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July 14, 2003

NOW HERE'S AN ISSUE FOR THE DEMOCRATS, but I'll bet they won't pick up on it:

Because she is fluent in Turkish and other Middle Eastern languages, Edmonds, a Turkish-American, was hired by the FBI soon after Sept. 11 and given top-secret security clearance to translate some of the reams of documents seized by FBI agents who, for the past year, have been rounding up suspected terrorists across the United States and abroad.

Edmonds says that to her amazement, from the day she started the job, she was told repeatedly by one of her supervisors that there was no urgency - that she should take longer to translate documents so that the department would appear overworked and understaffed. That way, it would receive a larger budget for the next year.

“We were told by our supervisors that this was the great opportunity for asking for increased budget and asking for more translators,” says Edmonds. “And in order to do that, don't do the work and let the documents pile up so we can show it and say that we need more translators and expand the department.”

Edmonds says that the supervisor, in an effort to slow her down, went so far as to erase completed translations from her FBI computer after she'd left work for the day.

(Via World Wide Rant). Homeland security has been a joke since day one. Is it better now that Tom Ridge and the Department of Homeland Security have taken over? Nope. He's off engaging in bureaucratic mission creep by chasing "child predators." What does that have to do with terrorism?

My TechCentralStation column will have a lot more about this.

UPDATE: Michael Demmons notes that the Democrats didn't speak up when six competent translators were fired because they were gay, making it unlikely they'll complain about mere budget-padding. Good point.

ANOTHER UPDATE: WyethWire says that some Democrats objected. Is that responsive to Demmons point above? I link, you decide. But it's not as if they were making attack ads on the subject. That's saved for other topics.

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