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July 21, 2006 10:01 PM   Subscribe

Criticizing the food is OK, just don't mention the water: the blog implied a specific knowledge of interrogations and . . . worried "the seventh floor" at CIA
posted by If I Had An Anus (38 comments total)

 
really having a hard time feeling sorry for someone getting dooced for blogging on the company intranet about what a rotten bunch her employers are.... even if she is absolutely right.
posted by Tryptophan-5ht at 10:53 PM on July 21, 2006


...she thinks of herself as the Erma Bombeck of the intel world, a "generalist" writing about lunch meat one day, the war on terrorism the next.

Don't mention the baloney.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 10:53 PM on July 21, 2006


The Central Intelligence Agency is not a "company." It's a taxpayer-financed, federal agency.
posted by raysmj at 10:57 PM on July 21, 2006


If I Had An Anus, Excellent post.
By accident homunculus posted a link about this situation in another thread.

Can't say I think talking about CIA torture choices seems like it would be a savvy thing to do while working for the CIA. It's not like it's on par with talking about the lousy food in the cafeteria. That said, it was a blog for people with top secret clearance, meant to be a dialogue about the Geneva Convention as it relates to torture. Still, can't imagine the CIA would want their employees to dialogue democratically about torture. Too much cognitive dissonance there.

It's brave, good and right that Christine Axsmith spoke up about waterboarding, which is not only an outrageous torture, according to Axsmith, it isn't effective.

Her blog as Econo-Girl with today's thoughts
and some interesting comments from readers.
posted by nickyskye at 11:02 PM on July 21, 2006


The Central Intelligence Agency is not a "company." It's a taxpayer-financed, federal agency.

She technically worked for BEA systems.
posted by delmoi at 11:09 PM on July 21, 2006


delmoi: Yes, but he said it was the "company intranet." The intranet was not owned by BEA Systems, but by the CIA and financed by folks like you and me.
posted by raysmj at 11:16 PM on July 21, 2006


If the intranet--and the blogs on it--are indeed owned by the CIA, perhaps someone in the know could tell us if a Freedom of Information Request would be able to get us access to those blogs.
posted by fandango_matt at 11:52 PM on July 21, 2006


Probably not, remember it was classified.
posted by IronLizard at 11:59 PM on July 21, 2006


Somewhat off-topic, but I don't have a lot of confidence in "Econo-girl" when she says on the main page of her blog that the dollar is strong. Erm, what? I guess you could argue that it should fall even farther than it already has, given the massive trade and budget deficits the US is carrying, but the dollar has been in relatively rapid decline for the last six years or so. I think it's kind of weird to refer to something that has declined hugely as "strong."

Plus, it annoys me even more than the introduction of the Euro, because my vacations are that much more expensive.

But she's right about torture. I'm just not sure she should be calling herself "Econo-Girl." (The diatribe about Paulson being "insane" was kind of goofy too. Paulson was maybe Bush's best appointment ever, given that he's got Wall Street experience and is not a complete doofus. I'm sure Bush will manage to avoid listening to him, though.)
posted by lackutrol at 1:25 AM on July 22, 2006


Amateur blogger gets fired for posting at work while she's being paid to do something else. Why, again, should I feel any sympathy?
posted by aberrant at 1:34 AM on July 22, 2006


Hmmn, interesting that the post that got her sacked is quoted very differently in the linked article and on her blogspot site:

blogspot: Econo-Girl has serious doubts as to whether European lives were saved.

Washington Post: CC had the sad occasion to read interrogation transcripts in an assignment that should not be made public. And, let's just say, European lives were not saved.

And that's what she was sacked for: stating that she, a software engineer, had read documents she shouldn't have been reading, and certainly shouldn't have been posting about according to company policy, not for raising the issue of the Geneva Convention and the evils of waterboarding.

Er, it feels a bit odd defending the CIA, but I can see why they might take umbrage at her posting. Or maybe I just find it hard to sympathise with this self-described 'opinionated loudmouth with a knack for writing a catchy headline.'
posted by jack_mo at 2:50 AM on July 22, 2006


I want someone to pay attention to me! I want someone to pay attention to me! Oh dear, someone did and it was my employer. Now I don't have a job.
posted by rhymer at 5:15 AM on July 22, 2006


The photo in that article makes me laugh. Like, "Okay, we're trying for a 'Calvin Klein's Obsession' feel, here. Look off into the distance. No, separate directions. Look grim; cue mood lighting..."
posted by Gator at 5:54 AM on July 22, 2006


The Central Intelligence Agency is not a "company."

