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

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  •  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.



      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:

        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.

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