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Hullabaloo


Friday, June 28, 2013

 
"Insider Threats -- combating the ENEMY within your organization"

by digby

I know that people pretty much don't care about this Internal Threat Program (certainly the media doesn't) but perhaps you might find it a teensy bit interesting when you see the brochure they're using at the defense department.  Via Michael Moore:


This is a public document by the way. And yes it seriously says, "it is better to have reported overzealously than never to have reported at all."

Here's the FBI's version. Found it through a simple google search:




I don't know whether to laugh or cry.  These are so over-the-top paranoid that I can't help but wonder if it's some kind of a joke. But clearly, it isn't.  And if you read the original McClatchy story, you'll see that each federal department --- even the Peace Corps, has implemented this program.

Also note that this isn't just about national security. It's aimed at contractors as well as government employees and its designed to protect against "intellectual copyright" and proprietary information. And the personal factors in the FBI's list encompass the whole of the human condition as suspicious behavior: financial need, anger, problems at work with lack of recognition, disagreements with co-workers, dissatisfaction with the job, ideology ("a desire to help the 'underdog' or a particular cause")divided loyalty -- allegiance to another person or company, adventure/thrillseeker,vulnerability to blackmail. Indeed the only person who would not from time to time come under suspicion is a robot or a person so paranoid about being suspected that they act like a robot and totally avoid any real relationships among the people they work with.

Keep in mind that the Defense Department brochure even makes a point of saying that many "spies" have no access to classified material.  This means everyone in the government is under suspicion. That's absurd.

I don't know whether most people remember the last time we went on witch hunts within the government but it really wasn't that long ago.  A great playwright, Arthur Miller, talks about his play The Crucible and why he wrote it here:
I was suffocating, as most other people were, looking for some way of replying to all this because the nature of paranoia, which is what we were really experiencing, is circular, that is that anybody who strives to counteract it is suspicious.  That is, the act of opening your mouth against it casts you into the camp of those who are accused.  And there was no breaking out of this circle.  
It seemed to me that in the experience this country had in 1692, perhaps I could throw some light, not on the politics of the occasion, but on the mood.  
You can get people excited enough, for example, that a persons right to paint or write whatever he chooses is managed without much defense.  People get hot enough that they'll trample all over anything.  
What my play is really about and what I think Salem means or should mean is that here are some people who refused to compromise with the government and tell lies in order to save their lives.  
We can be led or misled by appeals to a certain kind of purity of belief.  And a politician who has no qualms about lies --- it happens all the time of course --- it can very quickly generate a following among certain people by telling them that if they follow him they leave sin behind.  
If you read carefully the record of the trial you have to be struck by the number of people who are telling the court that they were being tempted by Mr So and So in an obviously sexual way. So it was through these testimonies that they could speak of things that were normally repressed.  It was the return of the repressed as Freud would say it, things that were out in the open which would be prohibited otherwise were under the cloak now of a campaign to clean up the town.   
I don't think this ever ends, I don't believe it ever ends. Every human being and every society has a panic button and anybody who's unscrupulous enough to mash it will create a condition which, if it's unopposed successfully, can end up killing a lot of people. Somebody's gonna yell fire and there is no fire, there's going to be a stampede and somebody's gonna get it. And I don't foresee a time in any society that's going to guarantee against that.
There's obviously no guarantee. But it can be successfully opposed. McCarthyism ruined a lot of lives. But it was eventually ended by the decision to throw sunlight on the hearings and by courageous journalists who revealed it for what it was.

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