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Fed Goes Hunting For Malcontents

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the are-you-now-or-have-you-ever-been-julian-assange dept.

Government 193

snydeq writes "The wake of State Department document leaks to WikiLeaks may have the unhappy rousted from government agencies' 'privileged insiders' ranks, thanks to a recent memo from the US OMB asking agencies to spell out their strategies for minimizing insider risk. 'It's likely that federal contractors and government suppliers will also find themselves responding to this list of questions (PDF) and the central issue of preventing the unauthorized disclosure of sensitive and classified materials. In a key section of the memo, the OMB requests information on whether organizations are measuring the "trustworthiness" of their employees and whether they use a psychiatrist or sociologist to measure the unhappiness of an employee as a measure of trustworthiness.'"

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White House Plumbers? (4, Informative)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 3 years ago | (#34876644)

It's not like this sort of thing hasn't been tried before [wikipedia.org] . I'm sure it will work about as well now as it did then.

Re:White House Plumbers? (3, Funny)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 3 years ago | (#34876714)

That's the US Government's motto: "If it worked the first time, you didn't fuck it up enough."

Re:White House Plumbers? (1)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 3 years ago | (#34876936)

Shhhh... You're interrupting The X-Factor!

Re:White House Plumbers? (3, Interesting)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 3 years ago | (#34876946)

Actually, it has been tried several times before. It's part of the reason that the federal workforce as a rule have traditionally been so paranoid, rule/regulation obsessed, focused heavily on protocol, reluctant to change or innovate, etc. When you're walking on eggshells, no one wants to be the one hopping. It makes for a bureaucracy that's hopelessly mired in CYA (Cover Your Ass) politics.

Once again, in trying to improve government, they'll only make it more ineffective--and make it even less attractive to any real talent. The vets who spend all day covering their asses will just hunker down and hide, and the innovators who are making waves will be driven out.

Demotivation (1)

khasim (1285) | more than 3 years ago | (#34877972)

http://www.despair.com/demotivation.html [despair.com]

I recommend we start a fund to send those plaques to any department even thinking about implementing this.

Bad Idea (4, Insightful)

Advocatus Diaboli (1627651) | more than 3 years ago | (#34876670)

Governing systems without implicit trust of the vast majority of its employees are disasters waiting to happen.

Re:Bad Idea (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34876874)

Exactly that. If you treat me with implicit trust, I have an obligation to be worthy of it. If you don't, I don't owe a damn thing, and you may not get anything more than what you can make me do, which is inevitably a lot less than i would have done on my own.

Re:Bad Idea (0, Flamebait)

Dishevel (1105119) | more than 3 years ago | (#34878534)

Wish you would have not posted anonymously. Then I would know who not to hire. You must think that the jobs that are given out are your right to have. It is not. No one OWES you anything. No one OWES you respect, or a job, or even a break. Sometimes people get things without working for them. That dose not mean they are owed. In my case I would attempt to hire people driven to do a good job by their own personal pride. Hell. I think personally that if you are doing a job and not taking pride in your work because you don't like your boss or some shit like that then you are worthless.

A person should be judged by who they are when things are not going well. Judging a person by how they act when all is going their way is stupidity. You are what you are at your worst. Not your best.

That's not what this is (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 3 years ago | (#34877598)

It's simply finding out who is not happy. Thegovernment trusts a large majority of ti's employees, and a vast majority of the employees trust there employeer.

And group of people goes through this, whether sits a corporation or a government agency. Something happens, the organization responds, things get better, then something happens.

It's jsut part of have a lot of humans working together.

Usually, the government does it far more reasonably and productive then corporation.

Naturally the government is actually many branches, many agency and many people. So there will be exceptions.

Re:That's not what this is (4, Insightful)

Hatta (162192) | more than 3 years ago | (#34878006)

And what are they going to do when they find unhappy employees? Are they going to find out why they are unhappy and see what they are going to do to help? Or are they going to fire them? If it's the latter, then we've got unhappy employees with an incentive to lie to keep their jobs. Now you *can't* trust your employees anymore.

Happiness is Mandatory. Trust the Computer. (2)

Tackhead (54550) | more than 3 years ago | (#34878424)

And what are they going to do when they find unhappy employees?

Happiness is mandatory. Trust the Computer!

Your mission, PET-R-GUN, involves a bit of defective work. You and your team of troubleshooters are to locate all of the unhappy employees working in Federal Complex!

