possible Dirty Bomb in Boston". Yeah, well:
 The Massachusetts investigator said much of the man's information sounds far-fetched and investigators have some doubts about the caller's validity because he has not identified himself.

     ``A lot of it doesn't make sense and some of it does,'' said the source. ``It's totally uncorroborated. This all began several days ago as a series of phone calls and they don't know who the caller is. There are some parts of it that just don't make sense and other little pieces of it that fall into place. The information is these people that came into the country are going to New eYork into Boston and the (nuclear) material will follow them.''

     The source said there is speculation the caller may have been ripped off by illegal immigrants he helped over the border and is now trying to exact revenge.

     ``It's very weird. Even if (the Iraqis and Chinese) were going to do something why would they be blabbing to the yahoo smuggling them across the border? You have to wonder if they screwd him on a deal but you have to treat it seriously and the issue is how do you put it out to the public and not get everybody (in a panic)?''
Nonetheless, you've got to take it seriously because if is serious then...

Update: As I was starting to say before I was called away for a minor crisis, my instincts follow those of the "Massachusetts investigator" - this smells like a hoax. "How many mines does it take to make a minefield?" is an old Navy question and the old Navy answer is "None - it just takes the report of a mine." I'm sure that the counterterrorism world has a parallel saying. Of greater concern is that we are being gamed - or misdirected. Get us to focus attention on Boston and strike in Sacramento or Dallas or Charlotte. But it may also be a test to see how we react. Or "cry wolf" episode that will be repeated until we grow complacent and then... Reminds me of scene in The Princess Bride where The Dread Pirate Roberts challenges Vizzini to a battle of wits to the death and Vizzini manages to think himself to death.

Dread Pirate Roberts: You guessed wrong.

Vizzini: You only think I guessed wrong! That's what's so
funny! I switched glasses when your back was turned!
Ha ha! You fool! You fell victim to one of the
classic blunders! The most famous is never get
involved in a land war in Asia, but only slightly
less well-known is this: never go in against a
Sicilian when death is on the line!! Ha ha ha ha ha
ha ha!! Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!! Ha ha ha--

[Vizzini stops suddenly, and falls dead to the right]

We can't afford to be that smart. Instead we need to be very, very careful.

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