Daddy, Where Do Nerds Come From?
Ok, bear with me, there will be prizes at the end.
First, go put in your copy of Star Wars: Return of the Jedi. You know you've got one, so go watch it, and we'll all wait here.
That Lando, what a character, eh?
Anyhow, let me draw your attention to this particular scene and information-drop in the movie:
The data brought to us by the Bothan spies pinpoints the exact location of the Emperor's new battle station. We also know that the weapon systems of this Death Star are not yet operational. With the Imperial Fleet spread throughout the galaxy in a vain effort to engage us, it is relatively unprotected. But, most important of all, we've learned that the Emperor himself is personally overseeing the final stages of the construction of this Death Star.
So the Bothans brought three peices of important information:
1 - "The exact location" of the new Death Star
2 - The weapon's systems weren't operational
3 - The Emperor would be on board
That's not a bad days' spying. Even James Bond would be hard-pressed to deliver all that without an Astin Martin in sight!
Initially, this all seems well and good. The Rebels have some key intelligence, they have the means and will to take advantage and exploit this. Clearly, things are coming to an exciting and dramatic conclusion in a galaxy far, far away.
And yet . . .
Are the Rebel leaders idiots!?!
Ok, check this: From watching the movies, we, the audience, know that the weapons system on the second Death Star (DS2 as it was known around the Imperial Court) were actually functional, it appears that the Emperor was moving the peices the entire time (which he was), and the Rebellion was playing straight into his hands (which they did). These crucial peices of information gained by the Bothans were likely deliberately leaked in order to draw the entire might of the Rebellion to Endor so that the Emperor could finish them off and turn or kill Luke.
Which nearly happened!
So, to the question: If, as Mon Mothma stated, "many Bothans died to bring us this information" (which she did), why would, in the name of all that is good and holy, would the Rebellion believe this information was still viable? The fact that Bothans were killed suggests very-damn-strongly, correctly, that the Empire was on to them. Knowing that, the immediate assumption should be that the Empire would be expecting an attack on the "uncompleted" Death Star. Which they were!
All attack groups were surprised and shocked and awed that it was a trap, when the obvious and logical conclusion, given the Bothan deaths points directly to a trap.
I mean, c'mon, I'm no military strategist, but even I can figure out that if the spy is captured while transmitting information, as Han might say, "It's a good bet the Empire knows we're coming."
On the flip-side of this question is this:
Is the Emperor an idiot!?!
Why did the Empire kill the Bothan spies? I mean, yeah, I get the whole spying thing and capital punishment and what not, but feeding misinformation is hardly a new technique in espionage and military strategy, and killing the messenger, while time-honored, usually defeats the purpose. Killing the Bothans should have immediately alerted the Rebellion leadership that the Empire was on to them and their little spies too. Any information passed to them especially in the last couple of days, was probably compromised and useless or bait for a trap. If the Emperor wanted to lead the Rebellion into his trap, which he clearly did, he should have left the Bothans alone (i.e. not killed them) at least until the trap was sprung. Or had the Emperor already "forseen" that the Rebellion didn't have the sharpest tools in the shed, or rather any tools or even a shed to hold them. Clearly, offing the Bothans wouldn't mean anything except this information was pretty durn important!
Bothan Spy - Sir, I've just managed to steal this highly important and very secret information away from those Imperial slugs. You'll have to mobilize immediately to take advantage of it
Rebel Leader - Excellent, transmit it.
Bothan Spy - Alright, done. Arrrggghhhh . . .
Rebel Leader - What happened?
Stormtrooper 1 - We just shot and killed this guy for spying.
Stormtrooper 2 - Yeah, we shot him alot too, because we're bad aims and he didn't move!
Rebel Leader - Dead you say?
Stormtrooper 1 - Dead as a doorknob.
Rebel Leader - For spying?
Stomtrooper 2 - Yeah, and telling secret stuff too!
Rebel Leader - Oh, very good then. Carry on. We'll just go ahead and mobilize as if nothing had happened.
Emperor [rubbing his hands together] - Exxxcellent!
Seriously, am I the only one who figured this out? Were there no CIA operatives, or twelve year-old kids who put this together and said, "Umm, hey, Mr. Lucas, sir, you can write this in, but it really doesn't make sense."
Well, the downside on this is that I fully expect to hear the title line on the playground while watching my son instructs other children on the proper self-destruct sequence for a Constitution class starship and why it requires at least two command officers to initiate.
Kinna makes ya feel bad for the unborn boy, don't it?