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State Dept. Employee Investigated For Linking To WikiLeaks

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the don't-point-at-things-either dept.

United States 172

New submitter Jimme Blue writes "An employee of the State Department is under investigation and may be fired for 'disclosing classified information.' Or, as others might call it, posting a link to WikiLeaks. 'His crime, he said, was a link he posted on August 25 in a blog post discussing the hypocrisy of recent U.S. actions against Libyan leader Muammar Qadaffi. The link went to a 2009 cable about the sale of U.S. military spare parts to Qadaffi through a Portuguese middleman. ... The State Department investigators, he said, demanded to know who had helped him with his blog and told him that every blog post, Facebook post, and tweet by State Department employees had to be pre-cleared by the Department prior to publication."

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172 comments

Drone Attack! (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37576784)

He wants to be careful he may be the next drone attack victim.

Re:Drone Attack! (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37577410)

This is a funny post, but don't for a second think that this isn't the direction we're heading.

Re:Drone Attack! (3, Interesting)

FriendlyLurker (50431) | more than 2 years ago | (#37577496)

"direction we're heading" Already there, no!? [salon.com] All that is needed is a slightly more trigger happy president sitting on the now live "Kill anyone without due process button" (see linked article re:Rick Perry or Michele Bachmann)

What classified information? (3, Insightful)

WiglyWorm (1139035) | more than 2 years ago | (#37576798)

Can anyone honestly pretend that information which has been leaked and posted on the internet still qualifies as classified?

Also, hasn't the Govt. ever heard of the streisand effect?

Re:What classified information? (0)

sethstorm (512897) | more than 2 years ago | (#37576816)

It may be out in the open, but the information still has a classification.

Re:What classified information? (2)

rtfa-troll (1340807) | more than 2 years ago | (#37577042)

This is rediculous. The information is in the open so it's not classified. In fact it's even a security breach. Yes; there is the identical information in a State Department computer. The difference is that the stuff in Wikileaks is unverified. Nobody can prove it's the same stuff as in the State Department computer unless someone from the state department states that it is. In this case, the investigators are the people who should be investigated and charged with leaking the information by the act of announcing an investigation of a person who linked to public information.

The fact that bytes are identical does not mean they have identical meaning. The stuff in Wikileaks should be treated as unclassified. The stuff in the state department should not.

Re:What classified information? (2)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | more than 2 years ago | (#37577162)

The information is in the open so it's not classified.

That statement is a non-sequitur. Classification is label placed on information by the government which triggers certain rules regarding handling that information which by law must be observed by government employees. It is not necessarily correlated with the availability of the information.

Re:What classified information? (3, Insightful)

rtfa-troll (1340807) | more than 2 years ago | (#37577254)

The label applies to the document in the state department. It does not apply to the identical but different document in Wikileaks. Imagine, for example, the state department gets a copy of a Chinese military document (e.g. specifications of a newly coming fighter plane). The document will be classified by the state department. Now imagine the Chinese publish the document (e.g. because they want to market the plane). If you take the Chinese document and publish it; tell everyone about it and say whatever you want, the state department can do nothing. Although the information is identical to the classified information this copy is not classified. If, on the other hand, a person from the state department says "oh; we already had that document" then they may well have put a secret source at considerable risk because that person was the only person who could have leaked the document earlier. This is true, whatever the current status of the information in the document.

In other words; the crime is not linking to Wikileaks. There are two potential crimes; the first is transferring information from the government system to Wikileaks. The second and more easily verifiable crime is saying that linking to Wikileaks is a crime because you are thereby admitting that the documents are real State Department documents. The investigators and other people who are claiming to know that this information is classified are the most likely criminals here.

Re:What classified information? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37578146)

You are incorrect. The fact that the Govt had the document prior to it's being classified and how it got that document could very well keep the classification of the document intact. It's apparent you do not work with classified information nor should you....

Re:What classified information? (4, Insightful)

slackbheep (1420367) | more than 2 years ago | (#37577342)

I'm just going to submit that there is a certain expectation by the public that their government not behave in a manner best described as... fucking silly?

Re:What classified information? (1)

digitig (1056110) | more than 2 years ago | (#37578062)

As people gain experience in government dealings you will find that expectation gets reversed.

