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May 16, 2008

Carry-On Confidential

Planning to board a plane this summer with loads of confidential documents pertinent to national security? According to State Department officials, checking the baggage with the documents is a bad idea. But if you want to carry them onto the plane with you, well, there's absolutely nothing wrong with that.

Sung Kim, director of the State Department's Korea office, apparently transported 18,000 pages of sensitive documents on North Korea's plutonium activities from the rogue dictatorship to the US via carry-on luggage on a commercial flight, accompanied by other American diplomats. Because, clearly, to have used checked baggage would have been risky.

Gelf is not a national security expert (and, fortunately, the documents arrived in the US unscathed), but we can't help but wonder if perhaps this carry-on scheme is less than fail-safe. Wouldn't airport security be a bit suspicious of all those boxes? What if the documents fell out of the luggage and scattered around the overhead? What if they were ripped apart in the process?

We're sure that's not all that can go wrong, which is why we'd like to suggest that next time North Korea provides American diplomats with sensitive information, it be transported here by the Air Force. Or a State Department jet (they have those, right?), or the South Korean government—or, at the very least, somebody with a higher security clearance than JetBlue. Or, hey, about bringing a scanner and scanning team from the US? That cargo, you could even check.







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