The American Curling Club formed in order to play a key role in bringing bin Laden to justice: namely, to locate him. It seemed to us to be an important and doable project. If our government couldn’t or wouldn’t find him, we would. And when we found him, if only his grave, we would forward his coördinates to the relevant agencies. We would do this as a public service, not for the $25 million State Department bounty on him.
Though our mission was lawful, we realized that pursuing it might require us to bend a few rules and make a few enemies. So we pledged our own lives and liberty to each other and swore an oath of secrecy. We established appropriate security protocols to shield the ACC core group.
Collectively, we had expertise in a number of fields, including telecommunications, biochemistry, the military, civil government, and finance, but our contacts extended far into other areas. Each of us was charged with organizing further assets–networked cells and task groups–behind strong firewalls. Initially we chipped in our own savings to bootstrap our enterprise, but eventually our swifty cells became adept at targeting bank transfers in large offshore money-laundering operations. Soon we were able to finance ourselves by imposing “sin taxes” on drug cartels and playboy dictators. To name a few.
In the summer and fall of 2002, while we were recruiting our go-to, wizard, swifty, lineman, and expat cells, we met frequently to bat around ideas for achieving mission success. Because truly brilliant ideas can sound crazy at first, and because committees smother ideas, we declared that during our freewheeling brainstorming sessions no idea was too outrageous to say out loud.
What if we invented a surrender dust, keyed to bin Laden’s DNA?
Or what about informer dust storms?
Our powers of imagination were running a bit hot in those days. What with all the news of war and rumors of war. What with the anthrax, Saddam, and the shoe bomber who ruined air travel forever.
What if we embedded artificial memories in people throughout the Middle East so that they were certain they remembered Osama mocking the Prophet in public?
What if we afflicted all adult males taller than six foot three in the tribal regions of Pakistan with the mother of all tooth abscesses, requiring immediate dental surgery in Peshawar, and then watched the dentists?
With righteous fervor, in sessions that lasted through the night, we loosed the dogs of ingenuity upon the Sheikh of Saudi Arabia.
What if we made the mountains of eastern Afghanistan begin to hum? An unrelenting low-frequency thrumming that seemed to rise from the very rocks and that drove people out into open spaces screaming and tearing their hair?