Re:What classified information? (3, Informative)

swalve (1980968) | more than 2 years ago | (#37577266)

Classified means the information has been put into a class. Classified doesn't mean "secret", it means "this information is [freely distributable | secret | top secret | 007 eyes only | etc.]". It it literally a work rule that details which information can be disseminated in what manner.

As for the argument where the State Dept. has to admit the stuff is the same thing, that is wrong too. The US gov't has said very clearly to its employees that the wikileaks stuff may contain material that has been classified as secret or above, and to avoid it if you want to keep your job.

Re:What classified information? (1)

rtfa-troll (1340807) | more than 2 years ago | (#37577484)

As for the argument where the State Dept. has to admit the stuff is the same thing, that is wrong too. The US gov't has said very clearly to its employees that the wikileaks stuff may contain material that has been classified as secret or above, and to avoid it if you want to keep your job.

A generic warning that you may lose your job because there may be classified information in a group of documents is completely separate from a legal action because of a specific document. Anybody can warn in a reasonable way about almost anything and it has no real legal implication except for meaning that people have no possibility for using ignorance as a mitigating factor if they are found to breach a rule. In order to launch a legal investigation against a person you need a specific accusation of a breach of a specific rule. That means that they are either admitting that this particular link breaches classification rules or they are carrying out an investigation on false pretenses.

Re:What classified information? (1)

ChrisMaple (607946) | more than 2 years ago | (#37577498)

As of about 1980, the last time I had a U.S. security clearance, I was aware of three levels of information that could not be divulged (there were other named factors, but they're not relevant here.) The levels were "classified", "secret", and "top secret".

Re:What classified information? (1)

ChrisMaple (607946) | more than 2 years ago | (#37577534)

My memory failed me. The proper lowest grade is "confidential", not "classified" which covers the whole scale. I apologize, my error.

Re:What classified information? (1)

fenriswf (597461) | more than 2 years ago | (#37577616)

Top Secret > Secret > Confidential > Restricted >Unclassified.

Re:What classified information? (1)

rsagris (831741) | more than 2 years ago | (#37578132)

Restricted is only used by other NATO countries but is not actually used as an official classification by the US. The closest we have, but it isn't directly equivalent, is FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY (FOUO).

Re:What classified information? (3, Interesting)

drolli (522659) | more than 2 years ago | (#37577200)

Moreover, if you are an employee of the state department and you link to it you add credibility to it. AFAIU no official ever commented whether the wikileaks materials are correct and complete. Nobody guarantees that there was no deliberate misinformation introduced.

Re:What classified information? (5, Interesting)

gandhi_2 (1108023) | more than 2 years ago | (#37576888)

Just because something classified is leaked doesn't mean it automatically loses its classification.

The requirements for declassification are pretty strict, and few people (relatively) can authorize it. If leaking was all that was necessary, everyone would do it just to avoid the hassle of the classified computer systems.

The government knows you can't get the genie back into the bottle, the cat into the bag, or the National Geographic back into its paper sleeve. They aren't stupid.

At the very least, you are looking at losing your security clearance for looking at stuff beyond your scope of work or security clearance level. This could cost him his job.

As far as criminal prosecution goes, that would be stupid.

I know you guys like to think all info should be open and free but the REAL world doesn't work like that. Countries have secrets.

Re:What classified information? (2)

maxume (22995) | more than 2 years ago | (#37576934)

I know you guys like to think all info should be open and free but the REAL world doesn't work like that. Countries have secrets.

That's pretty binary. The U.S. government seems to have an awful lot of unnecessary secrets, giving those trumpeting transparency plenty to spout about.

Re:What classified information? (1)

Oxford_Comma_Lover (1679530) | more than 2 years ago | (#37577080)

Losing his job for looking at it would be stupid, since it's been leaked. Losing his job for linking to it, on the other hand, is a completely different situation, because it means someone cleared for the information was pointing someone else to it when it was still classified--and because IIRC, pretty much everyone in government was warned not to do it.

Frankly, a very strong reprimand and instruction to take it down is the minimum punishment is order. A reduction in security clearance might be appropriate. Prosecution seems a little harsh to me, since in this particular case everybody knew about the leaked information anyway, but it wouldn't seem at all harsh to the people responsible for maintaining secrecy.

Re:What classified information? (1)

nausicaa (461792) | more than 2 years ago | (#37577082)

I can understand what you say about it still being classified..

