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How Does the CIA Keep Its IT Staff Honest?

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the vogonic-control dept.

Government 238

Tootech points out this story for anyone who's been curious about getting that top-secret clearance and the promise of a cushy pension from the CIA, as a reward for decades of blood-curdling, heart-pounding, knuckle-whitening IT service: "Be prepared to go through a lot of scrutiny if you want to work in the Central Intelligence Agency's IT department, says chief information officer Al Tarasiuk. And it doesn't stop after you get your top secret clearance. 'Once you're in, there are frequent reinvestigations, but it's just part of process here,' says Tarasiuk, who also gets polygraphed regularly, though he won't be more specific. For those senior IT managers who are the 'privileged users,' meaning system administrators, 'there is certainly more scrutiny on you,' Tarasiuk says. 'It's interesting: there's so much scrutiny that a normal person might not want to put up with that. But it's part of the mission.'"

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238 comments

WTF? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38410344)

What use would the CIA have for honest staff?

Re:WTF? (5, Funny)

AliasMarlowe (1042386) | more than 2 years ago | (#38410470)

What use would the CIA have for honest staff?

The rest of them need someone to practice their dishonesty on?

Re:WTF? (3, Funny)

ark1 (873448) | more than 2 years ago | (#38411022)

What use would the CIA have for honest staff?

You have to be honest to the organization but lie to everyone else.

Hmmm (5, Insightful)

lightknight (213164) | more than 2 years ago | (#38410384)

By only employing people who are willing to work for money, and paying them well?

Re:Hmmm (3, Interesting)

KFK2 (23515) | more than 2 years ago | (#38410400)

... paying them well?

Haha, good one.. it's a government job.

Re:Hmmm (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38410502)

I'm aware of a few people employed with 3 letter agencies doing sysadmin work at remote facilities that bring in ~$150k. The worse part of it, in my opinion, is that the background checking must be so stringent, it apparently makes it hard to hire competent admins. I've had to walk more than one of them through some basic linux cli stuff like mount, restarting daemons, etc.

Re:Hmmm (4, Interesting)

CrazyDuke (529195) | more than 2 years ago | (#38410600)

The fed actually pays pretty well for most of their IT and engineering jobs. Have a look on usajobs.gov if you think otherwise. The problem is, they almost all require TS/SCI, which is neither cheap nor easy to get. Also, if you are "inside the beltway" near DC, the commutes to the suburbs can soak 2 to 3 hours each way even if you live near mass transit. Living in DC on budget is, uh, iffy. Don't get lost.

The contractors are a mixed bag. Even though the companies often gets paid more for the positions than they would otherwise cost overall, the employees frequently end up either underpaid or are on contract terms that are not renewed and lack benefits.

Re:Hmmm (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38410450)

By only employing people who are willing to work for money, and paying them well?

It's a double whammy: having a well paying and a cool sounding job ("I work for the CIA!" - with an ID with CIA on it to show chicks in a bar?) and maybe some patriotism mixed in.

As someone who dealt with real CIA operatives told me, a field agent never has an ID that says "CIA" on it. If they have an ID that says "CIA" on it it means they're a clerk or some other back office staff - like in IT.

Re:Hmmm (4, Informative)

nabsltd (1313397) | more than 2 years ago | (#38411026)

("I work for the CIA!" - with an ID with CIA on it to show chicks in a bar?)

Last I saw, CIA badges (i.e., the thing that gets you into the building and opens doors, not a shiny gold thing) had a picture, an ID number and a barcode and nothing else on them.

They may have changed, but if they haven't, there's nothing on them to indicate that they are CIA badges.

Re:Hmmm (4, Funny)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 2 years ago | (#38411064)

Yes, but the silence speaks volumes. How many other workplaces do you know that don't include the company name anywhere on the badge?

Re:Hmmm (4, Insightful)

kagaku (774787) | more than 2 years ago | (#38411124)

Umm... any company that cares about security? It helps prevent someone from picking up a list badge and thinking "oh look at this badge for XYZ Co! let's see if it still works!"

