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US Intelligence Officials To Monitor Federal Employees With Security Clearances

samzenpus posted about 8 months ago | from the watching-the-watchers dept.

United States 186

First time accepted submitter Trachman writes in with news about a monitoring program designed to help stop future leaks of government documents. "U.S. intelligence officials are planning a sweeping system of electronic monitoring that would tap into government, financial and other databases to scan the behavior of many of the 5 million federal employees with secret clearances, current and former officials told The Associated Press. The system is intended to identify rogue agents, corrupt officials and leakers, and draws on a Defense Department model under development for more than a decade, according to officials and documents reviewed by the AP."

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One would hope (4, Insightful)

colin_faber (1083673) | about 8 months ago | (#46446355)

I can't imagine why they wouldn't monitor people with access to secret clearances. I know they polygraph them all the time and regularly perform spot checks for law enforcement violations, etc.

Don't want the government knowing everything about you? Don't request secret clearance from it.

1984 Cascade (5, Insightful)

xdor (1218206) | about 8 months ago | (#46446385)

But who monitors the monitors?

Re:1984 Cascade (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46446465)

The Monitor's, monitor the monitors duh....

Re:1984 Cascade (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46446561)

Indeed. The SS did a great job of this. They just have to make you think everyone is a snitch.

Re:1984 Cascade (2)

ackthpt (218170) | about 8 months ago | (#46446697)

Indeed. The SS did a great job of this. They just have to make you think everyone is a snitch.

You have been reported.

I reported myself, too, just for good measure.

please proceed to the nearest termination booth (1)

Thud457 (234763) | about 8 months ago | (#46446991)

I reported myself, too, just for good measure.

Making a report automatically gets you reported.
Self-reporting in such a situation is viewed as suspicious. At the very least, you will be logged as a brown-noser.
Of course being aware enough to realize this is even more suspicious, and will get a note in your dossier as a potential troublemaker.

Re:1984 Cascade (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 8 months ago | (#46446563)

"But who monitors the monitors?"

Precisely.

Besides: we already know that polygraphs don't work worth a shit except as tools of intimidation.

Looks to me like they're trying to keep secrets from their bosses (us) by spying on themselves. Yeah, that's the ticket. I'm sure they'll get a lot of new recruits now.

Re:1984 Cascade (1)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about 8 months ago | (#46446913)

Besides: we already know that polygraphs don't work worth a shit except as tools of intimidation.

No, we don't "know" that. Polygraphs are not perfect. They can be fooled by a well trained subject. Their accuracy does not meet the standards of a court of law. But they are still a useful tool that can catch most liars most of the time.

Re:1984 Cascade (2)

Marginal Coward (3557951) | about 8 months ago | (#46447097)

I've long held a theory that polygraphs are near-useless as scientific lie-detection devices, but are used primarily as a sort of psychological "truth serum". In other words, the fact that someone is connected to something that they *think* can detect a lie encourages them to tell the truth. That's just my personal theory though - I have no science to back that up.

Re:1984 Cascade (2)

beatle42 (643102) | about 8 months ago | (#46446989)

Whether polygraphs work or not depends on what you want them to do. You may not be able to say for sure that a person is lying or not, but if you're using it as one tool in a suite to decide if someone is worthy of trust it can be effective. You may rule out some people that you could have trusted, but if you're ruling out people you shouldn't trust it's a good tool. You may trust some people you shouldn't still, but that's why it's not the only tool you use.

And I think they'll still get plenty of recruits because a) there are some people who think that helping the government is a worthwhile pursuit and b) if you have a special qualification in any job (e.g., hold a security clearance) you can generally make more money than someone who doesn't have that qualification.

Re:1984 Cascade (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46446701)

Why, monitor monitors of course. And if you're wondering about them, there are monitor monitor monitors. After that? Turtles all the way down. Why do you think they put radios on sea turtles? Marine biology studies? Nonsense. You've all been fooled.

Re:1984 Cascade (1)

khr (708262) | about 8 months ago | (#46446731)

But who monitors the monitors?

The Hawtch Hawtch Who Monitor?

Re:1984 Cascade (1)

abednegoyulo (1797602) | about 8 months ago | (#46446767)

Monitors all the way down

Re:1984 Cascade (2)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 8 months ago | (#46446901)

You just aim one of the cameras onto its own screen. You've never done that?

