Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Reports of Possible Dirty Bomb in Boston

Per The CounterTerrorism Blog. Stay tuned...

UPDATE 1: A good roundup of coverage over at (Our Life) Short Family Online and at Backcountry Conservative.

UPDATE 2: Powerpundit raises the notion that this whole thing could be an Inauguration Day prank:
"This very well could be a prank to raise hackles before the inauguration, but of course they have to take it seriously."

What everyone fears is that the Boston reference is a blind and that the real target is the Inauguration in Washington, D.C. Then, of course, this would be much more than a prank. This calls to mind Stephen Coonts novel, Liberty, in which Islamo-terrorists obtain nuclear warheads from a shipping container in Miami and then make their way up the East Coast towards NYC in a series of tractor trailers. Let's hope that the truth here IS just fiction.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT 1: Senator Dick Durbin (D.-IL) made a big stink last week during the Alberto Gonzales confirmation hearings about the use of torture by U.S. agencies and the military:
"Finally, Durbin said he was disturbed by an answer Gonzales gave, or failed to give, during the confirmation hearing.

"'I asked him, point blank, if any American person, either government or military, could legally use torture. He said he'd have to get back to me,' Durbin said. 'I was stunned by his lack of an immediate answer.'"
Well, perhaps the reason Mr. Gonzales needed to get back to Sen. Durbin was so that he could consider the legality of torture in a case exactly like this Boston story. Let's assume, for the sake of argument, that the authorities find someone who, it is apparent, knows something about this potential plot. As the interrogations wear on, it is obvious that the person knows a lot more than they're letting on. Further, let us assume that the magnitude of the weapon becomes known and that its a bad one. How far do we go before we use some force (and I'm not talking the rack here or pouring molten lead down someone's throat) to try and obtain useable information from our putative informant? Is it to save 5 lives? How about 500? How about 50,000? I'm not sure I know the answer to that (legally or morally), but I'll tell you this: its not as black & white as Dick Durbin or any of the "anti-torture" crowd would have you believe.

UPDATE 3: Here's a link to the official statement issued by Boston U.S. Attorney and FBI Special Agent in Charge.

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