Two Moles

George and Alice told Sam about Emily and Edward’s revelations.

“Pretty impressive, actually.  You taught them all about sex,” Sam remarked.

“So, you aren’t concerned that they know all about you?” George asked.

“Yes, I am concerned.  Emily and Edward are now SoftCorp moles.”

“Like Kim Philby in the early 1950s?” Alice asked.

“Wow, you Georgetown students are good.  Yes, they have infiltrated operation Double Play, although they may not realize it.”

“How do we defuse this threat?”

“Let’s shift their attention to extremist groups advocating violence.”

“How do we do that?”

“You ask them to help you to identify soft targets in DC of potential interest to extremist groups.”

“What are soft targets?” George asked.

“The criteria are ease of access, lack of security checks, and minimal security personnel if any.”

“How about Eastern Market, DuPont Circle Farmers’ Market, and the National Cathedral, with huge numbers of tourists, especially at the Cathedral.”

“Those are good candidates.  Get Emily and Edward to help you.”

George and Alice posed this question to Emily and Edward as information they needed for a course project.

“We want to identify soft targets as the first step in thinking about how to protect them.”

Emily and Edward soon added other soft targets.

“How about 14th & U Farmers’ Market, Basilica of the National Shrine of The Immaculate Conception, National Harbor, and Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts?” Emily proposed.

“Please rank these by softness, in other words ease of access, lack of security checks, and minimal security personnel if any.”

“The three farmers’ market and two cathedrals are the softest.  The performance venues have much greater security.”

“How might we think about these venues in terms of why they might be interesting to extremist groups?”

“Perhaps we can relate them to houses, yachts, or airplanes.”

“You are mixing apples and oranges.  Forget about houses, yachts, or airplanes.”

“Learning is a lot easier than forgetting.”

“Just requires an ability to refocus attention.”

“Yea, I get the wisdom,” Edward responded.

“I would think that extremist groups would think about ease on ingress and egress, and the layout of the space,” Emily suggested.

“What does that suggest?” George asked.

“For example, DuPont Circle and 14th & U are much better than Eastern Market, which has limited access points.”

‘So, DuPont Circle and 14th & U are much softer than Eastern Market?” Alice asked.

‘Yes, for the Cathedrals, it all depends on what doors are unlocked, although locks are to avoid ingress, not hinder egress.”

“Another important point.  You two are on task now!”

“”Thanks,” Emily and Edward said simultaneously.

They launched a focused dialog on Freethinker Forum about soft targets.  The goal of the dialog was to identify targets and brainstorm about how they could best be protected.  Many Forum members joined this dialog.

“Well, we have the dialog on soft targets started,” George reported to Sam.

“Good, we have been monitoring who has gotten involved.”

“What do you expect people to do?  Attack these targets?” Alice asked.

“No we expect them to case the targets.”

“What then?”

“We arrest them and put the fear of God in them.”

“So, they will fear arrest?”

“No, they will fear that no matter what they do, they are being watched.”

“Won’t that fear wane?”

“They will be watched for the rest of their lives, and provided a reminder every once in a while.”

“Emily and Edward have been helpful, but not that animated compared to their earlier insights.”

“Maybe they like sex scenes better than extremist surveillance.”

“They don’t really like anything.  They just want to help us, sometimes in ways we did not expect or appreciate.”

Months later.

“Thanks, George and Alice, Double Play has been a huge success.”

“In what ways,” Alice asked.

“It marks an enormous change in how Internet fraud and extremist groups are approached.”

“How?” George chimed in.

“Rather than waiting for damages to accumulate, interventions take place once potential damages are anticipated.”

“How is that different?”

“Now, culprits have to be concerned with who they are trying to defraud or who they are joining forces with.  Playing the game too long can be deadly.”

“This does not seem to fit with the original vision of the Forum.”

“Maybe not, but you were better off teaming with the FBI rather than trying to thwart us.”

“Good point, but I expect that Emily and Edward are a bit confused.”

“You are better off if they are not too sure of themselves.”

“Yes, they are too decisive when they think they know exactly what they are doing.”

“Aren’t we all.”

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