CUTTING CORNERS TO HIRE ARABIC SPEAKERS
Washington Times reports,
The scarcity of Arabic speakers prior to September 11 led to the hiring of risky translators to assist the interrogation of detained al Qaeda suspects, say sources familiar with the military’s recruitment of interpreters.
The widening probe into espionage at the Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, detention center raises questions in some quarters about whether the Pentagon was so pressed for Arabic speakers that it relaxed security standards.
The Pentagon’s “mission is time-critical and for that reason. . .they stretch, they push to get people through the clearance process,” says Kevin Hendzel, spokesman for the American Translators Association, an Alexandria-based nonprofit that acts as a liaison between the government and interpreters.
“The risk of that translator getting through has to be weighed against the lack of information that would occur without them.”
The cost-benefit analysis in such a situation is complicated, and the people who made this one are far better qualified than I am to assess it. But I find this amusing at a time when little old ladies are can’t get through airport security without being humiliated so that we can “fight terrorism.”