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What happened to the bad guys?

Thursday, June 01, 2006
A brief article on NPR ran today about the black-market network for nuclear materials set up by a Pakistani engineer and how it's still alive today despite his house arrest.

One of the points of the news article is that, aside from A.Q. Kahn himself, there has only been one arrest in this case in the last two years. This startles me not only because nuclear proliferation was seen as the greatest threat by BOTH presidential candidates in our last election but also because in the two years that the ringleader has been under (I still can't believe this) house arrest we haven't made any progress towards arresting his co-conspirators.

And that reminded me of another unresolved case - the one in October 2001 where anthrax was being mailed around and killing people. Remember that? So do I... and yet nothing really seems to have been done about it, at least in terms of finding out who did it. Remember how they can track down cows in the investigation of mad cow disease, but apparently we can't hunt down where some anthrax came from.

So there we have it. Selling nuclear materials on the black market gets you house arrest (while playing online poker in the state of washington can land you in prison for 5 years). Mailing anthrax around will get overlooked, as long as you're discreet. I guess as long as you're not actively toting around an AK-47 you're okay, because you're more of a white-collar criminal?


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