That being said.. Regardless of this being how it works in the real world, someone caught with their hand in the cookie jar/up a girl's dress/whatever shouldn't cry about how wrong it is to release those secrets. Did something wrong and got caught? Boohoo, get in line and get your ass spanked. This is when I like to use the words often used by people who don't like others using encryption etc.. If you have nothing to hide.. ;) That cuts both way, just so you know it. Just because the secret is a national one, or has been deemed classified, it just doesn't mean that whatever wrongdoing it pertains to is suddenly not something to be punished. I don't really care if the secret is one that could topple the government. Can't live with the consequences? Don't do it. Simple as that.

Once again, if he did something he wasn't supposed to and got caught, well, he has himself to blame. That goes for everyone, including governments and their assorted skeletons.

Re:What classified information? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37577198)

Information published in a public accessible way is not a secret.

Re:What classified information? (2)

swalve (1980968) | more than 2 years ago | (#37577296)

That doesn't change how the government views the information. The classifications of "secret" and "top secret" and the rest are just labels that specify how to handle the information. They are not literal definitions.

Re:What classified information? (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 2 years ago | (#37577950)

The requirements for declassification are pretty strict, and few people (relatively) can authorize it. If leaking was all that was necessary, everyone would do it just to avoid the hassle of the classified computer systems.

What? I don't think anyone here is suggesting that leaks should be legal, but once it's already leaked there's no use in pretending that it isn't out there. Information the public has should be declassified automatically. That has no bearing on whether giving information to the public should be legal or illegal.

Why so many politicial stories here at Slashdot? (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37576904)

Why the hell are there so many stories here at Slashdot that are almost purely political in nature, with virtually no relevance whatsoever to technology, or science, or computing, or math?

Sure, this story involves the Internet to some small degree, but it's about 1% of the total issue. The story before this is about some American drone killing some American citizen in some third-world country. Again, the science/technology/computing/math aspect of it is extremely minor.

Basically everyone in the world, even including many Americans, already know that American politics are rather fucked up. If we wanted to read about that sort of crap, we'd go to CNN's web site. We're here at Slashdot, however, because we're interested in discussing technical matters. Can't we go back to having at least some relevant discussion here, rather than politics all day long?

Re:Why so many politicial stories here at Slashdot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37576940)

"Stuff that matters". Sure, we're nerds, but we're part of the world around us.

Re:Why so many politicial stories here at Slashdot (1)

tech4 (2467692) | more than 2 years ago | (#37576998)

Yeah, from the beginning (I think it was his words) Slashdot was more like CmrdTaco's own blog.. And it still is.

Re:Why so many politicial stories here at Slashdot (1)

swalve (1980968) | more than 2 years ago | (#37577318)

It isn't "news for nerds & stuff that matters", it is "news for nerds, stuff that matters". The second clause describes the first, it doesn't add to it. It can be read more like "This website contains news for nerds, you know, the stuff that really matters."

Re:Why so many politicial stories here at Slashdot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37577074)

Everything is political as soon as more than 2 persons are involved.

Yes (1)

pavon (30274) | more than 2 years ago | (#37577172)

When a supposed leak appears there is still some amount of uncertainty about whether the leak is authentic or not. Furthermore, there is the issue that several pieces of sensitive information may be unclassified on their own, but when combined become classified. So it may be prudent to classify some previously sensitive but unclassified data upon the release of other data.

Each individual person who works with classified data doesn't always have the whole picture, and are thus not in a position to judge whether they are causing additional harm by confirming that leaked information is authentic, or worse by providing additional commentary on the subject. People who are aware of the full picture need to assess the impact of the initial leak before determining the best course of action. This is why we have explicit declassification and review-and-approval procedures for public comments on sensitive information.

While the wisdom (or speed) of some of these decisions may be questionable, commenting on leaked data when you hold a security clearance is unquestionably stupid, unless you are intentionally and publicly whistle-blowing, and are prepared to deal with the backlash.

Re:What classified information? (1)

Registered Coward v2 (447531) | more than 2 years ago | (#37577270)

Can anyone honestly pretend that information which has been leaked and posted on the internet still qualifies as classified? Also, hasn't the Govt. ever heard of the streisand effect?

Unfortunately, the release of classified information, even if it has already been released, by someone not authorized to release it is still a violation of the laws governing classified material; something made clear in every security brief I have attended.

While it seems ridiculous, it is the law - until it is formally declassified or you are authorized to release it, you can't release it. Even if all the material is unclassified, if the document containing it is classified, it still falls under those rules.

