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Touching Base

Tuesday, May 17 2005

I am called by Juana Lopez, secretary to my boss Bryan McMillan, at my room in Richland just before I leave for work about a meeting scheduled on short notice--12:30 in Bryan's office.  I tell her I can make it to the meeting and I will accept the meeting request via Outlook in 15 minutes or so to confirm.  I do so.  The subject of the meeting was "Touching Base".

I arrive at the meeting a minute or two early and there are two people besides Bryan already there.  One is from "Safeguards and Security" (I don't remember his name) and the other is Bryan's boss Marty Peterson.

Bryan told me they had some concerns--"Safeguards and Security" would explain.  Bryan said that candor and cooperation were important.  They were investigating my web site Boomershoot.org and from there found my blog. They didn't like some of the things they found. They were concerned that I had revealed that I had a security clearance and had revealed the general nature of my work. This might make me a target for foreign intelligence. I offered to delete and/or edit all of the postings. They agreed the blog needed to be fixed and I asked for a copy of the printouts (about two inches thick with tabs on probably 15 or 20 pages) they had on the table of the "offending material" to make sure I had found everything. They just told me to "clean up everything". I tried asking several different ways for the list. They declined.

I asked about what specifically was a problem.  They would only show me one posting that they wouldn't want the customer to see.  It said that a video I had made on a computer security weakness was intended to scare people into spending money on fixing the problem. Marty said were concerned the customer would not appreciate being deliberately scared--even if it was true that was what were trying to do we wouldn't ever want the customer to know that.  I explained the video was made for the customer to use to scare other people.  The customer specifically asked that a video be made to do that.  They seemed to ignore my explanation.  They told me I shouldn't put information up about what projects we were bidding on. I said that I hadn't.  I had put up information about requests for proposals that were openly available on the web that I had seen as a part of writing proposals.  But I had not mentioned which we submitted proposals to.  They seemed to ignore my response.  I asked for more examples.  They just said, "Taken as a whole your postings showed poor judgment. This puts into doubt your worthiness to have a security clearance.  If this isn't fixed then we will have to report it to the Department of Energy and your clearance could be suspended while they do an investigation."  I agreed to make whatever changes they wanted.  The "Safeguards and Security" guy thanked me for my cooperation and candor and said that it helped a lot that I was so forthcoming. 

I asked if there was anything else they wanted to talk about and Bryan informed me "the incident" had triggered an investigation and my four computers were being removed from my office so the hard drives could be imaged and the contents examined. If, in the mean time, I could work without my computers I could charge my time as normal. If not I had to make up the hours using flex time.  In any case I shouldn't return to my office until they called and said it was okay.  That way there wouldn't be a confrontation in my office.  I told him there were actually five computers in my office.  And I told them I would go back to my house in Richland do a little bit of my work from there.  I was out of his office by 12:45.

I went back to the house and worked off of my personal computer for a while.  At 13:46 I get a call from Juana that I may return to my office. I mistakenly thought my computers are available.  I arrived at my office to find no computers.  There was virtually no work I could do and I visited my bosses office to get an ETA on the computer return.  He tells me "Maybe tomorrow afternoon."  I told him there is virtually nothing I can do at that time and to call me when I get my computers back.  He agrees.

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Last update: August 03, 2005