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.

McClatchy again:

‘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?’

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!

7 responses to “Obama’s Insider Threat Program Targets Becoming Clearer, if Not Cleaner (heh.)

  1. realitychecker1

    I turned in both my parents. Pity me, I’m an orphan. BTW, I consider Cenk Uygur to be vindicated by this post. Self-immolation is starting to look cool. (See what I did there lol?) I would not want the job of the back-doorman whoi has to check the rectums. I might be willing to work the front door, though. Never use rubber gloves, though. Oy. I see dead people. Stop me before I kill again.

  2. realitychecker1

    Hey, I just had a flash of inspiration as to what “Insider Threat” actually refers to-it might be people who refuse to use the rubber gloves (front or back door). AND, inquiring minds want to know why it was not hostile or racial for Trayvon to call Zimmerman a “creepy ass cracker” and a “nigger” (“niggah”? Lord, don’t ask that girl to spell anything lol.) Maybe I’ve just lived too long. :-( Keep up the good work, wendydavis. Hey, there’s a bureaucrat in my ass!!! How’d that get there?

  3. gives new meaning to the street gesture and expression: ‘Up Yours!’, doesn’t it.

    (thought you might know i was pimpin’ you when i’d asked: ‘Have you no couth, sir?’

    luv luv luv’ed ‘i turned in both my parents, ad now i’m an orphan’ defense, lol. where have we hear that plaintive explanation to ask for a lighter sentence before?

    well, that dude was a creepy-ass cracker, so… ;~)

  4. You might enjoy this if you haven’t seen it. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cKmkxptPLSw

  5. welcome miguel; nice to have you here. yes, i had seen it, thank you, and had even admitted that while i’m not a big fan of hedges, he was seriously good in that interview/debate. i also posted the interview on metadata; i’m trying to figure out some of this stuff with next to zero understanding of it. (really slows down the work, lol). on my today post at my.fdl, i do hope we can whistle in kgb or other tech-whizzes.

    hope all is well with you down Mexico way (what song uses that catch-phrase?)

  6. realitychecker1

    From Eisler’s Greenwald Derangement Syndrome diary, I thought this was too good to go unnoticed by Cafe Babylon readers: raisedbywolves June 30th, 2013 at 7:43 pm 46

    I think Eisler has missed the big picture here. Chait, and likely most journalists working in the US today, are authoritarians.

    By definition, authoritarians lack good judgment and have poor self-awareness. They also lack the maturity to assess the character of others, and so they attach themselves to authoritarian figures to whom they abdicate their thinking and decision-making. They also have a deep resentment towards those who are not authoritarians. The non-authoritarian’s ability to use logic and reason makes authoritarians feel inferior, defensive and threatened. When they’ve been embarrassed by the exposure of their weaknesses, expect an immature spewing of retribution and bile, usually devoid of logic and reason.

    Being an authoritarian society, which the US now firmly is, means that most of us now are unable to judge the character of others. It doesn’t help that the US psychiatric community has brainwashed us all into thinking that we don’t have the right to judge character, which leaves us all vulnerable to the machinations of animalistic, predatory people which authoritarians are.

    The behaviors – the predation and pathology – of authoritarians and their followers have been normalized in US society. Chait’s relative success is just one example of how we, as a society, have been normalized to tolerate their pathology. When we react to obviously pathological behavior with a tentative dithering and pondering as we have been, authoritarians sense that hesitancy as a weakness – and further seize authority.

    The result of our collectively devolving character is an increasingly authoritarian society, where predatory, instinctual behavior prevails over rational, humanistic behavior.

  7. Thanks for drawing our attention to this comment, rc. I am not sure, however that ‘our collectively devolving character’ – which certainly is or has been evident for quite some time – is going to be the last chapter. (We may disagree on this, dear rc.) It is indeed the chapter in which we find ourselves, as pervasively habituated as the prevailing culture has become as a result of the availablity of current candyfloss.

    I think it is already wearing thin. It always does. Look at Egypt. Look at this country setting itself up to become independent originally. And yes, plenty of ‘tentative dithering and pondering’ – that’s how we test the shackles. That’s how we each come to grips with the situation.

    I don’t think predation is going to win the day. It will always rear its ugly head but it only wins if we individually and in concert let it. And individually, we don’t have to, even if ‘in concert’ looks dismal. It’s a choice.

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