Obama’s Insider Threat Program Targets Becoming Clearer, if Not Cleaner (heh.)
By now you probably know that on June 20 McClatchy News published information it was ‘shown’ on Obomba’s Insider Threat Program under Executive Order 13587 in October 2011 after Army Pfc. Bradley Manning downloaded hundreds of thousands of documents from a classified computer network and sent them to WikiLeaks.
McClatchy says that (my bolds throughout):
‘Government documents reviewed by McClatchy illustrate how some agencies are using that latitude to pursue unauthorized disclosures of any information, not just classified material. They also show how millions of federal employees and contractors must watch for “high-risk persons or behaviors” among co-workers and could face penalties, including criminal charges, for failing to report them. Leaks to the media are equated with espionage.
“Hammer this fact home . . . leaking is tantamount to aiding the enemies of the United States,” says a June 1, 2012, Defense Department strategy for the program that was obtained by McClatchy.
They say that the program extends beyond the U.S. national security bureaucracies to most federal departments and agencies nationwide, including the Peace Corps, the Social Security Administration and the Education and Agriculture departments. The text of EO 13587’s ‘Structural Reforms to Improve the Security of Classified Networks (gargle, gurgle tra la la)’ creates layers of Security State acronyms boards and oversight groups, and steering committees, audits, yada, yada, that read like a Who’s Who of Them v. Us.
But in the sections about the Insider Threat Program the President allows for a wide interpretation of the program, and a wide array of individualized protocols past his ‘minimum standards’ for most agencies because, as he said, ‘One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter’. Oh, no, wait: that may not have been Obomba; (sorry)…
Now MClatchy hasn’t told us exactly which documents they were privy to see, but from some of the things they’ve mentioned, we can surmise that a few agencies have shared their programs, protocols and ‘profiling of potential threats to Their Security (certainly not ours). To wit:
‘An online tutorial titled “Treason 101” teaches Department of Agriculture and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration employees to recognize the psychological profile of spies.’
Now let’s see: which documents might this particular administration desire to keep secret in those departments? Might they fear release of information that calls out the dangers of the President’s new carbon policies, for instance, as being fig leafs for other massively destructive to the biosphere hastening climate change, not mitigating it? Does he fear that some malcontent in the Agriculture Department might leak memos that indicate how hand-in-hand this administration is with Monsanto and the other purveyors of genetically modified foods attempting to corporatize the entire world’s food supply?
The DOD’s quotes on what might constitute an unstable employee to turn into, or be evidence of already being ‘Enemies of the State’ are awesome: evident money problems, working outside normal business hours, stress, being unhappy in their work, divorce, underperformance at work, frustrations with co-workers or the organization.”
Now I didn’t see ‘too cheerful as a ruse to hide their ongoing plans and deeds’ in there, but you know some agencies will be thinkin’ it.
‘The Defense Department anti-leak strategy obtained by McClatchy spells out a zero-tolerance policy. Security managers, it says, “must” reprimand or revoke the security clearances – a career-killing penalty – of workers who commit a single severe infraction or multiple lesser breaches “as an unavoidable negative personnel action.”
But wait: it gets better, so hold onto your hats, cowboys and cowgirls. Ready Now?
“Penalize clearly identifiable failures to report security infractions and violations, including any lack of self-reporting,” the strategic plan says. In other words,
Turn yourselves in for failing to bust your co-workers!
But aha! McClatchy seems to have a mole inside the Department of Education, because the piece references snitch protocols and profiling the department has laid down for school employees. Just imagine the potential for abuse: Rat Out Your School, Make Way for Arnie Duncan’s Race to *
School Corporatization the Top!
While reading all of this, I kept seeing an old cartoon by of one of the best ever political cartoonists, R Cobb. He drew two lone survivors of the final nuclear conflagration, skinny, disheveled, and with gaunt faces they sit beside each other in the rubble of ‘civilization’. One man sneers to the other, “Did anyone ever tell you you talk like a Commie?’
