No Spooks, Please. We're Academics

The best hope for finding and stopping Osama bin Laden, Donald Rumsfeld has said, is "a scrap of information." But it remains to be seen whether government officials would know how to translate that scrap. In the days following the attacks, the FBI appealed to speakers of Arabic and Afghan languages to sign up for its $27-to-$38-per-hour translator gigs. One reason for the shortage? The dearth of top-notch, well-funded Arabic departments at U.S. colleges.

In the past year, the Defense Department has been quietly working with Congress and universities to ease this language barrier. A solution gaining favor is the creation...

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