They don't call it "la cia" for nothing.
posted by oraknabo at 8:04 AM on July 22, 2006


I don't have a lot of confidence in "Econo-girl"

but she's the one lone voice in this "captialist" wilderness not trying to pick your pocket. like, all the other "captialist" pigs are vocally picking my pocket every day. maroon.
posted by quonsar at 8:14 AM on July 22, 2006


And that's what she was sacked for: stating that she, a software engineer, had read documents she shouldn't have been reading, and certainly shouldn't have been posting about according to company policy

She "read interrogation transcripts in an assignment", so it wasn't that she shouldn't have been reading them.

She was aware the transcripts "should not be made public".

Her blog was for top secret clearance only. So the transcripts were not made public. It was "after reading a newspaper report that the CIA would join the rest of the U.S. government in according Geneva Conventions rights to prisoners, she posted her views on the subject."

So the topic had been discussed publicly, in the newspaper.

But, in spite of the subject of the Geneva Conventions in relation to torture being discussed in the newspaper: "She said BAE officials told her that the blog implied a specific knowledge of interrogations and that it worried 'the seventh floor' at CIA, where the offices of the director and his management team are."

There is also something anti-authoritarian in her saying "how it was important to 'empower grunts and paper pushers' because, she explained in the interview, 'I'm a big believer in educating people at the bottom, and that's how you strengthen an infrastructure.' "

The CIA was making out she had more knowledge about torture but were firing her because "postings should relate directly to the official business of the author and readers of the site".

It would seem that blogging while at work, acting out anti-authoritarian impulses about one's job and getting caught criticising one's employer on the web (even -and maybe especially- if it's about them committing acts of torture) will, not surprisingly, get one fired.
posted by nickyskye at 8:30 AM on July 22, 2006


Hostile crowd today. Whatever you may think about her blog, isn't it fascinating that there's a secret private Internet in the CIA and it has blogs?
posted by Nelson at 8:46 AM on July 22, 2006


the cia didn't fire her. she did not work for the cia. the cia was her client. she used the clients resources to criticize the client. she seems like an attebtion-seeking maroon.
posted by quonsar at 8:48 AM on July 22, 2006


a captialist attebtion-seeker.
posted by quonsar at 8:48 AM on July 22, 2006


I would think that what she did was stupid, no matter who the employer was. And for her to do it when her employer (okay, she was just a contractor, but same thing) is the C.I.-fucking-A. and she's criticizing the torture methods it is already under severe attack for ... well, she was just asking for it, wasn't she?

Maybe she's looking for a book deal. She already views herself as an "Erma Bombeck."
posted by jayder at 9:37 AM on July 22, 2006


We've gone from discussing whether or not our government is torturing people to discussing whether or or not it's okay that our government is torturing people to discussing whether or not it's okay that our government is firing people for talking about the fact that it's torturing people.

Jesus.
posted by EarBucket at 9:44 AM on July 22, 2006


I second the, holy shit! the CIA has secret blogs!

That's just awesome.
posted by nadawi at 9:56 AM on July 22, 2006


Great post, EarBucket.

I'm much more sympathetic to this blogger than many of these posts. I agree that the CIA's actions are not surprising, and that the blogger was less-than-saavy. But I still think it's disgusting/outrageous/immoral that they fired her for the torture post.
posted by ClaudiaCenter at 10:10 AM on July 22, 2006


I'm much more sympathetic to this blogger than many of these posts. I agree that the CIA's actions are not surprising, and that the blogger was less-than-saavy. But I still think it's disgusting/outrageous/immoral that they fired her for the torture post.
posted by ClaudiaCenter at 10:10 AM PST on July 22


Ditto. I hate the way people excuse workplace authoritarianism.
posted by Marla Singer at 10:54 AM on July 22, 2006


Maybe she's looking for a book deal. She already views herself as an "Erma Bombeck."
posted by jayder


The Grass Is Always Greener Over the Mass Graves

If Life Is a Bowl of Cherries, Why Am I at the Bottom of the Dog Pile?

Aunt Erma's Waterboarding Book

Just Wait Til You Have Jihadists of Your Own
posted by leftcoastbob at 11:09 AM on July 22, 2006


They torture people, who cares if they fire a blogger.

They TORTURE people.
posted by sonofsamiam at 11:10 AM on July 22, 2006


she seems like an attebtion-seeking maroon.[sic] posted by someone who blogs to more people than the woman in question.

But, yes, she should not be surprised that an outfit that tortures and kills people would have her fired over an innocuous blog posting.
posted by nightwood at 11:32 AM on July 22, 2006


She was fired because people up and down the Bush administration are in a hysterical panic that they might end up in a cell somewhere that has 'Slobodan was here' scratched on the wall.
posted by jamjam at 12:35 PM on July 22, 2006


Sonofsamiam, then I guess she should be extra grateful that she was only fired, eh?