Now, IMHO, linking to a post is not a release; but that's a different argument than "its already been released so what I did was OK."

Re:What classified information? (2, Insightful)

onyxruby (118189) | more than 2 years ago | (#37577940)

Your logic is akin to saying that just because your health, financial, academic or other private records are magically now everyone's business just because they have been posted online.

Your financial records are still your /private/ financial records and should stay that way regardless of the fact that your financial records may have been sold on the black market. Just because someone has leaked a piece of data does not magically change the nature of that data.

Somehow I think you would be singing a different tune if it was your private data that had been posted for the world to see. I really hope you don't work in finance, academia, health or other similar industries.

Where are they waiting for? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37576800)

Send a written request for every possible publication. If they all do it, its most likely going to be allowed without publication soon enough.

Re:Where are they waiting for? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37577010)

It'd be like that if you had rational people everywhere in gov't bureaucracy. As it is, the few poor grunts who man the "permissions" desk would simply take forever to go through the pile. That's how governments normally work. It'd take many committee meetings and management changes to tweak such "simple" things.

Freedom of Speech (0)

gone.fishing (213219) | more than 2 years ago | (#37576808)

Since when does being a government employee interfere with your freedom of speech?

Re:Freedom of Speech (2, Informative)

chill (34294) | more than 2 years ago | (#37576848)

When you get a security clearance and get told explicitly not to do this.

Diplomats give up some freedoms (1)

drnb (2434720) | more than 2 years ago | (#37577072)

Since when does being a government employee interfere with your freedom of speech?

Since he volunteered to work for the State Department and work in a diplomatic function. When working as a diplomat any public statements can reflect upon the United States government, not you merely yourself as an individual.

Re:Diplomats give up some freedoms (1)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | more than 2 years ago | (#37577228)

Nobody is forcing you to accept a security clearance.

Part of the process is voluntarily signing a really strong non-disclosure agreement which is again a contract to not talk about certain things.

It's all purely voluntary. If you think that you are going to want to talk about these things, don't sign the agreement. Nobody is forcing you to do any such thing.

Do you americans tolerate that? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37576810)

Why aren't you doing sth. to stop your governemnt from all those wars, killings, rapes, child-tradings and other cruelties?

If you don't stand up right now, you're no better than all those 'clueless' Nazis!

Re:Do you americans tolerate that? (1)

poity (465672) | more than 2 years ago | (#37576976)

Well, honestly the US took a more backstage role in the whole Libya affair, before (during the embargo) and after (during the war). If one wishes to be righteously indignant, one should direct one's anger at France and UK this time around.

Re:Do you americans tolerate that? (1)

couchslug (175151) | more than 2 years ago | (#37576996)

"child-tradings"

Please elaborate.

Re:Do you americans tolerate that? (3, Interesting)

Serious Callers Only (1022605) | more than 2 years ago | (#37577558)

He probably means this:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/12/08/wikileaks-reveals-that-mi_n_793816.html [huffingtonpost.com]

This information about what your taxes are spent on was brought to you by Bradley Manning and wikileaks.

Re:Do you americans tolerate that? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37577762)

IF you want a real dose of Irony to go with this bitter pill, you should look into how the Taliban got such a strong hold in the hearts and minds of Afghan in the first place - by killing the warlords that perpetrate such disgusting practices....

Yes they do lots of disgusting things themselves - but the ones they replaced, and who are now being given back power by us, are equally as heinous.

Re:Do you americans tolerate that? (1)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 2 years ago | (#37577008)

Why aren't you doing sth. to stop your governemnt...

Because they'll come and take away our big screen TVs and SUVs and put us in a FEMA trailer and use us as medical experiments

Re:Do you americans tolerate that? (1)

Reservoir Penguin (611789) | more than 2 years ago | (#37577092)

Americans like their saying about price of freedom and how freedom is not free but in reality they are just like anyone else. Get a job, work on a career, lose your ideals and drown the meaninglessness of the bourgeoisie life in readily supplied entertainment. On a lighter note, according to official data every other American is overweight and every third is plain obese, they may own a shitload of guns but how do you expect them to wage an asymmetrical guerrilla war against the corrupt government for months, maybe years? I bet at least a half of the freedom fighters will die of heart attack within the first week.

