The idea that the "feared rules" addressed by Peg Brickley1 offer "scientists a comfort level" is certainly novel. The rules of the USA Patriot Act, and the sometime-Draconian enforcement measures that accompany them, focus attention on the easy targets, but may fail to attack the real problem. They look good politically, they suggest accomplishment to the uninformed, but may contribute minimally to national security.

Ms. Brickley quotes NCID's Charles Schable as saying that current policies keep pathogens and toxins out of the hands of "truly bad people." In point of fact, they are perhaps more likely to keep these agents only out of the hands of the truly stupid, or perhaps the truly unimaginative, bad people.

I'm reminded again of Lewis Carroll:

The Hatter was the first to break the silence. 'What day of the month is it?' he said, turning to Alice: he had taken his watch out...

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