Jeffrey LewisFleck: Don't Go Apedung

The amazing John Fleck issues a plea “for a little calm while we wait to see what was actually on the mobile home meth lab jump drives ”:

When the national news media went all apedung over Wen Ho Lee back in March 1999, it seemed reasonable. After all, no less than the New York Times suggested Lee may have been spying for the commies. It turned out not to be the case.

Then in 2000, the national news media went all wildness over missing hard drives at Los Alamos that contained scary nuclear weapons secrets. They ended up not to be missing after all. Sort of.

Then the national news media went all scarified over missing “classified removable electronic media” containing more scary superscary nuclear secrets in 2004. This was so scarybad they actually shut the whole lab down, in order to determine that the things had never existed in the first place.

Do you detect a pattern here?

I feel so dirty.

John has a point—the good people at Los Alamos have been subjected to some pretty ugly attacks by folks in Washington, attacks that often are about the independence of the labs, refusal to hear opposing views or some fleeting beltway power grab.


  1. megatonone (History)

    i thought john’s point was directed at the nyt and “the national news media…” seems to me that the “ugly attacks by folks in Washington” start after the msm get those folks stired up. 😉

  2. yale

    For those wanting to see (the now crushed) insider view of Peyton Place.. oops, I mean Los Alamos, read the archived version of the Late, Great:

  3. Muskrat (History)

    I always prefer the term “Librarian Poo,” but it only means anything to fans of Terry Pratchett. Luckily, the overlap between Pratchett fans and geeks is a large one.

  4. CKR (History)

    Others of us (who actually have been at Los Alamos!) have said something similar to Fleck’s comment.

    The alleged pattern is less of LANL security breaches and more of LANL-bashing, for the sorts of reasons Jeffrey lists.

    Jeffrey, you’ve got to do something so that those of us who are not super-geeks can put links in the comments.

  5. Alex (History)

    And it’s not at all clear that any of the LANL security bashing in the past has done a whole lot to improve national security, the Los Alamos management situation, or anything else of much use.