Re:1984 Cascade (1)

Bartles (1198017) | about 8 months ago | (#46447303)

That's the job of the 4th estate. It used to be a job they wholeheartedly supported and did well. Now they just take orders from the people who order the monitors, and pretend the monitoring isn't happening.

Re:One would hope (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46446395)

I would assume it's a cost/benefit thing.

Re:One would hope (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46446479)

Very much this. Tons of people have secret clearances, clearances are required to get in the door in many places even if they don't handle any classified stuff.

Clearance investigations are mostly handled by contracted firms and investigators, one-off, and periodic reinvestigation. Given the state of data-mining, we should be doing persistant and on-going clearance monitoring and evaluation. The Navy yard shooting in DC is one reason / something this would help to prevent.

I'm fine with this as long as the monitoring is only for cleared individuals, rather then everyone everywhere.

Fourth Amendment (2)

Etherwalk (681268) | about 8 months ago | (#46446441)

Don't want the government knowing everything about you? Don't request secret clearance from it.

It is absurd that we have five *million* people in the country whom the government has forced to waive their right to be free from *unreasonable* search in order to qualify for their jobs.

If the government inquiries are reasonable, why would they need to make people sign the waiver?

Re:Fourth Amendment (5, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 8 months ago | (#46446587)

Is it not more unreasonable that we have five million people (out of a total of just under 320 million, with labor force size ~155 million, unknown percentage of that with characteristics that make them getting a clearance rather unlikely) involved in Super Secret Uncle Sam Stuff?
br> I'm less interested in crying for the poor, poor, clearanceholders and more interested in why a touch over three percent of the US labor force spends its time pushing classified paper.

Re:Fourth Amendment (3, Insightful)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 8 months ago | (#46446683)

1. Because Government is a Big Business (about 40% of the GDP [usgovernmentspending.com] ) and,
2. The Military Industrial Complex is a large portion of that (particulars unimportant for now) and
3. The MIC arguably does deal in quite a bit of classified paper ("We have top men looking into that....") and, most important
4. When you have the only tool you know how to use is a Top Secret stamp, everything looks like a Classified Document.

Re:Fourth Amendment (2)

BaronAaron (658646) | about 8 months ago | (#46446753)

The five million number doesn't make sense.

According to official reports the federal government only employ's 4.3 million [opm.gov] including 1.5 million military personnel.

Re:Fourth Amendment (3, Insightful)

Marillion (33728) | about 8 months ago | (#46446831)

One word: Contractors.

Re:Fourth Amendment (2)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 8 months ago | (#46446885)

Contractors.

Some of them also do independent work; but others (in terms of customer base and income) are basically federal employees in all but name and price.

Re:Fourth Amendment (2)

Quila (201335) | about 8 months ago | (#46446781)

That's just the number of people who have clearances, not the number of people who have access to anything. Sometimes you need a clearance just to work in a certain building.

Re:Fourth Amendment (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46446891)

^^^ That. I've been TS-SCI for years, and I've never seen anything more sensitive than a hostname or IP. I've seen plenty of folders marked with various classifications, and I have to maintain the clearance (along with all the training about derivative classification, etc.) because I work in that kind of environment, but that's pretty much as far as it goes. I could name off a few dozen folks who work with me, and are in the same situation.

Re:Fourth Amendment (1)

BaronAaron (658646) | about 8 months ago | (#46446629)

It's absurd to have five million people working for the federal government, who need security clearance, and aren't in the military.

Re:Fourth Amendment (1, Insightful)

pixelpusher220 (529617) | about 8 months ago | (#46446667)

as a holder of a SECRET clearance, I would disagree.

'unreasonable' is meaningless when national security is involved. I don't particularly like it, but civil rights go out the window when there's actual national security concerns. Now, whether there really are any justifying this is another question entirely :)

Bullshit (5, Insightful)

AF_Cheddar_Head (1186601) | about 8 months ago | (#46446705)

Civil rights never go out the window. As a cleared government employee I have not waived my civil rights and would never do so. I have agreed to allow some intrusive inspection of my life but I still have and will always have my civil rights.

