Skip to main content

View Diary: State Dept. Attempts to Censor Students (87 comments)

Comment Preferences

  •  New York Times (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    silence, blueoasis

    So, talking about what the New York Times wrote about should still be considered "classified?"

    •  Yes. Just because they're published, doesn't (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Rich in PA

      mean that they're not classified.

      If some numbnuts left classified information on their desk, and you rifled through it, not only will the numbnuts be in trouble, so will you, for looking at information you weren't supposed to be. It's called restraint and you're trustworthiness has been called into question.

      Rand Paul- He won't let you down. His supporters won't let you up

      by second gen on Sun Dec 05, 2010 at 10:18:21 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  An so, (4+ / 0-)

        If I understand your argument, the folks at the New York Times and the Guardian should be arrested and behind bars. Even though the Supreme Court settled this issue with the Pentagon Papers.

        •  I believe that's wrong. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          silence, sceptical observer

          As I understand the Pentagon Papers decision, it only held that the government couldn't prevent the newspapers from publishing the Papers.  I don't believe a majority spoke to the question of whether there could be criminal liability after the fact.  

          •  Fair point, (0+ / 0-)

            However do you wonder why the Justice Dept didn't go after the NYT?
            And let's not forget, according to the memo, anyone even talking about the Wikileaks leaks on a social media site like the DailyKos can automatically be rejected for a job with the State Department. That would mean everyone already involved in this comment thread.

          •  There are other cases (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Adam B, enhydra lutris

            There isn't an exact match for what wikileaks is doing, but there are other cases, notably Bartnicki vs Vopper where the supreme court has held that publishing information which somebody else obtained illegally is protected by the first amendment.

            The US has never actually convicted somebody for publishing classified information.

          •  Ha ha (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            hangingchad

            So. Media are allowed to publish classified info, but no one is allowed to read or discuss the information?

            I don't think that's really what the founders had in mind with the good ol' First Amendment, do you? Give us a freaking break.

            •  This isn't about the 1st Amdt (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              second gen, IndieGuy

              It's about being tactful in speaking about an entity you might want to have hire you.

              •  Well, (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                cynndara

                if you want to to work for a particular company so badly that you are willing to censor yourself for years in advance, that's your privilege.

                Here's though it's a little more complicated because we are taking about the federal government, not a private company. It's supposed to represent the poeple and be answerable to them, and as such, its present officials do not not have the privilege to set up any old arbitrary ad hoc standard of what is acceptable speech for potential future employees.

                •  You think they can't take it into account at all? (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  second gen, IndieGuy

                  If someone runs a "Hillary Sux" blog but insists he'll be a loyal employee if hired by State, would you ignore the existence of the blog?

                  •  Weall, actually . . . (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Adam B

                    A non-political career employee of the government's POLITICAL views should have little or nothing to do with their suitability for a substantive position.  And those of us who were raised inside the Beltway/system actually can manage to hold our noses and continue to pursue the "mission" regardless of who's chosen to act as figurehead at the top.  Cabinet secretaries are political appointees, and anyone who plans to work in the department for thirty years intends to outlast such mayflies.  The only politics important in the career ladder are the internal politics of the department itself.

                    OTOH, there's always Taft-Hartley.  So any kind of deep involvement in partisan politics prior to retirement is suspect, and a reasonable question that would be asked is, would the candidate understand that they have to give up partisan politics for their career?

            •  Ask any soldier about their first amendment (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              cynndara

              rights.

              They are pretty slim.

              Rand Paul- He won't let you down. His supporters won't let you up

              by second gen on Sun Dec 05, 2010 at 11:15:19 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Ah, (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Clio2

                don't soldiers swear to become essentially the property of the U.S. government? I don't think State Department employees have to make such an oath. Although I could be wrong?

                •  You have to swear (0+ / 0-)

                  to defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies foreign and domestic. It is a little-known fact that every civilian employee of the U.S. Government has to swear this oath.

                  In my book, that includes defending the First Amendment, occasionally even against the unConstitutional impulses of upper-level and/or political officials.  

                  •  The first amendment guarantees you the (3+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Adam B, cynndara, IndieGuy

                    right to speak your mind. It doesn't guarantee you a right to a job.

