Thursday, May 6, 2010

Speaking of Responsiblility

I know it is important to ring the bell and alert people to threats.  But one must do so in ways that do not actually encourage or inspire the evil-doers.  In today's NYT, a former CIA official makes it pretty clear how one should best sabotage a nuclear power plant.  One could argue that the former nuclear plant maintenance guy already passed these kind of secrets to Al Qaeda.  But it reminds me of the story (true?) that the US declassified nuclear bomb designs in the 1960's after China's first bomb test, with the idea that the genie was out of the bottle.  Just as China was not the only country seeking nuclear weapons, it might just be the case that (a) Al Qaeda may not be the only group interested in such information; and (b) thanks for telling AQ that this guy was reliable. 

It reminds me of the Washington Post, shortly after 9/11, illustrating the optimal path for a small plane if it wanted to fly over the capital while dispersing chemical or biological weapons.

Again, it may be the case that the secrets have already been spilled.  But not everybody gets the memos from Al Qaeda, so broadcasting this on the NYT opinion page would seem to be a bad idea.  Or am I wrong?

No comments: