FOIA Documents Show Government's Whistleblower-Punishing 'Insider Threat' Program Modeled On Chelsea Manning
from the threatened-by-accountability dept
Chelsea Manning has obtained her "Insider Threat" report from the US government through a FOIA request. It's published in full at The Guardian and it provides additional insight into this administration's war on whistleblowers. Set up in the wake of Manning's Wikileaks document dump, the "Insider Threat" program seeks to weed out future Mannings and Snowdens -- both of whom turned over documents to journalists and activists, rather than the nation's enemies. Manning, in an accompanying editorial, calls it a "blank check for surveillance." And it is.
The list of possible indicators is so broad as to cover nearly the entirety of the government's workforce -- not just those with security clearances.
(U)Insider Threat MotivesTo be seen as a threat by the government, one only needs to experience the rigors of everyday life, like "financial difficulties" or "family issues." If a person's viewpoint is not totally aligned with the agency they work for, the person may be viewed as holding a hostile "ideology" and will likely be "disgruntled."
Greed or financial difficulties
Disgruntled or wants revenge
Vulnerable to blackmail
The document also has a list of indicators related to job functions. Any straying from the confines of the position could be viewed as threatening.
(U) Behavior IndicatorsThe following page of the report shows this part of the Insider Threat program is specifically based on Chelsea Manning, as every single one of these items is listed under "PVT. Manning's Behavior Indicators." That includes the mysterious "Unexplained affluences," which continues to go unexplained in the detailing of Manning's behavior. (I would assume this refers to outward signs of wealth not supported by pay grade, but the report just tosses the ungainly wording into the list without specifying what it is, how it's determined, or how it applies to Manning.)
Interest in matters outside their scope of responsibilities.
lnappropriately seeks to obtain classified information on subjects not related to their work.
Downloads/transfers information without proper authorization or need via media devices or email.
Deliberate and unnecessarily copies of documents or media.
Works unusual times outside normal duty hours.
Engaged in suspicious personal contacts.
Unreported foreign contacts.
Overwhelmed by life crises and/or career disappointments.
Compulsive and destructive behavior.
Somewhat comically, Manning's assigned shift is referred to as being "outside normal duty hours."
Works unusual times outside normal duty hours.As The Guardian points out, documents obtained by Steven Aftergood of the Federation of American Scientists show over 100,000 government employees have already been targeted for insider threat surveillance. The program calls it "continuous evaluation," which is the government's innocuous terminology for surveillance of all activities, including those outside of work, like financial transactions, political affiliations and activism.
PVT Manning utilized his 12 hour shift from late evening (~7pm) until the morning (~7am) to conduct his illegal activity.
In total, the report does almost nothing to allay fears that the Insider Threat program will be used to hunt down whistleblowers. Manning's report indicates the government feels advocates for transparency ("promoted the ideology that all information should be public") and people who don't fit into binary gender confines ("[Manning] struggled with his self-image as a man when he wanted to be openly accepted as a female") should be subjected to pervasive surveillance by their own government.
The bottom line is that even if an employee is otherwise satisfied with their government employment, they still need to "fit in" with fellow employees, live a life mostly free of financial or personal stress, advocate only for their employer's official/unofficial positions and hopefully identify as straight male/female. Anything outside of these confines is asking for trouble. Whistleblowers don't even stand a chance.