Island Dweller sent a private note that he probably would not want shared with anyone, but he brought up a subtopic within it that the Czar wanted to comment on. So naturally, we are printing the entire humiliating note. Try not to read the confessional parts, and definitely don’t laugh at the poor guy. You know we love him. Also, don’t share this with anyone:
Your illustrious majesty:
A spousal tale of the CIA for you from the aquatic hinterlands.
Some time ago we lived in metro DC. During that time a job opportunity for an unclassified administrative position with the CIA became available, and my “Dwellerette” met the qualifications and applied. Everything went swimmingly until it was time for the polygraph examination, administered by specialists Frick and Frack of the CIA. My spouse, who was a dental hygienist for 33 years, under questioning about whether she had ever stolen anything in her life, admitted to taking some toothbrushes from her former employer over a period of about 17 or 18 years. At this point they morphed into two clones of Sam Rothstein’s pal Nicky Santoro, asking her what else she had taken and why was she being deceptive about further answers to their questions. All they were lacking was Nicky’s benchtop screw clamp to put her head in. Why do I bring this up? Being a toothbrush thief makes you a threat to national security. But being a non-CIA civilian biographer – or self-appointed social hostess – is apparently no obstacle whatsoever to getting your hands on classified information or being allowed unfettered access to a military post containing extremely sensitive areas and high-value personnel.
P.S. – The biographical material Ms Broadwell was reviewing apparently was of a classification approaching that allowed to the director of CIA. It also reported on his movements. One has to wonder how Ms Broadwell possessed such a high security clearance unless it was in conjunction with her Army Reserve duties. If so, it is improper – if not outright illegal – to use for private gain that classified access to ANY information that did not strictly pertain to her military duties, and that includes any used as background for a biography. You gotta wonder – who authorized this, and why?
The Czar once had pretty good security clearance, as well. So did a few of us here at Castle Gormogon, and one or two of us still might. In some cases, you get the full background check, with agents coming to your neighbors and former teachers and asking all about your perceived personal habits and so forth. In the Czar’s case, they did a cursory background check and just stamped some forms, nothing more.
The Czar is uncertain how solid Ms. Broadwell’s clearances were, and it seems every organization or agency has different ideas as to protocol. She may have gotten the fifth degree, or just had some paperwork initialed as we did. Anything is possible, as it depends on which organization performed the clearances check, what the original considerations were, and when the check was performed. The Czar had his done during the Clinton years, when we received the clearance check along with a derelict standing behind us muttering something about killing Harley Davidson, a ficus tree in the corner, and a stapler. Things were easy then; heck, if you were on a naval ship, you didn’t even need to load the guns.
A lot of military-lite decisions were made during the Clinton years that are now bearing fruit.
Anyway, the second point is that even with our security clearance—mind you, this was almost two decades ago—it was pretty breath-taking what information you could be given. As long as you had some sort of clearance, people would cough up all sorts of intel with the assumption that you were good to go on every conceivable topic. Fundamentally, the Czar’s clearance rating was very low. In fact, the only thing he should have been told was that bullets go in many types of guns. But he found all sorts of folks willing to talk all day and all night about things even the Czar suspects should still be hushed about. In other words, it would be quite easy for someone, or anyone, like Ms. Broadwell to be present when something rather sensitive was openly discussed. She could have been sitting next to someone at a cafeteria table, or waited patiently in someone’s office when someone took a phone call. As Island Dweller points out, though, some of her information was particularly impressive, and ultimately it’s on her to explain how she obtained it. And no, it doesn’t look good.
In short, the Czar’s point: it actually is pretty easy to obtain very sensitive information through no fault of your own as long as you have a modicum of clearance. Island Dweller’s point: is this how bad the CIA has gotten that something like this can occur through no fault of Ms.Broadwell’s own? And no, she should not have been given that information, regardless of the prevailing culture.
Third, and the thing the Czar really wants to jump up and down on, is polygraph testing. If Mrs. ID went to the CIA and the CIA still relies on polygraphs then no wonder they sometimes get kooks inside their ranks.
Polygraph tests rank up there with with examining goat entrails in terms of accuracy. Mrs. ID should have started saying all sorts of crazy stuff. “My cousin is a giraffe, and she once punched out colonist Samuel Adams, who was a space monkey.” And lo, the technician will say that’s a lie. But then, if she added that she once pilfered some giveaway toothbrushes from the dentist’s office as well, the guy would nod his head that she was telling the truth. Except you then tear off the sheets and overlay the squiggles from the two statements and they will be roughly the same.
Hell, a Magic 8 Ball is more accurate, and believe us when we say that Ghettoputer once got into a 20-minute argument with one over a Jackie Chan film. There is no court in the United States, at any level, where anything a polygraph reveals is remotely admissible as evidence because even law enforcement quietly knows the whole thing is bullshit. But the fear of a polygraph can make all sorts of guilty people sing like little birdies.
In fact, one of the easiest means to defeat a polygraph? Know in advance the thing is made-up pretend science. If you know the technician is guessing and providing responses based on his own expectations, then you can indeed get him—with a little work—to consider the possibility you might be telling the truth about your cousin the giraffe.