Are they going to find out why they are unhappy and see what they are going to do to help? Or are they going to fire them?

Unhappy employees are to be fired On. which basis they're to be fried is up to you.

Note: Any typographical errors in mission briefings are doubtless the result of commie pinko mutant traitors, and certainly not the fault of speech-to-text processing software running on the Computer.

Do you see any typographical errors or potential ambiguities in your mission briefing, PET-R-GUN? (No? Good! You're doing better than your last clone!)

Now carry out your mission, Citizen! Trust the Computer! The Computer is your Friend!

It only takes one (1)

mangu (126918) | more than 3 years ago | (#34877734)

Governing systems without implicit trust of the vast majority of its employees are disasters waiting to happen.

The question is how vast? If they have the trust of (all - 1) of their employees leaks will happen.

Re:It only takes one (2)

BobMcD (601576) | more than 3 years ago | (#34878154)

So design the system to operate with as few secrets as humanly possible, and brace for the rest.

People are untrustworthy by their very nature.

Doesn't Figure (0)

Mikkeles (698461) | more than 3 years ago | (#34876672)

So, someone who's just had a death in the family is now untrustworthy because they're unhappy?

Re:Doesn't Figure (2)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 3 years ago | (#34876828)

So, someone who's just had a death in the family is now untrustworthy because they're unhappy?

Are you stupid or did you just deliberately misread the summary? They are not talking about generic unhappiness, they are talking about being unhappy with your job/management. Someone who expresses unhappiness with government policies is likely to be security risk when it comes to government secrets. Conceptually, this is not a bad idea. Whether it is executed in a manner that is sensible is a completely different question.

Re:Doesn't Figure (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34877058)

They are not talking about generic unhappiness, they are talking about being unhappy with your job/management.

So, complaining about your boss might get you fired? Now there's a recipe for mismanagement waiting to happen.

There's a demotivational poster [despair.com] in there somewhere...

Re:Doesn't Figure (5, Insightful)

ultranova (717540) | more than 3 years ago | (#34877460)

Someone who expresses unhappiness with government policies is likely to be security risk when it comes to government secrets. Conceptually, this is not a bad idea.

Yes, it is. It means that someone who is unhappy will simply hide his opinions, which of course gives him more reasons to be unhappy: "I'll be fired if I don't toe the party line! I'm being oppressed!" And of course he's quite right, whether his original problem had any basis in reality or not. This means that not only does this not solve the problem, but will actually make it worse, as well as puts a chilling effect on freedom of expression.

Yet another bright idea from our brave leaders worthy of a Dilbert Award.

Re:Doesn't Figure (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 3 years ago | (#34877706)

No, he iosn't qute right. they don't put some guy on the floor to remove anyone who questions 'the party line' whatever the hell that is.

They work to find a solution. Maybe is just an incorrect perception? Maybe there in an actual issue in management that needs addressing. maybe a policy is bad. Maybe the person is really disgruntled?

I've seen this sort ogf thing in action. Both in the public and private sector. Usually the private sector it turns into a witch hunt, in the public sector people actually get listened to and change is made.

Yes, Yes, I can list exception to this, I am talk about a large majority of the time.

Disclaimer: I currently work for a city government. I have also worked private sector.

I have to say, I have been able to express myself more freely then I ever could in most corporations.
I have literal told a elected city official precisely why they are wrong about something. They listened, understood and changed policy. Latter they thanked me. Try doing the with most C*O. You're likely to be ignored and released for some dept. 'cut backs' next qtr.

Re:Doesn't Figure (2)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 3 years ago | (#34877876)

I have worked with people who are the type they are looking for (or at least the type they should be looking for). They are a cancer in the workplace. One place I worked, the entire department this person worked in was depressing to be around. They always viewed every management initiative in the worst possible light. The person quit for another job, within a month the department was much more upbeat and had a positive attitude. If nothing else, getting this person to not poison the waters for everyone else would be a positive thing.
This should not be aimed at people who have legitimate issues with management which they take through the appropriate channels (which certainly should exist), but at those people who view everything said and done by upper management as bad. Now, whether it will actually be implemented this way is another question. If it is implemented properly than the person who says "I'll be fired if I don't toe the party line! I'm being oppresse!" is exactly the ones who this should be targeting. Of course, if it isn't implemented correctly, they will quickly lose many of their good people.
I do not have a lot of faith in the government implementing it correctly, but that doesn't mean that the idea is inherently bad.