Re:Do you americans tolerate that? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37577334)

they may own a shitload of guns

If you are this misinformed about one aspect of our culture, you might want to check out a few other aspects of that culture before posting again. Just saying. I don't know or care where you're from, but I can say that I wouldn't make sweeping comments about it unless I had some more facts at my command.

Re:Do you americans tolerate that? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37577134)

I didn't know the US government went around raping people. Oh, wait, you're just full of shit.

Re:Do you americans tolerate that? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37577310)

I guess that only happened during Vietnam then.

Re:Do you americans tolerate that? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37577458)

One could ask the same to the citizens of Syria, Russia, China, France.....

Re:Do you americans tolerate that? (1)

ehiris (214677) | more than 2 years ago | (#37577770)

We have more important issues. Like banning freedom of press and of speech.

ie Watch some Sopranos on A&E. Every problem is solved through someone being shot, yet they even ban the word ass. I fail to see how any spoken words are worse that the action of shooting someone.

Re:Do you americans tolerate that? (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 2 years ago | (#37577794)

You're exactly right. The average American today has absolutely no moral superiority to the average German in 1940.

I am (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37578172)

I am, but either they dismiss me, or if I get powerful enough, they throw me in gitmo, and what use am I there? So far, Wikileaks is one of our best hopes, as it raises mass awareness in a way that cannot be dismissed as the ravings of some blathering conspiracy nut. So right now, any information of value that I come across will be leaked to them, and I will point others to their information as much as possible. What other ideas do you have besides complaining?

Not Declassified (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37576828)

Just because a classified document is made public doesn't mean it automatically becomes declassified. If this person has a security clearance then he should know that. That is the rule. He had security awareness training on it updated yearly. He signed off on the training each time. It was impressed upon him when applying for his clearance. And if State is like the agency where I work we were given specific instructions about this exact scenario. The summary was "if you have a clearance, don't go there, don't link to it, don't read it, don't talk about it, just plain don't".

Considering he has 23 years in and this is really more of a case of being a sloppy idiot instead of espionage, they should just give him the option of retiring from Federal Service so he can keep his benefits and move on. A deal he can't refuse, so to speak.

Whats the problem (3, Informative)

voss (52565) | more than 2 years ago | (#37576838)

He while working for the state department gave credibility and verified leaked classified information in violation of state department policies. The fact that it was already out there in the public domain is irrelevant it has not been declassified.
He may get fired...a bit harsh but perfectly legal.

Re:Whats the problem (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37576906)

He didn't give information, he linked to it. An important distinction. It's like saying "I can't tell you, but just look over there to read it for yourself", and that's not illegal.

The Wikileaks URL is not classified.

Re:Whats the problem (1)

swalve (1980968) | more than 2 years ago | (#37577354)

A distinction without a difference. Linking is publishing. What you are saying is akin to "hey, I just dropped that bag of secrets into a garbage can, how was *I* supposed to know that the Soviet spy was going to pick it up?"

Re:Whats the problem (1)

ponchietto (718083) | more than 2 years ago | (#37577482)

Linking is publishing? Google is the editor of the world, and thereby responsible for everything.

What is he saying is: the information you look for is at the library.

Re:Whats the problem (5, Informative)

HBI (604924) | more than 2 years ago | (#37576908)

Moreover, we were all instructed not to search for, read or refer to the Wikileaks data, as it would be treated as disclosing or misusing classified data. Apparently, this guy can't take a warning seriously.

Re:Whats the problem (1)

king neckbeard (1801738) | more than 2 years ago | (#37577104)

Either that or he just ignores completely idiotic warnings.

Re:Whats the problem (1)

HBI (604924) | more than 2 years ago | (#37577168)

It's not idiotic when you hold a clearance and have to submit to an investigation every 5 to 10 years.

Those who do not hold such clearances think it not a big deal to get speeding tickets, misdemeanor convictions for bullshit crimes or take a few hits off some weed. Those who actually hold same cannot be so careless.

This gentleman is the idiot. Apparently, he didn't like his livelihood so he quit his job in the most painful way possible, and could end up in prison.

Re:Whats the problem (2)

king neckbeard (1801738) | more than 2 years ago | (#37577240)

Yes it is idiotic. The system defies all logic. You might argue that he was an idiot for not going along with the insanity while knowing the potential consequences, but I would disagree.

