Top-Secret World Loses Blogger

Friday, July 21, 2006
Top-Secret World Loses Blogger: "And it continued, she added, with something like this: 'CC had the sad occasion to read interrogation transcripts in an assignment that should not be made public. And, let's just say, European lives were not saved.' (That was a jab at Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's trip to Europe late last year when she defended U.S. policy on secret detentions and interrogations.) A self-described 'opinionated loudmouth with a knack for writing a catchy headline,' Axsmith also wrote how it was important to 'empower grunts and paper pushers' because, she explained in the interview, 'I'm a big believer in educating people at the bottom, and that's how you strengthen an infrastructure.'

In her job as a contractor at the CIA's software-development shop, Axsmith said, she conducted 'performance and stress testing' on computer programs, and that as a computer engineer she had nothing to do with interrogations. She said she did read some interrogation-related reports while performing her job as a trainer in one counterterrorism office."


One word: need-to-know.

30 comments:

Buddy Larsen said...

LOL--"one word: need-to-know".

Needling the old intellojence comunity, eh?

Knucklehead said...

In her job as a contractor at the CIA's software-development shop, Axsmith said, she conducted "performance and stress testing" on computer programs, and that as a computer engineer she had nothing to do with interrogations. She said she did read some interrogation-related reports while performing her job as a trainer in one counterterrorism office.

Her opinion, Axsmith added, was based on newspaper reports of torture and waterboarding as an interrogation method used to induce prisoners to cooperate.


What am I missing in this story? This woman blogged on a secure site within the CIA. She saw some newspaper reports about interrogation techniques as part of some training program. What a software stress tester has to do with interrogation techniques escapes me, but...

Anyway, she apparently went on her little web site and declared that the techniques she'd read about in (sigh) newspaper articles were torture and took a swipe at the Secretary of State while also somehow making a determination that no lives had been saved by interrogations using the techniques that she considered torture.

Now she's fired. But before being fired...

In recounting the events of her last day as an Intelink blogger, Axsmith said that she didn't hold up well when the corporate security officers grilled her, seized her badge and put her in a frigid conference room. "I'm shaking. I'm cold, staring at the wall," she recalled. "And worse, people are using the room as a shortcut, so I have no dignity in this crisis."

An expert on torture. How on earth does a thing like this make news for the WaPo? The woman's a wuss. That doesn't make her a bad person - jillions of us are wussies. She apparently got her boss really ticked off and that got her fired. That doesn't make her a bad person either - it happens to plenty of people every darned day.

None of it makes her a bad person, a newsworthy heroine, or victim worthy of any particular sympathy.

I don't get it. Somebody educate me.

Seneca the Younger said...

What am I missing in this story?

This sentence: She said she did read some interrogation-related reports while performing her job as a trainer in one counterterrorism office.

She either had NTK for these, in which case she was giving the impression she was revealing NTK information to people who didn't have it; or she didn't have NTK, in which case she was revealing that she'd violated NTK on what was at least SECRET-codeword information.

Ergo, they pulled her clearance; she needed a clearance for her job, so as a consequence they fired her. And they interrogated her sharply because we don't like unauthorized disclosures even within a classified network; if she was talking there, who else was she talking to?

gumshoe1 said...

just the WaPo pushing it's daily agenda...The Boston Globe is owned by Pinchy & Co.(NYT)...did they buy up the WaPo and the LA Times too,when America wasn't looking???

Re: Axsmith

i'd say this woman ..who *assigns herself* a role within a security-clearance organization ie:

"Axsmith also wrote how it was important to 'empower grunts and paper pushers' because, she explained in the interview, 'I'm a big believer in educating people at the bottom, and that's how you strengthen an infrastructure."

...was in over her head
to begin with.

Buddy Larsen said...

Yeh--she's from the Bill Keller "empower the grunts" school. She's lucky to live in these times, when there are no enemies except for Da Man.

Knucklehead said...

StY,

The WaPo reporting on this is screwy. I still do not see, at least from their article, why they think anyone should care about this.

Leading into the sentence you cite
we have:

[On her blog], she said, something like this: "Waterboarding is Torture and Torture is Wrong."

And it continued, she added, with something like this: "CC had the sad occasion to read interrogation transcripts in an assignment that should not be made public. And, let's just say, European lives were not saved." (That was a jab at Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's trip to Europe late last year when she defended U.S. policy on secret detentions and interrogations.)


OK, so she claims, at least on her blog, that she saw some interrogation transcripts. Given the title, or opeining or whatever, she gave her post this statement by her would seem to suggest that she saw something in the "interrogation transcripts" that not only informed her that "waterboarding" was being used but also that "European lives were not saved".

That seems a bit much to have gotten from a "transcript". Maybe from a report about which more momentarily.

The WaPo then tells us she self-describes thusly:

A self-described "opinionated loudmouth with a knack for writing a catchy headline," Axsmith also wrote how it was important to "empower grunts and paper pushers" because, she explained in the interview, "I'm a big believer in educating people at the bottom, and that's how you strengthen an infrastructure."

Well, now we know she's not the brightest bulb on the tree. She comes right out and tells us she either doesn't understand about NTK or compartmentalization or any other thing the CIA and/or her employer have surely explained to her.

She apparently knows she's blogging on a secured website. Nobody's going to say anything about her yapping about crappy food in the cafeteria but unless she's a moron she should understand that software stress testers from SW development shouldn't be yapping about interrogation transcripts. If she had half a brain one might also think she'd be smart enough to know one should probably think six or eight times before figuratively jamming one's thumb into the eye of the former National Security Adviser and now Secretary of State. But that's a different matter other than demonstrating the woman is both professionally and politically tone deaf.

