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Pentagon Shows Stunning Naivete in Video Game Flap

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Posted on Jun 30, 2006
game screenshot
From EA

A screenshot from the game “Battlefield 2: Armored Fury.”

Supposed Internet experts, working off $7 million in public money, reported to the Pentagon and to Congress that terrorists are retooling American video games for use as recruitment tools. Problem is, it wasn’t the terrorists who did the retooling; it was American fans—something a 10-year-old could have discovered by using Google. Says a video game expert: “What’s deeply troubling is that the folks that they’ve hired, they don’t seem to know the first thing about video games.”

Your tax dollars hard at work at the Pentagon


ABC News:

Samir finds it hard to believe his little film was mistaken for jihadist propaganda.

“I know that the job is to search the net and look for possible threats,” he said. “But to see my movie as a threat, even 10-year-old kids could have done some Google search and could have found where the movie came from and what it was intended to ? so I think they made a mistake.”

Video game experts say the mistake is an indicator of bigger problems. Bogost says incorrect information was given to the House Intelligence Committee by people who are supposed to be experts on how terrorists use the Internet ? that’s what millions of taxpayer dollars pay for and whom Congress depends on for information.

“What’s deeply troubling is that the folks that they’ve hired, they don’t seem to know the first thing about video games,” Bogost said. “They’re not even using the same language that anyone familiar with video games ? who played them or who studied them closely ? would use.”

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By felicity smith, June 30, 2006 at 2:15 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Is this a find-a-hole-and-fill-it, or is it you’ve-got-a-hole-and-the government-will-fill-it? The primary function of the executive and legislative branches of this government is to pay off existing campaign debts and/or to pre-pay future campaign contributors. Meet either of those criteria, here’s 7 million bucks.  Katrina, Iraq, a bridge to no-where, there’s seemingly no limit to the holes. Quid-pro-quo has become the sole raison d’etre of this government. Every once in a while the government might get lucky and actually award a contract to someone who knows what he’s doing, but don’t count on it - it’s irrelevant.

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