Re:Whats the problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37578154)

They wanted the information to be secret prior to it being posted. After it was posted, they still wanted it to be secret. Therefore, they wanted it to be reposted as few times as possible. The person they hired and gave clearance to decided he knew better than the contract he signed. They decided maybe giving him clearance wasn't such a good idea, and he got appropriately punished. I'm sorry you don't understand that. Once you get a real job and move out of the basement, it'll probably be a little more clear.

Prepublication Review (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37576896)

People may not like it, but anyone with a US security clearance has a requirement for "prepublication review". That usually applies to talking about your job or things you learned during your job. Since this guy worked for State, and he posted information about state, I think they have a good point. For all any of us know he knew about that Cable from seeing it at work. Just because it has been publicly disclosed does *not* mean it is not still classified. https://www.cia.gov/library/center-for-the-study-of-intelligence/kent-csi/docs/v41i3a01p.htm [cia.gov] http://www.nsa.gov/public_info/prepub/index.shtml [nsa.gov]

Re:Prepublication Review (4, Insightful)

Reservoir Penguin (611789) | more than 2 years ago | (#37577132)

So basically he is being punished for shouting that the king is naked.

Re:Prepublication Review (1)

swalve (1980968) | more than 2 years ago | (#37577374)

Well, yes. You have the right to shout that the king is naked, but you also can't be surprised if the king decides to hit you with a club.

Re:Prepublication Review (2)

dachshund (300733) | more than 2 years ago | (#37577798)

Well, yes. You have the right to shout that the king is naked, but you also can't be surprised if the king decides to hit you with a club.

In a democratic republic based on the rule of law, you should not have to worry about a king hitting you with a club.

Yes the law can, and is, being abused to produce this outcome. But that'ss an argument against the law as construed. It's not an argument in favor of the abuse.

Re:Prepublication Review (1)

pavon (30274) | more than 2 years ago | (#37578048)

If he gets charged with a crime you might have a point. As of now, the only punishment is that he might loose his job. Since his job requires holding a security clearance, and he obviously can't follow the rules about handling classified information, I don't see what the problem is.

Re:Prepublication Review (1)

morcego (260031) | more than 2 years ago | (#37578202)

"Hey, how about I call you an idiot in public and you can convict me
  for revealing state secrets."
                -- Matthew Stoner (to Garibaldi), "Soul Mates" (Babylon 5)

Why did Obama Administration continue cooperating? (1)

poity (465672) | more than 2 years ago | (#37576954)

So the Bush Administration began talking and cooperating with Qaddafi in exchange for his abandonment of nuclear ambitions. Perhaps the Obama Administration sought to continue this because they too saw the facts as it stood, that Qaddafi had a hard grip on his country and didn't look like he was going out of power any time soon, and thus cooperation and diplomacy was in order for the interests of the US. Contrary to what idealists on the internet may believe, diplomacy isn't just talk, it's backed up with some quid-pro-quo -- you have to throw a dog a bone if you want some tricks out of him.

Of course, the amount of military parts given by the US pales in comparison to the EU's arms export to Libya -- France, UK, Germany, Malta, and Belgium in particular [guardian.co.uk] Maybe they too thought they were getting some safety in return as well?

Re:Why did Obama Administration continue cooperati (1)

currently_awake (1248758) | more than 2 years ago | (#37577076)

Refugees. The average income in north Africa is around $1/day, in southern Europe it's around $100/day. As you can imagine there is a huge demand to move to the money. Southern Europe can't afford to take 5,000,000 migrants per year, they would collapse. Being a member of NATO requires a team player, meaning the USA must support its European allies- meaning payoffs to Qaddafi to stop the migrants.

Richard Nixon said it best! (1)

deodiaus2 (980169) | more than 2 years ago | (#37576994)

"The King shall do no wrong, meaning if the king does it, it is legal." -Richard Nixon as portrayed on ATT's biography in 1978.

He violated his clearance agreement. (4, Interesting)

GTarrant (726871) | more than 2 years ago | (#37577138)

If you don't have a security clearance, then posting such a link may not be a big thing. However, this gentleman did, and every time there is a major Wikileaks release we are reminded that the fact that it's released on Wikileaks does not change a clearance holder's contractual responsibility to protect classified information and that even linking to Wikileaks or talking about it at work could lead to our dismissal - and furthermore, that just because it's available on Wikileaks does not mean the information has been declassified.

