blogenlust
8.08.2004

Ridge vs. Blunkett


It seems to me that many people are beginning to become skeptical of the terror warning system in this country, and any press conference by Tom Ridge, in particular. Of course, I think this is completely warranted, because you can only warn of a "non-specific threat" with no known timeframe for so long before people stop taking you seriously. As a result, I found this article in Britain's The Observer interesting. The author is the British equivalent of Tom Ridge. Of particular note, I think, is their fundamental diffference in how they view their job duties. David Blunkett is Britain's Home Secretary:
Of course, it is not possible for me to comment on last week's arrests and the action which has followed. These are operational matters. But I can say that I am full of admiration for the work of the police and the Security Service in dealing with these situations. I issued an appropriate statement and I refused to comment further. Why? Because had I done so without having anything additional to add, I would have merely added to the speculation, to the hype, to the desire for something to say for its own sake. In other words, to feed the news frenzy in a slack news period. Is that really the job of a senior cabinet minister in charge of counter-terrorism? To feed the media? To increase concern? To have something to say, whatever it is, in order to satisfy the insatiable desire to hear somebody saying something? Of course not. This is arrant nonsense. I've never been known as a shrinking violet and I'm the first person to say something when I've got something to say. But it is important to be able to distinguish if there is a meaningful contribution that helps to secure us from terrorism. And to understand if there isn't. And there are very good reasons why we shouldn't reveal certain information to the public. Firstly, we do not want to undermine in any way our sources of information, or share information which could place investigations in jeopardy. Second, we do not want to do or say anything which would prejudice any trial. So I make no apology for not having appeared last week, over and over again.
Int.