Idiots like you who think that national security trumps all are what is wrong with today's national security infrastructure.

Re:Bullshit (1)

hoeferbe (168081) | about 8 months ago | (#46446847)

Hear, hear! You said that very well.

Re:Bullshit (1)

pixelpusher220 (529617) | about 8 months ago | (#46447179)

I have agreed to allow some intrusive inspection of my life but I still have and will always have my civil rights

So you've waived them 'a little'? Protection from unreasonable searches is a civil right, but you've admitted you've waived them somewhat...

Re:Fourth Amendment (2)

alex67500 (1609333) | about 8 months ago | (#46446799)

It is absurd that we have five *million* people in the country whom the government has forced to waive their right to be free from *unreasonable* search in order to qualify for their jobs.

What's unreasonable is that 5 million people need a security clearance!!

Re:One would hope (1)

Nehmo (757404) | about 8 months ago | (#46446467)

Don't want the government knowing everything about you? Don't request secret clearance from it.

We wish it were that easy.

Re: One would hope (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46446481)

Cause the barn door is wide open and cats are loose...

This should have been happening from the moment the first tower fell. "National security" is such a Boy's Club of agents with too much power and no accountability... The Bush era really enforced the idea that "ends justified the means" as long as the agents were all on the same political team.. They deliberately created agencies based on "what men think is right above the laws" and packed them with 300k new hires.

A wide open spigot is what you get when nobody has to follow the rules and can do whatever the believe is right with Jo questions. GO GOP!

Re:One would hope (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46446551)

USG does not polygraph Secret clearance holders, just TS. Divide by about 5 to get that number.

Re:One would hope (3, Insightful)

pixelpusher220 (529617) | about 8 months ago | (#46446647)

No they don't polygraph you all the time. There are 'SECRET' clearances, which I have, that are basically nothing more than a background check. No other checks are done at all that involve me. Never had a polygraph ever.

TOP SECRET might, but there is TOP SECRET w/Poly as a separate clearance so me thinks that might be the only one that gets it sometimes. This isn't '24'.

Re:One would hope (2)

Whorhay (1319089) | about 8 months ago | (#46447203)

I think the only standard practice for TS over S clearance is that they will very likely send people to talk to your references and vaildate work and habitation history in so far as it is possible. I've worked with a lot of TS people and never heard of any of them being subjected to a polygraph, though it is allowed for in the clearance agreement. What I do see happening on a semi regular basis is drug testing. They also pull a random sampling on a fairly constant basis for periodic review of stuff like credit history.

When I enlisted it was standard practice for every basic graduate to be given a Secrect Clearance. The only people I knew that didn't get a clearance were obvious exceptions, like the guy who was born in the US but visited relatives in Columbia every couple years since the time he was an infant. There was no way he could give them a detailed list of every association he had made in Columbia and even less of a chance that they'd be able to validate it.

Sorry floks: and bullshit, and one hope (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46447223)

For their job, they have lost all civil rights. Thats why snowden had to defect, Baby Bush changed the rules.If you are government, you have to obey their rules. Or lose your job, as a contractor, you have your rights guaranteed to a point, of employment. After that, you can be sanctioned for blowing your nose at the wrong time. But a security contractor can piss off the big boss, and not be touched, And his clearance cannot be touched without cause, even if the clearance was not granted but still in process. Sorry it sounds wierd, but that paper you signed into the government with, means you are their eyes, ears and whatever else they dream up. That paper means you give up your rights to defend your pratice, to do things that they say are necessary. Or you don't work for them.

Re:One would hope (0)

Grishnakh (216268) | about 8 months ago | (#46446699)

I think this is great. They need to not just monitor them, they need to surveil them Big Brother-style, with microphones and cameras in their houses and cars, even in their bedrooms. All their information, including financial information, and whatever they do on the internet, should be regularly monitored. Employees with secret+ clearances should be OK with this, or else they should find other jobs.

Re:One would hope (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46446715)

I can't imagine why they wouldn't monitor people with access to secret clearances. I know they polygraph them all the time and regularly perform spot checks for law enforcement violations, etc.

Don't want the government knowing everything about you? Don't request secret clearance from it.

Just b/c you have a clearance doesn't mean you take a polygraph. Polygraph is only associated with certain types of clearances. The more trusted your clearance level the more scrutiny you get.