Re:Doesn't Figure (3, Funny)

Hatta (162192) | more than 3 years ago | (#34878102)

This should not be aimed at people who have legitimate issues with management which they take through the appropriate channels (which certainly should exist), but at those people who view everything said and done by upper management as bad.

What if everything done by upper management IS bad? Then this policy ousts the exact people you need to fix the problem.

Re:Doesn't Figure (1)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 3 years ago | (#34878498)

If everything done by upper management in government is bad, the only way to fix it is at the next election. BTW, my impression of this policy is not that they are going to oust these people, merely restrict their access to classified data.

Re:Doesn't Figure (1)

pla (258480) | more than 3 years ago | (#34877594)

Someone who expresses unhappiness with government policies is likely to be security risk when it comes to government secrets.

No, someone dumb enough to express their unhappiness with government policies to their boss the government, most likely does not pose a serious security risk.

The guys who find our government reprehensible enough to want to do something about, and have the savvy to actually accomplish something on the scale of Manning, will keep their heads down, smile, and give all the "right" answers to any tests of their cheerfulness and loyalty.

Re:Doesn't Figure (2)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 3 years ago | (#34877986)

This is not a plan to root out the spies, this is a plan to weed out those who over time come to decide they are going to release secrets in order to get payback for a perceived slight or to force the government to change policies.
My impression of Manning (which is not based on much, I was not interested enough to read many articles which talked about his motivations) is that he was the sort who expressed general dissatisfaction with the world and then realized he was in a position to get some of his own back.

Re:Doesn't Figure (2)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 3 years ago | (#34878004)

[quote]Whether it is executed in a manner that is sensible is a completely different question.[/quote]

That's the key problem. I really don't have faith that the currently available methods of determining trustworthiness are reliable.

Re:Doesn't Figure (1)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 3 years ago | (#34878136)

Well obviously, otherwise we would not be having this discussion because the Wikileaks incident would not have occured.

Disgruntled != Unhappy (4, Insightful)

timeOday (582209) | more than 3 years ago | (#34877018)

The normal word to use in this context is "disgruntled." Disgruntled employees are security risks because they may be out for revenge. No, that wouldn't include somebody unhappy because of a death in the family - unless I guess they were so distraught as to be demonstrably unhinged.

Obviously the summary (and the story) use the word "unhappy" to make it seem (more?) unreasonable than it is, as usual.

Re:Disgruntled != Unhappy (2)

AlecC (512609) | more than 3 years ago | (#34877624)

As occurred in a company I worked for, where an employee in one of the overseas sales offices responded to being dumped by his girlfriend by going into the office and throwing the computer with the main sales database into the canal. He wasn't. so far as I know, pissed of with the company but with the whole world. But the company suffered.

Backups? Outlying offices don't have IT staff who think of that. But a data recovery company retrieved the data - expensively.

Someone with a sense of grievance can take out their anger in strange ways.

Re:Doesn't Figure (1)

Magada (741361) | more than 3 years ago | (#34877608)

Yes, basically. People who are depressed may act out their depression, generally in (self-)destructive ways. Doing something that can get you fired certainly qualifies.

Malcontents? (2)

wjousts (1529427) | more than 3 years ago | (#34876686)

I hope they are also going to be looking for ne'er do wells?

Re:Malcontents? (1)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 3 years ago | (#34876734)

Can't forget about the hooligans...they're the ones causing all the ruckus (presumably, down at the docks.)

Re:Malcontents? (2, Insightful)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 3 years ago | (#34876900)

I hope they are also going to be looking for ne'er do wells?

"Malcontents" and "ne'er do wells"? Jesus Christ, this is America. The line forms over here.

Re:Malcontents? (1)

longhairedgnome (610579) | more than 3 years ago | (#34877272)

Behind the queue?

Happiness is mandatory (4, Funny)

Lazareth (1756336) | more than 3 years ago | (#34876696)

Insufficient happiness will be punished by termination.

not in a gov job but they can give you a shit job (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34876746)

not in a gov job but they can give you a shit job.

From now on you are janitor / maintenance.

Re:not in a gov job but they can give you a shit j (1)

Lazareth (1756336) | more than 3 years ago | (#34876760)

Depends on what gov job we're talking about and what we mean by 'termination'.

