Extremely Careless


When you’re hired for your job, your employer tells you that under no circumstances are you to reveal the company’s secret information, or even handle it in such a way as to allow it, possibly, to leak out. If you do so, you will be liable to prosecution.

During the course of your employment, you take secret documents home and share them with whomever you want to share them with. You do this with hundreds of secret documents. As a result, it is very likely that competitors get a good inside look at the company’s affairs.

When rumors surface that this is what you’ve been doing, you repeatedly lie about it. You destroy as many of your own files as you can. You even claim that there wasn’t any secret information in the documents you were handling.

So outrageous does this seem that your company’s customers demand an investigation. A long investigation is conducted. And the result is:

“Although we did not find clear evidence that you intended to violate rules governing the handling of secret information, there is evidence that you were extremely careless in your handling of very sensitive, highly secret information.” No action will be taken.

In the real world, how likely does this seem?

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James Leroy Wilson

We live in the world where the FBI exists. In a country that tolerated J. Edgar Hoover's Directorship of intimidation and blackmail. In a post-9/11 world where the Dept. of Justice's Inspector General found habitual law-breaking and abuse by the FBI.

We can't trust an agency that has no constitutional reason to exist to do the right thing.

Bob Straub

I have had three jobs in defense-related companies that fit the description in the first paragraph. I was briefed on the proper handling of Confidential, Secret and Top Secret information and the severe penalties for failing to comply, after which I signed a statement acknowledging that I was so briefed. I respected the system and obeyed the rules, as do many thousands of people every day. I have seen images, admittedly only on the Internet, of a document like the ones I signed containing the signature of a certain recent Cabinet Secretary. I have no reason to doubt that said Secretary would have had to sign such a statement, as did I. If I would have done what the Secretary reportedly has done, I would probably be in jail, and certainly be barred from any such similar job, forever. Furthermore, even if I could convince officials that I had no intent to cause the leaks, the rules say that intent is not necessary for prosecution. The offense is the fact that information escaped from its proper custody, no matter how.

I am very upset.

Scott Robinson

Dear Stephen,

Ignorance of the law is not justification for breaking it. In the real world, the judge would tell the defendant this. Just think about the actions that David Petraeus was punished for. Hillary is proof, like Ted Kennedy, that if you're going to do wrong, it has to be big. I think this makes the label, "Public Servant," even more ridiculous. How does the servant have more power than the served? What is public about keeping work (service) files in your own personal possession?

No Reasonable Prosecutor Turns Down Big Payoffs,

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