Re:One would hope (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46446809)

I can't imagine why they wouldn't monitor people with access to secret clearances.

Because it removes the last possibility we have of actually finding out if the government does illegal things?

Just to be clear here. Whistle-blowers is a good thing, we want that to happen. That way we can actually find out when the government does illegal things and tries to cover it up. A plan to prevent whistle-blowing is essentially the same as saying that "We intend to commit crimes and do things that the tax-money was never intended for, but this time we are going to keep it secret."

Re:One would hope (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46447009)

Don't want the government knowing everything about you? Don't request secret clearance from it.

Or fly... or live...

Re:One would hope (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46447045)

This is just the first step. The next step is to make every person working to be remotely associated with the government and then required them to get a secret clearance. That should cover about 80% of the current U.S. workforce. Then they can monitor all those people. Then it will be just a matter of some legislation to make the rest of the workforce submit to full time monitoring.

Re: One would hope (1)

macinnisrr (1103805) | about 8 months ago | (#46447359)

So, wait. Your premise then is that monitoring stopped when the Snowden documents came out? Who ever said that?

So much... (4, Funny)

cayenne8 (626475) | about 8 months ago | (#46446383)

...for posting on Slashdot during work hours for many.

Re:So much... (2)

Znork (31774) | about 8 months ago | (#46446833)

If you want to post on Slashdot just transfer to the JTRIG unit for Slashdot posting.

Well... (2)

Etherwalk (681268) | about 8 months ago | (#46446393)

Having a three-tiered system of government employability effectively bars countless Americans from serving in government and *ensures* it is nonrepresentative. In effect, you have cleared employees, non-cleared employees, and ex-cons, in decreasing order of government employability.

Re:Well... (1, Troll)

Lumpy (12016) | about 8 months ago | (#46446517)

It's 4 tier.

Completey corrupt criminals are the 4th tier, and they are exclusive to the Senate, House, Executive, and legislative branches.

Re:Well... (2)

trdtaylor (2664195) | about 8 months ago | (#46446521)

Actually worse

You have super-cleared individuals, cleared individuals, or non-cleared individuals.
And who becomes cleared depends on how much paperwork your willing to push to do it.

Re:Well... (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | about 8 months ago | (#46446741)

Having a three-tiered system of government employability effectively bars countless Americans from serving in government and *ensures* it is nonrepresentative.

Non representative how? I've known people with high clearances of all ages, sexes, creeds, physical ability, etc... etc... Never knew anyone *openly* gay with a high clearance, but that was a product of the era in which I held my clearance as anything else - being openly gay was extraordinarily rare, in government service or out.
 

In effect, you have cleared employees, non-cleared employees, and ex-cons, in decreasing order of government employability.

Hiring a cleared employee isn't really any different than hiring an individual with fifteen years experience in 'x' over an individual with just five years experience, or none.

Well... (1)

Camshaft_90 (908670) | about 8 months ago | (#46447043)

You forgot after the ex-cons...Hard working honest Americans. They don't stand a chance of being left alone and getting a good paying job. It's just another attempt for Washington to HIDE from "We the people" while stealing the tax payer blind. Also, they would never hire an honest person. /RANT

Not good (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46446413)

Glad I got out years ago and let my clearance expire. I could put up with the polygraph tests, and background checks every 5 years...as well as the initial SSBI. However, constant hidden monitoring is too much for me. What happens when you get a false positive?

Re:Not good (2)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 8 months ago | (#46446605)

There are no false positives, comrade citizen, only people who harbor unpatriotic doubts about the accuracy of our Intelligence Community. Surely you aren't one of those?

Re:Not good (1)

pixelpusher220 (529617) | about 8 months ago | (#46446677)

It doesn't matter, your clearance requirements are in force in perpetuity. i.e. you can't disclose information or anything else after you quit.

Wait, they're just starting this?!? (1)

Overzeetop (214511) | about 8 months ago | (#46446417)

They check all that stuff before you're cleared, and every time your clearance is renewed. I find it hard to believe that this isn't already at least partially true already.

Re:Wait, they're just starting this?!? (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 8 months ago | (#46446451)

They check all that stuff before you're cleared, and every time your clearance is renewed. I find it hard to believe that this isn't already at least partially true already.

