Saturday, May 04, 2013

How Cold War Mentality Hurt National Security

Shocking revelations from the investigation following the Boston Marathon bombing is as alarming as it is troubling. The main suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev went on a Muslim training tour in Russia for half year while the FBI/CIA had no clue. The Russian intelligence agency tipped the suspicious behavior to FBI, but that fell to deaf ears, somehow. One of the two foreigners arrested afterwards for assisting the suspects entered the US with invalid visa.

On the other hand, FBI spent numerous money on hunting of Chinese spies. NASA contractor Dr. Jiang Bo was arrested at Dulles Airport with tons of serious charges. In the end, he was let go on an admission of downloading copyrighted movies, the only crime he had committed.

It set up a dangerous legal precedence because as many as 30,000 million Americans had admitted that they downloaded copyrighted materials without a license. With that, prosecutors will be able to charge many citizens, or to pressure them to do things against their free will. That was actually the exact reason the federal prosecutor in the Lori Drew case gave up a winning case so that the spirit of law can be upheld.

Jiang's case reflected a desperate situation in advanced research in the US. NASA can not use Chinese talents, including those who had obtained advanced degrees in the US. Jiang and a few others were working as contractors at NASA through National Institution of Aerospace (NIA).

When the NASA Director testified in the Congress, before he was interrupted, he stated in this time of modern world, it's counterintuitive not to collaborate with the Chinese in space technology. It is hurting the US science and technology development.

Still, politicians politicized it as a political pitch, and named Jiang as an example at a congressional hearing. Reading his own name on the local newspaper, Jiang changed his tickets to flee out of the country, which further excited the nerve of the FBI. He was stopped at the gate and interrogated several hours at the airport, until federal agents got a good excuse to arrest him. Jiang was not upfront about his laptop (some say it is a portable hard drive). FBI believed it must be sensitive secrets from NASA. After weeks of forensic analysis, there are nothing but porn movies Dr. Jiang downloaded from the Internet. And that explains why he was not upfront at the first place.

The bigger issue is that resources are misallocated.

The Animal Farm had already evolved into the 'All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others' stage. It is no longer a threat to neighbors. It will be foolish for one farm to insist on treating the Animal Farm the ideological way, and potentially risk being isolated by the rest of the world.

A few days after the Boston bombing, more than a dozen Chinese officials were ambushed by Muslim terrorists in a routine community event. Except one police chief, all unarmed. Among the dead, several young female minority social workers. The US government was quick to jump out and blame the Chinese government on oppressing minorities. It seems politicians in the US are not aware where the Boston bombing suspect came from.

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