Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?
Government The Internet United States Your Rights Online

US Government Strategy To Prevent Leaks Is Leaked 336

Jake writes "The US government's 11-page document on how to get various US government agencies to prevent future leaks has been leaked. It doesn't get any more ironic than that. After the various leaks made by WikiLeaks, the US government understandably wants to limit the number of potential leaks, but their strategy apparently isn't implemented yet. It's clear that the Obama administration is telling federal agencies to take aggressive steps to prevent further leaks. According to the document, these steps include figuring out which employees might be most inclined to leak classified documents, by using psychiatrists and sociologists to assess their trustworthiness. The memo also suggests that agencies require all their employees to report any contacts with members of the news media they may have."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

US Government Strategy To Prevent Leaks Is Leaked

Comments Filter:
  • Whats next (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Drivintin ( 917847 ) on Sunday January 09, 2011 @11:05AM (#34814396)
    I think next they should try reverse psychology. Works well with me 5 year old.
  • I Wouldn't Worry (Score:5, Insightful)

    by CheeseburgerBrown ( 553703 ) on Sunday January 09, 2011 @11:16AM (#34814458) Homepage Journal
    I'm sure that if anyone were falsely accused of being a leaker, they would no doubt have swift access to just recourse. This is the West, after all.

    If someone ends up in a such a situation and reports the contrary, their testimony is likely tainted because they are a dirty rotten leaker.

    Ultimately, we are all safer somehow.
  • by SerpentMage ( 13390 ) on Sunday January 09, 2011 @11:23AM (#34814504)

    How about the United States do a house cleaning on their policies? And how about the United States go back to what the constitution was all about? Maybe then you would not need to worry about this crap! Oh wait that's too simple and all of the agencies would be out of a job. Can't have that now can we!

  • by peragrin ( 659227 ) on Sunday January 09, 2011 @11:39AM (#34814588)

    yes the federal bureaucracy does need to be it's size. It has to manage 300 million people of conflicting ideals, ideology, desires,etc.

    What most people forget, is that the majority of the laws on the books are there because someone abused someone else, and we seek to prevent it from happening again.

    Common Sense isn't really that common.

    And yes speculation that the king of Saudis arabia is an ass should be kept secret. Your official position is that he is a good king, you can't contradict that view point without you yourself looking like an ass. Unless he does it himself first. How many secrets about your friends do you keep?In any given circle of friends you have that one who you let come along even though very few actually like them. Gossip like that is needed to understand the person behind the power. Such understanding is far beyond your abilities though.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 09, 2011 @11:45AM (#34814654)

    ...post-WikiLeaks environment.

    Because this sort of thing never happened before WikiLeaks? This just shows that all their security responses are purely reactive and never pro-active, just like the TSA. The threats have always existed, it just goes to show that whoever has been doing risk analysis for these agencies have been completely clueless and still doesn't get it. Although, if anything, by trying to fix the causes and just blaming Wikileaks there is the benefit of at least getting a stronger system which is why I agree with what Wikileaks did.

  • Re:Ironic? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by c6gunner ( 950153 ) on Sunday January 09, 2011 @11:56AM (#34814732)

    That's perfect. You're listening to a song called "ironic", in which nothing is actually ironic, while responding to an article which misuses the word "ironic".

  • Re:Ironic? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Yvanhoe ( 564877 ) on Sunday January 09, 2011 @12:47PM (#34815114) Journal
    A colleague who used to work for defense contractors once told me this interesting trick : If you have a boring document that you need every employee to read, instead of just handling it to them, make it secret and give them clearance. That will make them more curious and everybody will read it. Maybe here is a similar strategy : "leak" a document stating how to prevent leaks, and more people will read it than if you just publish it on a governmental website.
  • by bws111 ( 1216812 ) on Sunday January 09, 2011 @12:56PM (#34815170)

    US foreign policy is not "the king is an ass". The opinion of an employee of the US government is that the king is an ass. Or aren't those people allowed to have opinions?

  • by Thing 1 ( 178996 ) on Sunday January 09, 2011 @01:01PM (#34815224) Journal
    No, I think the majority of the laws on the books are because some rich people wanted to further abuse the peasants. Look at marijuana law, it was enacted to prop up the forests of William Randolph Hurst. Another angle, they restricted the right to vote from felons, and then made a whole bunch of innocuous acts into felonies. Read the book "Three Felonies a Day", which talks about exactly that; the average citizen commits three felonies a day because the laws are so vaguely written. I disagree with the premise, and I also disagree that the federal government needs to be so large. Or exist at all. I wonder how the EU member states' citizens feel about their (relatively) new overlord?
  • by Peeteriz ( 821290 ) on Sunday January 09, 2011 @01:07PM (#34815264)

    Is it reasonable to restrict people because the doctor/ideological officer says that they might break that oath because they are expressing unhappiness about work conditions or managment?
    Thoughtcrimes, anyone?

  • by laughingcoyote ( 762272 ) <barghesthowl@excit e . com> on Sunday January 09, 2011 @01:49PM (#34815526) Journal

    You don't have to lie in those scenarios.

    You never tell another person "good to see you", when you really don't care?

    Then you just say "Hi, how are you doing?" Still a perfectly polite greeting, and you've told no lies.

    You never say "I don't care" when someone asks if you have a preference for lunch, even though you do care?

    If they're asking me, they apparently want my opinion. Why would I not then give it? If they want something different, I'll usually go along with it, but you shouldn't ask questions you don't want the answer for.

    You never give a person a false compliment just to brighten their day a little?