Sometimes this is taken to ridiculous extremes - I once went to a public conference where we were informed that all US citizens had to treat a certain presentation as classified information - meanwhile, as a public conference with people attending from all over the world, those other people could do whatever they wanted with the information. It was clearly public knowledge, but US citizens present with clearances had to treat it as classified because the government said it was.

He may not go to jail, but he definitely violated the agreement he made with the government in exchange for his security clearance and will likely lose it. Unfortunately, that's something that will follow him around, and in many industries simply makes you unemployable.

Re:He violated his clearance agreement. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37577224)

ah, someone on slashdot who know's what they are talking about.

Re:He violated his clearance agreement. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37578308)

I can think of a reason for going to such ridiculous extremes. If you have to keep track of what part of the classified information you know can or cannot be told to others, it's easy to make mistakes and tell a bit more than you should. It's easier and more secure to just keep your mouth shut about it.

This logic can't be applied to hyperlinks, however, you can't accidentally disclose something you shouldn't by linking to something that is not on the web.

comparison (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37577194)

this is the kind of thing you normally see in 1980's movies about evil communist Russia.

Re:comparison (2)

swalve (1980968) | more than 2 years ago | (#37577390)

You missed the point of the movies. What made the communists evil wasn't that they punished people who violated their rules, but that they would make up phony violations, and then punish without due process.

Isn't corporate America the Same Way? (2)

PastTense (150947) | more than 2 years ago | (#37577208)

This individual gives his real name and states that he is an employee of the State Department on his blog.

Suppose instead he was a private employee of Firm X and stated so in his postings, and posted something strongly critical of Firm X? Doesn't everyone here expect he would be reprimanded or fired because of his behavior?

I thought the general rule was that if you identify yourself as an employee of Firm X, then anything you say publicly should be consistent with what the management of Firm X would say. That if you wish to criticize Firm X then you do it anonymously.

Can anyone clarify this about general business policies?

Re:Isn't corporate America the Same Way? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37577736)

The argument you give sounds good. There is one difference, this guy is essentially owned by the public. For certain there is a sector of the public that hates what he is saying, and he is speaking for them. So the bottom line is he has to keep his mouth shut.

I work in .gov, and it is common knowledge that you never say anything, mainly because there is a spiffy department completely devoted to that, and they are experts at dealing with the public and outside sector. I know of a case where a UNIX SA got fired for briefly describing our data center to one of those free tabloids at Starbucks. A good reason for firing him was that it wasnt his job to speak for our agency.

I understand the point of your argument, and perhaps it is true. It will take a few lawyers and lots of cash to find out, but I think you are right.

Damn you George Bush!!! (1)

Vinegar Joe (998110) | more than 2 years ago | (#37577214)

I hope that when Barack Obama is inaugurated we will have a change from your fascist policies! I can't wait for January 20, 2009 to come!

Anything to get him (1)

arielCo (995647) | more than 2 years ago | (#37577272)

just published a book that is critical of U.S. reconstruction projects in Iraq

a blog post discussing the hypocrisy of recent U.S. actions against Libyan leader Muammar Qadaffi

Looks more like the State Dept was looking for anything to get him for.

Re:Anything to get him (1)

Jiro (131519) | more than 2 years ago | (#37577418)

Looks more like the State Dept was looking for anything to get him for.

More reasonable alternate explanation: the same motivations which lead him to criticize US activities also led him to link to Wikileaks.

In other words, one is not an attempt to get him for the other--rather, he's a would-be activist and would-be activists like to do both of those things.

Suppose someone's arrested for robbing a bank. For the past month, he ranted to everyone who would listen about how evil banks are. It's possible that the police heard his speech and decided to prosecute him for the bank robbery as a result. But what's more likely is that the kind of person who talks about how evil banks are is more likely to rob one in the first place.

Re:Anything to get him (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37577688)

Ah, I see exactly what you're getting at. It's not OK for a government worker to not like the way things are -- they might CHANGE IT FOR THE BETTER.

Now that we've identified the situation, I think you can see the real problem is that the Hypocrisy existed in the first place, and that it's nearly impossible to hold the government accountable for anything.

End result: Eventually it's overthrown. Everything is cyclic, change can not be successfully resisted; To resist change is to sign your own death order.

Re:Anything to get him (1)

Jiro (131519) | more than 2 years ago | (#37577986)

What I'm getting at is that correlation is not causation. Just because someone said bad things about the government and then got investigated for leaking doesn't mean he was investigated because of his speech. It more likely means that his initial speech and his leaking had the same cause.

