Another pipe bomb incident, another coverup?

by 1389 on November 4, 2007

in Arizona, energy, government regulation, immigration, media, outsourcing, political correctness, security, terrorism

Palo Verde Nuclear Plant logo

Pipe Bomb Discovered at Palo Verde Nuclear Plant

The suspect was identified as a contract worker, but at that time, the suspect’s name was not released.

Bomb Mystery at Palo Verde

Ryan Randazzo and Allison Denny
The Arizona Republic
Nov. 3, 2007 12:00 AM

Sheriff’s detectives continue to investigate how a pipe bomb got into a contract worker’s pickup bed Friday, triggering a lockdown of Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station and trapping thousands of employees there for about seven hours.

Roger W. Hurd, 61, of Hartsville, S.C., said he was unaware of a pipe bomb in his maroon Ford when he was stopped by Arizona Public Service Co. security officials at the entrance of the nation’s top-producing nuclear plant, sheriff’s officials said.

APS security did not find more explosives after an extensive search of the plant and its grounds, located about 50 miles west of downtown Phoenix, eventually lifting the lockdown at about 3 p.m., the utility said.

. . .

Maricopa County sheriff’s deputies found nothing connecting Hurd to the incident after a search of his Goodyear apartment, Arpaio said.

“We feel the person driving the truck, according to him and the investigation so far, didn’t have anything to do with it,” Arpaio said.

Hurd was not arrested but was held for questioning at the checkpoint before leading investigators to his apartment. Arpaio said he did not expect Hurd to face charges.

It does not appear Hurd is a terrorist, said Capt. Paul Chagolla, a sheriff’s spokesman.

“No nexus with terrorism is in our investigation at this point,” Chagolla said.

The upshot:

The contractor who drove the vehicle is not considered to be a suspect. The security worked well enough to keep the vehicle with the pipe bomb from approaching the nuke plant. But this shows how easy it is to plant an IED or other contraband in or on someone’s vehicle, either to discredit the owner of the vehicle, to boobytrap the vehicle, or to cause other harm that will be blamed on innocent parties.

In the interests of accuracy…

One of my pet peeves is the delivery of an announcement ruling out terrorism, even before investigators have any clue about the incident.

In this case, it would have been more accurate for the spokespeople to have acknowledged that Hurd is not a suspect, that they don’t have a suspect yet, and that it is too soon to rule in or out terrorism on the part of anyone else.

Why do news stories about security incidents tell us so little?

Why are suspects’ names and backgrounds so often omitted from the news when the incident involves national security? What is being kept from us?

Typical reasons:

  • No real suspect has yet been identified: Something dangerous was found, but it’s too soon to say how it got there, or why. This appears to have been the case in this incident.
  • Downplaying faulty or inadequate security procedures: There are doubts as to whether security procedures were properly designed and enforced, and nobody wants to look bad in the news.
  • Political correctness: News media and the authorities typically keep identifying information away from the public whenever a suspect is from a predominantly Muslim country, or has a Muslim name–or when there is some evidence of terrorist ties or motives. It’s politically incorrect to talk about such things! As in the case with the Virginia Tech mass murderer, someone can be motivated at least in part by an interest in Islam or jihadism even if he or she is from a part of the world where few people have such associations.

Don’t let the public start asking about personnel policy…

Does the facility hire foreign workers under the H-1b visa program? This could explain an across-the-board policy decision to delay or avoid answering any questions about security incidents. In this day of mandatory “diversity” at all costs, the powers that be wouldn’t want taxpayers and voters to wonder about the obvious security risks inherent in allowing noncitizens to work in IT and engineering jobs at all, much less in a nuclear plant, of all places!

What about background checks?

For a US citizen, an employer can complete an ordinary pre-employment background check in less than a day. That’s fine for a person working as a cashier in a retail store, but that wouldn’t do for a nuke plant worker! A more thorough background investigation, such as that required for a security clearance, can take many months. The only reason that such an investigation can be completed at all is because, for a US citizen, information is available for verification from trusted sources in the US.

There is simply no way to verify such background information with regard to a foreigner with the same degree of completeness, promptness, and accuracy. Given the fact that we are at war, how can anybody possibly think that it is worth the risk to hire foreigners for jobs that allow any kind of access to American IT or engineering infrastructure?

For more government and media obfuscation and foot-dragging, see:

Goose Creek, SC Pipe Bomb Boys

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