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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.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Ehud Gavron (profile), May 12th, 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

     

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  2.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 12th, 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.

     

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    That One Guy (profile), May 12th, 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!'.

     

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  4.  
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    That One Guy (profile), May 12th, 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.

     

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  5.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 12th, 2014 @ 4:34pm

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

     

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  6.  
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    Anonymous Anonymous Coward, May 12th, 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?

     

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  7.  
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    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), May 12th, 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.

     

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  8.  
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    Anonymous Anonymous Coward, May 12th, 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.

     

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  9.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 12th, 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.

     

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  10.  
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    That One Guy (profile), May 12th, 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.'

     

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  11.  
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    Anonymous Anonymous Coward, May 12th, 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.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 12th, 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."

     

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  13.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 13th, 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.

     

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  14.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 13th, 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.

     

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    Pragmatic, May 13th, 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.

     

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  16.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 13th, 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.

     

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  17.  
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    Anonymous, May 13th, 2014 @ 3:34pm

    No comment.

     

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  18.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 14th, 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.

     

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  19.  
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    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), May 14th, 2014 @ 12:41pm

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

    Still don't see why they need to be accommodated, unless it's with better job placement.

     

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