                    Rand Paul- He won't let you down. His supporters won't let you up

                    by second gen on Sun Dec 05, 2010 at 11:44:05 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  By the way, my daughter and all her fellow (0+ / 0-)

                      soldiers uphold your right to the First Amendment, however, they don't enjoy it themselves.

                      Rand Paul- He won't let you down. His supporters won't let you up

                      by second gen on Sun Dec 05, 2010 at 11:45:19 AM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  That is my point, (0+ / 0-)

                        Those in the armed service give up their rights. However, I think you do not have to give up your rights if your work for other parts of the government, including the State Department. Does anyone know this for certain?

                        •  This may be long, sorry.... (5+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          Adam B, silence, second gen, cynndara, Clio2

                          Every Federal civilian employee has the same basic rights as every other American.  There are restrictions, such as running for public office and open displays of political material - pins, buttons, posters, and the like.

                          But if I, as a Federal worker, want to attend a rally it's perfectly legal for me to do so.  If, however, I want to speak at that rally I need to have it cleared in advance.  If I do end up making an unplanned speech or interview, I am required to ensure that everybody knows I am NOT representing my agency and that I'm speaking as an individual.  And them, I'm required to report the exchange.

                          None of this is problematic.  It allows us to be politically active while preventing us from imposing our views on co-workers or from appearing to be speaking on behalf of the government when we are not authorized to do so.

                          Regarding classified info, I don't really understand the outrage in this diary.  If anybody wants to access, print, share, copy, etc., the WikiLeaks memos well knock yourself out.  But please don't go getting all outraged when the Federal government decides they don't like that you did so and won't give you a job as a result.  The choice is yours to make; don't be outrage if that choice has consequences.

                          "We are all born ignorant, but one must work hard to remain stupid." -Ben Franklin

                          by IndieGuy on Sun Dec 05, 2010 at 11:58:08 AM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  That's the generic "you" not, you know... "YOU". (0+ / 0-)

                            "We are all born ignorant, but one must work hard to remain stupid." -Ben Franklin

                            by IndieGuy on Sun Dec 05, 2010 at 11:59:19 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Tipped for good info (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            IndieGuy

                            even though I disagree strongly with the last graf.

                          •  Okay (0+ / 0-)

                            but the job at the State Dept is that of a diplomat. Being diplomatic requires a certain amount of openness and honesty. By telling students that want to work as diplomats that they can not talk about what is openly being discussed in the papers and classrooms is not only antithetical to a free and open democracy, it seems to me also a said example of government censorship.

                          •  I do understand this point, but just want to (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            second gen, cynndara

                            remind you that the diplomat is first and foremost a government employee.

                            As a diplomat, (s)he is entrusted with some extremely sensitive information.  Do you really want to entrust that information to somebody who may decide that in their opinion it's not really all that sensitive, and that they can just make up their own rules?  I don't.

                            "We are all born ignorant, but one must work hard to remain stupid." -Ben Franklin

                            by IndieGuy on Sun Dec 05, 2010 at 12:18:16 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  okay (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            nchristine

                            but if the information is already out in the public, it is no long sensitive information. And the fact that college students are debating this information should not be held against the student years later.

                      •  As somebody who spent over 26 years in uniform, (2+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        cfm, second gen

                        I'd like to remind everybody that there is no draft.  Everybody in uniform today volunteered.  So for the record, nobody is forced to give up their First Amendment rights since nobody is forced to join the military.  It was an option, and they chose it.

                        Please thank your daughter for her service.  This generation is amazing.

                        "We are all born ignorant, but one must work hard to remain stupid." -Ben Franklin

                        by IndieGuy on Sun Dec 05, 2010 at 11:50:17 AM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  Good point, (2+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          shenderson, IndieGuy

                          In the military, you currently volunteer to give up your rights, including the ultimate right to life. However, we don't expect that from everyone that works for the government. I'd love to see how many people would sign up to work for the Treasury Department if they had to give up their rights to life and property.

                          •  Excellent point, unfortunate example: (0+ / 0-)

                            "We are all born ignorant, but one must work hard to remain stupid." -Ben Franklin

                            by IndieGuy on Sun Dec 05, 2010 at 12:00:53 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  I don't understand how you don't get that (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            cynndara, IndieGuy

                            accessing information that is classified, that you aren't authorized to access, might prevent you from getting a security clearance, which will probably be required to get the job.

