Tuesday, July 26, 2005

It's Nearly A Laugh...But It's Really A Cry

I received a very interesting e-mail from a friend this afternoon. It's a chilling tale of intrigue and suspense. So chilling, my friends, that I must relate it to you now. Only the names of those involved have been changed (to current cast members of MTV's The Real World: Austin, mind you) to protect the...ummm...innocent:
My friend Dr. Wes found a laptop on the street in the Cedar/42nd Ave. area of Mpls. He couldn't get past the passwords, so he gave it to me so I could try via XP startup disks. The battery was dead, so I gave it to my coworker Melinda, whose boyfriend Danny is a computer geek. He got into it last night, and discovered that it's owned by the Department of Defense! He quickly shut it off, and called the DOD. They told him to bring it to the nearest FBI office, which he did this morning. The FBI told him they didn't want it, and that he should "mail it to the Pentagon".

WTF? They don't know what's on it, only that the DOD owns it. Shouldn't they be a bit more concerned that it was just laying in the street? I'm probably getting it back from Melinda tomorrow; I get to either a) send it to the Pentagon, or b) wipe it clean and add it to my home network for more storage space (and possess government property, possibly with classified info on it, thus making me a felon).

Incidentally, Danny just became an American (he's British) a couple of months ago; he thought he was doing the right thing in the age of terrorism, being extra-vigilant and all that, and is now a bit confused as to why the FBI doesn't seem to give a shit...

More later, when I get the laptop back.
I don't know which part of this story disturbs me most. It could be the fact that there was a laptop owned by someone at the DOD just lying on the streets of Minneapolis. It could be that a foreign born computer geek was easliy able to gain access to the encoded files on said laptop. It could be that the DOD doesn't seem real concerned about the whereabouts of a laptop that could very likely contain some classified material. It could be that, despite the whole Zacarias Moussaoui saga that played out here a few years ago, even the local FBI didn't seem to have the time to bother with investigating the matter.

Disturbing revelations, all. I honestly believe, however, that the most frightening thing about all of this is the fact that in a few short hours, a misplaced Department of Defense laptop will be in the hands of my virulently anti-social and seldom sober friend Nehemiah.

Be afraid, America. Be very afraid.

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