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National Security and Blackmail - Scott Adams' Blog

National Security and Blackmail

Warning: This blog is written for a rational audience that likes to have fun wrestling with unique or controversial points of view. It is written in a style that can easily be confused as advocacy or opinion. It is not intended to change anyone’s beliefs or actions. If you quote from this post or link to it, which you are welcome to do, please take responsibility for whatever happens if you mismatch the audience and the content.

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National Security and Blackmail

You’re probably following the story of President Obama’s Secret Service advance team and the Colombian prostitutes. One of the arguments for firing the men involved is that this sort of behavior makes them potential targets for blackmail, which in turn endangers the President. But if blackmail is a risk, wouldn’t the smarter play have been to treat it as a personal matter? That way, if another agent someday gets involved with a prostitute in a foreign country, which seems 100% likely, it won’t create as much of a blackmail risk. Think of it like a limited version of diplomatic immunity. You can disapprove of the crime and still make a practical argument for not prosecuting.

Prostitution is legal in Colombia. But let’s agree that there are plenty of reasons to question the judgment of the agents involved. They embarrassed the country and supported an industry that victimizes women. One of them allegedly tried to bully his way to a freebie. Each of them made bad decisions. If you ignore the Big Picture, those are good reasons to dole out some career punishment to the agents involved. All I’m suggesting is that doing so might make this President, or some future President, less safe. Is doing the right thing worth the risk?

Another situation that strikes me as unsafe for a president is a bunch of disgruntled ex-Secret Service guys. I think I’ve seen that movie a few times. I hope none of them get fired for reasons they perceive as unfair. I’d like to keep them on our side.

I don’t know the full facts in this case. And I don’t know if excusing this sort of behavior makes the President any safer. I just get nervous when I see morality and political correctness influencing security.