Friday, July 07, 2006

Into the Breach

Everyone is making fun of the FBI right now, so I thought I'd chime in, too. Not really to insist that we all have a laugh at the expense of an agency within the Department of Homeland Security -- a moniker that surely requires some revision -- but to point out that if federal bureaucracies maintain this kind of attitude, they will find themselves increasingly isolated as more and more private contractors will chose to not do business with them at all.

Imagine being hired by the FBI as a consultant to improve one of the agency's computer systems. While agents there know and approve of what you're doing, even give you an agent's password that gives you access to the password database, you become so frustrated with the snarl of bureaucracy, you decide to "move things along." This is clearly ill-advised, but you, the go-to consultant with a penchant for "initiative" and "thinking outside the box," now face a stint in prison.

Joseph Colon clearly violated protocol by cracking the password database. Dismissal, sure. Reprimand, of course. Rescind security clearance, yeah, why not. But prison? It appears the FBI takes its embarrassments seriously. The American citizenry would probably rather the FBI take their own security more seriously than they do the terrorist threat posed by vegans.

Good luck with trying to hire outside help -- someone with a freaking clue -- from now on, Robert Mueller. And if you have some difficulty, maybe you'll know why.


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