Re:not in a gov job but they can give you a shit j (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 3 years ago | (#34877392)

When they really want you to quit, they'll make you a Windows sysadmin.

Re:not in a gov job but they can give you a shit j (1)

BobMcD (601576) | more than 3 years ago | (#34878308)

...insensitive clod...

Re:Happiness is mandatory (2)

ckblackm (1137057) | more than 3 years ago | (#34876820)

The beatings will continue until morale improves!

Re:Happiness is mandatory (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34877374)

As a federal government contractor myself I think this is a really ass-backward approach. I work in a group with pretty low morale. Turnover rate is over 200% each year, almost all voluntary, but to imply that we're going to betray the government because we don't like our private company is asinine. In fact, if anything during my darker moods I've thought about reporting (relatively trivial) breaches of protocol on our organization's part to the government just to make things hard on my employer. I've never thought about disclosing classified information. Clearances in this industry are your goddamn meal ticket for chrissake. You might not like your company, but you sure as hell like your clearance. You'd have to be at a point where either you knew something really terrible and were pushed by conscience or you were just so depressed that you wanted to hurt yourself to do something like that.

Re:Happiness is mandatory (1)

ArsenneLupin (766289) | more than 3 years ago | (#34877906)

You'd have to be at a point where either you knew something really terrible and were pushed by conscience or you were just so depressed that you wanted to hurt yourself to do something like that.

... or so drunk that you wanted to impress your mates at a party with your top sekrit knowledge...?

Unhappiness detectors (2)

just_another_sean (919159) | more than 3 years ago | (#34876708)

Maybe they should borrow some of these [slashdot.org] from the Japanese!

Thought Police (1)

hashwolf (520572) | more than 3 years ago | (#34876716)

Soon, if you'd like to keep your job you MUST also like it.

Re:Thought Police (1)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | more than 3 years ago | (#34876860)

"Do you like your pay cut? Do you? Do you? Here's a polygraph, never mind its legality. There ARE FOUR LIGHTS."

Re:Thought Police (1, Insightful)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 3 years ago | (#34877004)

Soon, if you'd like to keep your job you MUST also like it.

Excuse me, but it's been this way in private industry for quite some time.

"We're wondering if you're happy in your job here with Megacorp."?

""Happy"? You've just asked me to work an additional 2 hours a day for no extra pay and weekends and you've increased my health insurance co-pays, and laid off half of my department and put their work on me, and I'm sitting in a fucking cubicle with fluorescent lights above my head that are strobing at a frequency guaranteed to make give me a psychotic break and I just spent 3 hours in a fucking team-building meeting while I've got a stack of work on my desk and deadlines that will keep me here all day Saturday and half of Sunday and I just read in Business Week that the CEO has been given a bigger stock option plan because of the company's record profits after telling me that due to "cost-cutting" I won't be getting a raise for the sixth year in a row. You want to know if I'm FUCKING HAPPY??? I'll show you fucking happy..." [takes out Glock 9mm with extended magazine as seen on TV]

Re:Thought Police (2)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 3 years ago | (#34877356)

I guess it must suck to have a junior position.

Re:Thought Police (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 3 years ago | (#34877940)

I guess it must suck to have a junior position.

Friend, everyone has a "junior position".

Re:Thought Police (2)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 3 years ago | (#34877414)

For further examples, see: people who say they're unhappy with their jobs on social media sites.

Will they ask about party affiliation next? (2)

craftycoder (1851452) | more than 3 years ago | (#34876726)

This is going to end badly for us all. Bureaucrats should be hired and fired based on their ability, not some arbitrary reactionary bloodletting done by party hacks.

Re:Will they ask about party affiliation next? (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 3 years ago | (#34877444)

Bureaucrats should be hired and fired based on their ability

Are people at your company hired and fired "based on their ability"?

Are they promoted "based on their ability"?

Re:Will they ask about party affiliation next? (1)

craftycoder (1851452) | more than 3 years ago | (#34878242)

Was that a rhetorical question?
The answer is obviously yes. There is always a little bit of nepotism, the boss's step-son hangs around doing nothing, but otherwise, of course, ability is the most important metric of success or failure at my company.

Ignore the real problem (5, Insightful)

sheepofblue (1106227) | more than 3 years ago | (#34876756)

They are ignoring the real problem. Why did this guy have access to all of that? Why was the data not walled off some? Seems he had the ability to access and download data that was irrelevant for his job and THAT was the issue that made this such a problem.

