Horrendous idea of the week

Jonathan Garthwaite
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Posted: Aug 09, 2007 10:00 AM
The New York Times' Steven Levitt is facilitating a nationwide brainstorming session to come up with ideas for how terrorists can successfully attack the U.S. He claims that he and Times' readers are doing a public service by bringing the vast resources of citizens on the Net to the aid of homeland security officials.

Consider that posting them could be a form of public service: I presume that a lot more folks who oppose and fight terror read this blog than actual terrorists. So by getting these ideas out in the open, it gives terror fighters a chance to consider and plan for these scenarios before they occur.
I'm sure it seemed like a innovative use of the Internet to fight terror when it first popped into Levitt's head. Some ideas should stay inside the head. This was one of them.

But as bad an idea as it is to have this discussion out in front of our enemies, I think the Dept. of Homeland Security should consider a version of this idea. Perhaps a bit more discreet though.

I guess I shouldn't be surprised that this gem of an idea shows up in the New York Times. They are becoming quite good at exposing America's security weaknesses, intelligence capabilities, and counter-terrorism strategies. Maybe their next "be a better terrorist" contest should include a request of NYT employees to publicly discuss which NYT doors are always unlocked, which security guards are most likely to doze off during the graveyard shift, and the weaknesses in their technology security, etc.

Or maybe I'm way off base and this is the dawn of a new era where banks and jewelry stores launch blogs so customers can discuss the best ways to pull off a robbery.