Hamilton, Madison, and Jay

This blog is devoted to a variety of topics including politics, current events, legal issues, and we even take the time to have some occasional fun. After all, blogging is about having a little fun, right?

Location: Mesa, Arizona, United States

Who are we? We're a married couple who has a passion for politics and current events. That's what this site is about. If you read us, you know what we stand for.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Have you seen these men?

The FBI would like to know if anyone has seen the two men pictured at ABC's Blotter. (Click on the photo to enlarge or go to Captain Ed's site to see a larger photo of them. This story first broke on Tuesday, but due to Blogger problems I didn't get it posted that day, and it was Captain Ed's post that reminded me of the initial report that I picked up from Charles Johnson.

There have been a number of suspicious incidents this summer aboard Washington state ferries, which prompted the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Coast Guard to increase security along the ferry lines and to issue a warning to law enforcement.

"On several occasions since May 2007, members of the public and employees of the Washington State Ferry (WSF) have reported a number of suspicious activities aboard state ferries," said the note, sent out Wednesday to state and local law enforcement by the chief intelligence officer at DHS.

The warning was issued as the hunt continues for two potential suspects that were observed on multiple Washington state ferries. The individuals "exhibited unusual behavior and undue interest in the layout and workings of the ferries and ferry terminals," said the note.

Security is always high on the ferries, according to a spokesman for the Washington State Patrol, but current security levels are no higher now than usual.
The spokesman said all of the incidents still considered suspicious involved the same two individuals who authorities are now searching for. The FBI released photos of the two men on Monday. ...

... "Many ferries operate in close proximity to energy-related critical infrastructures, such as petroleum and chemical facilities and power plants," a law enforcement source told the Blotter on ABCNews.com, "making them attractive targets to terrorists."

So, why is this story a big deal? Well, aside from the suspicious nature of the two men and given that the targets along the ferry's route are enticing, the biggest reason this is a story is because the Seattle Post Intelligencer has refused to publish the photos in their paper and placed this nugget in the story about the FBI wanting to identify both men:

The Seattle P-I is not publishing the photos because neither man is considered a suspect nor has either been charged with a crime.

Now, dear readers, I ask you this: What if on 5 September, 2001 the government had issued an alert for four of the nineteen hijackers, with the claim that their behavior had been suspicious, and the FBI wanted to question them. Say their flight training finally raised a red flag, and the FBI wanted to talk to the men that wanted to "learn how to fly, but not land" airplanes. Would the P-I post their photos in the paper, or because they hadn't committed a crime or been charged, would they refuse to do so?

It's asinine that news outlets act this way. Just about every other news outlet that picked up this story also had their pictures with the story. But the P-I has decided not to despite the fact that the men are obviously in the area, and their questions regarding the ferry's inner workings, routes, power plant, etc., raised some flags with ferry workers.

Workers on boats are used to questions normally raised by passengers. On her very first cruise with me (on vacation a couple of years ago, and the same cruise I proposed to her on) Marcie had a number of questions about the boat, and regularly spoke with crew members about it. But it was nothing out of the ordinary. "How fast can the ship travel? How does the ship stay stabilized in rough weather and water? What is the full compliment of the ship?" Nothing big. Nothing suspicious. But apparently the questions from these two guys were enough to have the ferry company contact the FBI. All the FBI wants to do is identify the men, and maybe ask them a couple of questions.

But that's not enough of a reason for the P-I to post their photos. Sometimes the media industry is more useless than it knows.

Publius II


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home