One astute reader of the Cascadia Scorecard 2005poses a good question. The reader wonders:

what the “benefit” is of publishing maps that blatantly expose our energy vulnerabilities which Alan says are “virtually impossible to defend against determined attackers.”

I realize that you are trying to open our eyes to the tremendous need we have of weaning ourselves from fossil fuel dependencies, but do you really think that painting a “bulls-eye target” on our present-day energy resources is a sane solution, in today’s global terrorism society?

We thought about that, too. We thought about it a lot. Here’s why we did it:

Terrorists have long targeted energy systems in other parts of the world, with attacks on oil tankers and pipelines. They’ve specifically mentioned oil infrastructure as the “lifeline of the crusader community.” Cascadia Scorecard describes a threat that is largely unknown to northwesterners but is old hat to jihadists. So we’re definitely not giving them an idea they didn’t already have.

The Northwest’s energy vulnerability is a matter of public record. Anyone with a library card and an Internet connection has access to far more information about the region’s energy vulnerabilities than we described in Cascadia Scorecard. In fact, that’s all we used to do our research on energy vulnerabilities.

We were careful in preparing the report to tell readers only enough to understand the threat, not enough to misuse the information. Our maps, for example, are intentionally imprecise and schematic. They wouldn’t be much use to anyone with malicious intent.

What are your thoughts?