Last week, we reported that Boston University School of Law was warning job seekers not to read (or link to) WikiLeaks if they want to get a government job. The government still regards the documents as classified, and so somehow if you link to them (say on Facebook), you might fail a to get the security clearance needed for some government jobs.
No really, the “classified” documents are now publicly available, and the government won’t even acknowledge that the documents exist, but linking to them can get you dinged from a job (during a terrible job market to boot)? Is George Orwell running the State Department?
(Ed. note: For the safety of our readers, there are no links to WikiLeaks in this post.)
Apparently, common sense is not something the federal government is working with these days, and so the warning against Wikileaks has gone out to various government agencies, and even Columbia University…
UPDATE (10:55 AM): We’ve also added, after the jump, an email about WikiLeaks that went out to employees of the Department of Commerce last week.
The Office for Career Services for Columbia University (not the law school) sent out a warning to students last week. The message was similar to the BU Law warning: Link to WikiLeaks at your peril. Wise Bread has the email:
From: Office of Career Services
Subject: Wikileaks – Advice from an alum
We received a call today from a SIPA alumnus who is working at the State Department…
The documents released during the past few months through Wikileaks are still considered classified documents. He recommends that you DO NOT post links to these documents nor make comments on social media sites such as Facebook or through Twitter. Engaging in these activities would call into question your ability to deal with confidential information, which is part of most positions with the federal government.
Wait a minute, the government is judging the future employment status of its citizens based on what people are saying on Twitter? IS THIS IRAN?
This whole thing reminds me of a guy who gets bitched at by his boss all day, and then comes home and screams at his wife like a little beta-male loser at night. Twitter followers didn’t release your secrets, U.S. Government; Julian Assange did. Go find him, go take out your frustrations on him, and give job seekers in this AWFUL FREAKING ECONOMY a break.
Meanwhile, people already working for our government have already received the message that they are not allowed to know what everybody else knows. CNN reports:
The White House Office of Management and Budget sent a memo Friday afternoon forbidding unauthorized federal government employees and contractors from accessing classified documents publicly available on WikiLeaks and other websites using computers or devices like BlackBerrys and smart phones.
The memo, sent to general counsels at various government agencies and obtained by CNN, explains that the publishing by WikiLeaks does “not alter the documents’ classified status or automatically result in declassification of the documents.”
“To the contrary, classified information, whether or not already posted on public websites or disclosed to the media remains classified, and must be treated as such by federal employees and contractors, until it is declassified by an appropriate U.S. Government authority,” the memo said.
You know when Toto peels back the curtain to reveal that the Wizard of Oz is actually a short, balding man? Then the Wizard yells, “Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain!” How did that work out for him?
When the history of WikiLeaks is put down on paper, let it be written: Being impotent to stop the leaks of classified information, the American government turned on its own people, while the world laughed at the once great nation.
All that said, if you want a government job, DO NOT look, link, or “like” WikiLeaks. Let the people who have non-governmental jobs point out this mass hypocrisy. You, noble job seeker, just need to cover your behind.
UPDATE (10:55 AM): The following email, forwarded to us by a tipster, went out to employees of the Department of Commerce last week:
Recent reports indicate that a number of government documents have been posted on the WikiLeaks website. These documents may or may not contain information that is considered National Security Information (classified information) and as such, the information is NOT authorized for downloading, viewing, printing, processing, copying, or transmitting via non-classified Government-issued computers, laptops, blackberries, or other communication devices and is not an authorized use of DOC IT equipment. Doing so would introduce potentially classified information onto our unclassified networks and represent a potential security incident.
There has been a rumor that the information is no longer classified since it resides in the public domain. This is NOT true.
Executive Order 13526, Section I.1(4)(2) states “Classified Information shall not be declassified automatically as a result of any unauthorized disclosure of identical or similar information.” The information was neither properly nor improperly “declassified” by the appropriate authority and requires continued classification or reclassification.
Please do not attempt to access any of the WikiLeaks documents via the WikiLeaks website or through other websites hosting those documents because these documents may contain classified information. Accessing the WikiLeaks documents will lead to sanitization of your PC to remove any potentially classified information from the system and result in possible data loss.
If you have questions regarding this broadcast or have accessed the WikiLeaks documents, please contact the DOC Computer Incident Response Team at email [redacted] or call [redacted].