Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Barry Eisler on the oath CIA employees take

with one comment

Barry Eisler makes a good point:

Memo To Authoritarians: The “Oath” is to the Constitution, Not to Secrecy

It’s been interesting to read pundits like David Brooks of the New York Times and Josh Marshall of Talking Points Memo prattling about how whistleblower Edward Snowden violated his “oath” of secrecy.  I was in the CIA, and I can tell you there was no secrecy “oath,” just a contract.  The oath was to protect and defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic.I find the misnomer revealing.  I don’t think Brooks, Marshall, and the many others like them are misusing the word “oath” in a deliberate attempt to mislead.  My guess instead is that their deference to government secrecy is so strong that they reflexively equate a contract to maintain secrecy — a nondisclosure agreement, really — with something as strong as, say, a sworn oath to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution.  You know, like one the president takes.

In fact, I’d go further.  That these pundits aren’t even discussing the real oath CIA and other government employees take — the one to protect and defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic — suggests they don’t believe such oaths are important enough to bother mentioning.  Now, admittedly oaths to protect and defend the Constitution are all very pre-9/11, but shouldn’t an intelligent and honest pundit at least offer a nod of the head toward the fact that someone like Edward Snowden might have felt faced with two competing obligations — his secrecy contract, on the one hand, and his sworn oath to protect and defend the Constitution, on the other?

Of course, if deference to governmental secrecy prerogatives trumps all other values, then there’s no trade-off even to mention.

And look, even if you think that “oath” and “contract” are interchangeable terms (in which case you’d have to explain why Brooks, Marshall et al consistently use the former regarding secrecy while eschewing the latter, and why the drafters of the Constitution did the same with regard to oaths of office), you still have to explain why various pundits are so intent on referring to only one of the “oaths” while ignoring the other.

Here’s another way of looking at it. . .

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

12 June 2013 at 10:22 am

Posted in Government, NSA

One Response

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  1. The people (citizens) are the boss, not the GOV. All government jobs are public service jobs for supporting the citizens to include the President position. The oath of office is to the constitution. All people, contracts and oaths fall under it. If anything else is being served other than the people, it is unconstitutional. The constitution protects and directly supports the bill of rights. There are reasons it was worded the way it is. It was created for all time not for back than. As we have noticed in the news, even the justice dept is not legal anymore and withholding information from the boss. There is no power given to any public service worker / workers to deny any information to the boss when wrong doing was done. Also, application to an office requires all personal documentation be open to review and can not be sealed from the boss. There are many issues currently that defy the constitution and the oath of offices people take. There is no 5th to stand on when you are a public service employee with regard to information about your work. That’s why they call it “Public Service”. When the management of a government becomes self obsessive it ceases to serve the citizens. That government is now fully a dictatorship. Can you see in your government where there is a resemblance? By the way, I was a military recruiter and the enlistees took the oath to defend the constitution and the officers took another oath to support the President. Its on their contract. Take a good look and ask yourself why. I for one know what kind of management is in power and not serving now. Do you? But all of this is just a drop in the bucket about real government reality. Its up to you to choose the red or blue capsule my friend.

    Knowledge is Power

    8 July 2013 at 8:51 am

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