Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Exceptionally Grave Damage

Something seems to have driven a beaked whale to strand itself on North Carolina’s Outer Banks:

The 15-foot nursing mother had bleeding around both ears, but a scientist who performed a necropsy couldn't say what caused the whale to beach….

In January 2005…37 whales beached and died on the Outer Banks. The Navy said a sonar exercise it was conducting was several days earlier and more than 200 miles away.
Well, that puts them in the clear. After all, “mid-frequency sonar can emit continuous sound well above 235 decibels, an intensity roughly comparable to a Saturn V rocket at blastoff.” Clearly, if the sonar had been to blame, the whales would’ve beached themselves immediately, no matter where they were. (As all old salts will tell you, the eerie ability of whales to teleport themselves is one of the most intractable Mysteries of the Sea.)

Despite having this airtight alibi, the Navy has decided to claim the state secrets privilege in order to avoid providing information on its sonar use to environmental groups.
Navy Secretary Donald Winter… said disclosure of the information requested by plaintiffs "could reasonably be expected to cause exceptionally grave damage to national security."
Given the “exceptionally grave damage” this administration routinely causes to national security as an expression of its highest philosophical aims, it’s hard to believe that any of our enemies would notice this comparatively obscure disclosure, let alone take advantage of it; it’s like expecting a kid in a candy shop to get excited about a pack of Saltines.

On the other hand, I suppose Secretary Winter wouldn’t say it unless it were true.

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