This fear is exactly backwards. During a terrorist attack — during any crisis situation, actually — the one thing people can do is exchange information. It helps people, calms people, and actually reduces the thing the terrorists are trying to achieve: terror. Yes, there are specific movie-plot scenarios where certain public pronouncements might help the terrorists, but those are rare. I would much rather err on the side of more information, more openness, and more communication.
He gets it.
I was going to post a reply to his previous blog on the subject that said the same thing, but then – especially having realized that he wasn’t buying the Associated Press
bullshit erm, disinformation piece which claimed there were “only 10 terrorists” either – I realized that 1) I was preaching to the choir and 2) he’d probably find a way to say the exact same thing I wanted to, and say it better. He did.
My 20 year career in IT has revolved around the use of technology to ensure that people can communicate, especially in a time of crisis. I’ve lived through two such crises in which there was a major disruption of communications: the Flugtag/Ramstein Air Show disaster of 1988, and the attacks on the WTC. I’ve provided mission critical IT support during the first Gulf War. What I’ve learned from these experiences is that it’s far better to have a well-informed citizenry who are on your side, untrained civilians though they might be, than to worry about giving away information to a small number of enemies. Our government is supposed to be of the people, by the people, for the people. In such a crisis I, for one, would never hesitate to give any civilian – perhaps a fellow citizen soldier – the best possible fighting chance, even if their only desire was to get away unharmed.
So yes, as clinical as I might sound, there actually is a shred or two of compassion in there. Indeed, I find the willingness of the media to outright lie to the folks who need them the most to be one of the foulest manifestations of the lack of compassion displayed by the mindless and yes, heartless servants of the military/industrial complex.
Schneier seldom, if ever, disappoints. I really hope the coming administration will take his advice seriously.
Fifty days until sanity…