In this gem the visionary Cobb anticipated what this nation is fast becoming. And by the way, right here today, can we offer nominations for a term that would signify ‘Orwellian to an order of magnitude’ (or however that multiplier goes)? And for the love of all that’s sane, can we now retire ‘Godwin’s Law’?
But the plum of the Insider Threat designated targets I’ve saved for last…just for you. It concerns the Peace Corps. Now in the McClatchy piece, they apparently had contacted Peace Corps officials by email to find out WTF with that organization and this stellar snitch program. A return email indicated that their organization “takes very seriously the obligation to protect sensitive information,” but….the email was from someone who insisted on remaining anonymous, but gave no reason for it. ;~)
Zo. Curiouser and couriouser, I let my fingers do the Giggling for more, and found this Q and A between the DOD and MuhClatcheee (needed it to sound melodic, see?) at the Kansas City Star That’s-What-I-Are. The DOD answers to McClatchy’s questions are all standard G-speak, but at the bottom is one back and forth they had with the Peace Corps. In response to eight, count ‘em eight questions, the PC folks said…
‘Below is what I can offer you, on background from a Peace Corps official please. (Very Polite Person)
The Peace Corps takes very seriously the obligation to protect sensitive information and is working to implement Executive Order 13587 as directed by the President. The agency has identified a senior official to oversee classified information sharing, safeguarding efforts, and implementation of an insider threat detection and prevention program. The agency has conducted the required internal assessment, and a cross-departmental team of Peace Corps staff has been identified and trained to support the program. The Peace Corps is working in coordination with the National Insider Threat Task Force to ensure the security of classified networks and the responsible sharing and safeguarding of classified information.’
Now lookit. Can we not conclude that the Peace Corps (and maybe the several agencies mentioned above) are the true targets of the Insider Threat Program? Just consider: everyone in the G knows that people only apply to the Peace Corps because they wanna get out of the US for a time, maybe cuz of the student loan deferrals or they were ‘frustrated with their coworkers or organizations’; or they just had a love affair turn horrid, or couples who want to beef up their torn marriages, but can’t quite leap to havin’ a baby to fix them.
Or goddess forbid, maybe they get that there are some true altruists who apply and get accepted, and for fucksake, they’d be even worse! They might actually like the folks in their host countries, and ‘unwittingly’ perform some kind acts of peace and prosperity that the DOD/DOJ would construe as ‘payment in kind to potential terrorists as per the Bush/Obomba Money is Fungible Doctrine. Eeek and Egads!
So you can read about the application process, the medical exams, interview process, disqualifiers, la la la…but as yet I haven’t seen mention of their Insider Threat Program guidelines. Come on, though; do you think doctors won’t be givin’ em regular rectal exams or sonograms to make sure they haven’t stashed the odd thumb drives up their wazoos (“Internal Assessments’, right? Or checking that their money belts aren’t stuffed instead with heirloom seeds or somethin’? Yeah, baby…think what just a few leaks from Peace Corps volunteers about stuff like that will do to the program. ‘Dishonorable Discharge from the Peace Corps’: that’d damn straight go on a person’s Permanent Record, eh? And all of a sudden, applications would be down to zip, and all those potential Enemies of the State would instead try Livin’ Life Large on Wall Street maybe, or goin’ rogue hippie again, sayin’: Who needs the Peace Corps? I think I’ll grow gardens in vacant lots… (rolllll…another one…just like the other one…)
But as you contemplate all of the hideous blowback from Insider Threat, remember what Obomba said at the end his Executive Order:
(h) This order shall be implemented consistent with applicable law and appropriate protections for privacy and civil liberties, and subject to the availability of appropriations.
And I trust him; don’t you? And have you seen Michelle’s arms? I’d kill for those arms. And those adorable children; I ask you!
(cross-posted at Cafe-Babylon.net)