Wednesday, 5 June 2013

The Problem of Missing Markers

This week....the case of Private Manning and the thousands of secrets that he divulged to the WikiLeaks crowd starts up.

I won't comment much on the court episode.  I think it's hard to find any jury that would be agreeable to Manning's cause.  And I think most of this is just wasted time....trying to establish that he had some 'right', which doesn't exist.

The real issue here is this odd history.  If you read deep into the brief career of Private Manning.....from the point that he got into the Army intelligence school.....he was showing minor issues.  At his first assignment, he began to show more issues.  While deployed, he showed even more issues.

These were all markers.  He was plainly unfit for a security clearance.  He might have made a fine chow-hall cook, or a diesel mechanic, or infantry guy.....but he was unfit to hold down a clearance.

The Air Force used to have a fairly brief intelligence school.  It was barely sixteen weeks, and you graduated.  If you had issues.....and quietly kept them under the cover of the instructors, of fellow students, then fine, you'd graduate.  A year later.....some unit in Florida or South Korea....would realize they had a nutcase holding a high security clearance, and quickly move them out.

At some point in the 1990s....the Air Force shifted over to around 35-odd weeks of intelligence school.  The longer atmosphere?  It generally opened up the door for your personality disorders to display themselves.  They started to find folks who weren't fit for a high clearance, and got them either out of the Air Force, or into a simple job where security didn't matter.

The Army?  I suspect as the war business went into turbo-mode, no one really paid attention to personality disorders or 'markers'.  They just said "Joe" was a bit strange, and accepted it.

In this case, Private Manning had various markers showing, and the Army did mostly nothing.  They didn't see him as a threat.  It's now their issue to clean up the mess.

What I generally expect?  Private Manning will end up with life in prison.  If he's really lucky.....it might just be a forty-year prison episode.  It doesn't matter....he'll be too old to really get anything out of life.  His disorders in prison?  Maybe he'll get some help and eventually discover how foolish he was.  Maybe.

His associates in prison?  Well....that's going to be a problem.  And he might not last that long in a real prison.  If the guards are smart.....they will put him into some isolation and at least give him a chance for a long life.

In the end.....if you see 'markers' and a personality disorder....doing nothing is not an option.

The Threat of Nerf Guns

Across America....we are facing a grave crisis of sorts....with the expansion and maddening use of Nerf guns.  Every kid has them....every neighborhood is under threat, and schools are seeing Nerf action.

This week....a school up in Washington state reacted quickly to put down a major Nerf gun threat.  Even though someone had signed off on kids bringing them into school....later during a Nerf gun fight.....the threat was obvious.

Presently, two of the students are suspended, and can't serve on the student council.

The school?  Well....it's a curious thing.  They don't want to talk about this episode.  They have claimed that there is a "zero tolerance" when it comes to even toy guns.

Appeals and lawsuits?  Almost guaranteed.  I imagine that the chief administrator will be referred to as the  "chief Nerf" by kids from this day on.

At some point, as you settle back and ponder this mess, you realize that leadership from a era ago.....just twenty years ago....is gone.  What you currently have.....isn't leadership.  In a crisis? They are unfit.  In a moment of panic?  They can't lead.  In an emergency?  They merely stand and act amazed how they got in such a mess.

Yes, there's a problem....but other than firing the whole bunch, there's not much to expect.

So tonight, as Junior and Betsy return from school....you need to quietly sit down and explain two facts.

First, don't even think about bringing their Nerf guns to school.  Don't discuss Nerf guns in front of teachers, the authorities, or any cops.  Nerf guns stay on the family property, and will be used only there.

Second, explain the facts of life.  Their teachers and principals....are incompetent, and dimwits.  They might be able to do complex math problems....but they can't lead or give guidance.  So explain that to the  kid and just let them know.....sometimes, you got to give jobs to idiots.  It's the American way.  And then caution them from ever getting employment as a teacher or school administrator....you'd be a loser for the rest of your life.

This Email Stuff

The Obama administration came out today and admitted.....that they have secret email accounts for the VIPs in the administration.  This all came to light....because someone put in for a Freedom of Information Act episode, and they wanted all of the emails from the secret accounts.  So the Administration said fine.....but it's a one-million dollar fee.

The cause?  Well....the VIPs have discovered that the's way too much email getting into the mailbox, and they want a second secret box, for special friends.  And if you divulge the secret name for each guy, then you have to restart the whole mechanism.

So I sat there and pondered over this.

You can imagine yourself....Secretary of Interior,  Snuffy George.....new guy, just arrived in DC.  So the Interior IT comes up on the first hour and gives you account 1, Snuffy.George@interior.gov.

An hour passes, and then some guy shows up the special IT shop that only serves the top fifteen guys in the Interior Department.  So you get account 2, Big.1.Boss@interior.gov.  Only the top guys of the Interior have this special mailbox.

Another hour passes, and a guy from the White House shows up, and gives you account 3, 123TripleH@WH.gov.  This is the inside account for you, the three hundred top folks of the White House, and the President.

Another hour passes, and a guy shows up from the President's personal detail, with account 4, Purple_Red@X.gov, which is reserved for only cabinet officers and the President.

Another hour passes, and a guy from your Interior IT shop shows up with account 5, Dad1234@Interior.gov.  This is for your wife, your kids, grandma, your liaison lady, your accountant, etc.....to privately communicate with you at work.

So you are walkingt round with five different email accounts and five passwords of various numbers and letters.  You have to be careful.....not to fire off an email to the wife, using the White House email address.  You have to be careful not to send a critical email to the President, using your top-level-of-the-Interior account.

A regular guy could get real confused here.

Sadly, it was only twenty-five years ago, that you had a secretary, and you posed a three-minute session with her.....then she typed up a letter that you sent by the Post Office to another division.  No accounts.  No passwords.

Life has gotten pretty complicated.