The US government may have to realise that good citizens and employees may want to speak out and expose the truth:
The White House has instructed every US government department and agency to create “insider threat” programmes that will ferret out disgruntled or untrustworthy employees who might be tempted to leak the sort of state secrets recently made public by the website WikiLeaks.
A 13-page memo detailing the new policy urges senior civil servants to beef up cyber security and hire teams of psychiatrists and sociologists who can “detect behavioural changes”. They will then monitor the moods and attitudes of staff who are allowed to access classified information.
The move is designed to prevent further embarrassing disclosures of the sort which have dominated the news in recent months. Unfortunately, just 48 hours after the memo was sent, a copy was leaked to staff at NBC news, who duly posted it on their website.
“Do you have an insider threat programme or the foundation for such a programme?” it asks department heads, adding that they should keep a close eye on the “relative happiness” of workers, because a staffer who displays “despondence and grumpiness” is likely to be untrustworthy.
In a passage which recalls a level of paranoia last seen during the Cold War, it asks whether agencies are using lie-detector tests or are trying to identify “unusually high occurrences of foreign travel, contacts, or foreign preference” by members of their staff.
The author of the leaked document, Jacob J Lew, is the director of the White House Office of Management and Budget. He seems particularly anxious to prevent the media from getting its hands on embarrassing information.
“Are all employees required to report their contacts with the media?” the memo asks, suggesting that staff should even be monitored once they leave the Civil Service: “Do you capture evidence of pre-employment and/or post-employment activities or participation in online media data mining sites like WikiLeaks or Open Leaks?”