Ms. Axsmith is a patriot, not unlike me.


Arlene Johnson

-----Original Message-----
>From: norgesen <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
>Sent: Aug 4, 2006 2:11 PM
>Subject: [cia-drugs] C.I.A. Worker Says Message on Torture Got Her Fired
>C.I.A. Worker Says Message on Torture Got Her Fired 
>Christine Axsmith, keeper of a blog on a secret computer network used by 
>American intelligence agencies. 
>Published: July 22, 2006
>WASHINGTON, July 21 ? A contract employee working for the Central Intelligence 
>Agency said she had been fired recently for posting a message on a classified 
>computer server that said an interrogation technique used by the agency 
>against some terror suspects amounted to torture. 
>The employee, Christine Axsmith, kept the ?Covert Communications? blog on a 
>top-secret computer network used by American intelligence agencies. Ms. 
>Axsmith was fired on Monday after C.I.A. officials objected to a message that 
>criticized the interrogation technique called ?waterboarding,? a particularly 
>harsh practice that the C.I.A. is known to have used on Khalid Sheik Mohammed, 
>who is widely regarded as the mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks. 
>The episode has opened a window into the new world of classified blogging: an 
>experimental effort being carried out in top-secret computer forums where 
>information and ideas are shared across the intelligence community. 
>Intelligence officials said that since last year, more than 1,000 blogs had 
>been set up on classified intelligence servers. 
>Ms. Axsmith, a computer security expert with a law degree, posted the message 
>this month, shortly after the Bush administration decided to grant some 
>protections of the Geneva Conventions to suspected terrorists in American 
>custody. She said that her message began, ?Waterboarding is torture, and 
>torture is wrong.?
>Ms. Axsmith?s firing was earlier reported on several blogs including 
> on Thursday, and in Friday?s Washington Post. 
>?I wanted an in-house discussion,? Ms. Axsmith said in an interview on 
>Thursday in her home in Washington. ?Something where I would be educating 
>people on the background of the Geneva Conventions.?
>Instead, Ms. Axsmith was fired by her employer, B.A.E. Systems, which has an 
>information technology contract with the C.I.A. 
>Ms. Axsmith said C.I.A. officials had confronted her and told her that the 
>agency?s senior leadership was angry about the blog, which was housed on 
>Intelink, the classified server maintained by the American intelligence 
>community to aid communication among its employees. 
>Besides losing her job, Ms. Axsmith also lost her top-secret security 
>clearance, which she had held since 1993 and used for previous work for the 
>State Department and National Counterterrorism Center.
>She said she feared that her career in the intelligence world was over. ?It 
>was like I was wiped out,? she said. 
>A spokesman for B.A.E. Systems, Bob Hastings, said privacy issues prohibited 
>him from commenting on Ms. Axsmith?s firing. But Mr. Hastings said that 
>company policy prohibited employees from using computers for non-official 
>Paul Gimigliano, a C.I.A. spokesman, said that the blogs were intended to 
>?encourage collaboration? on business issues but that postings ?should relate 
>directly to the official business of the author and readers of the Web site.?
>The C.I.A. denies that it uses torture to extract information from prisoners, 
>although a 2004 report by the agency?s inspector general concluded that some 
>of its interrogation practices appeared to constitute cruel, inhuman and 
>degrading treatment. 
>In waterboarding, the interrogation technique that Ms. Axsmith criticized, a 
>prisoner is strapped to a board and then made to feel as if he is drowning.
>In March 2005, Porter J. Goss, who was then the C.I.A. director, described 
>waterboarding as a ?professional interrogation technique?; American military 
>pilots and commandos are known to have been subjected to it during highly 
>classified training regimes designed to prepare them to live in captivity. 
>The use of the practice, along with the agency?s detention of approximately 
>three dozen ?high value detainees? in secret jails, has made some C.I.A. 
>employees uneasy and has prompted a debate within the intelligence community. 
>Ms. Axsmith said she believed that the ?vast majority? of people working for 
>the C.I.A. were opposed to torture.
>And, she said that she believed that the classified blogs could be a critical 
>tool to allow C.I.A. employees ? who are often prohibited from discussing 
>their work even with other agency officials ? to vent frustrations. 
>?The blogs are a safety valve for people to discuss controversial topics,? she 
>said. ?It reduces the chances that people may leak to the press.? 
>In April, the C.I.A. fired Mary O. McCarthy, a longtime employee, for having 
>unauthorized contacts with the news media. 
>Though stripped of her security clearance, Ms. Axsmith still maintains her 
>public, unclassified blog: On that Web site on 
>Friday, there were several messages supporting her, including postings from 
>anonymous intelligence officials who said that they would miss her ?Covert 
>Communications? blog. 
>Ms. Axsmith acknowledges that the posting that got her fired was deliberately 
>provocative, and she said that if she had another chance she might have toned 
>down the language. 
>?I guess I?m just too much of a big mouth for that organization,? she said. 

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