Jewish World Review Sept. 15, 2003 / 18 Elul, 5763
Journalists who exposed security threat, now being punished?
The Justice Department is now considering filing criminal charges against an ABC News team for shipping 15 pounds of depleted uranium from Jakarta, Indonesia, considered a terrorist hot bed, to Los Angeles. It was part of a story about lax security at our ports.
Now, it is not illegal to ship depleted uranium, which is harmless. Nevertheless, the Justice Department is considering charging the journalists for initially misstating the cargo's contents on the shipping form. They even raided ABC staffers' homes. You would think the authorities would be far more concerned about what ABC demonstrated than about whether it was a technical violation.
They might even thank the journalists for bringing to light a weakness that terrorists could expose. No terrorist is going to truthfully state, "you know I was trying to ship weapons-grade uranium and they're going to put that on the shipping form."
This uranium was shipped in a manner that according to many experts would emit the same sort of radioactive signals as the real thing. Nevertheless, no one opened up the crate to inspect its contents. Now, if ABC had illegally shipped active uranium or some other dangerous material, a different story.
This was a harmless substance and a harmless test that could save us all from greater harm. Yes, it's embarrassing, but it's important. I'd rather have journalists, not terrorists, exposing weaknesses in our homeland security. And if someone thinks this might be quote, "giving them ideas," then that person does not understand al Qaeda, and obviously did not learn a lesson from 9/11.
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