[ExI] Security clearances

spike spike66 at att.net
Thu May 12 06:20:13 UTC 2016



From: extropy-chat [mailto:extropy-chat-bounces at lists.extropy.org] On Behalf
Of Anders Sandberg
Sent: Wednesday, May 11, 2016 11:05 PM
To: extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org
Subject: [ExI] Security clearances


Since I will be working on information hazards this summer, I am curious
about the world of security clearances. How do they *actually* work?

Practically, it seems to be a combination of (1) getting people to
acknowledge that they will deal with Important Stuff and are responsible (a
psychological effect), (2) creating a cultural environment where information
flow is shaped (a social effect), (3) creating penalties for doing things
wrong (an incentive effect). I assume there is also an assumed (4): that
cleared people are less likely to leak or mishandle information (a selection
effect). Does anybody know if there have been any proper studies of how well
1-4 actually work?  Anders




Anders, your question has me thinking deeply about so many aspects.  Do let
me offer this commentary in regard to the current critical situation:


Item 1 does not apply to Mrs. Clinton.  She never used the secure server, so
she wouldn't have ever acknowledged dealing with Important Stuff.


Item 3 does not apply to Mrs. Clinton if she hadn't acknowledged legal
liability and carefully refused to do so.  Then perhaps she is betting that
if everything goes really wrong, the holder of the deck of
get-out-of-jail-free cards would offer one, perhaps in exchange for one in
return when she is holding that deck.


Item 4 does not apply in this case.  Those responsible for issuing
clearances have no control or say in the matter, in a very few instances:
they must clear a president (and we have had three in a row who were not
clearable by the traditional criteria.)  They must clear a VP.  A Secretary
of State, now that's an oddball case.  The people do not elect those.  But
still they must be cleared if they are to do their jobs.  Nearly everything
they touch in the line of duty is born classified.  What happens if a
Secretary of State is doing something that would cause anyone else to lose
their tickets?  We don't know.  We shall see.


Item 2.  Hmmm, create a cultural environment where staff members, to whom
all three of the above definitely do apply, will retrieve information and
send it down to an unsecure server illegally.


This question just gets deeper and deeper.



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