Below, Jack Dunphy has a post about Tim Rutten’s recent column on financial disclosure at the LAPD. Read that post before you read this one. Go ahead. I’ll wait.
I wanted to add a few points of my own, but I’m doing it in a separate post rather than an update, because I don’t people to be confused about who is saying this — and I don’t want Jack to be held responsible for what I’m about to say.
Which is this: it’s quite clear that Tim Rutten didn’t want to know about any instances of leaking or accidental disclosure of confidential police information, because any such facts would have presented an inconvenient obstacle to the rant Rutten wanted to write. If Rutten had truly wanted to know about the security of these files, he should have talked to Jack. Rutten knows who Jack is. He knows how to get in touch with him.
And, if Rutten bothered to become even minimally acquainted with the issue he was writing about, he would have seen that Jack had written a piece for Pajamas Media about this very issue, in which Jack set forth the potential problems:
The LAPD has at times been famously sloppy with its record keeping. At a press conference announcing their opposition to the financial-disclosure plan, Protective League officers displayed photographs showing hundreds of boxes stacked in the hallways at Parker Center, the LAPD headquarters building. These boxes contained files that are presumably confidential, yet there they were, piled nearly to the ceiling and available for inspection by anyone curious enough to stop and have a peek inside. Supposedly confidential personnel information has on many occasions been leaked to the media, and officers have little faith that their financial records will enjoy any more protection than those boxes stacked in the hallways do today.
If Rutten hadn’t thought to contact Jack, then how about calling the Police Protective League? Rutten names the Protective League in his column as a group vehemently opposed to disclosure. Calling them seems like a fairly obvious step, but Rutten didn’t take it. Is Rutten really that incompetent? I doubt it. If he really wanted to see if LAPD had mishandled anything, I think he would have known who to call.
Instead, he called up the fox den to ask if there have been any nasty incidents involving foxes guarding the chicken coop. And guess what? Nobody could think of any!
Because, you see, Tim Rutten didn’t really care about the truth. He just wanted to look like he did.