Security and the Moonwalking Bear

January 4th, 2013

embossed cover of “Man and his Symbols” Carl G. Jung; Doubleday, 1969

thoughts on Forbidden spheres | Restricted Data

Once you decide that something is so dangerous that the entire world hinges on keeping it under control, this sense of fear and dread starts to creep outwards. The worry about what must be controlled becomes insatiable — and pretty soon the mundane is included with the existential.

One weapons scientist explained to me how he breached security at Los Alamos simply by bringing a sack lunch into the plutonium facility. He left his lunch on his office desk and stepped out for a minute. He came back to find a commotion. A security officer informed him that the orange he left on his desk was, in fact, a classified object.

He learned that any spherical object became a nuclear secret once it passes over the line demarcating the secure from the open areas of the laboratory, as it could be taken as a model for the plutonium pit that drives a nuclear weapon.

Another interesting point: it seems that all one would need to do to avoid triggering recognition, would be to camouflage the object as something else or flood the scene with other distractions (as in this youtube video demonstration). Hide an oddity like a moonwalking bear within a everyday scenario, by getting the viewers attention focused on something else.

Now doesn’t that tactic sound familiar? 

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