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June 23, 2008


WMD or single malt?

Whisky distillery

Ever wonder what secret WMD plants look like? They look like whiskey distilleries. Wired has a funny story today about our intelligence agencies and how they gather information about the chemical weapon development around the world.

Bruichladdich, a small whiskey producer on Islay in the Inner Hebrides of Scotland, got an email one day from the U.S. Defense Threat Reduction Agency (part of DoD), asking why their distillery webcam had recently gone offline.

Yikes. The folks at the whiskey company had a quiet heart attack, cleared out their bank accounts, smuggled their families out of the country, then nonchalantly emailed back asking why the DoD was interested in their non-threatening little distillery.

Someone in the Chemical Weapons department said they had been using the distillery's webcam as part of staff training because chemical weapon processes look very similar to the distilling process.

The distillery posted the story on their site, with emails from the DTRA agent who contacted them. Explaining her employer's interest in the distillery, the agent wrote a very friendly, non-Rumsfeldian email explaining the similarities between making whiskey and making WMDs:

"As part of a training class we went to a brewery for familiarization with reactors, batch processors, evaporators, etc. before going in the field. It just goes to show how "tweaks" to the process flow, equipment, etc., can create something very pleasant (whiskey) or deadly (chemical weapons)."

So, of course, Bruichladdich started producing "WMD 1 - The Weapons Inspectors" whiskey, and created a graphic to help the casual webcam surveiller distinguish between the two different kinds of WMDs:

Whisky of Mass Destruction

[click to enlarge]

[I just learned this story is several years old. Rats.]

categories: Business, Politics, War and Security
posted by amy at 4:46 PM | #

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Yes the story is several years old, but your details surpasses anything I have seen described so far.

Posted by: Michael at February 10, 2009 4:17 AM

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