Information Landmine

"The Americans keep telling us how successful their system is. Then they remind us not to stray too far from our hotel at night." - An un-named EU trade representative quoted during international trade talks in Denver, Colorado, 1997.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Are we in a War on Terror, or aren't we?

When we're arguing that what we actually need is forty-two days, our potential terrorists seem to have a level of intelligence and technological sophistication that'd make James Bond blush. Now I think there are good reasons to be very sceptical of that argument, but if you, as a government, want to make it, you surely have at least some minimal responsibility to pretend that you believe it.

So why aren't they all a bit more worried every time a civil servant confuses their sensitive documents with their copy of the Metro and thoughtfully leaves them around for the next passenger to read?

Because, if there's an existential terrorist threat going on, that would be really quite a bad thing, right? I mean, if there really is a "War on Terror" to be fought, in which life and liberty and all things good were under threat from dark and mysterious forces, then this would be the equivalent of someone in the War Office in 1944 accidentally sending their German cousin the planning schedule for D-Day, yeah? Heads would roll, Prime Ministers would look anxious and contrite, and ritual suicide would be pretty much mandatory for the boss of any moron who came out with as pathetic a statement as this:

"We are extremely concerned about what has happened and will be taking steps to ensure it doesn't happen in the future."

Oh you are, are you? Different steps to the ones you took the last fifteen times? Or are we only having a War on Terror insofar as it's a good opportunity to grand-stand to voters about how tough you are on Johnny Foreginer, and hand out fat cheques for useless IT projects?

The most-excellent Spyblog makes the case.


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