This joke is, I kid you not, a direct quote from a speech by CIA Director David H. Petraeus in 2012.

I recalled the story of the four engineers driving home from one of our partner startups in Silicon Valley – a mechanical engineer, a chemical engineer, an electrical engineer, and a computer engineer. And, sure enough, while heading up the West Valley Freeway, their car broke down.

They of course immediately sought to determine the cause, and the mechanical engineer naturally said, “Sounds to me as if the pistons have seized. We'll just have to strip down the engine.”

“I’m not sure about that,” offered the chemical engineer. “Seems to me the fuel might be contaminated. We should flush out the fuel system.”

“No,” the electrical engineer replied, “I think it’s a grounding problem, or maybe a faulty plug lead. We need to check the wiring.”

They all then turned to the computer engineer, who had said nothing, and asked for his opinion.

”Well,” he said, “this is a tough one. How about if we all get out of the car and get back in again?”

Yep. That, right there, is an engineering joke from a Director of the CIA. Given at an In-Q-Tel summit. Which is a fascinating organization that I've covered in the past.


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