But let's move on... I still don't get what the WaPo is after here.

Next we learn that she was blathering about something that isn't her job. Human nature but something folks who work for the CIA and blog on secured websites should know better than doing.

In her job as a contractor at the CIA's software-development shop, Axsmith said, she conducted "performance and stress testing" on computer programs, and that as a computer engineer she had nothing to do with interrogations. She said she did read some interrogation-related reports while performing her job as a trainer in one counterterrorism office.

So now we've gone from her looking at "transcripts" to "reports" with some sort of seemingly lame attempt to spin it as job related for some sort of training program she needed to run.

Perhaps its just me but I can't fathom the CIA appointing theis SW stress tester to run around training anyone about interrogation so it seems reasonably likely that it had something to do with the SW she stress tested and, therefore, she had no authorization to look at these transcripts and/or reports.

So firing her dopey arse for violating security seems justifiable but here's where I get confused...

She said she did read some interrogation-related reports while performing her job as a trainer in one counterterrorism office.

The bit you cited in your comment above, followed immediately by:

Her opinion, Axsmith added, was based on newspaper reports of torture and waterboarding as an interrogation method used to induce prisoners to cooperate.

WTF? What is the WaPo trying to tell us here? Is she trying to claim, with the WaPo's help, that these "transcripts" or "reports" she read were actually just newspaper articles? Or is the nitwit (or the WaPo) trying to make some claim that she was just expressing an "opinion" arrived at from reading the newspaper and, I suppose, we're to infer that her blog post was just preening and puffery?

I still don't get it. The WaPo seems to want us to believe something awful happened to this nitwit of a woman but they aren't exactly telling us what that is.

Are they telling us she was rightfully fired for compromising security or are they telling us she's being unjustly persecuted form merely expressing an opinion?

Which is all to say that this was one bit of fershit reporting.

Peter UK said...

We had a similar little scrote by the name of Shayler,another nobody after their fifteen minutes of fame.

Seneca the Younger said...


The WaPo reporting on this is screwy. I still do not see, at least from their article, why they think anyone should care about this.


Oh, sorry, I misunderstood you. yeah, my reaction was "well, duh."

Syl said...

Just to let you know. Computer troubles.

Don't know what future holds.

Have a nice day.

Sigh.

Buddy Larsen said...

Cheer up, Syl! Things can always get woise!

Peter UK said...

Buddy,That's easy for you to say.

Barry Dauphin said...

Syl

Axsmith is looking for computer work....were you thinking of giving her a call? ;>).

Buddy Larsen said...

She should start an advice column--she was born to--

"Questions? Axsmith!"

CF said...

Don't forget the author of this is Dana Priest accused of printing reports of secret prisons fed her by a leaker inside the CIA. Somehow, I think this is related to this otherwise goofy report.

Peter UK said...

cf,Dana Priest payback for services rendered?

Buddy Larsen said...

ah, yes, Dana Priest, the wife of Willian Goodfellow, the Director of the Center For International Policy, which among other (publicly-funded?) things does commercial PR for Joe Wilson.

Buddy Larsen said...

Joe Wilson, who literally--literally--can't shut his mouth.

CF said...

Could be PUK.In any event I'm sure this gal's fans and MOM's and Priest's overlap.

Peter UK said...

cf,
"Axsmith said that she didn't hold up well when the corporate security officers grilled her, seized her badge and put her in a frigid conference room. "I'm shaking. I'm cold, staring at the wall," she recalled. "And worse, people are using the room as a shortcut, so I have no dignity in this crisis."

She does not sat whether she was clothed or not,looks like compensation is setting in.

BTW,Did she have to mention the conference room's indifference to sex? Seems a bit roomist to me.

Buddy Larsen said...

Nothing wrong with an office room being frigid. You're there to work, after all, not to go shilly-shallying around.

chuck said...

"I'm shaking. I'm cold, staring at the wall,"

Sounds like she was coming off an adrenaline high.

vnjagvet said...

Pretty soon some dang lawyer will craft a "right to leak".

I wonder how Dana got this story.

Luther McLeod said...

No, sounds as if she were coming down from a Guilt Trip. If you know you are right, a few odd folks passing by would an opportunity to sit there with a smug face of 'I'm right, and you are all idiot's.', sucking up to the man. I mean, hey, I spent a lot of time in the Principal's office. This is all such fourth grade s**t.

terrye said...

syl:

I just put in a new modem. There was much screaming, crying, raving, cat kicking and when Gale tried to be nice and put his hand on my shoulder in an effort to "settle me down" I told him to get his effing hands off me.

But I am all better now. The modem is in and rather than no dial tone I am getting kicked off every 15 minutes.

I was on the phone begging for broadband and when I told the folks at SBC that there was broadband in Baghdad for Godsake, they just told me to have a nice day and hung up.

And then there are those socalled deals for new computers that are never what they say they are, etc.

As for this lady, who cares if she got her ass fired? One less whiney ass blabber mouth at the CIA.

brylun said...

"One less whiney ass blabber mouth at the CIA."

My feelings exactly.

brylun said...

And the New York Times picks up the story here.

Peter UK said...

"I wonder how Dana got this story."
She has a regular delivery every Thursday.

Buddy Larsen said...

“I guess I’m just too much of a big mouth for that organization” says Ms Axsmith, in the NYT article. But, hey, now that she's internalized that concept, and, y'know, taken ownership of her actions, and all, maybe they can hire her back. Put her in counter-espionage or something.

Peter UK said...

Nah Buddy,Axsmith is Ambassador material.

Buddy Larsen said...

She'd be better than Joe Kennedy, who showed up at the Court of St. James in time to advise the Crown to surrender to Hitler.