Thursday, July 12, 2007

That feeling in Chertoff's gut

Should be nausea:

Undercover congressional investigators set up a bogus company and obtained a license from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in March that would have allowed them to buy the radioactive materials needed for a so-called dirty bomb...

"Given that terrorists have expressed an interest in obtaining nuclear material, the Congress and the American people expect licensing programs for these materials to be secure," said Gregory D. Kutz, a GAO investigator, in testimony prepared for the hearing.

The undercover operation involved an application from a fake West Virginia- based construction company. Its only asset was a mailbox.

Nuclear Regulatory Commission officials did not visit the company or try to interview its executives in person. Instead, within 28 days, they mailed the license to the West Virginia mailbox, the report says.

That license was on a standard piece of 8.5-by-11-inch paper. The investigators, using commercially available equipment, were able to easily modify it, removing a limit on the amount of radioactive material they could buy, the report says.

With that forged document, the auditors approached two industrial equipment firms to arrange to purchase industrial equipment whose components include the radioactive substances americium 241 and cesium 137.

Auditors, convinced they had enough evidence to prove their point, called off the ruse before the devices were delivered.

Meanwhile, the Iraqi Government is fucking hopeless. Just like the Bush Administration:

Early on the morning of Nov. 13, 2006, members of the bipartisan Iraq Study Group gathered around a dark wooden conference table in the windowless Roosevelt Room of the White House.

For more than an hour, they listened to President Bush give what one panel member called a "Churchillian" vision of "victory" in Iraq and defend the country's prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki. "A constitutional order is emerging," he said.

Later that morning, around the same conference table, CIA Director Michael V. Hayden painted a starkly different picture for members of the study group. Hayden said "the inability of the government to govern seems irreversible," adding that he could not "point to any milestone or checkpoint where we can turn this thing around," according to written records of his briefing and the recollections of six participants.

"The government is unable to govern," Hayden concluded. "We have spent a lot of energy and treasure creating a government that is balanced, and it cannot function."

So the bottom line on Bush Administration performance since 9/11/2001 is this:

- $500 Billion down on Iraq and Afghanistan;
- $12 Billion more each month;
- 4,000 soldiers killed, 30,000 casualties;
- Al Qaeda is booming literally and figuratively in Iraq where they didn't used to be;
- Al Qaeda is as strong as they used to be in Afghanistan;
- The Iraqi Government we set up can't accomplish shit and nobody not named George Bush or Dick Cheney respects it;
- It isn't very hard to make a dirty bomb.


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