Government Considers Dissatisfaction With US Policies To Be A 'High Threat'
from the looks-like-someone's-going-to-spend-some-time-at-the-Ministry-of-Love! dept
The administration's "Insider Threat" program was discussed here a few weeks ago. Apparently, the government has been running dangerously low on whistleblowers to prosecute and now is seeking help from its employees in identifying "threats" to the government -- some of which may be no more than a cubicle away.
The national "spy on your neighbor" program (See Something, Say Something) has now been internalized by the government, which openly encourages its employees to view their co-workers with suspicion. Leaks = "aiding the enemy," according to official documents and one can't be too careful in this post-Snowden climate of forced transparency.
To that end, the government has introduced a couple of training modules/interactive games aimed at heightening suspicion levels in federal offices. There are two versions: one for the Dept. of Defense and one for regular "federal employees." You score points by following the rules and outing co-workers whose behavior indicates they might up and tear the country a new one by blowing whistles.
According to the interactive
brainwasher CyberAwareness Challenge, these are some of the prime indicators that a co-worker is prone to rampant acts of insider threatening.
A security training test created by a Defense Department agency warns federal workers that they should consider the hypothetical Indian-American woman a "high threat" because she frequently visits family abroad, has money troubles and "speaks openly of unhappiness with U.S. foreign policy."
Yes. It's true. An inherently untrustworthy foreigner has made things worse on herself by exercising her First Amendment rights and openly having her vehicle repossessed. A good citizen loves our country's thousands of rules and policies and pays their bills on time -- no exceptions.
And who in their right, non-threatening mind would want to leave the country once, much less several times? Seriously. The hassle at the airports alone would seem to be enough to deter a non-Caucasian from making more than one trip abroad.
While this example may seem stupid at best and borderline racist at worst, a spokesman for the Pentagon defended the program's virtues in a statement to Huffington Post.
Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col. Damien Pickart said, "DISA was sensitive to any civil liberty concerns that might arise from any portion of the curriculum, which is why it coordinated with 26 federal agencies to ensure the maximum amount of input was received before going live."Anyone familiar with government work knows that increasing the number of agencies involved has very little bearing on overall quality of output. In fact, it's more frequently noted that the quality is inversely proportionate to the number of bureaucrats involved.
"When considering personnel for a position of trust that requires a security clearance, there are many potential indicators that must be considered when evaluating for insider threat concerns," he explained. "The department takes these variables into consideration based on past examples of personnel who engaged in spying or treasonous acts."
Several million people across the federal government have taken the training since it was released, Pickart said, and there has been only one complaint...
And as for there being only one complaint? Well, holy shit, what did you expect? The program itself makes the none-too-subtle point that complaining about the government is a great way to end up with the word "Snowden" taped surreptitiously to your back by your newly trained co-workers.
Now, if you're truly curious, you can attempt to play the interactive CyberAwareness Challenge. Chrome users are somewhat discouraged from making the attempt. My personal experience boiled down to a lot of load time broken up by occasional "challenges" and questions that had all the depth and nuance of a Dora the Explorer episode.
The challenge level may go up the further you proceed in the game, but I can't offer any insight on that. The load times are so long, it's tough to believe you'll have a chance to round up any "insider threats" before they've boarded the next plane to Moscow. Or retired.
All hyperbole aside, this training program won't do much to find insider threats, who are likely not nearly as easy to identify as the rather spurious list of "indicators" would have federal employees believe. And the last thing the government should be doing is incubating the idea that exposing government wrongdoing is only a step or two removed from actual terrorism. Attempting to weed out "dissent" by turning government employees against each other is only going to foster more of the behavior these agencies are trying to stamp out.