    No. If they need picked up a little, I'll give them a real one. I've never known a person with no good qualities at all. And really, people do tend to know when you're shitting them around like that. If you want to give them a compliment, pick a genuinely good quality they possess, or something they've recently done well, and compliment them for that.

    I would tend to expect the same of our diplomats. They need to be candid, sure. But they can do that by, say, dispassionately reporting the facts and leaving the high school type jabs out oft it entirely. And if what you really are doing would embarrass you if it came to light, there's an easy solution to that—don't do those things. The government could well learn from that. If the actions they're undertaking in our name wouldn't be supported by us if we knew about them, and would be embarrassing because they're unacceptable, why are they doing those things in the first place?

    The problem here is not that certain inappropriate actions of the government came to light. The problem is that they ever took place at all.

  • Re:Ironic? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by countertrolling ( 1585477 ) on Sunday January 09, 2011 @01:54PM (#34815564) Journal

    ...it bothers me a little that techspot is treating this as a coup...

    Try to understand the advertisers mind. It's hype. Every press release is a "leak", every publication an "exclusive". Sounds more dramatic, right? Fires everybody up. Makes them forget about the hand reaching in their crotch and grabbing their goodies.

  • by jc42 ( 318812 ) on Sunday January 09, 2011 @02:01PM (#34815626) Homepage Journal

    The memo also suggests that agencies require all their employees to report any contacts with members of the news media they may have.

    But they've been telling us all along that the wikileaks folks don't qualify as "journalists" and don't deserve the legal protections that most democracies give to "news media". Employees in contact with such online information sources can easily think that such requirements don't apply, since they've been specifically told that such organizations aren't news media.

    Maybe they should think of a better way of expressing what they want their employees to do. Or stop the pretense that, since there are no printing presses involved, people working on informing the public online don't qualify for legal protections such as the US's First Amendment guarantee of freedom of the press.

  • by ZankerH ( 1401751 ) on Sunday January 09, 2011 @03:43PM (#34816418)

    Two of the nastiest regimes ever to run countries are facing off over eastern Europe. Which one do you support?

    The one that didn't declare war on the USA. If neither did, don't get involved in the war.
    We don't HAVE TO police the world, you know.

  • Typically the largest employer in most municipalities is the local school district, often followed closely by other government agencies of various kinds. The total work force in the U.S. that is employed by the government at some level is about 40% based upon some studies I've seen, and in the UK that number is a bit more than 60%.

    In 1900, the largest department of the U.S. federal government was the Post Office Department with about 200,000 workers, followed by the predecessors to the Border Patrol and customs agents. The War Department usually averaged between 20,000 to 30,000 soldiers, and the Navy Department a little bit more than the Army but not too much more. The USMC was usually about the size of a regiment for most of its history... except in times of war.

    If the federal government remained about that size, or returned to that size at the end of World War II, the number of secrets that would be needed for a bureaucracy that size would have been minimal. If America was able to thrive and survive for more than a century with essentially no significant government bureaucracy, why is one needed now? I'm saying that one of the problems with why leaks are so prevalent is precisely because there are too many people who need to keep secrets from the general public.

  • The U.S. government had a much, much smaller profile for most of its history. Stating that the size of the government is strictly a function the number of people that "it represents" is a gross mischaracterization of the issues involved. In the 1920s, when America was already a "large empire" already industrialized with electronic communications and possessing most of the attributes of a "1st world nation", it had about a half million employees in total. Why is 100 times that number needed now.... because we have 100 times the population?

    As for the Great Depression, it was horrible mismanagement on the part of the Federal Government trying to intervene into the situation under the Hoover administration that caused most of the problems, and the Roosevelt administration trying to cover up those mistakes by making many more of them. The recession of 1921 certainly could have been duplicated in 1930 with perhaps a little bit of pain for the major banks and the political elite, but the country as a whole would have been much better off as a result. It didn't take growing the federal government and instituting socialism to restore economic prosperity and I would argue that it got in the way of the economic recovery... just as similar policies today are getting in the way.

    The problem with the current recession is mostly because the bankers who got stuck with the bad debt due to the housing bubble don't want to lose their shirts over a lousy investment... and want the rest of America to bail them out on what should have been an insanely risky investment. A big ouch where housing prices got back to more sane levels and a temporary deflationary period would have been over by now had the big central banks simply been allowed to collapse. The politics involved are mainly to protect those who made a bad judgment call.

    More to the point, I'm arguing here that the size of the government bureaucracy is contributing to the problem of leaks by requiring many more "secrets" when more of what they are doing ought to be done by private industry or charity groups in the first place. Let people keep their own money and spend it as they best see fit and not have how that money needs to be spent by some central bureaucracy that knows jack.

  • by Grishnakh ( 216268 ) on Sunday January 09, 2011 @05:15PM (#34817254)

    Because fascists and other authoritarians believe that bad (and illegal) things must be done by the government to keep society functioning well.

    Interestingly, in the USA, both Democrats and Republicans fit this description, as well as most of the people who vote for them.

  • by conspirator57 ( 1123519 ) on Sunday January 09, 2011 @05:43PM (#34817456)

    like covering up the apache killings of the journalists in Iraq when all the government really had to do was admit that a mistake had been made in a war zone?

    i guarantee you that if our government's actions were less continually ignoble there would be many fewer leaks across the board.

  • The only irony (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Phaid ( 938 ) on Sunday January 09, 2011 @06:01PM (#34817586) Homepage

    is that the person who thought they were being clever by labeling this a "leak" didn't notice it was an unclassified memo sent to the heads of public agencies.

Bell Labs Unix -- Reach out and grep someone.