…Pens a Blistering Rebuke of Federal Bureaucracy
You know how Edward Snowden was like…a self-styled sleeper agent? A man with a mission, armed with high-level access to sensitive data, mad computer skillz, and a heroic fantasy of saving America from Orwellian tyranny? Snowden’s super-secret access to the bottomless pit of NSA misdeeds made him the most dangerous man in the intelligence universe. It’s Snowden’s world now, and we’re just living in it.
But…what if the Snowden phenomenon wasn’t just a freak one-time thing? What if he’s not alone? What if there there are mini-Snowdens out there, too, that we don’t know about? Sleeper-agent bureaucrats, working at mid-level jobs in dull, badly-managed government agencies, enduring the daily humiliations of the typical office worker, harboring score-settling whistleblower fantasies? And what if they’re only one coffee break away from flipping out, and going all Jason Bourne on their employers? Who else might be on the verge of busting out?
We might just have our mini-whistleblower. At HHS…
A Health and Human Services official has resigned after dealing with the frustration of the “profoundly dysfunctional” federal bureaucracy, which left him “offended as an American taxpayer.”
In a resignation letter obtained by ScienceInsider, David Wright, director of the Office of Research Integrity (ORI) — which oversees and monitors possible research misconduct — offers a scathing rebuke of the unwieldy and inefficient bureaucracy that he dealt with for the two years he served in the position.
“…the federal bureaucracy — at least the part I’ve labored in — is so profoundly dysfunctional. I’m hardly the first person to have made that discovery…”
In his letter to Assistant Secretary for Health Howard Koh, Wright explains that the 35 percent of his job that was spent working with science-investigators in his department “has been one of the great pleasures of my long career.” The majority of his duties, however, represented his worst job ever.
“…my role as ORI Director has been the very worst job I have ever had…I knew coming into this job about the bureaucratic limitations of the federal government, but I had no idea how stifling it would be.”
Mark Tapson writes: In the wake of disturbing revelations from Wikileaks and NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden about widespread government spying, the British public appeared to be unruffled by a controversy that sparked heated debate in the United States. Guardian columnist Jonathan Freedland says “Americans are outraged to discover they are being spied on and watched. Britons give a kind of polite shrug of the shoulders and say, ‘So what?’” What accounts for this disparity of attitudes? Apparently the answer is Bond. James Bond.
To begin with, a recent article at Public Radio International argued, the British are already much more accustomed than Americans to living under perpetual government surveillance. Nick Pickles (can that really be his name?) of Big Brother Watch estimates there are as many as four million surveillance cameras focusing their unblinking eyes on a country of just over 60 million people.
Freedland points out an even bigger difference between the two countries: unlike American populists, British society “still bears the imprint of its monarchical origins,” which means that power flows from the government to the people, not the other way around. Britons, he says, are “subjects rather than citizens,” more inclined to submit to being spied upon than Americans, who tend to strongly resent government invasion of privacy.