Dude - this is the same government that just had to get rid of something like half the people in the Air Force with nuclear clearance, because it turned out they cheated on the tests.

I find it hard to believe that people find the US government's regularly scheduled ineptitude hard to believe.

Re:Wait, they're just starting this?!? (1)

pixelpusher220 (529617) | about 8 months ago | (#46446693)

Also remember that the contractor charged with doing the background checks for clearances is currently being investigated for fraud on their order of hundreds of thousands of clearances..

Whistle blowers (4, Insightful)

frnic (98517) | about 8 months ago | (#46446419)

The best way to prevent leaks like those that have happened lately is to have a REAL, RESPONSIVE, FUNCTIONAL whistle blower program so people do not have to take the law into their own hands.

Re:Whistle blowers (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 8 months ago | (#46446617)

"The best way to prevent leaks like those that have happened lately is to have a REAL, RESPONSIVE, FUNCTIONAL whistle blower program so people do not have to take the law into their own hands."

It would be really great if our ostensible "leaders" would get this straight. Unfortunately, they were caught with their balls out and they have been too busy trying to hide them behind something to see straight.

Re:Whistle blowers (2)

denis-The-menace (471988) | about 8 months ago | (#46446627)

I agree.
Government corruption is best measured on how bad whistleblower laws are in that country.

Re:Whistle blowers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46446795)

You left out "independent", or at least partially so. For example, that's what an ombudsman [wikipedia.org] or inspector general is supposed to be for.

Also, it would be nice if whistleblowing wasn't necessary because organizations are already abiding with the law (i.e. if you have nothing to hide, you should have nothing to fear from having an independent inspector).

SO 10 years? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46446431)

This would be a massive project after the cost and screwups of "Obamacare" webportal (over 1 Billion, http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2013/12/03/analysis-finds-cost-of-obamacare-website-is-way-more-than-anyone-predicted/) I think your pretty safe for awhile, Not only will it not work for a long time but the US taxpayer is looking at a massive, massive bill for somthing that is unnessary. Lets fight surveillance with more!

Good job US another Knee Jerk reaction!

Corrupt officials? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46446447)

Might as well toss out most of DC.

Surveillance is like violence (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46446449)

Surveillance is like violence, if it's not working, you aren't using it enough.

I'd like my government back, please.

Yo dawg! (5, Funny)

Subm (79417) | about 8 months ago | (#46446459)

Yo dawg! I heard you liked monitoring people so we got some monitoring people to monitor your monitoring people so you can monitor your monitoring people while you monitor people!

Yo dawg! I heard you like policing your state so we got you some police to police your police so you can police your police while you police your state!

Snow Crash (1)

rkitts (143093) | about 8 months ago | (#46446469)

"The Feds have a fetish for loyalty..."

Re:Snow Crash (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 8 months ago | (#46446707)

"The Feds have a fetish for loyalty..."

That's actually one of their tamer fetishes. The more, shall we say, involved ones, would make any /b/ denizen puke.

So once something good happens... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46446473)

...you try your utmost to prevent it from happening again?
At first glance monitoring employees with clearance seems to make sense, but in actual fact it's terribly self-serving and not at all in the interest of the people.

An alternative solution. (3, Insightful)

king neckbeard (1801738) | about 8 months ago | (#46446489)

Meaingfully monitoring five million people is going to be very difficult. Perhaps we should re-evaluate what is classified and what jobs need classified status. If you have less people with secrets, it's much easier to keep them.

Re:An alternative solution. (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 8 months ago | (#46446721)

You were doing good until you started off with 'meaningful'. That really doesn't have anything to do with the current discussion.

Re:An alternative solution. (1)

kajong0007 (3558601) | about 8 months ago | (#46446859)

You were doing good until you started off with 'meaningful'.

So when he hadn't typed anything at all, his message was doing well...

Re:An alternative solution. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46447277)

Exactly. This is why we want the NSA to stop monitoring 300 million Americans or the millions of "five-degrees-of-terrorist associates". Not only is it a meaningless act but it also serves to counter the personal rights of all those people. But, yea, they likely give more awareness and concern of their own people with security clearance and their rights to private and personal freedom than all those other people. *shrug*

Re:An alternative solution. (1)

nietsch (112711) | about 8 months ago | (#46447091)

It already is. This clearance is just to have a stick when some employee does something public her superiors don't like.

