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June 21, 2013

Official Obama Policy: Leaking Run-of-the-Mill Non-Classified Information Is the Equivalent of Treason and Espionage

Before we get to that: during a committee hearing, Senators grilled members of the Office of Personnel Management, which, in theory, conducts background checks on those who need security clearance and, in theory, ensures that people like Edward Snowden aren't granted high clearance.

That's the theory. The reality seems to be that they wouldn't know a security risk if it was sitting on their face and singing The Internationale. Here is some of the information elicited.

87 percent of background checks are never fully completed. OPM uses the information it has to make a judgment on whether to approve these checks.

There are no uniform guidelines across the government for different levels of clearance. This means that top-secret clearance at one agency means something completely different at another.

Within each agency, there are no strict guidelines for determining security clearance.

USIS, a private contractor, conducts 65 percent of all U.S. government background checks.

USIS, which conducted a background check on Snowden, is now under investigation by OPM’s IG for failing to conduct proper background checks.

OPM has already paid USIS $200 million this year.

The $1-billion-dollar fund that OPM uses to pay for background checks has never been audited.

OPM’s IG said they have not been granted access to documentation on the fund.

Miller said the documentation did not exist.

Even if it did exist, OPM’s IG said he didn’t have the staff to audit the fund.

And so on.

Apparently our Founding Fathers worked an additional structural protection against tyranny into the Constitution: The separation of ass from hole in the ground.

But Obama seeks to rectify this situation: by ruthlessly hunting down leakers and whistleblowers.

It's called the Insider Threat program. I'm glade they didn't give it an ominous sounding name or anything.

The exposé at McClatchy is very long and detailed. Here's the basics and a few quotes.

Even before a former U.S. intelligence contractor exposed the secret collection of Americans’ phone records, the Obama administration was pressing a government-wide crackdown on security threats that requires 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.

“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.

...

“It was just a matter of time before the Department of Agriculture or the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) started implementing, ‘Hey, let’s get people to snitch on their friends.’ The only thing they haven’t done here is reward it,” said Kel McClanahan, a Washington lawyer who specializes in national security law. “I’m waiting for the time when you turn in a friend and you get a $50 reward.”

...

The Department of Education, meanwhile, informs employees that co-workers going through “certain life experiences . . . might turn a trusted user into an insider threat.” Those experiences, the department says in a computer training manual, include “stress, divorce, financial problems” or “frustrations with co-workers or the organization.”

If you don't have the right level of Team Spirit and Pro-Department of Education Morale, you're a subversive and a potential Insider Threat.

Well, perhaps I'm exaggerating. I mean, it's not as if the government's obsession with controlling the flow of information has resulted in the Department of Agriculture now advising its workers to be on the look out for spies and traitors.

An online tutorial titled “Treason 101” teaches Department of Agriculture and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration employees to recognize the psychological profile of spies.

Ah. I sit corrected. Well I guess that's only prudent. We need our frontline national security agencies, like the Department of Agriculture -- you know, the Corn Police -- rooting out all potential subversives.

Via Instapundit and Hot Air, respectively.

Update: Treason 101: Are you a Spy? Are you a Traitor? Take the USDA's Treason 101 tutorial to find out!

Via @davereaboi.


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posted by Ace at 12:55 PM

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