/snark

There may be another issue here - just because you have a clearance at a given level does not entitle you to all information classified at that level. You must also have a demonstrable "need to know" that information. In some cases, knowledge of the mere existence of the information is itself classified.

My guess is, that by discussing the existence of classified information on a blog that was presumably available to multiple people who didn't have the "need to know", regardless of their clearance level, she ran afoul of guidelines.

Also, when you're paying contractors sometimes upwards of $500/hr for work, you expect them to, you know, actually WORK. at $300/hr, which is a reasonably average billing rate for a midlevel contractor from a beltway bandit, even 15 minutes typing up a blog post costs $75. It might sound trivial, but it adds up. Anyone who's ever criticized the government for wasting money should have no problem with their attempts to get what they're paying for, which is for software developers under contract to actually DO WHAT THEY'RE PAID TO DO on our dime.
posted by aberrant at 12:41 PM on July 22, 2006


isn't it fascinating that there's a secret private Internet in the CIA and it has blogs?

Mal.icio.us and Tortr.com coming soon!
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 12:55 PM on July 22, 2006 [1 favorite]


Oh, and countdown to subject of the FPP responding in-thread beginning now: 10, 9, 8...
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 12:57 PM on July 22, 2006


"...stagflation..."

There, finally someone acknowledged it.
posted by 517 at 1:06 PM on July 22, 2006


posted by someone who blogs to more people than the woman in question.

to whom do you refer? got a link?
posted by quonsar at 3:52 PM on July 22, 2006




Which one is Mary Scott O'Connor, liberal firebrand, again? (Or does the Post just have a rule now about people not looking into the camera?)

she ran afoul of guidelines

I dunno. I think that's just an excuse -- it's all about the Company image, you know. Under Goss there was a very diligent weeding process and many "open minds" were encouraged to retire; under the DNI structure the CIA is now expressly tasked with supporting the White House line, contrary to its 1947 founding legislation when it was legally defined as an independent source.

The blog experiment shows they're trying to "get it" and become more of a smart mob or something (or maybe just getting around antiquated database systems like the FBI's), but they expressly don't "get it" yet.

Probing Galaxies of Data for Nuggets -- WaPo article about CIA blogs from '05.
WIRED on Intelink, earlier last year.
CIA Asks Bush to Discontinue Blog, you guessed it.
posted by dhartung at 5:26 PM on July 22, 2006 [1 favorite]


dhartung, What a fascinating addition to this thread. Thanks for your insight.

"Unfortunately, the intelligence community has not kept up with the Army." Yikes. Now that's a scary statement.

"The intelligence community does a terrible job of looking outside itself for information." That's scary too.

Sounds like Intelink is more like Dumblink and the FBI is in the act as well. Three Stooges dumb.

Read a bit of GeorgeW's old blog, unfrikkinbelievable!

A July 24 posting read, "Just got back from a lunch with Colin and Adil Moussa (one of Prince Saud al-Faisal's guys). Colin wants the Saudis to send some troops to Najaf—so some of the soldiers are Arab, I guess. This Moussa guy sure wears a lot of jewelry. A golden chain, a golden ring with his initials or something, and some other sparkling stuff—kinda effeminate. Anyway, best of luck in Iraq, Iyad."

and

"He is compromising his safety and the safety of those in my department," Basham said, citing a post from last Thursday in which Bush revealed that he "had to go to some secret meeting with Norquist at some Marriot [sic] over in Virginia." "Someone could uncover some serious state secrets, if they took the time to wade through all of those photos he posted after he got that digital camera in June."

Hilarious and utterly disturbing in its gross stupidity.
posted by nickyskye at 9:38 AM on July 23, 2006


to whom do you refer? got a link?

http://www.metafilter.com/user/986


Posting History:
MetaFilter: 97 RSS feed of posts by quonsar posts and 7619 comments
MetaTalk: 17 RSS feed of posts by quonsar posts and 4154 comments
Ask MeFi: no questions and 249 answers
MeFi Music: 7 RSS feed of music posts by quonsar songs and 13 comments
MeFi Projects: no posts

And MeFi has a much higher readership than the blog in question.
posted by nightwood at 11:29 AM on July 23, 2006


well, shit, this ain't blogging dude.
posted by quonsar at 1:09 PM on July 24, 2006


this is commenting. it's a whole other form of maroonic attebtion seeking.
posted by quonsar at 1:10 PM on July 24, 2006


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