                            If you were applying for a job as an accountant, your future employer would want to know if you've ever stolen money from anyone. A superior looking at you for a job in the gov't that requires a security clearance will want to know if you know that classified information is not to be accessed without authorization. Why doesn't this make sense to you?

                            Rand Paul- He won't let you down. His supporters won't let you up

                            by second gen on Sun Dec 05, 2010 at 12:12:16 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                        •  Will do (0+ / 0-)

                          Please thank your daughter for her service.  This generation is amazing.

                          And thank you for your service.

                          Rand Paul- He won't let you down. His supporters won't let you up

                          by second gen on Sun Dec 05, 2010 at 12:07:50 PM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  This is OT, but I'm completely serious when I (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            cfm, second gen

                            say this generation is amazing.  It's almost unbelievable how dedicated and hard-working these kids are.  The average age of the crew of an aircraft carrier is 19.  These are the people running a multi-billion dollar, nuclear-armed and powered warship, launching and landing multi-million dollar warplanes.

                            The average age of a Stryker company is also 19.  These young people are out there every day and every night, maintaining and operating some of the most complex and dangerous machinery every created.

                            All of them are doing these jobs for months and years on end.  They complain about it - BOY, do they complain! - but they do it over and over again, and do it the best they can.  Truly amazing.

                            "We are all born ignorant, but one must work hard to remain stupid." -Ben Franklin

                            by IndieGuy on Sun Dec 05, 2010 at 12:12:43 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  LOL (0+ / 0-)

                            Yah know, historically speaking, throughout most of human history and across most human cultures, nineteen-year-olds have been considered grown-ups.  That's right, ADULTS.  Funny thing, but people like Hannibal and Alexander were commanding not merely companies, but entire armies at that age.  And doing it perfectly well.

                            This is not meant to belittle the abilities of our current nineteen-year-old troops.  They're doing adult jobs and doing them well, unlike a good helping of their civilian agemates.  But then, that's not unusual for teenagers of the working classes, which is where most of these young soldiers come from.  It's the spoiled brats of the wealthy and near-wealthy, who have the luxury of continuing to be children well through their twenties, while their frustrated parents continue to pick up the tab.

        •  Well, I suppose if the folks at the NYT (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Clio2

          and the Guardian were trying to get jobs in the State Dept, they're kind of screwed now...

          Rand Paul- He won't let you down. His supporters won't let you up

          by second gen on Sun Dec 05, 2010 at 10:45:41 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Ever heard of (0+ / 0-)

        the First Amendment by any chance?

    •  it's simpler than that (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      second gen, IndieGuy

      "If you want to be hired by this company, don't write publicly about things embarrassing to the company."

      •  And so, (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        cynndara, Clio2, enhydra lutris

        If you want to work for the U.S. government, never say anything critical of the U.S. government? There goes any chance I will ever be hired by the gov. LOL!

        •  Or not. The fact is that plenty of the 60's (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          trinityfly, Clio2, IndieGuy

          radicals worked for the government at one time of another in later years, some even as career employees.

          That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt -

          by enhydra lutris on Sun Dec 05, 2010 at 10:42:47 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  True, all can be 'forgiven' if they need you, (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            enhydra lutris

            or if they 'forgot' or if the sun is or isn't shining.

            This is another knee jerk...uber americans at work 'protecting' for the 'greater good'.  

            ...and there will be 'hearings'...many 'hearings'...on CSpan...and there will be red faced charges of treason because truth is treason, doncha know.

            Hallelujah!

        •  depends on how sensitive the position is. nt (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          second gen, IndieGuy
        •  You're free to say critical things. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          IndieGuy

          You're not free to access and discuss classified info.

          Rand Paul- He won't let you down. His supporters won't let you up

          by second gen on Sun Dec 05, 2010 at 10:48:03 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  An so, (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Clio2

            we can't talk about what the NYT has published. Like I should not say something like according to the leaked documents, a State Department official called the French president "thin skinned."

            Have I now just broken the law?

            •  Nope. (0+ / 0-)

              Have I now just broken the law?

              But you're making sure you increase your chances of not passing a security clearance.