Re:Anything to get him (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37578318)

Congratulations to making the most retarded analogy I've ever had the bad luck to run across on slashdot. Someone talks about banks being evil, and then it's ok to prosecute the bugger for robbing such? Only in the incorporated states of america... Not to mention the completely baseless claim that such a person would be more likely to commit such an act. One would think a would-be robber would be a bit less interested in attracting attention... Geez.

Obama Pre-Crime Unit Strikes Again (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37577384)

And misses.

Obama and his State and Justice Deptos are such junk.

Next they will outlaw thinking on the job ... Bieden will be the role model there.

Look at the loozer Steven Chu. What a chink shit. He OKs a loan of $535 million using DoE money laundering tech to Solyndra, so they can conver 60% to cash as a pay-back through Bahamas banks, then kills Fermi Lab, which at $5 million per year budget, Chu Boy could have funded them for another 10 years.

But Noooo Hell Noooo. Our Chink Shit Chu Boy is on top game, just like his homi hero shit Obama Boy these days.

=

Re:Obama Pre-Crime Unit Strikes Again (1)

bbecker23 (1917560) | more than 2 years ago | (#37578046)

And that has been "Invalidating You Argument 101". Don't forget, there's a paper due on "Using 1940's Racial Slurs to Achieve Maximum Irrelevance". I hope to see very creative use of those ridiculous arguments.

The US Govt has been shown up (1)

Phoenix666 (184391) | more than 2 years ago | (#37577424)

and they'll do anything they can to try to stuff the genie back in the bottle, including abrogating our most cherished Constitutional rights. Everyone knows now, with no hearsay or he said, she said, how incompetent and compromised the American government is. You can't go back from there without at least a massive wave of reform. But Obama, the current Congress, and the SCOTUS have no interest in that whatsoever.

We are past the event horizon of a second American Revolution. The question is exactly how long and what form it will take.

Re:The US Govt has been shown up (1)

cpghost (719344) | more than 2 years ago | (#37577838)

Actually, I don't think the US Governments look all that bad in the cables. But maybe that's just me, having expected them to come out a LOT worse than they did. I haven't read all cables yet (of course), but what I've gathered from them so far is rather benign. Not all of it as morally crystal clear as one would hope, but neither is it all thuggery. IMHO, the US Govt. shouldn't worry about those cables. Furthermore, they are more or less ancient history by now.

Now, a leak in the CIA or NSA... that could prove to be a lot more embarrassing to the US Govt!

Re:The US Govt has been shown up (1)

HBI (604924) | more than 2 years ago | (#37578156)

The government's concern has little to do with how the USG appears - people will draw their own conclusions, as you just did. The concern was identifying sources. Information classification in large part has to do with concealing the source of intelligence information, as that revelation can have very negative impacts on the lifespan of the sources. If the sources can't trust you to keep secrets, they won't tell you anything. The utility is obvious.

I've often said, and maintain, that classified documents do not contain much more information than you get in open source journalism. It just names names, gives times and places with precision, and identifies sources. The level of precision scales with the classification label. Therefore, you'd draw mostly the same conclusions about the USG even without the classified disclosures.

fired? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37577548)

he should be killed with a Predator from a drone

Qaddafi (1, Interesting)

mooingyak (720677) | more than 2 years ago | (#37577786)

After seeing Qaddafi spelled 20 different ways in the news, I checked the wikipedia page for him and found this section [wikipedia.org]

I then wrote this dinky perl script. It generates a few illegal combinations, but it's still fun.


my @p1 = qw(Q G Gh K Kh);
my @p2 = qw(a e u);
my @p3 = qw(d dh dd ddh dhdh dth th zz);
my @p4 = qw(a);
my @p5 = qw(f ff);
my @p6 = qw(i y);

my @p = (\@p1,\@p2,\@p3,\@p4,\@p5,\@p6);

my $name = "";
foreach my $arr (@p) {
                my @a = @{$arr};
                my $num = int(rand(scalar(@a)));
                my $phen = $a[$num];
                $name .= $phen;
}

print $name . "\n";

Yeah, duh. (1)

Arancaytar (966377) | more than 2 years ago | (#37578152)

They're going after him on ridiculous grounds, but an employee should know better than to publically comment under his real name. They will always get you on something.

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