Re:Ignore the real problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34876894)

No, the real problem was doing illegal stuff to begin with.

odd... (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34876912)

I thought the REAL problem was that the government is violating its own laws/treaties, lying to its citizens, etc...

I do agree, though, that going on a witch hunt for people who MIGHT not "go along w/the program" is definitely ignoring the real problem...

Re:Ignore the real problem (5, Insightful)

space_jake (687452) | more than 3 years ago | (#34877224)

The thought the real problem was they did some shit they didn't want people to find out about and then buried it. Sounds like the solution to the problem is, don't be a douche.

Re:Ignore the real problem (3, Insightful)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 3 years ago | (#34878570)

Besides, if the government hasn't done anything wrong, it should have nothing to hide? I mean, those rules work for citizens, why wouldn't they work for the government?

Re:Ignore the real problem (1)

AlecC (512609) | more than 3 years ago | (#34877704)

It is an overreaction to the report on 9/11, which showed that various different police and intelligence agencies had information which, if correlated, would have given a loud warning that something bad related to flying airplanes was being planned, and thus might have allowed preventive action. In the intelligence arena, you can never tell which bit of intelligence might match up with which other bit, So they reacted by building a huge database with absolutely everything in it. And then - the real mistake - they gradually opened the whole database up to more and more people. But it is very hard to decide, in such a huge and miscellaneous database intended to show up unexpected correlations, who is allowed to access what.

Re:Ignore the real problem (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 3 years ago | (#34877736)

Stop and think. Please. Do you think this is ALL there doing in the wake of that event? It isn't, this is just one part of it, and it's a smart one.

Ob AI Koan (4, Funny)

rlp (11898) | more than 3 years ago | (#34876804)

A disciple of another sect once came to Drescher as he was eating his morning meal.

"I would like to give you this personality test" said the outsider, "because I wish you to be happy."

Drescher took the paper that was offered to him and put it in the toaster, saying "I wish the toaster to be happy, too."

Hahaha! Cue the witch hunt in 5, 4, 3, 2 .... (4, Interesting)

erroneus (253617) | more than 3 years ago | (#34876812)

"Malcontents" are bred and created through bad, illegal, immoral or otherwise questionable behavior of players in government industry. That's why we call them "whistle blowers" when the public needs to know. They aren't "whistle blowers" when you seek to get rid of them though... they are malcontents, party-poopers or even "terrorists!"

This is and will be a witch hunt, however. Well meaning people who believe in the function and purpose of our government who haven't yet accepted that there is corruption beyond repair, are now to be pursued, persecuted and ejected from public service to better ensure that their dirty games can continue uninterrupted.

Re:Hahaha! Cue the witch hunt in 5, 4, 3, 2 .... (2)

Magada (741361) | more than 3 years ago | (#34877642)

Hopefully, yes. Then they will have even more reason to be malcontent, but no more illusions about fixing the system from within. It's a win-win, see?

Happy Workers! (1)

SoTerrified (660807) | more than 3 years ago | (#34876818)

My hope is that the psychiatrist or sociologist comes in, and measures the employees...

Boss: "Are they unhappy?"
Psych: "Yes!"
Boss: "Why?"
Psych: "The problem mainly seems to be dissatisfaction with the government"
Boss: "Ok, let the government know that all we need to do to prevent security breaches and minimize insider risk is to have an open, effective government. Problem solved!"

Re:Happy Workers! (4, Insightful)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 3 years ago | (#34877478)

"The problem mainly seems to be dissatisfaction with the government"

Tell them to stop spending so much time watching Fox News.

Re:Happy Workers! (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34877852)

"The problem mainly seems to be dissatisfaction with the government"

Tell them to stop spending so much time watching Fox News.

Oh, there's plenty of legitimate reasons to be dissatisfied with the government. Fox News just happens to provide all the non-legitimate ones.

Trustworthy? (2)

Errol backfiring (1280012) | more than 3 years ago | (#34876838)

I am feeling that "higher" trustworthiness means "lower" integrity. That is an awful foul definition of trust, especially in an "open" government.