Re:Hmmm (4, Funny)

MickLinux (579158) | more than 2 years ago | (#38411134)

Wow. Does that mean that everyone who is unemployed right now could get people's attention by just making their own nameless ID badge?

My own ID is 3 steps more classified than that, though.
There's no bar code, no photo, and no ID number.

You don't need to know any more than that.

Re:Hmmm (3, Insightful)

laron (102608) | more than 2 years ago | (#38411282)

Not so long ago, my company had "blank" access badges. In case one is lost, there's no need to give a thief or spy a hint which doors it might open for him.

Re:Hmmm (1)

LordLimecat (1103839) | more than 2 years ago | (#38411528)

Lots of them?

Re:Hmmm (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38410474)

By only employing people who are willing to work for money, and paying them well?

If money is the only incentive, I'm certain there are many foreign governments that are willing to pay for inside information.

Re:Hmmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38411008)

That just means you're not paying them enough.

Re:Hmmm (4, Insightful)

the linux geek (799780) | more than 2 years ago | (#38410482)

Employing people monetarily-driven might make them more of an espionage threat.

Re:Hmmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38410672)

Well, government jobs tend to be low-paying by definition, whether they have anything to do with the field of espionage or not. For example, one time I got an offer for a job at a local state university. I was offered less than another job at a low-paying startup, which in turn was 20% less than the SF Bay Area startup salary I had had before I was laid off six months prior. When I countered with a higher demand the hiring manager straight up said "There's guys that have been here 10 years that don't make that kind of money." TEN YEARS! And I was asking for a salary that was low - much much lower than I had made and less than the startup company salary. I knew then that government work wasn't for me, took the low-paying startup job then moved on to private sector companies over the years and now, finally, ten years later, am at least making what I was making before, at the Bay Area startup. If I had taken the state uni job and stayed there 10 years there's no way I would have made $20-$30K more in salary.

Re:Hmmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38411644)

Well, government jobs tend to be low-paying by definition

Well, no, that's the problem. Skilled government jobs tend to be low-paying by definition. Unskilled government jobs tend to be ridiculously high paying by definition. So the government is hard pressed to attract competent, skilled people but has no shortage of unskilled "lifers" riding out their 20 years for a pension.

Re:Hmmm (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38410512)

By only employing people selfish and/or stupid enough to want to work for the CIA.

And checking frequently that they don't change their mind.

Having gone to a CIA recruiting seminar (3, Informative)

unassimilatible (225662) | more than 2 years ago | (#38410744)

"By only employing people selfish and/or stupid enough to want to work for the CIA."

I can assure you they do not hire stupid people.

Re:Having gone to a CIA recruiting seminar (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38410788)

But do they hire average?

CIA recruiting seminar (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38411468)

I've attended FBI, CIA, NSA ... uh ... events.

Straight and narrow-fests. Usually boring people. Often from small towns.

They make it clear that your job will usually suck and have nothing to do with what you see on TV or read in books 99% of the time.

You generally do not get to say what you do. Sure, the boring stuff isn't classified, but I've learned it is easier just to never talk about anything. Ever.

The FBI guys who I've met were all boy scouts.

The CIA sends out pretty people. Even the men tended to be pretty. In the back office are regular people.

The NSA ... I can't say.

Low government pay when compared to non-startup corporate jobs. EMC employees would laugh at CIA pay. You can look up the government pay scales. http://www.fedjobs.com/pay/pay.html [fedjobs.com] A G-12 makes less than $80K! The only way to be well paid in the government is to stay there for 30 yrs. I'd call that an IQ test failure. Guess I'm not government employee material. I was earning over G-15 rates at age 35 in the private sector.

Re:Hmmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38411380)

By only employing people who are willing to work for money, and paying them well?

I don't believe having money relates to being honest

Re:Hmmm (3, Informative)

jc42 (318812) | more than 2 years ago | (#38411492)

By only employing people who are willing to work for money, and paying them well?

