Livin' it up, American style

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Just type in evil, Iran, nuclear, destroy, America, and hit search. Congratulations, you've just gathered vital US intelligence and the State Department will be in touch with you momentarily to see your results.

The State Department needed some intelligence information regarding the names of Iranians involved in building Iran's nuclear program, so like any good government agency, they approached the masters of intelligence, the good guys over at the CIA. Well, the CIA refused to give the State Department any help, saying they were too busy and didn't want to reveal any trade secrets on how they gather intelligence information. I guess the CIA missed the memo explaining how not sharing information can lead to the government overlooking the potential danger of plane-crashing crazy terrorists, or the false creation of a large WMD program. Anyway, the State Department really needed to get some names of dangerous Iranians, so they turned to the most reliable source of information out there- the internet, more specifically, Google.

Now don't get me wrong, I love Google. I use it easily 5 times an hour, not to mention Gmail, Google Talk, and a multitude of other Google programs that I probably don't even know are owned by that internet behemoth. I used it to write papers in college, to find the nearest bank, look up recipes, and to coo at pictures of cute kittens. However, please note I did not mention 'look up classified intelligence information about Iranian terrorists'. But that's just what one poor Foreign Service officer had to do, all because the CIA wouldn't share its info on Iran.

I guess you could say he was successful, because by searching terms such as Iran and Nuclear the internet yielded over a hundred names. Too bad many of the names were of Iranian diplomats and other people who are working with UN inspectors, in other words, the good guys. But the State Department submitted the list to the CIA anyway, to get their approval. But the CIA said the list was too long and would take too much work to go through the whole list. So the State Department cut the list in half and resubmitted it. Eventually the CIA approved 12 of the names, but they also said that none of the names are people connected to Project 1-11, which is apparently "Iran's secret military effort to design a weapons system capable of carrying a nuclear warhead" (Wash Post). (Just to check the effectiveness of Google, I searched for Project 1-11 and Iran, and got zero results except that Washington Post article) So I guess those 12 people are somehow suspicious in other ways, so suspicious that they are being dealt with in a US backed resolution at the United Nations.

Yep, this carefully researched intelligence is being put in a draft resolution backed by the US, Britain and France that would call for a ban on international travel and the freezing of the assets of those 12 people. First we rely on evidence gathered from people we tortured who may or may not have been terrorists, then we get our intelligence on Iran off the internet because the CIA is too paranoid to share its information. Great, just great. I feel totally confident in what the government tells me, don't you? Next it's going to ban tin foil because the internet told them that some Americans are communicating with Osama through tin foil satellites. Actually, that's true. Google told me so.


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