Thursday, July 14, 2005

Double standard?

CIA officer's husband calls for Rove dismissal

A number of friends of mine and I have gone through the security clearance process, and we all have funny stories about it (most of them unclassified, I think). Common to the thread is the fear that they try to put in you about even the smallest slip of information. They introduce you to all of these names of double agents and what prisons they are still rotting away in. They talk about what awful things have happened to the families of these people. They talk about "treason" quite a bit. They say things like "espionage is real" over and over again.

Before you can even get to this point, they talk to all of your friends and ask them about how you act when you're drunk. They ask about how well you can keep a secret. They ask about fidelity in a relationship. There's also a psychological examination. They study you as you take the test (hundreds of questions about things like, "Is it okay to light animals on fire?" and that same question reworded fifteen times). Then you go and sit with a psychologist. You talk about your family. You talk about loyalty.

And then there's the lie detector test. This, for me, was the worst part of the whole process. You're in a dark room with a veteran NSA agent who has strapped these things to your fingers and around your arms and chest. You're asked to stare at one point in the dark room and DO NOT EVER MOVE. TRY NOT TO BLINK.

Oh, and in between the psych test and the lie detector test they send you to lunch with other people who work at the NSA. You have to sit down next to some of them -- some random people who you have never met -- and they tell you stories about how their friends took three or four times trying to pass the lie detector test. About one friend who just started laughing over and over again and had to leave the room. About another friend who bawled his eyes out. These seem like normal people talking to you. It seems like they're telling you real stories. And all of these real stories have common threads -- people going into that dark room and crapping themselves in fear and anxiety.

After all of this, if and when you get the clearance, there is a "briefing" process where you learn exactly how evil people who tell secrets are and all the bad things that will happen to them. When you exit the job that required the clearance, there is a "debriefing" process where they echo all of this.

And yet after all of this, Karl Rove just goes about his normal day as Deputy Chief of Staff. Was the government lying to me during all of those tests? I was given the impression (and this was explicit) that if I was to do anything like Karl Rove did, I would be tried for TREASON and may be subject to DEATH. Getting *FIRED* would be lucky!! There's no chance I would just get fired without criminal charges and major consequences.

So I think that the government really needs to do something about this man or they are going to set a very bad example for the rest of the intelligence community who currently has the fear of Government in them.

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