I don't believe having money relates to being honest

Actually, they are related - but the correlation coefficient is negative. ;-)

Cushy Pension (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38410404)

"Cushy pension"? Federal Employees get 1% for each year of service i.e. work 30 years and get 30% of your annual salary as a pension. They also get a 4% contribution to a 401(k). Better than nothing, but not really "cushy". Employees who are required to carry guns get a better deal, but TFA had to do with "IT" employees.

   

Pension equivalent to a new hire (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38410606)

"Cushy pension"? Federal Employees get 1% for each year of service i.e. work 30 years and get 30% of your annual salary as a pension. They also get a 4% contribution to a 401(k). Better than nothing, but not really "cushy". Employees who are required to carry guns get a better deal, but TFA had to do with "IT" employees.

$150K salary at retirement, 30% = $45K / year guaranteed. That's more than the average working household, so it is pretty cushy. It may even be more than the new IT guy fresh out of college. So each retiree is like a currently employee on the staff.

Plus keep in mind that these people have paid off their house, put their kids through college, etc. So the 30% of your final salary goes a lot farther than you may think.

Relativity (3, Insightful)

cmholm (69081) | more than 2 years ago | (#38410852)

$45K salary at retirement, 30% = $15K / year guaranteed. That's more than a two person, poverty-level working household, so it is pretty cushy. It may even be more than the new Walmart stocker drop out. So each retiree is like a currently employee on the staff.

Re:Relativity (1)

murpup (576529) | more than 2 years ago | (#38411138)

It is not cushy when you factor in the typical medical expenses and insurance that a senior citizen will incur in their later years. Take those expenses out of the equation and I might agree with you.

Re:Pension equivalent to a new hire (5, Informative)

spiffmastercow (1001386) | more than 2 years ago | (#38410998)

"Cushy pension"? Federal Employees get 1% for each year of service i.e. work 30 years and get 30% of your annual salary as a pension. They also get a 4% contribution to a 401(k). Better than nothing, but not really "cushy". Employees who are required to carry guns get a better deal, but TFA had to do with "IT" employees.

$150K salary at retirement, 30% = $45K / year guaranteed. That's more than the average working household, so it is pretty cushy. It may even be more than the new IT guy fresh out of college. So each retiree is like a currently employee on the staff. Plus keep in mind that these people have paid off their house, put their kids through college, etc. So the 30% of your final salary goes a lot farther than you may think.

Yeah, for a GS-15 maxed out in step increases. Most federal IT workers won't get past GS-12 in their career. And with so many years of pay freezes, they're not going to be anywhere near their top salary when they retire. Also, keep in mind that retirement is all or nothing. If you leave after 20 years but before you're 60, you get nothing.

Re:Pension equivalent to a new hire (4, Informative)

murpup (576529) | more than 2 years ago | (#38411198)

Actually, the pay freezes are not stopping the automatic step increases. Just the automatic cost of living adjustments. My agency has taken an effective $25 million budget decrease because our approved budget has remained flat, but because the agency must still pay for all those step increases and promotions, it has to take $25 million from the money we would use for contracting to pay for those added salary expenses.

Re:Pension equivalent to a new hire (4, Informative)

mjwalshe (1680392) | more than 2 years ago | (#38411340)

Not geting cola increases is a pay cut.

Re:Pension equivalent to a new hire (1)

spiffmastercow (1001386) | more than 2 years ago | (#38411412)

Well you're fortunate then. My agency is on "pay bands", so we get zero cost of living increase and no step increases. You can get a 0.6% "performance" increase, but the managers can only give that to something like 30% of employees, so they round-robin those and you get one every 3 years or so.

Re:Pension equivalent to a new hire (1)

murpup (576529) | more than 2 years ago | (#38411100)

No, not $45K per year. Just $45K. That is it. Plus Social Security. Plus your 401K Thrifty Savings plan. As the parent said - not cushy.

Re:Pension equivalent to a new hire (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38411208)

This is the parent speaking. It is a yearly figure. But $150k is a very rare ending salary ... that is only for 1 in 20 senior managers. A more typical figure might be $75k, so the final pension after "30 years" would be $22.5k. But 30 years is a long time. Most people would wind up retiring with something like 20 or so.

