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HOW TO KILL SNAKES 5 Aug. 2017 PDF  | Print |  E-mail

HOW TO KILL SNAKES

5 Aug. 2017

Dear Friends and Patriots,

 

          I’ve admitted before that I’m a snake lover.  They’re fascinating creatures to me.  To me, they’re beautiful, and in almost all cases beneficial to man.  I put no credence in any assertions of evil assigned to them.  Well, there are water moccasins, and they’re sort of belligerent and sometimes seem to be angry at the world.  But that’s just temperament, not actual malice.  Besides, I’m not actually talking about that kind of snake.

          The snakes I want to discuss are the vipers who inhabit our government. They’re the snakes embedded in all three branches of government and in all agencies.  None of those snakes are beneficial to man, despite any protestations by them or those who might support them.

          Here’s another admission.  I make it to support my own assertion that I know something about the subject of snakes on our government’s payroll.  I’ve spent all but three years of my adult life working for our government in one way or another; to be specific, almost 38 years.   I’ve encountered a couple of government snakes and heard of many, many others.

          Allow me to define my term, lest you either misunderstand or apply it to the wrong people.  Whistle-blowers are not snakes.  No one who works to correct any misapplication of a law or regulation is a snake.  No one who works scrupulously to properly apply current laws or regulations is a snake.  No one who openly questions the validity or application of any law or regulation is a snake.  No.  Snakes are not the average government employee, nor even the vast majority of political appointees.  They’re something else entirely.  Snakes are those who dwell within the various parts of our government who hold their own beliefs and interpretations of political realities to be more important than the essential requirements of their jobs.  They’re zealots of a particular kind.  To them, their personal beliefs and ethics transcend everything, and they justify immoral and illegal actions they commit with a perverse morality.

          Our government is full of people who hold strong views on politics, religion, economics, and just about everything else.  After all, those who work for our government are little different from the average citizen, other than the truth that government employees are not society’s producers.   I won’t go to the extent of stating they’re parasites.  The jobs they do are dictated by needs defined by the laws, regulations, and other requirements they exist to oversee or participate in.  The characteristic that differentiates a good government employee from a snake is the ability to compartmentalize their personal belief system and divorce it from the requirements of the job.  A snake doesn’t do that.  A snake prioritizes those personal beliefs and takes actions they contend are justified by a higher morality; their superior beliefs.

          The snakes I’m talking about are generally referred to as “leakers.”  They are referred to in other ways as well.  In general, anyone who divulges privileged or classified information in any manner other than in the proper course of their jobs and according to existing laws and regulations is a snake.   Unlike actual snakes, government snakes present an actual danger to all citizens, not just those within their proximity.

          Leaking has been a problem in government forever.  The extent of leaking varies over time, but there is evidence it’s becoming a very significant and growing issue that must be resolved.  No government can exist for long if it has no ability to manage its secrets, and every government has secrets. 

          I’m obviously discussing the sieve that we call the Trump administration.  Nothing in our government today seems to be secret.  When verbatim transcripts of conversations between our President and other heads of state make it onto the front pages of The New York Times and Washington Post something is gravely wrong.

          Most of the information leaked in the past few months hasn’t been classified, but it is privileged.  Privileged information is sensitive and is accrued by workers in the normal course of their business day.  It’s obvious those who work in the White House will hear hall gossip.  Such things as the “rumor network” and “grapevine” exist in all workplaces, but when a government employee passes gossip to a reporter, even if through an intermediary, a breach of public trust has occurred. The transcripts of the President’s conversations may have contained no classified references but they were most definitely privileged information.  Whoever leaked them committed a dishonorable act; a breach of public trust, at a minimum.

          There have also been incidents of released classified information; many occurring during the Obama administration.  One such incident is too many.  If reports are true, many appointees of the Obama administration were responsible, either directly or indirectly, purposefully or through negligence, for many of those classified leaks.  Continuous efforts were made over the eight year span of the Obama administration to control leaks.  It’s impossible to know how successful they were.

          A lot of hot air and babble is filling the air waves regarding leaks and the announcement by Attorney General Sessions that the Justice Department is going to investigate all reports of information leaks.  Most of that yakking is a bit ignorant.  Reporters know little of how such investigations are done, but wild speculation sells far more papers than an admission that they don’t have a clue of how Justice will proceed.  If I understand Jeff Sessions I’m confident he’ll insure protocols are developed to ensure the investigations don’t unfairly target anyone.  People who aren’t leaking have nothing to be concerned about.  Leakers should beware. 

