19.5.11

HOW CONNECTED IS TOM CLANCY?  Last fall, I reviewed his Dead or Alive, a novel in which a terrorist mastermind leaves a cave in Afghanistan to hide in an urban mansion.  In light of recent developments, two things stand out.  First, two paragraphs from the epilogue.
With an inept and reactionary Edward Kealty at the country's helm, the FBI and CIA would in due course unravel the identities of those responsible for the attacks, only to find carefully constructed and fully backstopped legends that would eventually lead directly to the doorstep of Pakistan's Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence and radicalized elements of the Pakistan Army General Staff, both long suspected to be less-than-enthusiastic supporters of the war on terror. 
Where the United States rightly invaded Afghanistan following 9/11, she would again react swiftly and overtly, expanding military operations east across the Safed Koh and Hindu Kush mountains.  The inevitable destabilization of Pakistan, already a near-failed state, would, according to the Emir, create a power vacuum into which the Umayyad Revolutionary Council would step and take control of Pakistan's substantial nuclear arsenal.
And a Soviet space laser.  But you have to know your Clancy canon to figure out why.  (I'm still waiting for John Clark's conversation with Robert Holtzman, which would be the easiest way to clear up several plot teases from recent books.)

What really intrigues, though, is the role of the cryptographers, who found one-time pads (and the pad-generating algorithms) embedded in racy pictures.  Perhaps it was no accident that Seal Team Six took the triple-x back to base with them.
Hours after the news of the porn stash, Christine Fair, a Georgetown University terrorism expert, wrote on her Facebook page, “Of course they found porn! Every damned jihadi loves porn.” Indeed, the “USG,” or U.S. government has become so accustomed to finding porn, she said, it has “media analysts” designated to analyze the porn looking for “messages.” They work on “document exploitation.”
Document exploitation is not the same thing as animal exploitation, or child exploitation.
Fair said the U.S. government has had to hire counselors to minimize the trauma to the many young twentysomething analysts poring over the porn.
If you say so.

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