Comparisons to a Wall-Mart stocker are silly ... they are not getting anything "cushy" either.... it was the word "cushy" that was annoying.

Re:Pension equivalent to a new hire (1)

murpup (576529) | more than 2 years ago | (#38411308)

Well, it seems that I stand corrected. Just checked OPM's website. My benefits brochure in no way implies it is a yearly figure so I have just always assumed it was a lump sum. But OPM calls it an annuity implying it is a yearly figure. I take back my assessment. If you factor in the Soc Sec payments, and a decent 401K, that is pretty good, especially if the house is paid off and kids are through college. The only major expenses one has to look forward to then are medical bills.

Re:Pension equivalent to a new hire (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38411144)

Since I'm a federal employee mechanical engineer I'll let you know my benefits since you can look them up anyway. I live in Orlando , FL and I am 40 years old with almost 20 years experience.. I'm a GS 13 Step 8. My base is $101k but with overtime I usually bring in about $110k. I pay $500 per month for my medical and dental which is one of the higher plans but I still pay copays and drugs are $75 for a 3 moth supply in the mail order.

The pension is 3 parts now. You pay SS tax like everyone else. You pay a couple hundred towards you pension a month. You get 1% per year of service of the average of your best 3 years. There are some bonuses for delaying retirement and some penalties for taking it early. Unlike the post below you are vested with 5 years of service even if you can't collect until you reach minimum retirement age. Then there is the TSP which is like a very basic 401k. There are about 5 funds you can put money into. You get 1% of salary for nothing and then are matched 100% on the next 4%.

Overall the benefits are are a little better than the contractors like Boeing that we work with but the pay is less. The biggest benefit is job security.

Re:Cushy Pension (4, Interesting)

1729 (581437) | more than 2 years ago | (#38410892)

"Cushy pension"? Federal Employees get 1% for each year of service i.e. work 30 years and get 30% of your annual salary as a pension. They also get a 4% contribution to a 401(k). Better than nothing, but not really "cushy". Employees who are required to carry guns get a better deal, but TFA had to do with "IT" employees.

 

I wanted to be an FBI agent, and went through part of the hiring process a few years ago when they were aggressively trying to hire people with advanced CS degrees. I dropped out of the process due to the salary: ~$50-62k (depending on location), including the extra "availability" (overtime) compensation. At the same time, the FBI was posting >$100k positions for (non-agent) computer scientists.

Re:Cushy Pension (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38411376)

Your quote of 4% contribution is technically correct, but misleading.

That 4% is matched, plus some automatic contribution. The end result is if you contribute 5% yourself, the total available funds will be 10% per year.

Same thing in the end, but 10% sounds a hell of a lot better than 4%, and it more accurately matches the funds one can expect.

Cool story bro (4, Funny)

Rurik (113882) | more than 2 years ago | (#38410408)

But 2008 wants its stories back.

Change Management (1)

GeneralTurgidson (2464452) | more than 2 years ago | (#38410410)

And I thought my companies change management process sucked.

Why ask a stupid question? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38410426)

If you mess up, you get waterboarded and if you really mess up you go to Gitmo!

He gets polygraphed regularly (2)

bytesex (112972) | more than 2 years ago | (#38410428)

And that's why we trust the CIA.

Re:He gets polygraphed regularly (3, Interesting)

Ihmhi (1206036) | more than 2 years ago | (#38410828)

Yep! We have an agency that leverages all of the latest technological tools and sociological strategies still believing in what amounts to unreliable voodoo.

Re:He gets polygraphed regularly (2)

Gordonjcp (186804) | more than 2 years ago | (#38410936)

Yes, and no doubt he has his chakras measured by a crystalologist, and maybe a visit to the nutritionist to make sure he's not eating foods that fight and make his stomach acids turn alkaline. Maybe an aura reading would be a good idea too.

Honest? (1, Troll)

Shajenko42 (627901) | more than 2 years ago | (#38410434)

I don't think most of what the CIA does would qualify as "honest". They're spies, aka liars, thieves and criminals.