This is my "I just got a big sack of cash" grin! (1)

shitetaco (1954742) | more than 3 years ago | (#34876854)

I'm sure I'd look really happy at my crap-paying government job if a guy named Boris (or Chen or Ahmed) had handed me a big fat sack of cash in return for a few secrets.

unhappiness != untrustworthy (4, Insightful)

confused one (671304) | more than 3 years ago | (#34876858)

[rant mode on]: Just because I'm unhappy, this does not make me untrustworthy. I trade on my experience, work ethic and reputation. I DO NOT violate trust. Not because I think I'm grossly underpaid. Not because I don't agree with my management. Not when I'm having a bad day. Not ever. This is an unrealistic measure that's likely going to unintentionaly bite good people in the ass.[rant mode off]

Re:unhappiness != untrustworthy (1)

memnock (466995) | more than 3 years ago | (#34877468)

those psych "tests" are pretty easy to game. i wouldn't be much worried about the tests. someone else mentioned the question of whether or not they're going to go down the road of thought police, starting with looking at your party affiliation. that's a little more worrisome to me.

Re:unhappiness != untrustworthy (1)

NoSig (1919688) | more than 3 years ago | (#34878606)

Problem is they can insert questions that will make it possible for them to tell if you are trying to game the system. An obvious one of those would be "have you ever lied?" - anyone saying no to that is gaming the test. They can make it less obvious than that and put in more than one question like that. Think about it this way: if you and a team of geniuses were given 5 years to make a test to root out malcontents and detect if someone is trying to game the test, are you quite sure you would utterly fail in that task?

Re:unhappiness != untrustworthy (1)

Magada (741361) | more than 3 years ago | (#34877694)

Ôishi, is that you?

Re:unhappiness != untrustworthy (4, Insightful)

ultranova (717540) | more than 3 years ago | (#34877910)

I DO NOT violate trust.

What will you do if, while working for the government, you come up with evidence of highly illegal activities by your higher-ups? You'll either publish the evidence and violate their trust, or not publish and thus help cover their crimes, thus violating the trust of the public who ultimately pay your paycheck.

Not violating trust is a fine principle, but it also allows corruption to continue unhindered. It also allows corporations to kill people through neglect like BP did. It allowed the Catholic Church to keep on protecting pdeophile priests for decades and pretend that this was a good thing. Or, to stop beating around the bush, it allowed Nazi death camps to operate despite every participant knowing perfectly well - judging by their own letters - that they were doing a horrible, vile thing.

Every organization needs people who are ready to betray it. Otherwise there's nothing stopping it from rotting to the very core.

Increase success (1)

gmuslera (3436) | more than 3 years ago | (#34876884)

Tell them what you are searching for and will find a lot of people, specially in places where everyone were happy before knowing that.

petition...Government for...redress of grievances (3, Insightful)

karlandtanya (601084) | more than 3 years ago | (#34876994)

OF COURSE the abusers of power in government don't want these people to have a place to speak, or anything substantive to say when they do speak. That's WHY this right is protected!

Who else but the people who are pissed off against you are going to petition for grievances?

And they have a right to do it, and they have a right to KNOW you're screwing them over--so that they CAN call you on your BS.

If you specifically select against malcontents, you're not protecting yourself against security risks. You're abridging a fundamental right.

Here's the text if you don't feel like looking it up. It's not like anybody got killed so you could have it:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Re:petition...Government for...redress of grievanc (1)

Sarten-X (1102295) | more than 3 years ago | (#34877698)

What happens when those petitions go unheeded?

What happens when the opposed policy is praised by other governments and people in high regard?

What happens when an already-disgruntled government employee with access to confidential documents sees one too many things go against them?

There's no infringement on free speech here. Any government employee can express any opinion they like about the government. That's never been in question. Instead, government employees who might be a security risk get moved away from confidential information, just like any sane person would move a pyromaniac away from flammable items. It's not an infringement of a perceived right to "say or do anything, anywhere, anytime, with no consequences". It's common sense.

How long until (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34876998)

The 2 minute hate sessions?

Re:How long until (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 3 years ago | (#34877710)

It's been renamed for political correctness reasons. It's called the voluntary 2 minute we-love-our-country session now. We'll recite the oath during it. Tests are conducted in schools as we speak.

waste of resources and used to persecute (2)

space_hippy (625619) | more than 3 years ago | (#34877108)

More HSPD12 crap. I went though a more invasive background check for a "position of public trust" than friends that got "secret" clearances. And everything I work on is public domain except for some private information from my contractor company.

