The IC and the Civil Service laws.


There have been a number of comments on SST on the subject of  a general purge of people from the national agencies.  From the comments I understand that the commenters know nothing of the Civil Service laws of the US.  The permanent staff of CIA, DIA, State INR and NSA (the main agencies) are overwhelmingly civilian civil servants protected against arbitrary dismissal and protected in their employment by due process.  Their bosses are a handful of generals (DIA and NSA) and careerist civilian SESs (look it up) who want nothing more than to serve their political masters in the administration of the day.  Considering the obstacles the civil servants do a remarkable job and have not the ability to jump the chain of comment to publish material that their toady bosses will not allow to go forth.  Try reading my old essay "Artists and Bureaucrats."  or "Bureaucrats and Artists."  It is around somewhere.  Exert yourselves.  pl

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17 Responses to The IC and the Civil Service laws.

  1. blue peacock says:

    Col. Lang
    Are civil service employees “at-will” employees or can they only be fired for cause?

  2. PavewayIV says:

    Mission complete, but the NSA put up a fierce fight. I’m afraid we lost a few.

  3. Larry Kart says:

    Found “Bureaucrats and Artists.” Excellent piece, albeit more than a little chilling,

  4. tpcelt says:

    Yes, civil servants do remarkable jobs while getting a lot of dispiriting badmouthing. (Do people not realize, for example, that their planes land safely because of those federal civil service air traffic controllers?) It’s important to remember that the civil service was an improvement to government function…without it, we’d be back to the old patronage days when federal employees were pretty uniformly politicians themselves or beholden to politicians. Can civil service laws be improved? Yes, definitely. But revert to a system where wholesale purges can occur? That was tried and found wanting.
    [By the way, this topic brings up an off-topic pet peeve of mine: the lack of distinction in media discourse and social media between political Washington and the everyday world of D.C., close-in MD & VA, and their respective residents. I know it’s too complicated of a matter to discuss here without a lot of nuances, qualifiers, etc. But it bugs me that our area and its residents is so often harshly judged by those outside of this area based on the actions of politicians they themselves sent here.]

  5. jd hawkins says:

    Damn good read! Thanks

  6. FND says:

    Yes, the civil servants, including SES are protected from firing without cause. The political appointees, which include the heads and deputy heads of agencies can be fired at will for no expressed reason at all.

  7. joanna says:

    the US is open to talk, as long as Iran bents its knees appropriately:
    Fake news? After all this is not certified by Fox?
    hat tip to b.

  8. joanna says:

    I vaguely recall the “preemptive strike” discussions, that challenged by Pat David picked up at the time:

  9. Turcopolier says:

    Yes. I forgot to mention that wedged in at the top at DNI and CIA there are presidential appointees who are not civil servants or military,

  10. ted richard says:

    long term regrettably the only solution that makes government smaller is to place the government on an enforced diet against its will.
    the only way that happens is for the world to repudiate the further purchase of us treasury bonds in trade or hold for investment. this is both other governments as well as private capital of which there is many trillions.
    since the us t bond market is the deepest and most liquid in the world replacing it will take some time (10 -15 years) but is now well underway in asia and other places for trade mostly but won’t hit us that hard until the investment part also kicks in.
    once this migration of public and private capital elsewhere seriously takes hold the us government will be compelled to downsize as will the military budget and all social budgets to mere fractions of what they are today.
    yes of course the fed can just emit debt into the domestic market to cover the shortfall but that…. unless buyers outside our territory come into help only causes disaster and quickly.
    watch closely what happens to the euro as it will be our canary failing first. the ECB is utterly trapped and now finds no private bid for much of the debt its members try to sell in the marketplace. this what zero bound interest rates do which we have come close to adopting and appear to have given up at the fed trying to normalise rates.
    watch italys adoption of what they call mini bot’s later in the autumn as their shot across the ECB’s and brussels bow.
    zero bound rates has made public and private pension funds insolvent as they need close to 7-8% to remain solvent.
    so for the moment as we in america continue eating through our seed corn (we inherited from frugal past generations) at an accelerated rate all looks good, but do not be fooled…. those who want smaller government will get their wish just not how it comes about.
    and if you want to chuckle as we whistle past the graveyard think of all those ”progressive”’ left wing democrats all chortling about free this and free that at just THAT moment in history both world and our own that socialism everywhere (defined as being able to buy a hamburger on someone else’s dime) is about to go belly up.
    so all those dreams the shrill warren, sanders, harris and AOC scold us are coming or should will be shown to be so much hot air a few years forward bloviated by fools and con men/con women.

  11. Vic says:

    Most intelligence civilian jobs are excepted service. It allows agencies to hire people with special skills without going through all the hoops of regular civil service.
    When I came into the IC, I was told that “they can hire you off the streets, but they can put you back on just as quick”. Excepted service people have most of the protections as regular civil service, but not all.
    It is my observation that in civilian life, the military or in government service if they want you gone, you are. The old saying that it was impossible or really hard to get rid of an employee in government was false. It just took a lot of paperwork and justification, which most managers were to lazy to do, but it could and has been done.
    As for a massive “purge”, I survived everyone but the last one. Historically it happens like clock work. Think RIFs or reorganizations. Wild swings in manning over the years is the norm (huge cut backs until the next major intelligence failure).

  12. And well worth reading too.
    IMO the same thing (the domination at all levels in bureaucracies of “managers”) is one of the principal reasons why I think the West’s day is coming to a close. Tremendous Clausewitzian friction is added to every action by this tribe of close-minded self-obsessed sycophants proliferating like cockroaches. Seen it everywhere.
    There’s the private will (I want to get ahead), the general will (what’s best for all of us) and the corporate will (what’s best for the organisation). These “managers” fuse the private and corporate wills into an indestructible mass.

  13. blue peacock says:

    The BoJ experience is that a central bank’s balance sheet can exceed GDP, that it can effectively own the government bond market and it can be the largest shareholder of a wide swath of publicly traded companies, with no deleterious effect to their currency. Note that the BoJ has been at the debasement game for two decades and has failed.
    Even with annual trillion dollar increases in US national debt and the Chinese shedding dollar reserves, yields are dropping. The demise of the USD which has been forecast for decades has been a losing trade.

  14. MP98 says:

    Apparently nothing can stop them from leaking to their friends in the Democrat media and THAT gives major skepticism of their “dedicated impartiality.”

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