Monday, December 21, 2009

The Medicine Man

Who believes someone in the Bush administration would have acted on bogus information?
Working out of a Reno, Nevada, software firm called eTreppid Technologies, Montgomery took in officials in the CIA's Directorate of Science and Technology and convinced them that technology he invented -- but could not explain -- was pulling terrorist-produced "bar codes" from Al Jazeera television broadcasts. Using his proprietary technology, those bar codes could be translated into longitudes and latitudes and flight numbers. Terrorist leaders were using that data to direct their compatriots about the next target.
I wonder if Christian fringe maniacs and their pants-pooping about bar codes had any influence on those who took this stuff seriously.


Substance McGravitas said...

I gather you missed the peak of the dowsing-rods-for-stupid-cops boom.

Smut Clyde said...

Has that actually peaked yet? The wave was still cresting a couple of months ago:

"[...]it was confirmed that the Iraqi Government had spent $85 million (£50 million) on the devices, despite the manufacturer’s admission that they work on the same principle as a dowsing rod. Each detector bought by the Iraqi Government cost up to $60,000 (£35,000)."

Though that story has an element of old-fashioned corruption as well as new-age woo. When the purpose of the exercise is to massively inflate the price of gear and pocket the bribes & mark-up, it's probably helps that the gear doesn't work so the concept of 'value for money' has been abandoned right at the start.

Substance McGravitas said...

Heh. I was pretty sure it reached a US peak. Who knew there were other countries in the world?

J— said...

but could not explain


Energy Secretary Chu, my flux capacitor. Let me show it to you, just don't ask me to explain it.

Smut Clyde said...

Further down that story, it emerges that the fraudsters scammed the Cheney administration repeatedly -- among other things, acquiring a no-bid $30-million contract to develop magical face-recognition vapourware for drone video footage -- partly because they were sheltered right from the top, to prevent the embarrassment that might result from a prosecution.

[Director of National Intelligence] Negroponte issued a declaration that warned of “serious, and in some cases exceptionally grave, damage to the national security of the United States.” He invoked the state secrets privilege. The judge in the case issued a protective order; the secrets of eTreppid’s government business would remain untold.

It's almost as if a criminal gang managed to acquire control of the security system.

Substance McGravitas said...

To be fair, nobody in the Cheney family had the expertise to pretend to do things. You'd rather have nothing than another disaster.