If my government(USA) starts treating everyone like criminals they are going to start acting like criminals. Or is that to hard of a concept to understand for congress and the administration.

Too bad, so sad (3, Insightful)

lolococo (574827) | more than 3 years ago | (#34877114)

Funny to see how the US government is reacting to the Cablegate events in all the wrong ways. Instead of taking the opportunity to show the American people that it is a democratic government, and demonstrate for a change some measure of honesty and willingness to take a stand for people's freedom and rights, it simply makes it clearer by the minute what its intent is: grab the power, keep the power, perpetuate that situation and screw those who oppose it.

By these actions, this government, like those of most other countries, is making itself the enemy of the people. This may be a bleak world, but that's the only one we've got.

Re:Too bad, so sad (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 3 years ago | (#34877740)

As someone who had a pretty good view of communism (just 10 miles to the next communist country), it seems we're getting there, but at least with more entertaining TV program.

At least for now, we're working on that too.

Re:Too bad, so sad (1)

I8TheWorm (645702) | more than 3 years ago | (#34878086)

Whew! I'd love some entertaining TV... think we can sell them our reality programs?

Re:Too bad, so sad (1)

hoggoth (414195) | more than 3 years ago | (#34878550)

> As someone who had a pretty good view of communism (just 10 miles to the next communist country)

Sarah Palin, is that you?

The feds could stop this with a very simple law (-1, Troll)

MikeRT (947531) | more than 3 years ago | (#34877204)

It would only take a few pages....

1) If a court of law determines that a piece of information was properly classified as Secret or Top Secret...

2) for Secret you face life in prison.

3) for Top Secret, you face execution.

4) upon proper conviction, the federal government confiscates all of your earnings from the crime if they exist or confiscates an amount from your estate equal to what is confirmed was promised you by a foreign government.

5) Your spouse and children, by law, cannot receive any government services except public education for at least five years.

Before anyone accuses me of being vindictive with #5, allow me to explain...

Every so often we find citizens of Chinese extraction who have been violating the law for YEARS in Secret positions. It's always some low to mid level guy at Boeing or Lockheed who has been handing over schematics and other data for years. Native US citizens usually do it for money, hence #4. Naturalized US citizens usually do it out of lingering loyalties to their old culture (which often happens to be a much more family-oriented culture too). That is why the federal government has to target them with a culturally sensitive move by targeting their family. The federal government needs to target each type of threat at the place where their incentives are.

Re:The feds could stop this with a very simple law (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34877372)

5) Your spouse and children, by law, cannot receive any government services except public education for at least five years.

Wonderful! Just like North Korea!

Feh, I was getting sick of justice and due process anyway. I'd much rather live in a sanitized society like North Korea.

Re:The feds could stop this with a very simple law (1)

AlecC (512609) | more than 3 years ago | (#34877796)

#5: So fire service will refuse to protect their house, police will refuse to defend them, they cannot get driving license, they cannot access the courts, children/parents cannot access life-critical Medicare/Medicaid. Sounds pretty Stalinist to me.

Simple solution (1)

Arancaytar (966377) | more than 3 years ago | (#34877238)

Put out a memo requiring everybody to smile all day in the office, on pain of being fired.

Morale will skyrocket.

Re:Simple solution (2)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 3 years ago | (#34877760)

And Friday will be funny hat day.

I somehow don't feel like playing Paranoia anymore. It feels too much like home more and more.

Why not just stop doing illegal and immoral things (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34877280)

I'm sure the employees would be much happier, and less likely to leak - wait - what would be there to leak if they stopped doing those first 2 things?

looking at this the wrong way (1)

Nidi62 (1525137) | more than 3 years ago | (#34877298)

This isn't an attempt to get rid of people before they leak stuff like Bradley Manning, this is simply an attempt to reduce the bureaucracy! I mean think about it, have you ever seen a happy bureaucrat? No, they're all miserable and depressed. This is actually just a way to reduce manpower and costs without Congress having to lose face by making huge budget costs! People always complain the government is too big and bloated, and wastes too much money, but when the government does something about it, they still complain!

They should just give all the employees Soma (1)

Low Ranked Craig (1327799) | more than 3 years ago | (#34877312)

After all, a gramme is better than a damn.

Now who's dumb enough to answer this truthfully? (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 3 years ago | (#34877396)

Essentially the question they're asking is "is contracting you a security risk?" Now what company head in his sane mind would answer yes?

