My name is danah boyd and I'm a Principal Researcher at Microsoft Research and the founder/president of Data & Society. Buzzwords in my world include: privacy, context, youth culture, social media, big data. I use this blog to express random thoughts about whatever I'm thinking.

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should i participate in a government panel?

I’m torn and i need some advice. I was asked to be on a panel at an upcoming CIA conference “with the objective of providing extensive insight into how terrorists can and likely will use cyberspace for influence purposes.” They want to understand how blogs and Friendster work. They seem to be running a series of conferences, including a cyber one, one with religious and non-profit groups, one with advertising and PR groups, and one with entertainment and gaming folks… all to get “insight” from experts to understand the terrorist schtuff.

My first inclination is to object on moral grounds. I am violently opposed to PATRIOT and how the government and military are using technology to track civilians under the umbrella of finding terrorists. I object to the culture of fear being perpetuated and the “if you aren’t with us, you’re against us” attitude. I have major systemic issues with our government and its exploitation of power. Major issues.

Of course, part of me wonders if i can learn from these folks and use this platform to change people’s minds (or maybe be a little bit subversive). The audience is purportedly “group of between 40 and 50 high level intelligence managers and policy analysts from the Central Intelligence Agency, U.S. Department of State, U.S. Department of Defense, Defense Intelligence Agency, U.S. Strategic Command, U.S. Special Operations Command, Office of Naval Intelligence, and various other unified military commands.”

I’m also worried because the terrorists make sense to me in the same way that punks who steal and kids who blow up schools make sense. These groups feel as though they will never have agency within the system because the systemic hegemony is too oppressive. They seek to overthrow the oppressor through brute force, to disrupt the system from its core and rattle the foundations that blind everyone to the problems of the system. Of course, in every case, the system does a good job in keeping the mainstream blinders on so that these acts are only ever seen as wrong instead of as attempts to wake up the mass zombie culture. I don’t support these groups’ violence and i think machismo clouds the efforts to make change. But it’s the same attitudes that make Fakesters and goths utterly lovable to me – same concept, no violence.

Given this perspective, i’m worried that there’s no way that i could ever change the minds of military folks because the core values are so different. I’m worried that my efforts to influence will simply be repurposed and manipulated, no matter what i do. I’m worried that i will become a tool of the kinds of oppression that i loathe and the lack of understanding that angers me. I don’t want to eliminate terrorism by force; i want to see a cultural change that makes it unnecessary and unvalued. But is there any way that i can do that by participating? I’m not sure…

Anyhow, i’m torn. Thoughts? Perspectives?

It’s funny… i sat in traffic on the Bay Bridge for an hour last night and i kept reading the bumper sticker in front of me. “Join the army and go to exotic distant lands so you can meet exciting new people and then kill them.” ::sigh:: I don’t want to be that anthropologist that helps the colonial empire destroy the world and abuse its privileges.

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47 comments to should i participate in a government panel?

  • You should go, if for nothing more than a great story to tell 😉

    You’re not going to change these peoples’ minds, but like you say, *you* will probably learn lots of useful stuff from the experience.

    As far as “terrorists” go, I think the greatest fallacy in understanding them is assuming that any sort of useful statement can be made about such a broadly generalized group of people. You really have to get down to a specific leader/follower movement (Osama, Kaczynski, Tamil Tigers, etc) before you can say anything useful besides “uses violence for political purposes” (which, by the way, includes a huge number of organizations you wouldn’t call “terrorist”). Even the catchphrase “radical Islam” casts too broad a net.

    Sadly the political culture has placed a taboo on asking exactly *why* these people are willing to sacrifice their lives, and the “mass insanity” argument just doesn’t sound credible. As long as those are the ground rules for the debate, I wouldn’t get my hopes up too high.

    PS, your blogware doesn’t seem to understand that apophenia is spelled D-A-N-A-H…. 😉

  • It’s really up to your conscience whether to participate or not. If I were in your shoes, I probably would.

    As for terrorism as a cry of frustration. It’s one thing to understand them and even to sympathize with a desire to take down patriarchy etc., but I don’t think you can relegate the violent means and the targetting of innocents to a footnote.

    It is at the crux of terrorism and can’t be supported in any way without really crossing over to the “other side.”

    By this I mean that it would be hypocritical to cheer on terrorists (I’m not saying you’re doing that, mind you) and in any way share in the privileges of the western white establishment.) Can’t have it both ways.

