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Sonar Analyst Testifies That He Broke Safety Rules

LOS ANGELES TIMES -- PEARL HARBOR, HAWAII

In a subdued voice, a sonar analyst with a 14-year career of exemplary service testified Monday that he got “a little bit lazy” and broke several safety rules, depriving the captain of the submarine Greeneville of information that could have averted the deadly collision with a Japanese fishing vessel.

While other testimony has indicated severe shortcomings on the part of several others on board the nuclear-powered submarine, Petty Officer Patrick Seacrest appears, by his own words, to be the single person most clearly responsible for the tragedy.

Among other mistakes, Seacrest failed to tell Cmdr. Scott Waddle that sonar information indicated that a ship was quickly approaching the area where Waddle was planning a rapid surfacing maneuver.

Rear Adm. Paul Sullivan, a veteran submariner, questioning Seacrest, said the analyst failed to do “even the most basic” things required of someone in his job.

“What happened?” Sullivan asked in an incredulous tone.

“I don’t know, sir,” Seacrest replied quietly.

Seacrest alone had information indicating that the Ehime Maru was steaming directly toward the Greeneville’s position.

Police Chiefs to Lobby Congress For DNA Testing of Suspects

LOS ANGELES TIMES -- WASHINGTON

The nation’s police chiefs are going to Congress today to push their legislative agendas, including the right to take DNA samples from people arrested on suspicion of violent crimes.

The controversial proposal has alarmed some civil libertarians, but the president of the International Association of Chiefs of Police says it is no different from the routine practice of fingerprinting suspects.

“We’re not talking about sticking a needle in somebody and drawing blood,” Bruce D. Glasscock, the association’s president, said in an interview as chiefs and superintendents began assembling in Washington.

“The procedure involves taking a swab of saliva from a suspect’s mouth. It’s no more invasive than a fingerprint, and it would help police determine who committed many crimes while clearing those who did not,” Glasscock said.

The police chiefs are pressing their case early in the 107th Congress and to the new Republican administration. Founded in 1893, the IACP is the world’s oldest and largest organization of police executives, with members from the United States and 95 other countries.

The American Civil Liberties Union and other civil libertarians object to mandatory DNA sampling as a violation of innocent people’s privacy. They say the creation of a national DNA database could lead to mass screenings of innocent people in a hunt for criminals.