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Wasted Days

disillusionedby baldilocks

It’s an odd feel­ing to begin to believe that you wasted your youth. It’s what I’m begin­ning to believe about my own.

Back when I was a skinny lit­tle crit­ter, I wasn’t pop­ping out ille­git­i­mate babies or selling/​smoking weed or selling/​shooting heroin or street­walk­ing or being a groupie to sports/​pop music icons. I spent my youth as an enlisted woman in the USAF, and held a com­part­mented secu­rity clear­ance dur­ing the last “bat­tles” of the Cold War.

We won, they tell me.

My DD Form 214 — Cer­tifi­cate of Release or Dis­charge from Active Duty — states that I had these two spe­cial­ties (jobs): 1) Ger­manic Crypto Lin­guist, and 2) Slavic Crypto Lin­guist, Russ­ian. Long-​term train­ing is required for the lan­guages alone; that part comes first. Then there’s the sec­ond part of the train­ing, the clas­si­fied part – the part which one doesn’t even get to expe­ri­ence if some­thing icky is uncov­ered in the back­ground check. (When that hap­pens, the per­son is pulled out of train­ing alto­gether and, if they are lucky, they’re assigned another spe­cialty. Unluck­i­ness gets one kicked out.)

In this other part of the train­ing, we learned all about our secu­rity clear­ances, how to han­dle clas­si­fied infor­ma­tion, the penal­ties for mis­han­dling clas­si­fied infor­ma­tion, and what to do when mis­takes are made. This very per­ti­nent infor­ma­tion is instilled and mea­sured – tested–before any sen­si­tive infor­ma­tion is revealed to us.

It isn’t rocket sci­ence and, if I recall cor­rectly, it takes only a few days. Most of us had high school diplo­mas only or a bit of “higher” edu­ca­tion and very few of us were over 25 years old. It’s true, how­ever, that we qual­i­fied for the spe­cialty because of our mea­sured high abil­ity to remem­ber when to breathe and remem­ber when not to.

After that, there was the job itself. Stress­ful at times, but the great thing about it was that we knew why we were doing it and we knew who our ene­mies were – or so it seemed at the time. And after the vic­tory was won, it was com­fort­ing to have been a tiny part of that.

Again, so it seemed at the time.

It was good for my per­sonal self-​respect to know that I was capa­ble of loy­alty and able to keep a secret — and not just because I would go to jail if I didn’t, but because I had given my word. These days, this is called adulting.

There are a few who held the lin­guist spe­cialty who broke their word; the one ref­er­enced in the link defected to East Ger­many, had to spend some time in prison and, poet­i­cally just, is state­less. (Allegedly, he’s here in the USA and is, I guess, just another ille­gal alien.)

The rest of us are proud of what we achieved…but, as I look at the Labor Day week­end sub rosa news, I won­der whether we really achieved anything.

Hillary Clin­ton, wife of a for­mer US Pres­i­dent, a for­mer US Sen­a­tor, a for­mer US Sec­re­tary of State, and the 2016 Demo­c­rat Party nom­i­nee for US Pres­i­dent her­self, has bla­tantly and openly vio­lated every­thing for which I and many of my old­est, dear­est friends stood.

But she hasn’t been charged with any of the TENS OF THOU­SANDS secu­rity clear­ance breaches which she know­ingly and will­fully com­mit­ted. She says that she can’t remem­ber any­thing about it.

My black ass.

And the worst thing is that the inves­tiga­tive arm of this gov­ern­ment admits it and will do noth­ing. She won’t serve time for trea­son or spend any time state­less. And she knew that long ago, knew before the first server was planted in her house. And now, so do we.

I should have spent the 1980s smok­ing weed.

BTW: Day 25 of not smok­ing anything.

Juli­ette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. (Her older blog is located here.) Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was pub­lished in 2012. Her sec­ond novel will be done in 2016. Fol­low her on Twit­ter.

Please con­tribute to Juliette’s JOB: Her new novel, her blog, her Inter­net to keep the lat­ter going and COF­FEE to keep her going!

Or hit Da Tech Guy’s Tip Jar in the name of Inde­pen­dent Jour­nal­ism — -»»>baldilocks

disillusionedby baldilocks

It’s an odd feeling to begin to believe that you wasted your youth. It’s what I’m beginning to believe about my own.

Back when I was a skinny little critter, I wasn’t popping out illegitimate babies or selling/smoking weed or selling/shooting heroin or streetwalking or being a groupie to sports/pop music icons. I spent my youth as an enlisted woman in the USAF, and held a compartmented security clearance during the last “battles” of the Cold War.

We won, they tell me.

My DD Form 214—Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty—states that I had these two specialties (jobs): 1) Germanic Crypto Linguist, and 2) Slavic Crypto Linguist, Russian. Long-term training is required for the languages alone; that part comes first. Then there’s the second part of the training, the classified part–the part which one doesn’t even get to experience if something icky is uncovered in the background check. (When that happens, the person is pulled out of training altogether and, if they are lucky, they’re assigned another specialty. Unluckiness gets one kicked out.)

In this other part of the training, we learned all about our security clearances, how to handle classified information, the penalties for mishandling classified information, and what to do when mistakes are made. This very pertinent information is instilled and measured–tested–before any sensitive information is revealed to us.

It isn’t rocket science and, if I recall correctly, it takes only a few days. Most of us had high school diplomas only or a bit of “higher” education and very few of us were over 25 years old. It’s true, however, that we qualified for the specialty because of our measured high ability to remember when to breathe and remember when not to.

After that, there was the job itself. Stressful at times, but the great thing about it was that we knew why we were doing it and we knew who our enemies were–or so it seemed at the time. And after the victory was won, it was comforting to have been a tiny part of that.

Again, so it seemed at the time.

It was good for my personal self-respect to know that I was capable of loyalty and able to keep a secret—and not just because I would go to jail if I didn’t, but because I had given my word. These days, this is called adulting.

There are a few who held the linguist specialty who broke their word; the one referenced in the link defected to East Germany, had to spend some time in prison and, poetically just, is stateless. (Allegedly, he’s here in the USA and is, I guess, just another illegal alien.)

The rest of us are proud of what we achieved…but, as I look at the Labor Day weekend sub rosa news, I wonder whether we really achieved anything.

Hillary Clinton, wife of a former US President, a former US Senator, a former US Secretary of State, and the 2016 Democrat Party nominee for US President herself, has blatantly and openly violated everything for which I and many of my oldest, dearest friends stood.

But she hasn’t been charged with any of the TENS OF THOUSANDS security clearance breaches which she knowingly and willfully committed. She says that she can’t remember anything about it.

My black ass.

And the worst thing is that the investigative arm of this government admits it and will do nothing. She won’t serve time for treason or spend any time stateless. And she knew that long ago, knew before the first server was planted in her house. And now, so do we.

I should have spent the 1980s smoking weed.

BTW: Day 25 of not smoking anything.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. (Her older blog is located here.) Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2012. Her second novel will be done in 2016. Follow her on Twitter.

Please contribute to Juliette’s JOB:  Her new novel, her blog, her Internet to keep the latter going and COFFEE to keep her going!

Or hit Da Tech Guy’s Tip Jar in the name of Independent Journalism—->>>>>baldilocks