Jeffrey LewisFall Guy

Nathan Hodge and Sharon Weinberger profile Linton Brooks in Slate, concluding:

The critics were right: Linton Brooks failed to fix the labs, but who can? Like Charlie Brown in his eternal quest to kick the football, we wonder if Brooks ever really had a chance. As for why he was fired—and why now—we suspect that Brooks is asking the same question.

ACW readers have some suspicions about that last question, as well as an outpouring of affection for Brooks, in the comments section to my previous post, So Long, Linton.


  1. John Fleck (History)

    What has puzzled me in all this is that the perceptions of mismanagement may be correct, but they seem to be focused on trees when there’s an intriguing forest out there going undiscussed. NIF and DARHT don’t work, the United States cannot build bombs, stockpile surveillance is behind schedule and Complex 2030 is just the latest in a long string of failed efforts to replace the aging Cold War weapons complex. While the media and Congress have been fiddling with thumb drives and meth trailers and missing hard drives, the nuclear weapons infrastructure is a shambles.

  2. Noah Shachtman (History)

    You know there are no three people I dig more than you, Sharon, and Nate. But y’all are on crack on this one.

    The guy was given four years to try to improve security at the labs. He failed—badly. Yeah, it’s a tough job. But he didn’t get it done. Time to go.

    Accountability—I know it’s been missing in DC for a long time. But that’s no reason to protest against it, when it does appear every once in a while.

  3. Haninah

    Well, Noah, I think the point people are arguing is less over whether it’s right that he was fired than whether it’s suspicious. I’m in the boat of folks who have no strong personal feelings about Brooks one way or another – I didn’t know him, I only heard him speak once and had him down as middle-of-the-pack for honesty and credibility, and on the whole my feelings on the issue are pretty much along the lines of what Joe Cirincione was quoted saying in the NYT article – I wish he’d been fired because the Administration was renouncing the policies he had been in charge of carrying out, not over some security flap. But I certainly agree with the pro-Brooks camp that given the Bush Administration’s track record, it’s a little hard to believe that an agency administrator is being fired over something as minor as catastrophic mismanagement.

  4. John Fleck (History)

    And I’m arguing that all the attention by folks like Noah to the security issue is like worrying that someone hasn’t cleaned the punch spilled in the living room, while the refrigerator’s been left unplugged in the kitchen for four years. It’s not that the punch is irrelevant, it’s just not the most important thing.