How White House's 'No Commenting' On Media Leaks Policy Makes Life Difficult For Professors

from the making-life-difficult dept

Last week, we wrote about the Obama administration's bizarre decision to ban any current or former intelligence community officials from even discussing media reports of leaked documents. The whole thing, coming from James Clapper, seemed bizarre (and likely unconstitutional). It's also just stupid. Denying people the ability to talk about information that is publicly being discussed serves no good purpose. And the impact is being felt in a variety of places. Famed crypto expert Matt Blaze is talking about how he's now in a tough spot, because if he assigns students to read content concerning media leaks, he puts intelligence community students in an "untenable position." And that's ridiculous. Denying the students the ability to even discuss very relevant, timely information that everyone else is discussing seems like a dangerous restriction -- especially on people who you should want to be involved in those discussions.

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  • icon
    Ehud Gavron (profile), 12 May 2014 @ 4:08pm

    How to tell which of your friends have an active clearance

    START DISCUSSING SNOWDEN STORIES.

    Your friends who will not discuss it have active clearances.

    It used to be difficult to identify those with clearances. Now they've been told to excuse themselves from the conversation and leave. That's as hard to spot as a croc in an alligator pep rally. (credit: FamGuy.)

    Ehud "I have many friends with DoE Q and DoD TS clearances and now I can make the party end early just by saying Snowden Snowden Snowden" Gavron

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 May 2014 @ 4:09pm

    It's not a tough place for the prof

    If they don't do the assigned reading: fail them. "Clapper told me not to" has as much weight as "my parents told me not to" or "my religion told me not to" or anything similar -- that is to say, none whatsoever. Anyone who is willing to self-censor their own reading doesn't deserve to pass ANY class, ever.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 12 May 2014 @ 4:27pm

      Re: It's not a tough place for the prof

      Indeed. It may suck for those staring down the failing grades, but the alternative, allowing the 'Intelligence' agencies to dictate what is and is not allowed to be discussed, and therefor control the perception and spin, is much, much worse than just a handful of failing students.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      ChurchHatesTucker (profile), 12 May 2014 @ 4:37pm

      Re: It's not a tough place for the prof

      You wanna be a spook? OK, here's a lesson in how your life is going to suck.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 14 May 2014 @ 8:28am

        Re: Re: It's not a tough place for the prof

        Not just spooks. This also covers support personnel doing IT, HR, facilities, engineering, power production, logistics, finance, plans, and others. I'm pretty sure not all of them asked for it.

        And no, don't say, "they could have just not accepted the position," as not everyone has that opportunity, or were ever warned that they would be censored at some point in future.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 12 May 2014 @ 4:25pm

    Well there's your problem

    ...timely information that everyone else is discussing seems like a dangerous restriction -- especially on people who you should want to be involved in those discussions.

    That's the thing though, they don't want there to be a discussion. If they thought they could get away with it, I'm sure they would have no problem at all flat out ordering not only those with security clearances, but everyone else, to stay silent on it all, likely using the standard excuses of 'National Security' and/or 'Because terrorists!'.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Anonymous Coward, 12 May 2014 @ 4:34pm

      Re: Well there's your problem

      Exactly, You are not allowed to know what you are not allowed to know, and if we find out that you know something you are not allowed to know then you will know that you are not allowed to know it. Got that?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 May 2014 @ 4:34pm

    Since when are intelligence community "students", intelligence community "officials"?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Anonymous Coward, 12 May 2014 @ 4:41pm

      Re:

      Really? They have so much stuff they cannot find anything, and they want more. They have people walking out with what they consider valuable, but are actually embarrassing documents that they cannot identify. Due to recent revelations the whole world is going crypto everything crazy, as they should. They really need some help.

      Of course there is continuing education, even in the government.

      Now if only they would learn something.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 12 May 2014 @ 4:57pm

      Re:

      Since intelligence community "students" actually are intelligence community employees who are recruited during their education process, who then might have aspirations to eventually become intelligence community officials.

      With these rules, and their retroactive weight, anyone who has ever discussed classified information with people who don't have clearance will never be allowed to hold official positions.

      That's a pretty limiting career move.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        That One Guy (profile), 12 May 2014 @ 5:10pm

        Re: Re:

        'Want to ever work for the intelligence sector? Well then get used to never knowing or talking about what it's doing, and being a good little silent cog in the machinery.'

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Anonymous Coward, 12 May 2014 @ 5:13pm

        Re: Re:

        Apparently you are unfamiliar with the concept of continuing education. Many profession require it. Other professions, it is just as important to keep up with the changing climate in that profession, but not required.

        I had an uncle who was a senior partner in one of the big eight accounting firms (when there was such a thing) who went to school for 3 months every year, and that was just to keep up with the tax code.

        Cryptography would be another area that undergoes a tremendous amount of change, and to be top notch, one has to go back to school and learn the new stuff.

        I agree that not being able to discuss timely stuff is really sad. The irony has not struck the President fully yet. Since he does not listen to the public, he won't hear it either.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 13 May 2014 @ 7:34am

        Re: Re:

        With these rules, and their retroactive weight, anyone who has ever discussed classified information with people who don't have clearance will never be allowed to hold official positions.

        That's a pretty limiting career move.
        I fail to see how this is a bad thing for the country. It's certainly inconvenient for the poor sucker who sacrifices his career by being a student in one of these classes, but rules are rules. We must follow them even when they make no sense whatsoever.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Pragmatic, 13 May 2014 @ 8:59am

          Re: Re: Re:

          I presume you forgot the /sarc mark, AC.

          Seriously, the whole "rules is rules" trope is woefully overused. The point of democracy is to be able to change the rules if you don't like them.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 13 May 2014 @ 11:17am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            I believe the point here is that karma is a real bitch. Live by the dumbass rules and be made unemployable by the dumbass rules.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 May 2014 @ 6:16pm

    Maybe the reason the NSA can't tell how many documents Snowden took is because none of them are able to talk about him.

    "OK, we need to... Uh, look into what that guy we don't talk about did, and try to figure out how many... things he took when he did the thing we don't talk about."
    "Which guy we don't talk about, sir?"
    "You know, the guy that did the thing!"
    "Sir, we've had this conversation every day for the last six months and we're still not getting anywhere."

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 May 2014 @ 6:30am

    Security clearance == you know less

    It used to be that having a security clearance meant you had access to more information.

    Now, it seems having a security clearance means you have access to less information than the non-cleared public.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous, 13 May 2014 @ 3:34pm

    No comment.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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