          The title of this article should inform you that I’m going to suggest a few things about finding and dealing with this subject.  My suggestions are just common sense.  I’m not one for Draconian measures, though there are those within the system who might think a few of these are.

          Here are a few suggestions.  Some are for the administration in general and some are for those in Justice who are involved in a leak investigation. 

 

-         White House staff should be purged of all individuals who are not vouched for by senior managers.  No one who isn’t 100% trusted should be working there.  If someone is suspected, the least that should be done is to transfer them to another agency to remove them from proximity of the President. 

-         The President should purge all high-level appointees who are hold-overs from prior administrations.  This is an absolute. 

-         Cabinet members should identify and isolate all lower level appointees from past administrations.  The likelihood is the majority of leaks are emanating from that group.  Those who can be legally and immediately dismissed should be.  Those who can’t be should have all privileged and classified aspects of their jobs curtailed. 

-         No former employee from any prior administration who still retains a security clearance should be able to freely access any government information.  The only reason they have current clearances is in the case an incumbent government employee needs to consult them on a legacy matter.  No newly emerging matter should be discussed with anyone not currently in government service, unless the President or Cabinet member personally approves of it.

-         Prior administration appointees paved the way for their trusted friends to acquire high-level positions in civil service.  These people constitute an embedded threat.  All of them should be identified by the Office of Personnel Management and their positions reviewed to ensure they have no access to information that could be misused.  If they occupy positions of significant authority and access they should be re-assessed to determine if they present an ideological risk to the conduct of government business.  If so, they should be transferred to positions that pose minimal risks to agency operations.

-         Subpoenas should be issued to media agencies that print leaked information.  The subpoenas should request copies of any written communications, any transcriptions or digital recordings of conversations with leakers, and copies of any faxes or copied material.  The objective is not to infringe on the First Amendment rights of media, but to determine who is involved in illegal communications.  Media should be continually notified the objective is the pursuit of government employees who are breaking the law.  Justice should issue press releases of all subpoenas issued and warrants served to ensure the public is aware investigations are being pursued, even if actual details of investigations are withheld.

-         All employees applying for or having security clearances should have their social media accounts reviewed during initial and subsequent background investigations.  Evidence the employee is involved in illegal activities should be the subject of special scrutiny.  Confirmation of such activity should result in immediate termination of employment.

-         Review the public information pages of all agencies of the government to determine if the public statements of agencies lines up with administration philosophy and policies.  Those that don’t should be issued specific direction regarding how they need to change their public presence to align with the President’s programs. 

-         The nation’s intelligence services merit special scrutiny.  Because of the secretive nature of their operations most of our intelligence agency activities are unknown beyond their own boundaries.  They can literally tell Congress or the President what they want them to know and believe. Collectively they present a huge risk to any administration and to the people because of the public inability to understand how they work and the limits they observe in their operations.  This is a major conundrum.  If significant leaks are coming from within the intelligence community itself it could be extraordinarily difficult to detect who is doing it and to get cooperation in curtailing it.  This requires development of specific policies from the Director of National Security, the National Security Council, and Department of Justice.  One thing that should immediately be done is to ensure barriers are placed between the intelligence agencies; to clearly define their operational “swim lanes” in order to limit the potential of collusion, should they have the urge to collude.

 

There are all kinds of problems that are bound to accrue in searching for leakers.  Peoples’ rights must be protected.  No one should be accused of any wrongful act unless evidence is compelling.  All efforts should be made to ensure investigations do not compromise the morale of the innocent.  I’ve had experience in mass investigations and know nothing creates paranoia quicker than seeing a team of federal investigators show up to conduct interviews.  Because of the secretive nature of such investigations even perfectly innocent people will sometimes become completely unsettled. 

It may seem unfair to generalize all past political appointees as a risk to this or any other incumbent administration, but the truth is, they are.  The risk varies with the individual.  Most may be perfectly capable of putting their personal viewpoints aside and adjust to any new administration’s changes.  Others may decide on their own they no longer fit in and submit their resignations.   The problem a new administration has is in determining who among the hold-overs is competent and honorable and who isn’t.  Sometimes it’s better just to use the meat-axe approach and eliminate the question altogether.

The best way to kill the effectiveness of embedded snakes is to quickly flush out a few and be as public as possible about prosecuting them.  Most actual snakes are nocturnal and live in subterranean burrows.  Similarly, government snakes can’t stand any light on their activities.  Once a handful are arrested and made into public spectacles most of the rest will crawl into their hiding holes.  It’s impossible to find all leakers, but that shouldn’t actually be the objective.  The objective is to shut them down.

 

In Liberty,

Steve