US intel chief's insane new secrecy directive forbids intel employees from "unauthorized" contact with reporters


I’m surprised something like this wasn’t in place since at least Hoover.


It has always been that way. Must be a ‘friendly’ reminder.


Not new at all. Back in 2000, we had the same instructions that came with our security clearances in the military. Reasons given are fairly straightforward - if you work with sensitive information you avoid all contact and report people asking questions about that information. Contact reports go waaay back in the Intel business.


I remember when it was a BAD thing to emulate the Soviet Union and East Germans.


I suppose that Sting will soon be releasing a song about Americans loving their children too…


This isn’t even unique to the intelligence services or the government. Every place I have worked in corporate America has had a policy against talking to reporters about work without permission and I have seen it enforced against people who did.


Ditto. The main reason that I don’t list my employer on my FB profile (aside from seeing no real reason to, of course) is that I’m pretty sure that they have someone who skims over the accounts of everyone who does, just to see if they’re embarrassing the company.

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The man is in idiot for sure, but this restriction has always been so…

As everyone else has said: This sounds like standard corporate practice for anyone who might have information that someone else might be interested in obtaining. Unless there’s a lot more going on here than Xeni’s blurb suggested, there’s nothing insane about it.

You may not have been exposed to it because, as writers, your job is to gather information rather than to develop it, and no single fact or set of facts is very likely to have significant effects on your business. Those of us working with anything from product engineering to product planning to marketing.are in a very different domain.

That’s twice in two days I’ve been painfully underimpressed with BB’s reporting. You folks used to be better.


Got to admit that was my first reaction, too. Having worked in environment where I had to “sign the act”, we were told to treat everything as not to be discussed, and warned off of certain pubs. This may be a new thing to put it in a directive, but it’s a standard defence against social engineering. If you get talking to someone, they can lead you into inadvertent disclosure, or just pick up enough non classified tidbits to join the dots.

The US emulates the socialist experiment via the US Military (collective living, socialised healthcare, comparative wage equality, affordable food, centralised planning)


The rich and/or powerful have always wanted to keep socialism for themselves.


I assume that politically convenient leaks are still OK?


I was going to say the same thing, except since Agincourt.

The DNI is a relatively new office (post 9/11), and the stated purpose of the directive is to provide a consistent policy for media contact across the various organizations now under its one roof. It is probably not much different from the pre-existing policies of most of those agencies, however it is possible that it is making significant changes for some.

I suppose it would be actual work to find out if that has actually happened.

That’s where the prior approval comes in.

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My experience (as an engineer) is the same. It’s actually surprising to me that anyone doesn’t work under those restrictions. I assumed this was part of the ‘default’ employee agreement that all businesses demand: don’t disclose competition-sensitive information; don’t talk to the press without authorization; don’t reveal your company affiliation when using social media, but if you do, explicitly indicate your statements are not official company communication. People do get in trouble for stepping out of line. It’s actually a really, really, big deal for the company if someone (intentionally or unintentionally) creates a public relations issue or interferes with advertising, let alone reveals technical/project information that could be used by competitors.

I guess not all employment fields work that way.

Also, having to report contacts has long been policy for people working in defense, and technically includes over-curious people at bars as well as journalists. (Discretion is allowed).

Disclosure: My work experience is at large defense and large non-defense companies. So I may be inured to big-business bureaucratic restrictions that others might find novel or frustrating.

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Um, what is insane about this?

Yes, of course, but they’re approved.

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