Today's top news item, a whoopie cushion expose -- a memoir book teaser from Condoleeza Rich -- in which the lousiest national leadership in national history, the GWB administration, believed it was exposed to botulinum toxin. In its own words they looked an unselfconscious and feckless bunch.
Why is it so bad? Well, our leaders -- so benighted and fixated on the war on terror -- were obviously too stupid to pick up the phone and get someone who would have told them right away that a detection of "botulinum toxin" was a false positive with absolute certainty.
Why with absolute certainty?
First: Because our bioterrorism detectors really don't work very well. As a nation we've spent a lot and got almost nothing back. And they didn't work at all reliably when this event was actually said to have happened.
Second: There was no intelligence or evidence anywhere in the world that indicated al Qaeda or anyone, besides the United States biodefense industry, could make botulinum toxin into the potential weapon which the alleged attack would have represented. (In fact, there was only one company that leaked botulinum toxin during the height of the war on terror and it was one here and on the inside of the homeland security industry. But the details aren't important to get into for this post.)
The excerpt from Condoleeza Rice's book reveals the absolute meretriciousness of so much American threat assessment. It shows identification of threats, not by way of any evidence, but by errant and lousy technology and potentials dreamed up by "advisors" and "experts" on what they think WE could do with all our resources.
It was just a few weeks after September 11, 2001 when Condoleezza Rice accompanied the president on a trip to China for the APEC summit. In Shanghai Vice President Cheney appeared on a secure video conference line and delivered President George W. Bush this message:
"The Vice President came on the screen and said that the White House detectors have detected botulinum toxin, and we were all- those of who exposed were going to die," Rice told me.
He said that?
"Yes, he said that. And I remember everybody just sort of freezing, and the President saying, 'What was that? What was that, Dick?'" Rice, who was the National Security Advisor at the time, said.
Botulinum toxin is, according to the Center for Biosecurity, the "most poisonous substance known" and "extremely potent and lethal."
The exposure time meant that she and those on the trip -- Bush, Secretary of State Colin Powell and Chief of Staff Andy Card -- were all at risk, Rice told me.
The next day, the poisoning was confirmed as a false alarm by whatever great national lab had been employed to find out. No poor test mice breathing cups of White House air had died.
Folks, this is nothing but pure proof of epic fail in leadership, a tale of our leaders who believed in nothing but their own idiotic ghost stories and the machine that supported them in that.
These were the kind of people you would laugh at on the SyFy Channel if they were the poorly dressed freak show reality actors on Ghost Hunters, stumbling through old houses with their Radio Shack cameras and night vision goggles, wondering if the cold draft just felt or creak heard in the dark corner was evidence of something from beyond.
This story, if you're asking, is courtesy of Condoleeza Rice's new book, something called "No Higher Honor." No higher joke.
If you had a class at Stanford with this person you'd be moved to throw things.
Best song ever. Crowd laughter, spot on.
This post was originally published at Dick Destiny blog. Read for the strategic insights, stay for the free laughs.