Predictable effect (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34877500)

The effects of Wikileaks were always predictable: loss of freedom.

A small, targeted leak of a horrifying act might change public policy (eg: CoIntelPro revelations). But anyone who thinks that such a massive leaks will benefit us doesn't live in the real world. The evidence is plain to see: the Wikileaks event has changed absolutely nothing, except more controls being implemented.

In the future, I expect most documents to have invisible watermarks, such that leakers will be quickly identified.

If Assange had a more realistic and strategic view of things, he might have had a much more positive effect. As it is, his actions only hurt us.

Re:Predictable effect (1)

AlecC (512609) | more than 3 years ago | (#34877914)

With respect to the current set of leaks, allegedly via Bradley Manning, I entirely agree. Even if one had an appropriate court and perfect witnesses, who would be prosecuted for the things revealed? Diplomats lie. Other diplomats know that. The Manning leaks are merely gossip, on an international rather than local scale.

This differs sharply from the earlier leaks of helicopters allegedly shooting down civilians. That could, in a perfect world, lead to trials for war crimes. In an imperfect world, they can at least be tried by public opinion.

The Manning leaks have severely damaged Wikileaks in my view. What they /were/ doing was revealing information in the public interest. What they /are/ doing is revealing information that the public is interested in, which is not at all the same thing. And Assange has become a publicity whore.

Thought Police (0)

OwMyBrain (1476929) | more than 3 years ago | (#34877832)

Hurray the Thought Police are being deployed! Now we can all rest happily!

I hope you like the Status Quo, because it seems that anyone unhappy with it will now be ousted from governmental positions where they could have had a chance to make things better.

Sometime (2, Informative)

geekoid (135745) | more than 3 years ago | (#34877848)

an article will come up in /,. abuot something I know fairly well. This is one of those times.

It's a stark reminder that you're mostly a bunch of ignoramuses that spout off about crap you know nothing about.

What the majority of posters think this is, it's effectiveness, and out come would be laughable if those ideas didn't spread ignorance about the US government; which despite it's flaws is one of the best governments in the world.

It treats the peple it works for well, it works to protect the rights of it's people, and has almost no corruption.

Its not perfect, and of course there are exception, but look at the whole and it's pretty good. We can do better, and we will.

Trustiness (2)

dzerkel (89036) | more than 3 years ago | (#34877998)

enough said.

Barred Entry (2)

Cruciform (42896) | more than 3 years ago | (#34878094)

I expect that once Twitter hands over user data to the US regarding followers of WikiLeaks that a lot of us will be barred entry from the country. I don't especially care, but it could inconvenience many.

Oddly there are people who would say "You're paranoid, that wouldn't happen." despite years of people being unable to board airplanes because of a vague list.

Re:Barred Entry (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34878580)

I expect that once Twitter hands over user data to the US regarding followers of WikiLeaks that a lot of us will be barred entry from the country. I don't especially care, but it could inconvenience many.

Yeah, you only leave your parents' basement to drive across the border to buy undies once a year anyway... you can always turn them inside out.

Ah, Yes, malcontents... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34878122)

Those annoying people that won't shut up about the sociopathic executive that runs a routinely over-budget, under-performing department where funds and assets magically disappear, women are sexually harrased; employees are bullied into working 60+ hour, 40 hour work weeks; no one has the authority to actually make decisions about how to do their own job, and where security breaches are frequent, internal, political, petty, and passed off onto scapegoats. Yep, those malcontents are the problem.

I'm sorry; that hit a bit of a sore spot.

Re:Ah, Yes, malcontents... (1)

PPH (736903) | more than 3 years ago | (#34878612)

That did it, Mr AC. We'll be watching you.

mod 04 (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34878390)

Fucking surprise, people already; I'm take a llok at the flaws in the BSD

I can think of a better solution. (1)

Steauengeglase (512315) | more than 3 years ago | (#34878514)

While not handing out security clearances to every Tom, Dick and Harry is a good start, you also have to ask what makes a malcontent in the first place.

In the end malcontents either crave attention or you bred them. If you want to breed the perfect malcontent just apply the Bobby Kotic method:

I think we definitely have been able to instill the culture, the skepticism and pessimism and fear that you should have in an economy like we are in today. And so, while generally people talk about the recession, we are pretty good at keeping people focused on the deep depression.

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