Patrick Nielsen Hayden is leaping

Patrick Nielsen Hayden is leaping to Coleen Rowly’s defense from meanies Jeff Jarvis and Matthew Yglesias :

“From here it looks like the problem is that the people in charge of our security think pretty much exactly like Jeff Jarvis and Matthew Yglesias–which is to say, like a well-connected East Coast media maven and a smart Harvard undergrad. For people like them, or like Robert Mueller and George Tenet, someone like Coleen Rowley is and always will be the sort of person you ignore…Jarvis and Yglesias are good guys, but (wittingly or unwittingly, I can’t quite tell) they’re offering a window into exactly why we’re where we are. “

Well said. I listened to a bit (only a bit) of her testimony and I was frankly charmed. She seemed like a very practical, down-to-earth professional who knew her job and was patiently trying to explain it to folks who didn’t. And the Fargo accent works for me, unlike for Mr. Jarvis.

I haven’t examined her full testimony, but the parts I did hear were pretty straightforward: notably, the section where she testified that the FBI’s search engine only works on single words, so you can search on “aviation” but not on “aviation schools”. I think there’s quite a legitimate question to ask why it has taken this long for somebody to testify to Congress about that basic a failing, but you can’t fault Ms. Rowley for that, and she seemed to do a fine job of it to me…