Wednesday, June 12, 2013

You Know Booz Allen Hamilton Could Have Hired Me Instead of Snowden, And I Work Cheap

It's true.  During my 4-year-long journey through the bowels of Unemployment Purgatory, one of the companies I put in for was Booz Allen Hamilton.  They had openings for some basic tech, some writing/editing skills, some research skills.  And I sure as hell wouldn't have cost $200k oh okay $112k the amount Snowden was signed for.  I could have gone for $79k tops, and I wouldn't have spilled my guts at $79k.  If they paid me $40k, then yeah maybe I'd be a little disgruntled, but I can live on $79k...

Even though I'm now gainfully employed, I still get updates from Booz Allen with opening notices.  I haven't seen one yet for "Whistleblower" position, I guess it's gotta clear HR first and... okay, I kid.  I kid.  I... why is that unmarked white van in the parking lot aiming a seemingly empty Pringles can at my wifi router...?

As the debate on what Snowden did continues, I have to 'fess up that in some respects I'm... underwhelmed with the nature of the issue.  While the "ZOMG TRAITOR" crowd are screaming treason they can't actually prove specific harm: Snowden and his ally Glenn Greenwald seem to have calculated how to release this info to leave some wriggle room for pleading out to a misdemeanor whenever the trial on his whistleblowing ass begins.

Basically, this is what I'm getting about all this:
1) Snowden proved that some of the people testifying before Congress about our intelligence gathering lied, and someone's head is gonna roll for it.
2) Snowden's choice of Hong Kong/China as a safe haven is about as stupid a place to go than maybe Cuba or Venezuela.  China's record on Big Brother behavior is worse than the United States.  Snowden, in your next life of whistleblowing, go someplace scenic like, oh, Czech Republic, Sweden, Costa Rica maybe (Costa Rica's got a good human rights record, yeah?  yeah...?).
3) The real issues are being ignored: our entire intelligence gathering system is bloated, under-managed, primed for abuse.
While there's no evidence of serious abuse under Obama's tenure, you can't always trust the guys in charge whenever a new executive rolls into the West Wing.  There are far too many people with the power to classify documents as Secret: hiding way too much information that would otherwise give us transparency into government functions.
Instead of hiring into our government to have some bureaucratic means of accountability, our intelligence gathering was farmed out to private vendors who don't answer to a lot of oversight.
The NSA gathers all this data but has no manpower to evaluate it: that would normally be the CIA, but there's still a lot of bureaucratic in-fighting over who does what and having third-party vendors handle all that data brings in too many meddlers.
Our FISA court is entirely one-sided: only the government's argument for wiretap warrants are given, there is NO ONE arguing against the need for a warrant - which is probably one reason why the FISA court rarely refuses a warrant request.

As it stands right now, the best we can hope for is a serious honest dialogue about our intelligence gathering, its impact on our Fourth Amendment right to not have some tech geek snicker at our DVD purchases, and honest reform to make the FISA system more balanced and more accountable.

...But with this Congress, I'm willing to bet we'll just get more "Blame Obama" investigations out of the House and dithering from a Senate that doesn't want to get blamed for "weakening America's security".  /sigh

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