Sounds like a great plan..... (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about 8 months ago | (#46446495)

Who is monitoring them? Without significant oversight of the monitors, then the whole thing is set up for a mess. Close the monitoring loop, Whoever is monitoring employees of another department should be monitored by a group from the department being monitored.

Re:Sounds like a great plan..... (2)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 8 months ago | (#46446729)

And it's polygraphs all the way down.

Simpler plan (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46446501)

Have the government have no secrets.

I remain unconvinced that doing so actually results in a net benefit to the citizens, considering the costs and inevitable "intelligence arms races" with other countries, which are as predictable as an effect of our expenditures as night follows day.

What's the actual benefit to this when considering the moral hazard of having government institutions systematically pursuing actions which by definition cannot be "by the people, for the people" since "the people" don't even know what they are?

So, other countries might know where our bombs are. They probably already do, and that does not mean they have any possibility of getting to them. So, they might access our networks. That's a standard IT security competence issue, not an "intelligence" issue.

Really, outside of inflated budgets for the military, what net benefit is gained by creating and securing "secrets"?

Re:Simpler plan (1)

Quila (201335) | about 8 months ago | (#46446819)

Passwords to computer systems are secrets. Once you agree there is a valid security reason for them to exist, then we are only discussing what types of secrets a government should keep.

Slippery slope (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46446507)

First: federal employees with security clearance
Next: all federal employees & all foreign nationals in the US
Next: all those working in "sensitive" industries
Next: all those working in "economically-vital" industries.
Next....

See where this is going?

Re:Slippery slope (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 8 months ago | (#46446763)

First: federal employees with security clearance
Next: all federal employees & all foreign nationals in the US
Next: all those working in "sensitive" industries
Next: all those working in "economically-vital" industries.
Next....

See where this is going?

Sorry, we're already there.

All healthcare workers that can access financial or 'personal' data (which means everyone north of the janitor) are now subjected to background checks that have to be redone every six years. Next up - constant monitoring to ensure we don't steal Grandma's SSN. Interestingly, the way the rules read, they're not much worried about us stealing medical information, just financial. One has to have one's priorities.

Anti-traitor, or anti-whistleblower? (1)

seanellis (302682) | about 8 months ago | (#46446515)

In private enterprise, I would not be surprised if such a system fell foul of legislation protecting whistleblowers. Should the same whistleblowing protections should apply to government agencies?

Re:Anti-traitor, or anti-whistleblower? (1)

Whorhay (1319089) | about 8 months ago | (#46447313)

I doubt it would fall afoul of the existing laws. In the Whistle Blower training we take anually there is a quiz question that has always bothered me. It seems to indicate that if someone hasn't blown the whistle yet, but you believe they might, then you are free to take action against them which is prohibited once they actually do.

It's turtles all the way down (2)

somepunk (720296) | about 8 months ago | (#46446533)

Who watches the watchers watching the watchers watching the watchers?

just like DRM (2)

postmortem (906676) | about 8 months ago | (#46446549)

so baddies have been warned, they have plenty of time to apply corrective actions. And employees with nothing to hide will be only ones affected by this.

What about Obama's campaign promise (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46446557)

To encourage whistleblowers? To have a more open goverment?

The NSA has learnt its lesson! (2)

tinkerton (199273) | about 8 months ago | (#46446569)

- get rid of as many sysadmins as possible
- screen sysadmins for libertarian tendencies and for caring too much about the constitution
- make sure information is less widely accessible
- increase monitoring of everyone who accesses information
- prepare to make a few token concessions for public consumption .. but, but.. we sort of hoped you'd cut back on the surveillance schemes! You know, mend your ways?
Do what? Hm no, we didn't think of that. Why would we have to do that then ?

Fun Place To Work (1)

FrodoOfTheShire (3459835) | about 8 months ago | (#46446585)

I can see a real drop off in the number of job applicants. The new monitoring may be necessary, but it will sure feel oppressive.

