Incite -- (v) 1: give an incentive; 2: provoke or stir up; "incite a riot"; 3: urge on; cause to act
Sunday, June 27, 2004

Sunday Brunch
Written by: Beck

The FBI still has not completed work on an anti-terror computer system, and they anticipate it will not be ready by year's end. What the hell? It has been almost three years now since the wake-up call to get started working on, you know, stuff like anti-terror computer systems occurred. This failure is even more pathetic than it sounds.
The newspaper quoted one FBI official who suggested the Virtual Case File program, designed to allow agents to share information easily, "might ultimately have to be abandoned."

FBI Director Robert Mueller had lauded the system as one that would help agents make the types of connections that were missed before the attacks of September 11, 2001.
IT professionals have a word for a system like this. It's called a "database." The FBI could have bought an off the shelf solution, had someone like Accenture install it, and had things up and running in four months. But, you ask, surely there are problems the FBI faces that an ordinary database couldn't handle? Of course.
"You have to realize that FBI network is a classified network. And until we solve the challenge between secret, top secret and nonclassified, we're not going to be able to have them all stored on the same computer."
Have these people never heard of access levels? Permissions? These are simple flags, simply implemented. And now, for something especially un-reassuring:
"The FBI's primary information management system, designed using the 1980s technology already obsolete when installed in 1995, limited the bureau's ability to share its information internally and externally," the statement said in part. "The FBI did not have an effective system for storing, searching, or retrieving information of intelligence value contained in its investigative files."
We're all doomed. This is what happens when the government attempts to do something the private sector is vastly more qualified for.

  • Had Microsoft developed the product, they'd be on version 3.0 already, and by this point, they'd even have most of the bugs worked out.

  • Had Apple developed the product, every FBI office in the country would have terminals up and running AND in a half-dozen different new-age color schemes.

  • Had Unix developed the product, no one at the FBI would understand how to use it except for their IT guys who, I assure you, would love nothing more than scoffing at the cluelessness of FBI agents all day long.

  • Had the product been developed on Linux... well, ok, maybe an anti-terror computer system designed in open-source isn't such a good idea.

Next item on the menu for today's brunch: the CIA has announced that they are going to suspend use of harsher-but-approved methods of interrogation in the wake of the torture memo scandals.
The CIA has suspended use of some White House-approved aggressive interrogation tactics employed to extract information from reluctant al Qaeda prisoners, The Washington Post reported Sunday.

Citing unnamed intelligence officials, the newspaper reported that what the CIA calls "enhanced interrogation techniques" were put on hold pending a review by Justice Department and other lawyers.
And of course those lawyers, having witnessed what happened to their colleagues who wrote the original terror memos (i.e. gave their best educated opinion on the use of various forms of torture and then saw their careers get sodomized when the memos came to light) are going to write a bunch of double-talking watered down blather. Oh well.
It said CIA interrogations will continue, but without the suspended techniques, which also include feigning suffocation, "stress positions," light and noise bombardment, sleep deprivation, and making captives think they are being interrogated by another government.
Here, I'll go ahead and provide a translation of these events for any terrorists who happen to be reading this site: if you find yourself captured by the United States, there's absolutely no reason for you to confess or admit anything. No one's going to do anything to force you to give up information which might, you know, save lives and stuff. I'd like a chance to meet some of these people (John Kerry) who are hooting and howling about the "atrocity" of using "harsh interrogation techniques" on "known terrorists." I'd like to ask them if, had one of the 9/11 terrorists been captured before the attacks, would they have been willing to torture him in order to prevent 9/11. If they say yes, they're hypocrites, if they say no, they should be shot. Here's my own opinion, just in case things aren't perfectly clear. If you have in your custody someone about whom you have zero doubt that they are a member of a terrorist organization, you should be prepared to happily engage in whatever form of interrogation is necessary to get information out of them regarding the identities of other members of their organization and operations that are being planned.

Here's my suggestion for a more humane form of interrogation. Along the lines of "killing with kindness," I'd inject captured terrorists routinely with heroine confiscated from other terrorists in Afghanistan, get them good and thoroughly addicted, then cut off their supply. If they want anymore smack, they have to give up everything they know. How's that for fair turnabout?

OK, that's enough Sunday Brunch for me. I'm stuffed.

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John Beck

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