Technical author leading resistance to background checks

Subject: Technical author leading resistance to background checks
From: "F. Marc de Piolenc" <piolenc -at- archivale -dot- com>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Thu, 06 Sep 2007 17:36:08 +0800

"I don't understand this. How is this any different
from the background checks I had to go through for a
security clearance when I went into the Army? That
still go on for military personnel? I didn't hear any
uproar about those - why is this NASA thing
particularly heinous?"

In the Army, you volunteered for an MOS or a slot that required a
security clearance. You knew in advance that you were going to be
investigated, and you knew the standards that would be applied and
the consequences if you told a lie on your personal-history form, for
instance. You were given waiver forms to sign to get your (otherwise)
confidential records released to the investigators. If at any time
you had gotten cold feet, you could have backed out, and if you were
already enlisted another slot would have been found for you that did
not require a security clearance. You might not have enjoyed the
alternative, but the point is that even the Army - bless its sluggish
green psyche - knows better than to FORCE people to have security
clearances and handle classified matter! Talk about a recipe for compromise...

These protesting NASA employees deliberately chose jobs that did NOT
require security clearance or background checks, either because they
wanted to do real scientific work which languishes if it can't be
peer-reviewed or because they didn't want government digging into
their private lives, or both. Now the very nature of their employment
is being changed and they're being told they have to live in a
goldfish bowl just to keep doing what they've been doing, in some
cases for decades. It's a very bad move. NASA's credibility has
suffered lately, but at least the pure science work done at JPL still
has some prestige. This will kill it by driving off talent,
inhibiting research and preventing or delaying release of data for
critique and collaboration. To put it simply, Science just went out
the window. The government may or may not have the legal power to
pull this stunt - I don't know the law exactly. But they are being
very foolish to do it, because if a young person with talent knows
that the rules can be changed on him this drastically in mid-career,
he will dismiss the whole idea of government service at the outset.

This move demonstrates, besides lack of judgement, complete ignorance
of the history of government/industry relations since WW2. The
current government - academe - contractor triangle was set up so that
"government" (taxpayer) funds could be spent on research that was NOT
subject to government strictures and inefficiencies, and thus
produced better results faster. It's the main factor in our victory
over the Soviet Union. In a Socialist country EVERYTHING belongs to
government and thus nothing escapes its stupidity and sclerosis. Now
it seems that our nincompoop leaders are imposing on us the very
system that we swept into the dustbin of History twenty years ago.

Marc de Piolenc
Special Agent, US Army Intelligence, 1976-1998

No virus found in this outgoing message.
Checked by AVG Free Edition.
Version: 7.5.485 / Virus Database: 269.13.6/991 - Release Date: 9/5/2007 2:55 PM


Create HTML or Microsoft Word content and convert to Help file formats or
printed documentation. Features include support for Windows Vista & 2007
Microsoft Office, team authoring, plus more.

True single source, conditional content, PDF export, modular help.
Help & Manual is the most powerful authoring tool for technical
documentation. Boost your productivity!

You are currently subscribed to TECHWR-L as archive -at- web -dot- techwr-l -dot- com -dot-

To unsubscribe send a blank email to
techwr-l-unsubscribe -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
or visit

To subscribe, send a blank email to techwr-l-join -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com

Send administrative questions to admin -at- techwr-l -dot- com -dot- Visit for more resources and info.


Previous by Author: RE: Word watermarks
Next by Author: Technical author leading resistance to background checks
Previous by Thread: Re: PDF file names
Next by Thread: Re: Technical author leading resistance to background checks

What this post helpful? Share it with friends and colleagues:

Sponsored Ads