And the obvious result is... (2)

Guppy06 (410832) | about 8 months ago | (#46446591)

Only the people who see nothing wrong with such monitoring would be doing the job.

Re:And the obvious result is... (1)

cardpuncher (713057) | about 8 months ago | (#46446757)

And people who are secretly resentful, and people who are keeping their noses clean until they have worked their way into a position useful to their foreign handlers.

The more you seek to eliminate the people of whom you might be suspicious, the greater becomes the proportion of the people left who are either disaffected or "not suspicious" as a result of knowing how your "suspicions" are aroused.

Will They Monitor Congress & Their Staff? (1)

Koreantoast (527520) | about 8 months ago | (#46446623)

This program is probably focused on members of the bureaucracy, but I wonder if they're going to cover another very significant group of government officials with security clearances: Members of Congress and their staffs. A lot of your leaks happen over on Capitol Hill after all. Then again, I'm going to take a guess that they will very vocally and aggressively oppose this action and play the separation of powers card to shield themselves from this new effort.

Politicians? (1)

edibobb (113989) | about 8 months ago | (#46446639)

They should monitor politicians for corruption.

Re:Politicians? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46446765)

They do monitor the politicians - so that they can find something to blackmail them with so that they go along.

Clapper learning from Chertoff? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46446641)

The price tag, Clapper conceded, “is going to be costly.”

am I the only one thinking this smells an awful lot like the porn scanners?

Umm.. you mean they haven't done this? (1)

sandbagger (654585) | about 8 months ago | (#46446643)

I'd imagine if I were an employee with security access I'd get at least a random audit once one a while. I mean, it stands to reason, no? Otherwise what is the point?

Yeah, that makes illegal spying on us all ok... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46446685)

Better idea - don't let them have our data in the first place.

Re: Battlestar Galactica did an episode on this (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46446911)

I think Shakespeare covered it in Othello as well. Minority Report for that matter.

The war on terror is a boxing match with ourselves. If we couldn't pay our bills without borrowing money from Russia & China before, just wait until the people with clearances start requiring higher paying salaries to compensate for the "Gestapo treatment". We're losing the "War on Terror" in the most epic way possible: self-destruction while the enemy sits back and eats popcorn. Asymmetrical warfare is all about bleeding your opponent's resolve to fight. I don't think even the most ambitious Fantasy of Osama Bin Laden ever imagined he could succeed in financially ruining our capability to do so! Talk about David vs. Goliath!

And ironically (1)

MikeRT (947531) | about 8 months ago | (#46446999)

If you asked most people with a TS clearance if they'd rather this or face a periodic lifestyle polygraph they'd probably call this a no-brainer alternative to the latter.

Reduce government (1)

slapout (93640) | about 8 months ago | (#46447017)

Lots of federal employees means lots of chances for leaks. Therefore we need fewer federal employees.

(Also, the government shouldn't have too many secrets. They are suppose to be working for the people.)

Only Republicans will put-up with being spied on.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46447167)

so we'll end-up with a government that consists of only Republicans. That is the real driver behind this hateful new policy. They know that no self-respecting person, in other words not one of their kind, will put-up with this. If this gets enacted, it will destroy our country.

Overkill as usual (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46447213)

One measure of incompetence is that it typically swings from one extreme to the other, never displaying balance or good sense. Failure to monitor the in-house behavior a few thousand people (at most) with high-level access to NSA files has led to monitoring some five-million people in every aspect of their lives with "a sweeping system of electronic monitoring that would tap into government, financial and other databases."
It's easy to suspect that the real goal isn't to track those who leak secrets that ought to be leaked, but politically embarrassing whistleblowers. Also, don't forget that monitoring federal employees with a secret clearance (no big deal, I once had one) will also result in monitoring those in their families. That five million targeted is likely to mean closer to fifteen or twenty million people exposed.
And all to catch a Snowden who could have easily been caught by far simpler and far less intrusive means? I think not. Behind that incompetence lie schemes far more dangerous. Thus far the Obama administration has been able to use the IRS to target a few Republican friendly companies and limited government non-profits. This give them information about the political views of millions of ordinary citizens, who could also be covertly targeted.

One would think they already did (1)

gelfling (6534) | about 8 months ago | (#46447387)

That they have to announce they plan to is rather astonishing.

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