Re:Honest? (4, Funny)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | more than 2 years ago | (#38410464)

They're spies, aka liars, thieves and criminals.

Yes, but they are our liars, thieves and criminals. As opposed to the other guys liars, thieves and criminals.

Re:Honest? (2)

Anne_Nonymous (313852) | more than 2 years ago | (#38410568)

>> they are our liars, thieves and criminals

Well, they're our government's liars, thieves and criminals at least.

Re:Honest? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38410756)

And there's the rub. The army and secret service of a country should work first because they believe in that country, belief which you reinforce through indoctrination, and a good paycheck. I'm not saying to bring out mind-altering drugs, brainwashing and six zeros salaries, but there are some common sense things that every country employs.

Problem is ... nowadays, indoctrination says you serve the government's best interest, not the country's. When people start to see through the bullshit, the government needs to rely on the second point, the paycheck.

Considering how dependent on technology and instant communication we are today, it's far more likely a revolution would start from someone who can control those rather than common people wanting to change their lives.

Heck, things have been going downhill for some time now, makes one wonder how many incipient revolutions they've crushed so far.

Re:Honest? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38410890)

Stop calling it "the country" when you mean "the people".
By calling it the country you open up for the interpretaion that the country and the government is the same thing.

Re:Honest? (1)

mjwalshe (1680392) | more than 2 years ago | (#38410912)

you know the definition of a spy "is an honest man sent to lie abroad for the good of his country" :-)

Re:Honest? (4, Funny)

rhyder128k (1051042) | more than 2 years ago | (#38410932)

Darling: So you see, Blackadder, Field Marshal Haig is most anxious to eliminate all these German spies.
Melchett: Filthy Hun weasels fighting their dirty underhand war!
Darling: And, fortunately, one of *our* spies--
Melchett: Splendid fellows, brave heroes, risking life and limb for Blighty!
Darling: ...has discovered that the leak is coming from the Field Hospital.

Re:Honest? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38410494)

You've been watching too much TV. 95% of them are support staff.

Re:Honest? (5, Informative)

Nidi62 (1525137) | more than 2 years ago | (#38411080)

They're spies, aka liars, thieves and criminals.

You do realize that the National Clandestine Service (the actual "spies") is only one of 4 departments in the CIA, as well as the smallest department. Most of CIA is comprised of analysts, communications and support staff, and researchers/scientists. And even within the NCS, not every person is an officer, posted overseas and actively engaged in espionage. A lot of them are going to work at headquarters, working on the take brought in by the field officers.

They're not all spies (2)

DragonHawk (21256) | more than 2 years ago | (#38411114)

I don't think most of what the CIA does would qualify as "honest". They're spies, aka liars, thieves and criminals.

While that's certainly true of the CIA's operational aspects, their IT guys are mostly just IT guys, just like any other organization -- just with higher value IT assets than most orgs. File storage, printing, word processing, spreadsheets, databases, etc., don't change just because the data is classified. Communications (phones, networks, email, etc.) get rather more complicated, due to security, but ultimately they're after things the corporate world is, too -- they just have rather higher security standards than most orgs. But ultimately an Exchange server is still just an Exchange server.

You need a lot of support personnel for every actual spy, or even intelligence analysis. IT, accounting, HR, purchasing, engineers, doc control, etc. Even PR (marketing).

Re:Honest? (2)

andy1307 (656570) | more than 2 years ago | (#38411276)

I don't think most of what the CIA does would qualify as "honest". They're spies, aka liars, thieves and criminals.

You want them lying to the bad guys, not to you.

Lame Article from 2008 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38410440)

Is it that slow of a news day?

Snow Crash (1)

poena.dare (306891) | more than 2 years ago | (#38410498)

Anyone remember the portrayal of US Fed programmers in Snow Crash? So scary it must be true!

Re:Snow Crash (1)

MRe_nl (306212) | more than 2 years ago | (#38410578)

Neal Town Stephenson. Born on Halloween 1959 in Fort Meade, Maryland - home of the National Security Agency.

How? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38410510)

Well being put in jail for life without even a trial if they're not honest might have something to do with it.

Explains the drone issue (1)

TerminaMorte (729622) | more than 2 years ago | (#38410516)

If you treat your IT staff like shit, it's no wonder you end up with staff that can't keep drones out of enemy hands.

Gets polygraphed regularly (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38410534)

Fuck, if they're already putting the nation's security into the hands of a pseudoscientific carnival trick, why not also use an E-meter?

Re:Gets polygraphed regularly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38410654)

The polygraph has a powerful placebo effect, but why would the CIA want employees who fall for that?

Re:Gets polygraphed regularly (1)

Hentes (2461350) | more than 2 years ago | (#38410718)

It's enough if they can get the employees to think that it works.

Re:Gets polygraphed regularly (2)

Trepidity (597) | more than 2 years ago | (#38410726)

Licensing issues I suspect, "the E-meter is intended for use only in Church-sanctioned auditing sessions". Though perhaps this could be worked around in a loophole if the CIA were to merge itself as a branch of Scientology and declare all its facilities churches...

Re:Gets polygraphed regularly (1)

Gorobei (127755) | more than 2 years ago | (#38410736)

Yeah, let's try to hire technically competent people and scare them with a joke technology "magic lie detector." Sort of ensures your target hire is either an idiot or cynical.

Why not just find the right people and pay them $300K/year?

Re:Gets polygraphed regularly (3, Informative)

1729 (581437) | more than 2 years ago | (#38410948)

The DOE tried to push polygraphs on its cleared employees, and met with a lot of resistance from the scientists:

http://www.spse.org/Polygraph_comments_Livermo.html [spse.org]

The DOE can require polygraphs of its cleared employees in some circumstances, but to my knowledge it's rare that they actually do this.

Re:Gets polygraphed regularly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38410960)

Because the American public would never tollerate paying a civil servant 300k/year. You know, in the federal government you don't even get free coffee at work. Why? Imagine the headlines: "Federal government wastes $1 million per year in tax payer money on coffee!"

Watched all the time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38410538)

Keeping them honest is a simple affair, they just remotely monitor the radio emissions coming from their brain's with an A.I.

The rest is just theater.

Nuance (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38410622)

CIA doesn't need honest emplyees. It needs employees loyal to the institution and the country.

What about Microsoft? (1)

bogaboga (793279) | more than 2 years ago | (#38410652)

I have always wondered how Microsoft keeps its staff honest. The open source folks have continued to struggled with closed Microsoft office formats with little or no progress in some areas. Are employees subjected to the same treatment?

I don't think MSFT knows (2)

DragonHawk (21256) | more than 2 years ago | (#38411056)

The open source folks have continued to struggled with closed Microsoft office formats with little or no progress in some areas. Are employees subjected to the same treatment?

Having read the Microsoft "Open XML" specification, I'm pretty sure Microsoft doesn't really understand all the details of the classic Office file format, either. Seriously. I'd bet good money there's a lot of old, poorly documented that nobody really understands anymore. It was prolly written by programmers in 1995 who have long since moved on.

Re:What about Microsoft? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38411070)

Microsoft operates a "promotional driven development" approach and also employs the "Septic Tank business model" where the largest shits rise to the top.

I know, I've worked there for a decade. Nothing changes, in fact it gets worse.

What is killing microsoft is the promotional driven development model via the CSP's and curves mostly.

Dying is dying, sure die with a lot of money but hey I have never seen such a high revolving door employee churn in my life, it is like a cattle market and the one's that stay are because they are basically buddy buddy with their managers, in other words, many times it's who you know and yes its very true in MS, been there done that in 3 of their development centers. Same old story.

Explains their drug problem. (0, Flamebait)

rbrander (73222) | more than 2 years ago | (#38410662)

With all the scrutiny, polygraphs, no doubt surveillance, nobody there would dare do drugs.

