Spying on Each Other

(10 am. – promoted by ek hornbeck)

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

The revelation of a federal program to “Keep America Safe” got little notice amidst the hullabaloo over the hunt for Edward Snowden. McClatchy News reported on The pervasive program created under the Obama administration to stop leaks and “security threats,” requiring “federal employees to keep closer tabs on their co-workers and exhorts managers to punish those who fail to report their suspicions.”

President Barack Obama’s unprecedented initiative, known as the Insider Threat Program, is sweeping in its reach. It has received scant public attention even though it extends beyond the U.S. national security bureaucracies to most federal departments and agencies nationwide, including the Peace Corps, the Social Security Administration and the Education and Agriculture departments. It emphasizes leaks of classified material, but catchall definitions of “insider threat” give agencies latitude to pursue and penalize a range of other conduct.

Government documents reviewed by McClatchy illustrate how some agencies are using that latitude to pursue unauthorized disclosures of any information, not just classified material. They also show how millions of federal employees and contractors must watch for “high-risk persons or behaviors” among co-workers and could face penalties, including criminal charges, for failing to report them. Leaks to the media are equated with espionage. [..]

As part of the initiative, Obama ordered greater protection for whistleblowers who use the proper internal channels to report official waste, fraud and abuse, but that’s hardly comforting to some national security experts and current and former U.S. officials. They worry that the Insider Threat Program won’t just discourage whistleblowing but will have other grave consequences for the public’s right to know and national security.

The program could make it easier for the government to stifle the flow of unclassified and potentially vital information to the public, while creating toxic work environments poisoned by unfounded suspicions and spurious investigations of loyal Americans, according to these current and former officials and experts. Some non-intelligence agencies already are urging employees to watch their co-workers for “indicators” that include stress, divorce and financial problems.

in an unusual Sunday article at Esquire’s Politics Blog, Charles Pierce’s reacted to this program with these remarks:

(T)he Obama administration is the most fertile environment for paranoids since the Nixon people first cut a check to Egil Krogh. [..]

You want “Nixonian”? This, right here, this is Nixonian, if Nixon had grown up in East Germany. You’ve got the entire federal bureaucracy looking for signs of “high-risk persons or behaviors” the way Nixon sent Fred Malek out to count the Jews. You’ve got created within the entire federal bureaucracy a culture of spies and informers, which will inevitably breed fear and deceit and countless acts of interoffice treachery. (Don’t like your boss at the Bureau Of Land Management? Hmm, he looks like a high-risk person. Tell someone.) And this is the clincher.

   Hammer this fact home . . . leaking is tantamount to aiding the enemies of the United States,” says a June 1, 2012, Defense Department strategy for the program that was obtained by McClatchy.

And, out in Yorba Linda, there is a dark stirring deep in the earth, and a faint chuckling is heard in the midnight breeze. [..]

No, Mr. Current President, this is not business as usual. This is not even the NSA sifting through e-mails and phone calls. This is giving Big Brother a desk in every federal agency and telling him to go to work.

Transcript can be read here

For nearly two years, the White House has waged a program called “Insider Threat” that forces government employees to remain on the constant lookout for their colleagues’ behavior and to report their suspicions. It targets government officials who leak any information, not just classified material. All of this leads McClatchy to warn: “The [Insider Threat] program could make it easier for the government to stifle the flow of unclassified and potentially vital information to the public, while creating toxic work environments poisoned by unfounded suspicions and spurious investigations.” We’re joined by the reporter who helped break the story, Jonathan Landay, senior national security and intelligence reporter for McClatchy Newspapers. Landay also discusses his reporting that revealed how drone strikes carried out in Pakistan over a four-year period ran contrary to standards set forth publicly by President Obama.

This is what a police state looks like.


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  1. TMC
  2. terryhallinan

    I guess it takes the gentleness of a female touch.

    I posted the same information a day or two ago and nobody much cared though admittedly I could have been much meaner than the above simple statement.

    I do have an unfortunate aversion to police states.

    Mea culpa.

    Best,  Terry

  3. TMC

    how this is ignored by the so-called “left wing, progressive sites” now that there is a “Democrat” in the White House. I’m trying to figure out where they hid this “Democrat.” Maybe he’s hiding with Sadaam’s WMD’s.

  4. TMC

    every time something new arises. Eventually, the rest of the left will wake up & start making noise before it’s too late & there’s a “Republican” in the White House.

  5. terryhallinan

    the rest of the left will wake up & start making noise before it’s too late & there’s a “Republican” in the White House.

    It’s not clear to me that we don’t have a Republican in the White House.

    DINO’s are hard to distinguish from the real thing.

    Thanks for reading.

    Best,  Terry

  6. TMC

    The former Democratic Party machine is just a cover up for the corporate take over of the government. The idiot supporters get tossed a couple of “bones” now & a gain to keep them happy. I’d laughed if it weren’t so damned frightening for the future of this Republic.

  7. terryhallinan

    Democratic politicians that Bill Clinton turned into a Grand Canyon IMO.  The master stroke was that “suffering middle class” that disenfranchised the great majority of the population.

    I was hammered mercilessly by surviving liberal members of my family for refusing to vote for Obama.  Obama is turning out even worse than I imagined – maybe worse than Dubya.

    Take heart.

    The highly respected Senator Fulbright openly declared he needed to vote for segregation as the price he had to pay for all the good he was doing.  Obviously anyone today can see it was a price far too high and cast doubt on the rest of his agenda but spoke volumes about the former Solid South and the Democratic electorate.

    Obviously we have moved light years from that time despite the retrograde politicians out of step with the Democratic electorate.

    The future matters yet even though some of us have little.

    All IMO.

    Best,  Terry

  8. TMC

    because of the way Obama was handed the nomination and the voters of Florida and Michigan were disenfranchised for electoral decisions that the Democratic Party in those states did not control. Plus, I knew Obama hd already lied about FISA etc and the racist smear the Obama campaign conducted as if it was all above board. Obama has proven me right.

  9. terryhallinan

    I am interested in what you might mean.

    As you probably know, my annoyance with the contrived ubiquitous racism that pretends there are black and white races and now even tries to cover up with the claim they are talking about ethnic differences varies greatly from the norm.

    Best,  Terry

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