March 30, 2013

Two unrelated front-page articles caught my attention this week. The first was about the planned relocation of FBI headquarters from downtown D.C. [“Most wanted,” March 24]; the other dealt with industrial and military espionage by a foreign national [“Chinese citizen guilty of data theft,” March 26].

We have created in Washington a concentration of political, military, policing, technological, commercial and national security power. While this may make logistical sense to have all these players in close proximity to one another, it could prove devastating in time of a national emergency. The District can be effectively shut down by a few inches of snow. Can you imagine what would happen in a concentrated cyber attack on the infrastructure upon which all these organizations depend? They could all be disabled at the same time.

It is becoming apparent that there are extreme risks associated with our increasingly wired and interconnected world — risks that we do not yet fully comprehend and cannot be sure we can stop. Putting all of our eggs in one small geographic basket not only makes the whole structure more vulnerable but also compounds the catastrophic damage that would result if or when such an attack occurs.

Michael C. Weisner, Salisbury, Md.