RE: Technical author leading resistance to background checks

Subject: RE: Technical author leading resistance to background checks
From: "Lauren" <lt34 -at- csus -dot- edu>
To: "'Chris Borokowski'" <athloi -at- yahoo -dot- com>, <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 6 Sep 2007 08:26:01 -0700

> Behalf Of Chris Borokowski

> I think this issue is going to be relevant for tech writers in the
> future, as more industries become defense and national security
> related. If we have some idea of what should be done, perhaps we can
> use the power of collective bargaining to avoid the problem these NASA
> employees have encountered, which is trying to close the barn door as
> the horse disappears over the horizon.

Wait, Chris. Is this how your possible idea will read, "Technical Writers
use collective bargaining to thwart NASA's plan to implement security
measures on current employees"? I don't see how somebody in a support
position, like technical writing, can muster enough power to say that
certain positions must be excluded from security controls.

The NASA issue hinges on requirements of security checks for contractors
that were only previously required for NASA employees. Technical writers
frequently work as contractors and all of my technical writing gigs were
contracts. So from the perspective of contractors being required to pass
security checks, this discussion can be relevant to technical writing.

Just because the article claims security changes stem from September 11,
doesn't mean that it does. There appears to be a hastening of security
requirements. It is fun to say that NASA's concern stems from
diaper-wearing astronauts, but the bigger and more relevant issue probably
stems from the recent discovery that contractors have not been given the
same security clearance as NASA employees and the possible discovery of an
ineffective application of security measures that includes current employees
after the April 13, "NASA Contractor Kills Co-Worker" incident.

In the tragic NASA case, both the contractor and the co-worker were
engineers, but I think any security measures that are changed or added
because of this should include current employees, as the contractor had been
there for 12 to 13 years. The contractor was also employed by Jacobs
Engineering, which provides professional technical services that include
technical writers. I think it is very ironic that the people who are
opposing the security measures are also engineers, just like the engineers
that were taken hostage on April 13.

One of the primary concerns in the shootings that I read and can't find,
included the requirement that people working at NASA wear a security badge,
but security wasn't properly implemented. Employees are given security
clearance. Employers of contractors are required to implement the same
security measures with their employees. NASA discovered that contractors
were not given the appropriate security checks and stated that it will step
up security. Now we are here and JPL contractors are complaining about the
requirements of security badges, when the hostage stand-off and killing was
undertaken by a long-time contractor.

Was the hostage stand-off and murder a ruse to further NASA's agenda to
invade the privacy of government contractors, or did a contractor really
bypass security because of loop-holes in security implementation and cause
that tragedy? If NASA security was breached enough to allow a volatile
person to shoot co-workers, then maybe there were other breaches that we do
not know about. Since the shooter was there for so long, perhaps there was
a problem in his recent history to trigger his volatility. So, I side with
NASA on this one and I would like to see more security to prevent other
co-worker killing tragedies.

All things considered, I think that I would rather live in a "goldfish
bowl," as Marc describes, than in a shooting gallery as we have seen. And
what if we do take the position that this hostage stand-off and killing by a
contractor at NASA was not so serious that security measures need to be
increased? We would just ignite arguments in support of security.



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Re: Technical author leading resistance to background checks: From: Chris Borokowski

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