Therefore, they aren't the type to come up with original ideas, therefore the place runs on old ideas forever, therefore it becomes a stultified bureaucracy.... ...therefore, they can take in $40B a year and STILL miss 9/11, still get WMDs wrong, and all the earlier stuff in Tim Weiner's "Legacy of Ashes" about never being able to successfully plant moles at any number at any depth into China, North Korea, or Russia.

THEREFORE we need to legalize drugs immediately...to save the CIA. This is to protect America, people!

Re:Explains their drug problem. (3, Insightful)

Oxford_Comma_Lover (1679530) | more than 2 years ago | (#38410870)

Plenty of people who don't take drugs have original ideas.

Also, I saw a sign at the Rally to Restore Sanity that read "Retired CIA Analysts for a Sensible Drug Policy"

Re:Explains their drug problem. (0)

Niris (1443675) | more than 2 years ago | (#38410884)

Read through the Downing Street Memos. The CIA and MI6 knew there were no WMDs in Iraq, but it provided a solid story to rally support for the war, so they went with it.

Re:Explains their drug problem. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38410944)

you must be young. "we" need to? CIA is the drugrunner.

Spy Vs. Spy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38410678)

I expect the CIA effectively keep each other honestly dishonest.

Just remember, the Internet was a Darpa project. It was open and sniffable from its inception. For some...

Get Perfect Me, my Hitchhiker's Guide tribute novella for free
http://thepiratebay.org/torrent/6848623/Perfect_Me_By_Jason_Z._Christie

If the movies are anything to go by... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38410686)

Threat of detainment or execution without trial.

Polygraphs are nothing but BS. (4, Insightful)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 2 years ago | (#38410734)

If you read about the actual history and accuracy of polygraphs, you will find that they are not "lie detectors" at all, but merely tools of intimidation. (I could cite many, many sources. While not authoritative, the Penn & Teller show "Bullshit" has a very informative episode on the matter. And yes, the show is called "Bullshit" for a reason. Polygraphs are bullshit.)

Polygraphs are used as tools for intimidation in order to interrogate. By themselves, they are worthless. They are security theater, much like the TSA. I really hate to see our country run by people who believe in (or pull) this kind of BS.

Re:Polygraphs are nothing but BS. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38411088)

But Mythbusters proved they work with rigorous scientific testing that we can all watch. So I call bullshit on P&T.

Re:Polygraphs are nothing but BS. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38411290)

Nope. http://antipolygraph.org/cgi-bin/forums/YaBB.pl?num=1197009999

Re:Polygraphs are nothing but BS. (2)

91degrees (207121) | more than 2 years ago | (#38411714)

The person who wrote that appears to have a bias.

Polygraphs have statistical correlation with lie detection. This doesn't mean they're particularly reliable - certainly not reliable enough for a court, but it gives an indication as to whether the subject is lying.

Re:Polygraphs are nothing but BS. (2)

ark1 (873448) | more than 2 years ago | (#38411118)

If you read about the actual history and accuracy of polygraphs, you will find that they are not "lie detectors" at all, but merely tools of intimidation. (I could cite many, many sources. While not authoritative, the Penn & Teller show "Bullshit" has a very informative episode on the matter. And yes, the show is called "Bullshit" for a reason. Polygraphs are bullshit.) Polygraphs are used as tools for intimidation in order to interrogate. By themselves, they are worthless. They are security theater, much like the TSA. I really hate to see our country run by people who believe in (or pull) this kind of BS.

Sure polygraphs are far from perfection but is your normal job interview perfect at assessing if you are the best candidate for the job? Is a 2 hours exam best way to assess your technical skills? Or reference checks? To me its just another step in what is a subjective process anyway.

Re:Polygraphs are nothing but BS. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38411266)

They actually do a lot more than than a polygraph (developed vetting - or the equivalent) you know - I am surprised some one who wasn't a born citizen (and whose parents and grandparents where not also) would pass vetting for the CIA.

