Friday, September 08, 2006

CNN Broadcasts Primer for Terrorists

Ned Barnett
(c) 2006

Christiane Amanpour, CNN's chief International correspondent, hosted a program on August 14 that, in it's own way, was more subversive and dangerous than the recent actions by the New York Times to expose perfectly legal anti-terrorist surveillance operations. Oddly, there has been no strong public outcry - perhaps that's because so few people watch CNN - but because CNN reaches an international audience, the subversion is no less dangerous for having gone unremarked-upon.

This special program focused on American sites that were particularly vulnerable to terror attacks. These were major sites - a port that brings in 20% of US oil and 35% of US natural gas - which had (as CNN showed) vastly insufficient security. That these sites are vulnerable is probably without question; the problem, as I see it, is that CNN not only cited the areas that were not secured, but offered terrorists a primer on how to find the vulnerabilities, and where (at a given site) they could strike to do maximum damage.

I was stunned at the detail involved - anybody watching the program could easily go out and wreak havoc on any one of those sites, using information provided to avoid security sweeps and reach the most vulnerable targets - and appalled that this program was broadcast not only domestically but internationally. They made that point several times during the program.

Some who are perhaps more skeptical than I could point out that Ms. Amanpour is, by her own description, half-Persian - Persia being the ancient name for Iran - or that she had named her son Darius, after the Persian emperor who so nearly succeeded in conquering the western world. That might be a bit of a stretch, but it is no stretch to be concerned that her most recent international broadcast focused on how terrorists could do the most material harm while attacking America with relative impunity. Clearly, Ms. Amanpour has a greater interest in winning yet one more prestigious journalism award than she is in considering the potentially deadly implications of her actions. In that, she should feel right at home at CNN - the same network that admitted flakking for Saddam in order to ensure that they continued to have access to that blood-soaked dictator.

This is the price America pays for free speech and free press, but if CNN has it's way, that price could be very high indeed.