[ExI] calling for our exi computer security hipsters, was: RE: Donald Trump

spike spike66 at att.net
Sun May 8 12:54:34 UTC 2016


From: extropy-chat [mailto:extropy-chat-bounces at lists.extropy.org] On Behalf Of Stathis Papaioannou
Sent: Sunday, May 08, 2016 3:15 AM
To: ExI chat list <extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org>
Subject: Re: [ExI] calling for our exi computer security hipsters, was: RE: Donald Trump




On 8 May 2016 at 03:53, spike <spike66 at att.net <mailto:spike66 at att.net> > wrote:


There is no law against a politician getting a blowjob, but there damn sure is a law against covering it up.


Really? There is a law requiring US presidents to announce all their sexual encounters to the world? 


Stathis Papaioannou




Ja.  If you hold a top level security clearance, you take on an agreement to self-report if you commit any act which could possibly result in blackmail.  If you fail to do that, you lose your clearance, or worse.  The security people can call in any clearance holder at any time for any reason, they can order a random drug test, they can pull a clearance for any reason and are not required to tell why, even to the person who lost their clearance, all that stuff.  When you get those clearances, you sign up for all this, agree to it.  They don’t need to justify why they are asking.  You give up some rights to privacy if you hold a clearance.  You can lose that clearance at the judgment of the security staff.  I have seen it happen.


Office affairs where everyone is a clearance holder must be exceedingly rare, for if one self-reported and the other didn’t, the non-reporter would lose his or her clearance.  One self-reporter with two cleared participants was the case in 1998.  Had Bill self-reported his activities the next day, then there never would have been an investigation, for a person wouldn’t lose their clearance for getting a blowjob, and no risk of blackmail if he had just admitted everything.  


In 1998 we had a Whitehouse intern who not only self-reported, but had actual evidence.  This made Clinton vulnerable to blackmail, but not just theoretically: his girlfriend actually did try to blackmail him.  According to her sworn testimony, he counter-threatened in such a way that she feared for her life, so she backed down, but the dress was out of the bag.  So… what do you do if you are the top security guy and the president now must be called in for a polygraph?


Apparently, they did call him in, he lied under oath twice, both felonies.  We never did find out what happens in that case, but what should happen?  Do we make a special case for the president, since he has the theoretical authority to self-pardon?  What if he ordered his girlfriend to be slain, then pardons whoever carried out the deed?  And should that special accommodation cover the VP and the Secretary of State?  What about the Speaker of the House, since he or she is only two heartbeats from the presidency, and does it matter if the Speaker is the wrong party?  What about the Senate, shouldn’t the majority leader get a little leeway on the usual rules on security clearances?  After all, these four positions cannot do their jobs without a security clearance, so what happens if they do something shady and fail to self-report?  We know what happens in the military if you lose your clearance: you are sidelined until you resign.  In a company that uses those clearances a lot, you are left scrapping for what few assignments don’t require a clearance, which is pretty much equivalent to not having a job for long.


OK then, is there a law requiring a US president to announce illicit sexual encounters?  They are required to announce it to the security staff, who then must assess the risk and decide if the president can continue to hold a clearance.  If questioned under oath, they are still required to tell the truth.  Bill Clinton did not, so he would automatically lose his clearance forever, but notice that he kept his office.   


So what if we decide a president must have a clearance regardless?  Then do we decide the security staff must just look the other way in the president’s case?  What about the VP?  The SecState?  Senate and House leaders?  Top military brass?  And if they can continue to hold clearances under circumstances which would cause others to lose theirs, which offices get to be immune from law?  Which laws?  All of them?  Or just ones having to do with perjury and blowjobs?  Does it matter which party they belong to?  Why?  Could Nixon have self-pardoned in 1974?  Could Clinton in 1998?  Could Clinton in 2017?  Why not?  Had the senate moved to impeach, could not he have ordered the leaders killed, then pardoned whoever pulled the trigger?  Why not?  Could that cycle repeat until the senate calms down and the survivors stop talking about impeachment?


The point of all this: we know that in practice, some high office holders do get around the usual rules, because their office inherently requires a security clearance.  So, in practice, our high office holders are granted a de facto license to commit felonies to some extent.  The real problem is we don’t know which felonies we are authorizing and for whom.  We don’t know what was in the yoga routines, we don’t know who has them, we don’t know what they will do with them if the author of the yoga is granted a limited immunity from law, we don’t know which of the leaked yoga is genuine and which is counterfeit, we have no way of knowing how do deal with indications or counter indications of the genuineness of the leaked yoga, for the evidence was intentionally destroyed while under subpoena.  We don’t know what are the limits to legality we are granting with a vote, we don’t know what happens if a sitting president seriously explores the depth of the power to pardon and the still-open question of self-pardon.


It can go the other way too.  Suppose we grant a president a limited immunity from law.  Do we also grant a limited ability to prosecute beyond the usual law?  For instance, in the USA we have no laws against blasphemy, but in special cases, could a sitting president order someone arrested for posting inflammatory videos to the internet?  Is it only a president who gets special prosecution powers, or can the VP and SecState also have some of that heady power?  Can the house and senate leaders taste a little of that?  The top military brass?  Does it matter which party they belong to?


Stathis, to your question:


>…There is a law requiring US presidents to announce all their sexual encounters to the world?


I would answer ja, they are a clearance holder, so they are required to self-report and if they fail to do so, they must testify under oath, and if they lie, it is perjury.  Then we have a senate trial; perjury definitely meets the definition of “high crimes and misdemeanors.”  Two times this has happened: in 1974 the president resigned before the senate trial.  In 1998, the senate let the president skate with no legal consequences.  So… that set a precedent.  US presidents can lie under oath.  So can the VP?  The SecState?  Congressional leaders?  Which party?  How much legal immunity are we granting in an election, and to what crimes and to which offices?  What should the rules be on this in the ideal case?



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