              Rand Paul- He won't let you down. His supporters won't let you up

              by second gen on Sun Dec 05, 2010 at 11:10:18 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  I would be very curious to know (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                cynndara, nchristine, shenderson

                why a person would be deemed a security risk, perhaps years later, simply for discussing a published news story.

                I can't think of any precedent, and I don't think they went that far even in the guilt-by-association-intoxicated McCarthy era.

                Moreover, a person who was genuinely interested in international affairs, yet found nothing to say about such a top news story, would have to be a pretty dim bulb.  

                This blatant attempt to suppress news by intimidating both public and private reading and conversation reminds me of nothing so much as what we used to hear about Stalinist Russia.

                •  BECAUSE THE DOCUMENTS BEING DISCUSSED (0+ / 0-)

                  ARE STILL CLASSIFIED.

                  I don't understand why you don't understand.

                  We're not talking about the general public. We're talking about someone who wants a future employer to trust them with classified info. It doesn't matter if someone else published it. The government (this guy's hoped for future employer) doesn't consider it public.

                  Rand Paul- He won't let you down. His supporters won't let you up

                  by second gen on Sun Dec 05, 2010 at 12:49:28 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  OK, I understand what youre' saying (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    cynndara

                    and it seems freaking nuts.

                    This is asking for future potential employees to pass a loyalty test right here now and separate  themselves from other readers, citizens and interested parties, by voluntarily giving up ordinary First Amendment rights, which allow them to read and comment on these papers, purely at the say-so of some government official, who threatens those who use those rights with the possibility of career harm at some time in the future.

                    What real security purpose could be served? Admittedly, none. The genie is out of the bottle. Therefore it is part of the largr effort to chill free speech on this topic, starting with those over whom the gvovernment can claim some sort of present, or even future, handle.

                    •  As I stated down below. (0+ / 0-)

                      The diarist is asking for a future employer, who just happens to be the same employer whose documents were leaked, to trust someone to keep classified info private, when they couldn't even keep their eyes off it during a huge controversy over it.

                      I'm sure in a year, or two, those docs will be unclassified, and there will be no danger to government employee hopefuls, but right this minute, while it's still hot, it might be a problem.

                      As for private sector, it shouldn't have any bearing, and I'd be more interested in knowing how a private company knew I was reading those docs than anything.

                      Rand Paul- He won't let you down. His supporters won't let you up

                      by second gen on Sun Dec 05, 2010 at 01:16:46 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                  •  I have a feeling (0+ / 0-)

                    the classification of these documents have been downgraded. Who does the government think they are hiding them from? Certainly not college students studying sociology, media, journalism, writing, political science, and any other related subject. The content of these documents are already out there. You can't put the genie back in the bottle.

                    In my opinion, to say that you can study the Wikileaks story in the classroom but not talk about it on Facebook is idiotic. What if a political science or journalist student finds themselves having to write an essay about the Wikileaks documents. Would that mean their chances of working for the State Department has been harmed?

                    •  Apparently, yes. (0+ / 0-)

                      What if a political science or journalist student finds themselves having to write an essay about the Wikileaks documents. Would that mean their chances of working for the State Department has been harmed?

                      If I were a student with eyes on the State Department, I'd have to tell my instructor that I'm unable to write that particular essay, and why. Chances are, the instructor, after having found that it could jeopardize a future career, won't force the issue.

                      Look. I'm not saying I necessarily agree with it. But I understand it. Human nature makes you want to look. But those who can't control their impulses may not get that job they wanted. A future State Dept superior will only need to see that you were accessing this info and the logical conclusion would be that you aren't able to control your impulse, even in the face of being told that you shouldn't be accessing/discussing it. They would then wonder if you could be trusted with other, possibly more sensitive, classified information.

                      Like I said, if you had a private sector, non government related job interview coming up, it shouldn't matter. Unless, of course, that particular job charged you with sensitive, "Eyes Only" information. But you're talking about trying to get a job in one of the very departments whose documents were leaked.

                      Rand Paul- He won't let you down. His supporters won't let you up

                      by second gen on Sun Dec 05, 2010 at 01:13:39 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Well, (0+ / 0-)

                        As I have said, I have an Independent Research internship with Dr. Phillips and we will most certainly be editing and writing about journalist work on the Wikileaks documents. So, if I wanted to work for the State Department, I should not take this four unit internship?

