Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Holy shit.

The incompetence is mind-boggling.

"Three years after the Sept. 11 attacks, more than 120,000 hours of potentially valuable terrorism-related recordings have not yet been translated by linguists at the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and computer problems may have led the bureau to systematically erase some Qaeda recordings, according to a declassified summary of a Justice Department investigation that was released on Monday."

120,000 hours?


There are thirteen years worth of terrorist-related chatter, and we have NO IDEA what they are saying?

How is this possible?

And in addition, the article says, they have "systematically erased" Al Qaeda recordings. What does "systematically" mean? That it WASN'T an accident? That they erased them as a matter of policy?

And why are they STILL looking for translators? It's been three years. Leaving aside the insanity of having no translators BEFORE September 11, how the hell can you still not have enough three years later?

For one thing, you don't want "translators" - you want people for whom it is their native language, so that there is no work of translating - they just listen and they know what it means.

For another thing, I have NO IDEA how the FBI weeds out potential terrorists who would love to work for the FBI when looking for Arabic translators . And I have no faith in their ability to do so. At this point, I have no faith in their ability to do pretty much anything.

"Overhauling the government's translation capabilities has been a top priority for the Bush administration in its campaign against terrorism."
Translation: "Bush SAYS it has been a top priority, but we have absolutely no evidence that it HAS been."

George, you've been making this a top priority, and you STILL don't have enough translators, and you still have 13 years worth of material sitting on a shelf, and that doesn't include the stuff you've erased?

That means you're even more incompetent than I thought you were.

And I think you're pretty damned incompetent.

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