Under Covers

Feb 23 2013 @ 9:15pm

Margaret Hartmann shines a flashlight on the “rash of sexting cases” among FBI employees:

The report (pdf) doesn’t list agents’ personal information, but it gives an outline of their behavior and the disciplinary action taken. Interestingly, getting a DUI in your own car, shoplifting from a grocery store, and lying about dating a known drug dealer will lead to dismissal. However, infractions such as “unauthorized use of FBI database to search for information about friends and coworkers,” “broke spouses e-reader in half and pointed unloaded gun at dog’s head,” and “used government-issued Blackberry to send sexually explicit messages to another employee,” will only earn you a suspension.

Similarly, former CIA officer Reuel Marc Gerecht reveals how when he was in the service, “the CIA was a fairly randy place” where “affairs and divorce were almost a rite of passage.” It wasn’t as dangerous as some might assume:

The idea that our enemies will use infidelity against us is not borne out by history. To my knowledge, the CIA has always kept its distance from operations that might pit girlfriend against boyfriend, mistress against lover, or wife against husband. Sex is just too unpredictable to manage in the context of an intelligence operation.

We have a pretty good idea why American officials and soldiers have betrayed their country over the years. The primary reasons: greed, ideology, professional disappointment, narcissism, ethnic loyalties, and the sheer thrill of being a mole. Although it is certainly true that the KGB targeted homosexuals, this was done not because Soviet intelligence thought sexual blackmail was particularly effective, but because the KGB believed homosexuals were more narcissistic, more prone to see themselves as disconnected from the group, than heterosexuals. But there is very little evidence to suggest that in America such targeting ever turned an agent of any value, or probably any agent at all. The odds of using “honey traps” to lead men or women to treason are very small indeed.

Today, sex is a more serious offense in the agency. Gerecht fears that means we’ll “equate fidelity to a spouse with fidelity to a nation”:

There is no correlation between serially cheating in a marriage and compromising loyalty to country. Patriotism is a very different kind of love.