                        I should not talk about, think about, writing about any thing the government does not want me to know. Even if it is common knowledge and is being talked about on all the mainstream media outlets, including Fox News.

                        Hmmm, Interesting position.  

                        •  You could always (0+ / 0-)

                          present yourself as a trained "expert" in the public consequences of the internet age.  Doing this specifically as a for-credit internship makes it Academic.  And academics are taken into the government in their fields all the time.

                          •  Yeah, (0+ / 0-)

                            but I'm not really an academic. I am simply a student writing about the subjects I am studying on a social media site This action in itself could prevent me from getting a job in the government. Even if, everything I have said and written about is already public knowledge.

                      •  I think (0+ / 0-)

                        you're going a bit far.  Especially with State, which is well-known to be the leakiest of all the government's internationally-active agencies (their security badges aren't trusted in the door at the FBI, much less the CIA, and CIA can't get into NSA without an escort).

                        Now, thirty years ago, the way that investigators checked out a candidate for higher-level military security clearances was to take them out drinking.  And see if they talked, and if so, what about.  People who drank too much or got talkative were dropped like hot potatoes -- the primitive wisdom of the trade at the time was that these people, would be too likely to unbutton about the wrong things at the wrong time.  I could see similarly, a person's posts to various online networks being looked over for patterns.  Mine, for instance, would certainly be spotted as dangerous.  I know just enough about how the system works, combined with such a profound cynicism and will to destruction, that the only reason for not picking me up right this minute is, that they'd never find a thing on me and they know it.  I've never harmed a fly, although I have made a mission out of squashing spiders.  Still, it would be very hard to make that into a felony.  And I haven't had drugs in the house in twenty years.

                        I certainly couldn't get a job in my old hometown after spouting off online for a decade now.  But for a young person looking for their first job, what they'll be looking at is not whether they noticed that the Wikileaks issue arose.  Like using pot in the 70's, that alone isn't likely to ban decent candidates from consideration.  Even defending Assange and his friends probably won't be an automatic fail.  But if the candidate were actively soliciting contributions, downloading the "insurance" file, or passionately defending the leakers, then that would raise some serious questions.  All in all, it would likely be a matter of degrees.  What would raise red flags would be extreme behavior, not ordinary curiousity and gossip.

        •  No, but if you want to work for anybody, you'd (0+ / 0-)

          better follow the rules they set out.  If you don't want to, don't bother following the rules.  It's easy, and really not worth all the outrage.

          "We are all born ignorant, but one must work hard to remain stupid." -Ben Franklin

          by IndieGuy on Sun Dec 05, 2010 at 11:46:18 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  asdf (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            cynndara, shenderson

            "They" may not turn out to be be the same people with the same idiotic ideas, looking 10 or 20 years down the line, anyway.

            •  Clio2 (0+ / 0-)

              Be the first to sign my petition at deanwalker.wordpress.com:) Here is the wording of the petition:

              Stop State Department Censorship of Students!

              Dear President Obama,

              Recently, the Huffington Post reported that on at least two college campuses, Colombia University and Georgetown University, the Offices of Career Services’ have warned students not to talk about the Wikileaks documents on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter.

              In a free and open democracy, it is important for students to discuss recent political events, even if it is embarrassing to one’s own government. Any attempt by the State Department to publicly or secretly suppress students from talking about information that is already out in the public domain amounts to government censorship.

              Therefore, as former students, current students, and professors, we call on you to denounce any attempts by the State Department, or any other government office, to censor students.

              Sincerely,

              Dean Walker – Ellis University student

            •  Times do change, don't they? Thankfully. (0+ / 0-)

              "We are all born ignorant, but one must work hard to remain stupid." -Ben Franklin

              by IndieGuy on Sun Dec 05, 2010 at 12:02:27 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

  • Recommended (128)
  • Community (59)
  • 2016 (50)
  • Environment (39)
  • Elections (37)
  • Media (34)
  • Republicans (32)
  • Hillary Clinton (31)
  • Law (29)
  • Jeb Bush (29)
  • Culture (27)
  • Iraq (27)
  • Barack Obama (26)
  • Climate Change (25)
  • Trans-Pacific Partnership (25)
  • Civil Rights (24)
  • Labor (20)
  • Economy (20)
  • LGBT (16)
  • Congress (15)
  • Click here for the mobile view of the site