Tuesday, March 18, 2008

DNI McConnell Can't Tell Fact From Fiction

Normally, this would have gotten right past me, too. I never would have caught it. I mean, why would you question whether or not a retired Admiral knows what he's talking about when it comes to something like this?

Admiral Mike McConnell, speaking at Foreign Affairs Symposium at The Johns Hopkins University Baltimore, Maryland March 12, 2008

Now I have a story, but I’m not sure we have time. Can I get a vote? Do you want to hear astory or would you rather just get into it? Story, okay. Now this is a true, I was in the signals intelligence business where you listen to the people talkand so on. This is true. It’s an actual recording. There’s a party talking to a ship at sea thatsays, “Ship at sea, please divert your course 15 degrees to the south to avoid a collision.” Now the response was, “Recommend you divert your course 15 degrees to the north to avoid a collision.”The first party says, “Sorry, sir, but you will have to divert your course 15 degrees to the south toavoid a collision.” The answering party says, “This is the captain of a United States naval ship. I say again, divertyour course.”The first party says, “Pardon me sir, you must divert your course.”Now the American ship says, “This is an American aircraft carrier, the second largest ship in the United States fleet. We are accompanied by three destroyers, three cruisers, numerous supportvessels. I demand that you change your course 15 degrees north. I say again, that is 1-5 degreesnorth or counter-measures will be taken. Do you understand?” The response was, “Dear Captain, the next move is your call. This is a Canadian lighthouse.”

The only problem with McConnell's story is that it is false. It's a joke that has been circulating around the US Navy and the British Navy for over forty years.

I don't know how you can be the Director of National Intelligence and give a speech where you claim this came from Signals Intelligence and not be laughed out of town. I mean, really.

At what point do we get competence from these people?

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