Most Americans know how our national security apparatus went berserk after 9/11. We can see the results of this in all of our airports as well as on television every night when we watch the news of our current debacle in Iraq.
Those of you in the Washington, DC-area, got to see our city turned into a fortress.
Ghastly concrete barriers were erected all over the place... the U.S. Capitol building had it's beautiful tree lined entrance dug up and destroyed (which still breaks my heart) in order to build a monstrous underground
boondoggle visitors center... many of our beloved monuments were encircled in concrete, protected by Police officers... armed with rifles!
The Headquarters building of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (the J. Edgar Hoover building) was no different. It was already fortress-like (and damned ugly) to begin with... it only got worse.
Nearly a year after 9/11, a journalist of my brief acquaintance was about to interview a senior FBI official, and while he was about to enter the building from the E street side, he noticed that the huge American flag that had been draped across the building, looked odd.
He began counting the stars in the blue field, and concluded that the flag only had 48 stars. That's right, the FBI had trotted out a flag that was made before Alaska and Hawaii were admitted to the union as states.
What a bunch of boneheads.
But, wait... it gets worse!
While he counted and re-counted the stars, trying to make sure he was right, some people in the Hoover building noticed his intent observation and notified the FBI's uniformed police (didn't know they had them, did you?), and as he was about to enter the building, he was "detained" for quite a while, and had his journalist credentials for the building revoked (albeit temporarily).
All for counting the stars on a flag.
Paranoia is a bad thing.