Jeffrey LewisClassified Blogging

The most fascinating aspect of the story about the contractor fired for something she wrote on her blog on Intelink is that Intelink has blogs.

That wasn’t the case in March 2005 when Kris Alexander—an intelligence officer in the US Army Reserve and proprietor of the wonderful Alexander the Average—wrote this article for Wired online:

The first step toward reform: Encourage blogging on Intelink. When I Google “Afghanistan blog” on the public Internet, I find 1.1 million entries and tons of useful information. But on Intelink there are no blogs. Imagine if the experts in every intelligence field were turned loose – all that’s needed is some cheap software. It’s not far-fetched to picture a top-secret CIA blog about al Qaeda, with postings from Navy Intelligence and the FBI, among others. Leave the bureaucratic infighting to the agency heads. Give good analysts good tools, and they’ll deliver outstanding results.

Unless, of course, you start firing people for actually using the tool.

Comments

  1. Anonymous

    Intelink blogs have been around only since about last October. It’s still pretty hard to use and only by a few (dozens to hundreds) on the network. I think this whole episode will chill the entire classified blogosphere. Axsmith wasn’t the first to have a blog pulled there. There have been others pulled due to management pressure.

  2. James (History)
  3. Nanonymous

    Hierarchical organizations just don’t do that well with blogs, and if I had to think of an organization that fit the midcentury hierarchical business model, the defense establishment in all of its numerous agencies, departments and divisions would be it. Besides, the whole place is run by aging Baby Boomers: even if you wrote something worthwhile on a blog, they just won’t be reading it, so if someone does find a stunning insight, he’ll still need to penetrate all of the usual blinkered layers of disdain, reaction, and reflexive dismissal before he can manage to push someone else’s insight on a supervisor who was already old When The Wall Fell. Who’s going to go to that kind of trouble?

    That being said, I would add that a supervisor who asks “was this crap about the quality of the cafeteria written on government time?” probably has question with an embarrassing answer. Contractors are supposed to bill by set periods – often as small as twenty minutes – and when someone asks who paid the bill for a funny piece on the quality of the food, I doubt she had an answer that suggested she had materially advanced the cause of victory in the war on terror. So I suppose the lesson the article left unstated is, “if you’re going to blog on government time, blog about something you’re being paid to analyze.”

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