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Federal Employees News Digest : Nov 4, 2013
Kristi Dougherty General Manager Phil Piemonte Managing Editor Sherkiya Wedgeworth Online Managing Editor Becky Fenton Circulation Manager Nathan Abse Writer Mike Causey Columnist Edward Zurndorfer Columnist Published by 1105 Government Information Group, Anne Armstrong, President. 1105 Public Sector Media Group is part of 1105 Media, Inc. Neal Vitale, CEO. Corporate Headquarters: 1105 Media, Inc. 9201 Oakdale Ave., Suite 101, Chatsworth, CA 91311 www.1105media.com Office: 8609 Westwood Center Drive, Suite 500 Vienna, VA 22182-2215 Phone: Editorial: (703) 891-8554 Subscriptions: (800) 989-3363 Fax: (703) 876-5130 Internet: www.FederalDaily.com Subscription Rates: 1 year---$39 Site Licenses are available: E-mail: FENDsitelicense@ FederalDaily.com For single article reprints (in minimum quantities of 250-500), e-prints, plaques and posters contact: PARS International Phone: (212) 221-9595 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org www.magreprints.com/QuickQuote.asp The Comptroller General has ruled that federal agen- cies and departments may buy Federal Employees News Digest publications with government funds. This decision is No. B-185591. Federal Tax ID 20-4583700. DUNS #612031414. FEDERAL EMPLOYEES NEWS DIGEST (ISSN 1065-0970) is published weekly except first week in January and last week in December by 1105 Media, Inc., 9201 Oakdale Avenue, Suite 101, Chatsworth, CA 91311. Annual subscription rate is: US $39. Subscription inquiries and customer service: Mail to: Federal Employees News Digest, PO Box 15428, N. Hollywood, CA 91615-5428, customerservice@feder- aldaily.com or call (800) 989-3363, fax (818) 487-4550. © Copyright 2013 by 1105 Media, Inc. All rights reserved. Reproductions or distribution in whole or part prohibited except by site license or reprint purchase. The information in this newsletter has not undergone any formal testing by 1105 Media, Inc. and is dis- tributed without any warranty expressed or implied. Implementation or use of any information contained herein is the reader's sole responsibility. While the information has been reviewed for accuracy, there is no guarantee that the same or similar results may be achieved in all environments. Technical inaccuracies may result from printing errors and/or new develop- ments in the industry. This publication's subscriber list, as well as other lists from 1105 Media, Inc., is available for rental. For more information, please contact our list manager, Merit Direct. Phone: (914) 368-1000; E-mail: 1105media@ meritdirect.com; Web: www.meritdirect.com/1105. November 4, 2013 Vol. 63, No. 16 2 Visit us on the Internet at www.FederalDaily.com while assigning yourself the address @nat- secwonk? How's that for an "anonymous" address? The ex-NSC staffer published (tweeted?) dozens of what have been described as both "personal and sometimes offen- sive attacks" on colleagues at the State Department (dumb), and the White House (dumber yet). How did he get caught? He should have asked me. I've been there, done that, long before Twitter. What they did to trap the NSC guy was to plant some false rumors with him and only with him. When he started tweeeting about them, they knew they had their man because the stuff was false, and he was the only one who knew about it and thought it was true. During World Wars I and II (and maybe before and probably since), spy-hunters tracked down spies and traitors by giving out information to various people, in docu- ment form, with slightly different wording. Or numbers. Then when they intercepted the messages on the way to the bad guys they could often tell exactly who was sending them to the enemy. Simple, but it works almost every time. In my case, it was slightly different. The company (newspaper) I worked for wanted to do an employee attitude survey. It was to be completely confidential so we could really let it all hang out. Say whatever we thought about what was wrong, which bosses were stupid, evil or incompetent, etc. Tough stuff to read, but helpful if you really wanted to improve things. The problem with the "anonymous" survey forms was that they asked you to list the department where you worked and how long you had been employed. In a group of 850 reporters, editors, pho- tographers, etc., it would be pretty easy to figure out who was who. So I didn't bother to turn my "anonymous" form in. Who would know, right? Wrong. A few days after the deadline, I got a memo from the head of the statistical operation. He said I was one of a dozen or so reporters, editors who had not turned in their forms. Please do so by close of busi- ness, the memo said. So how did they know? We got together and figured out that somehow or other they must have coded (maybe with an invisible water-mark, or maybe invisible ink made from possum urine) the forms. That would have made it easy to figure out who had not turned in his or her anonymous form. I got another form. Filled it in. Said things were great, the bosses were great and our leadership inspired. Said if I was any happier I might explode. That I was their man for life. And then some. Obviously it was just what they wanted to hear. In due course, they reported back that 99.09 percent of us were really happy and that the remainder would be making progress. Soon. So although I didn't have the don't- do-anything-stupid fatherly advice, my guardian angel must have whispered in my ear that day. Some experts believe that future follow- the-dots exercises will focus more and more on things we post about ourselves. Or, in the case of the fired NSC staffer, things we tweet or email about others. In researching this story, FEND talked with three cyber-investigators. One works for a private outfit that tracks insider trading and other corporate shenanigans. One works for a branch of Health and Human Services, and the other asked that her agency remain nameless. Bottom line: They all said the same thing. That they frequently track, catch or identify people by things they have posted on social network sites. Like a Facebook photo of you and Mr. X on a fishing boat, after you have testified under oath you never met the man. Their advice? "Don't do anything stupid." By the way, none of them have Facebook accounts. INSIGHT by Mike Causey continued from page 1
Oct 28, 2013
Nov 11, 2013