Honestly, I couldn’t make this up. Rightwing bloggers rejoiced when Republicans provided a public web portal for captured Iraqi documents so that us brave citizen journalists could scan the raw data for evidence of the mythical WMD’s. What could possibly go wrong?
Last March, the federal government set up a Web site to make public a vast archive of Iraqi documents captured during the war. The Bush administration did so under pressure from Congressional Republicans who had said they hoped to “leverage the Internet” to find new evidence of the prewar dangers posed by Saddam Hussein.
But in recent weeks, the site has posted some documents that weapons experts say are a danger themselves: detailed accounts of Iraq’s secret nuclear research before the 1991 Persian Gulf war. The documents, the experts say, constitute a basic guide to building an atom bomb.[…] The documents, roughly a dozen in number, contain charts, diagrams, equations and lengthy narratives about bomb building that nuclear experts who have viewed them say go beyond what is available elsewhere on the Internet and in other public forums. For instance, the papers give detailed information on how to build nuclear firing circuits and triggering explosives, as well as the radioactive cores of atom bombs.
America rightly condemned Pakistani bombmaker AQ Khan when he provided exactly this sort of service to anybody willing to pay his fee. But at least Khan charged for it. Thanks to our leak-happy Republican government America gives atom bomb specs away for free.
Note that the government didn’t take down the information after numerous experts warned them not to have that kind of information in public view. They only took it down after the New York Times started calling around, illustrating nicely how our government works (and for all the good that will do). If the leak only damages national security then where’s the problem? Only when the leak threatens to become a political embarrassment does the hammer comes down. Sad but disturbingly typical.