  • I say stay away. The government is scary enough as it is. Don’t give ’em more weapons to use against us. I don’t see their minds being able to change, and I don’t think there’s much that you could learn from them.

  • Don’t Spook Me, Man!

    Lots of bloggers find themselves at one time or another speaking on a panel at some conference or other. But what if the people listening to your comments were with the CIA? No, I’m not being paranoid (Although I remember…

  • You should go!

    I’m a casual reader of your weblog, from the little I read, I think you’d do an excellent job of explaining how “that stuff” works.

    You don’t really need to be subversive explicitly, I think weblogging and friend networks are subversive implicitly.

    The glacier is moving, you can not stop it, but you can help point WHERE it will go. These people will learn what they want to learn eventually. How well, and from whom they learn? That is up to you.

  • I think you should go.

    In my perspective you have a chance to educate and maybe influence a greater understanding of combating terrorism. I’m a regular reader of your blog and admire many of your thoughts and positions. You would be excellent to help in cyber issues.

    As for terrorism in general, I can’t agree with you on the less use of force. In my opinion more force is necessary. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for a more peacful diplomatic cultural change but when dealing with cold blooded murderers, easier said than done. Also, the Patriot Act is scarey and I would like to see a stronger initiative on privacy imposed but what could that medium be?

  • Ideally, you really should just use your conscience and instinct as a guide.

    I imagine you are cautious for very valid reasons.

    I would not go, as I would just be far to wary of what a better understanding of these things might lead to on the part of the people looking for a clearer understanding.

    It’s a hard call.
    Again, I feel like your hesitation is well warranted. It seems as though you should honor your own apprehension, and take a pass.

  • You should go, if anything, because it would a test for you to keep an open mind and not get embroiled in unnecessary arguments. You get to go to a place where the majority of people are likely to think in ways different from yours and the challenge is to … well… be an anthropologist and learn a few things. I think this can be eye opening, if you don’t let it blind you with frustration. As far as “the tools you might give them to use against…”, I doubt this is really at issue. You have a chance to say some things some of your audience may have never heard or never thought about. This is always valuable.

    Oh and I take a little bit of an issue with your equating punks who steal and kids who blow up schools and goths and fakesters to terrorists in some way. Personally, I think there is a fundamental difference – the first set from punks to fakesters is about identity, individuality, a subversive voice, but one that is fundamentally about self. The latter is based on a profound disregard of the value of human life in service of some greater cause, on forms of deindividuation. Both lead to violence, the latter lead to violence on a far grander scale. I suspect that relegating all types of such violence as “anti-establishment” struggles to take back agency from the hegemony is a little bit simplistic. But that doesn’t change the thought that you should take this opportunity you have been offered.

  • Dan G

    You can have a positive impact by being involved. Ultimately, the goal of their community is safety. It happen they they accomplish it through weilding a stick, but everyone I’ve spoken to in the military and intelligence community would far rather diffuse problems than have to fight. They just don’t see any other options.

    You provide one.

    I’d say: “If a group is online and convincing people of their points, then they are no longer as disenfranchized. When states were the primary actors, you used to use displomacy to avoid conflict with agreived parties. Now, every individual is an actor, so you must engage them diplomatically.

    It may sound overly touchy-feely, but your best course of action is not only to let these groups use cyberspace to influence people, but to actually engage them and possibly even be influenced by them. If they know you’re being influenced, terror will have less value as a tool.”

  • joe

    It could be a very valuable experience for both you and them… I would say go. You can always walk out or do something fun to protest on the panel… which would probably be more effective than a boycott (unless you can get all the other academics to not go).

  • Cas

    I would say go.

    I agree with you that violence is, and never will be, the answer. Instead what is needed is a dialogue and it seems to me that you have been given a chance few people get to try and, if not change minds, at least make them pause and think for a moment.

    Baby steps.

    For my own feelings, the consequences of what could happen if there is no informed input from the ‘subversive’ side are certainly far scarier than the potential consequences if there is.

    As a regular reader of your blog, I have to say that I always find your voice is clear and your arguments persuasive, so go and use your voice to put across the points of view of a large body of people who will never have such opportunities.

    When this is all said and done though, it is really up to your own individual conscience and, if you truly think that engaging in this dialogue would be detrimental and dangerous, then it is understandable if you decide not to go.

  • No question. Go. Not going is like saying that you’re moving to Norway because you don’t like the current administration. Change comes from the inside… from communication, understanding. Every ounce of frustration you put in is blood, sweat, and tears well worth it.