Certainly back in the day when I started work a guy I knew who had worked for the scientific civil service commented that you had to have both sides of your family back to your grandparents as subjects of the crown to get clearance.

aldrich ames passed his polygraphs (1)

decora (1710862) | more than 2 years ago | (#38411566)

he had a lot of mental tricks to do it too. he convinced HIMSELF that he wasn't lying, and then he was able to tell the interviewer he wasn't lying without breaking a sweat.

id call his argument structure something like 'post modernism' crossed with lawyer-speak. i dont remember the details but it was something like this:

say you steal 50 grand. you give it to your wife. she buys you a fancy car.

also, it just so happens her parents are rich.

the interviewer asks you 'where did the money come from for the car', 'my wife. her parents are very rich.'.

did you lie? technically, no. you got the money from your wife. and her parents are rich.

tell yourself that over and over, and maybe you will eventually believe it.

now go to the polygraph, you dont even break a sweat.

Maury (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38411432)

We asked Jane Q. Public, "Were you just making things up when you said lie detectors are inaccurate?" Jane said, "No." The lie detector determine... THAT WAS A LIE!

Security -- or theatre? (2)

whoever57 (658626) | more than 2 years ago | (#38410750)

I would have more respect for them if they did not rely on an instrument that is easily fooled and has no scientific basis for its use -- the polygraph.

The polygraph is the security industry's equivalent of chiropratic to the medical industry.

Spy vs. Spy (1)

sgt scrub (869860) | more than 2 years ago | (#38410818)

They constantly attempt to entrap each other so know one will ever know if that opportunity in front of them is real or not.

In God we trust (2)

reluctantjoiner (2486248) | more than 2 years ago | (#38410836)

All others we polygraph.

Re:In God we trust (2)

C-Shalom (969608) | more than 2 years ago | (#38411130)

All others we polygraph.

More like:
In Elected Officials we have to trust.
All others we polygraph.

The Senate Foreign Intelligence Committee is a great example of this.

How's the pay? (1)

divisionbyzero (300681) | more than 2 years ago | (#38410976)

Hopefully good for all of that scrutiny.

How Does the CIA Keep Its IT Staff Honest? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38411036)

It doesn't.

How do "they" "keep you honest"? (1)

Paracelcus (151056) | more than 2 years ago | (#38411128)

Fear!

Snow crash (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38411136)

Harassment does not an honest employee make. And lo and behold, these people are anything but honest. So much so that they'll believe anything, including "in order to save the world, we had to destroy it", just to make the pain of all those polygraphs bearable. Extraordinary rendition is but an outlier, but one far less extreme than we'd like to think. There really is much, much murky crap they're pouring out over the world in their own misguided belief they're helping improving it.

hmm do the CIA realy grock protective security ? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38411216)

When the CIO's name is a both known and 'Al Tarasiuk' no wonder Bradly Manning could download a 1/4 million secret documents to a cd burner.

FFS the CIO (or his family) is an obvious target for kidnap and torture to attempt to suborn him to get information out of him.

The perspective of.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38411218)

... a "vacation" in cuba...?

Odd selective pressure (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38411242)

It's interesting: there's so much scrutiny that a normal person might not want to put up with that.

Leaving only persons who have a good reason to be willing to put up anything to work inside the CIA infrastructure. Like, you know, foreign spies.

BS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38411518)

BS... Have a friend whom was an all around thug working there...

The Nature Of A Polygraph (-1, Troll)

idbeholda (2405958) | more than 2 years ago | (#38411652)

I would have to agree with http://slashdot.org/~Jane+Q.+Public [slashdot.org] that polygraphs are not accurate at all. The fact they are not admissible in court as evidence is enough proof of the fact they are not a legit form of evidence. However, if you're working for a non-public agency, they *are* used as qualifications for either hiring or termination. As long as you're honest and forthcoming about what projects you work on, there is no reason to panic if you're concerned about your employment with a government agency, even with the advent of NDAA and SOPA, and as long as there is no reason to believe that any projects you're working on will provide a reasonable risk to national security.

Mark me as a "troll" or "flamebait" all you like, but the above statement is based on fact. Until someone can provide inarguable evidence to the contrary, marking me down only proves you're a moron.
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