Terrorism is no laughing matter, but I'm afraid that what the Justice Department proposes to do about it is.
An anonymous leaker has just sent me a copy of a memo titled, "Security Awareness Memorandum No. 2, Bomb Threat Procedures." It was dispatched to all personnel and bulletin boards by the DOJ director of security, and it lists 10 steps DOJ workers should take if they receive a bomb threat over the phone.
Much of the memo is good, sound common sense (keep the caller on the line as long as possible, ask the caller to repeat the message, etc.). But a couple of pieces of advice have logical holes in them the size of the Washington Monument.
For instance, Item Two says you should use a bomb threat card (Form DOJ 370) to record what the person says.
Can you imagine asking a terrorist to hold on for a sec while you go find a Form 370? Can you imagine him doing it?
For another instance, the memo suggests notifying both the Federal Protective Service and the DOJ Security Programs Manager.
Don't you think one phone call ought to be enough, especially if a bomb is about to go off and time is of the essence?
Finally, Piece of Advice Number Ten says that once you've notified the authorities, you should "await instructions."
Come on, fellas. A terrorist has just described a bomb that might blow up the very place where a DOJ employe is sitting, and he's expected to sit there and "await instructions?" I'd rather head for the nearest exit at Carl Lewis speeds -- and I'll bet most DOJ employes would do exactly that.
Nobody's trying to scoff at the idea of protecting federal employes and buildings from bombers and bombs. But do we have to stretch common sense to the breaking point in the process?