  • Another vote for going, with your eyes wide open.

    Whatever the limits of democratic participation and communicative reason, a unilateral refusal to engage precludes any possible connection being made, no matter how unlikely or unanticipated.

    Certainly, there a danger of being co-opted, and obviously there is a role for principled non-participatory resistance. But as Irina said, we’re at a very fluid crossroads in public policy when in comes to information technology and national security. If there ever is a time to influence the outcome, surely it is now.

  • another vote for going. in the least to add more intelligence into the room. the more intelligence, the better all around. the more sanity and clarity, the better all around.

    but i’m not sure i agree that their objectives in the ultimate sense are all that different from everyone else’s, to provide happiness and health for people. they just seem to narrow that view down to exclude non-americans for the most part (though perhaps that is their job more than a personal ethic?) and their method for attaining that happiness is perhaps damn different. but we could at least find common ground in talking to them from that shared wish, that we could find happiness and be free from suffering before disagreeing on methods like control, invasion of privacy, assassination, and oppressing others for the benefit of the already rich. any maybe they’ll pleasantly surprise you?

  • One advantage of going is you can always resign in disgust. Okay, seriously…

    Are you providing them advice as to how to learn from their environment and use their power more justly? If you are providing such advice, whether they pay attention to your advice or not, you should go. For if you never give them such advice, and only talk amongst like minded people, you stayed silent when you should have spoken.

    However, if all you are providing them is knowledge that will be a tool that you suspect they will use in bad ways it may be better not to participate.

    So are you an adviser as to policy, or merely a toolmaker? If it’s a mix of both, then that’s a tough call.

  • Go.

    First, don’t bring your opinion of the Bush Administration to this. You are not there to speak out about the war on terrorism. You are there to explain to them how this new-Internet-thing works.

    Second, understand your audience. If they’re inviting you to this, it’s because they want your insight. They don’t get it, and you can fill their heads with whatever you want. This is not an opportunity to mislead or chastise them. This is an opportunity to educate and enlighten them.

    Finally, know that the results will be limited. You won’t be able to convince them of everything in one shot. But maybe you will get that seed of understanding into their minds. Maybe you will be the voice of something that’s been languishing in thier heads. Maybe you’ll give a couple of people the courage to stand up for what they believe in.

    Maybe you’ll make some new friends in a place where you never thought you could find any. For me, that reason alone is enough to do this.

    Rise above the fray.

  • tony

    Seriously, it’s kind of a Ed Teller problem,does your love of the subject matter override the future uses of it? Blogs aren’t nukes,right?

    I remember the days when the “company” couldn’t be involved in issues w/in our borders but cyberspace crosses all borders doesn’t it? Exactly who uses the internet the most anyway? Obviously terrorists. They/we need influencing…

    What would Noam C. do???

    Although,not speaking there could leave a “spot” on your record(this admin. is vindictive). Glad,I’m not you;)

    Go to the conference-true believers die hungry,ruined lives. Give it a half-assed attempt.
    You seem like a nice person-don’t screw up.

  • tony

    Seriously, it’s kind of a Ed Teller problem,does your love of the subject matter override the future uses of it? Blogs aren’t nukes,right?

    I remember the days when the “company” couldn’t be involved in issues w/in our borders but cyberspace crosses all borders doesn’t it? Exactly who uses the internet the most anyway? Obviously terrorists. They/we need influencing…

    What would Noam C. do???

    Although,not speaking there could leave a “spot” on your record(this admin. is vindictive). Glad,I’m not you;)

    Go to the conference-true believers die hungry,ruined lives. Give it a half-assed attempt.
    You seem like a nice person-don’t screw up.

  • Lee

    dont do it. go with instinct not curiosity. u have nothing to gain, everything to lose.

  • Cheryl M

    I understand your vascillation. The proposed topic is sobering when combined with personnel attending. As one who spent a summer watching the Army-McCarthy hearings, the current climate is chillingly similar. I think your voice is needed but I also think it dangerous for you to attend. Can you get through to any of them? Probably not. Will the panel recording be released? If so, you may reach more people.

  • Ken

    I also understand your angst over this, but I’d recommend you go.

    I doubt very much that the military personnel who attend will be quite what you expect. True, it is a different culture (especially from Berkeley), but most officers are educated people who can think for themselves, even if they must act on orders.

    While you might run into political appointees, my guess is that you will probably find others that are sympathetic to your perspective, even if they can’t voice those concerns publicly.

    At the very least, you can be a fly on the wall.

  • John

    I’d like to say “without question, go” but your post and subsequent comments shows there is a valid debate. What a great topic to throw out to your readers.

    From what I’ve been reading on your blog, you want to instill a sense of open mindedness to people. It’s because of this that I think you HAVE to go. By setting this panel up, the government is looking to learn. If you go and find that they only want an answer that complies with their beliefs than just don’t give them that answer. If they are actually looking to learn with an open mind than you can help shape that. Afterall you were the one who got the invite, not Drudge. Consider it your duty to go behind “enemy lines” to try to influence them.

    What an opportunity!

  • I think you will find in a large organization there are people who share your values. I’ve contributed to similar events and found not only a willingness to learn, but a learning opportunity myself. And they want you to be there to be yourself.

  • I also think you should go. I’d rather see you educate these people about this stuff than, say, an alarmist who’s going to base their analysis on all the “KILLER MYSPACE!” local news stories and get everyone all riled up about teenagers writing gossipy bulletins about each other.

    I used to have a slight bit of sympathy for terrorists as well– maybe sympathy’s the wrong word, maybe empathy? And I do think in order to understand and combat terrorist organizations we need to understand the individual organizations a bit better – how are they disenfranchised from the current system? Why are they killing people? What are their objectives?

    However, I think there is a real problem equating terrorism with goth or punk kids or hackers or outcasts or whoever. The difference being that terrorists would quite literally hate everything about your life. You are a Western woman who publically shares her opinion with others and lives in the US and enjoys popular culture. None of these things are supported by most fundamentalist/dogmatic organizations that use violence to prove a point. As a feminist, I know that women are totally fucked under fundamentalist cultures. Almost always. It’s the same way I feel about people advocating anarchist revolution (you elude to this in your post but I think it bears repeating).

    If the Christian right was using terrorist techniques, how would you feel? How different are clinic bombings with terrorist acts? I think they’re one and the same. I can’t feel any empathy for people who kill other people- I don’t care what their motivations are. And I am as leftist as they get.

  • db I first want to say that if you can get me invited to that gig – as a nonprofit representative I’d love to hear what they want to hear. As far as participation … I hope that the people asking you to attend are actually interested in learning about the power of networking systems. I think the career officers are genuinely interested in learning and the political appointments are looking for something to exploit for points in ratings. I’d even poll the people I was presenting to, determining what follow up questions were going to be guised with political agenda points.

  • SR

    I’d be torn too…Lee is right, you have nothing to gain, it might turn around and bite you in the ass somehow…but I’d be too intrigued by the whole thing to say ‘no’ outright. For me, it would have to be a very reluctant “No.”

  • Don’t do it!

    You’re telling people who’s organization exists to tortute people, kill people, overthrow governments, etc… how to track and mine online social apps. They won’t tell you anything, and you’ll be used.

    This is the organization which has setup half a dozen or more secret prisions. They are disapearing people, in the ways of the worst dictatorships, but now they are doing it around the world with the backing of the most powerful ‘democracy’.

    Don’t do it!

  • mir

    Gabriel Garcia Marquez says that terrorism is an oppressed persons only access to coercive power.

    Which is why I think when legitimate powers use force to try and stop terrorism it doesn’t often work.

    It’s like the literal definition of fighting fire with fire, but terribly mistaken.

    I would go, but I would see about 2 things first.

    What are you going to be allowed to make public afterwards.

    Also I would ask myself what my responsibility is to what they will do with the information I give them.

    I phrased the last one in “I”‘s just to keep it from sounding preachy. It’s just what I would do.

    Are they gonna use social software to spread anti-terror propaghanda?? holy poop I am scared of your government.

    This is also making me think of that comment at the end of Blogher when Jay Rosen said that blogging was a form of terrorism, someone obviously heard him and took it way seriously.

    Frankly actually, the more I think of this the wierder it sounds..

    Where does censorship fit in the round-table. At which point does what a person does in social space on line become “terrorist” and thus what? – subject to different rules about what free speech really means? eek ik yick scary.

    You should go go go.

  • vaughn

    hey danah b.

    still read your blog, still smile or wimper at the news and notes you share, just to stay in touch with what you’ve been up to.

    saw this post. had to reply.

    do this. you should. take the opportunity. trust your instincts once there, trust your conscience, trust your brain, trust your powers of discernment, trust your intentions.

    you are possessed of everything you need to get in there and participate in a way that is consistent with your ideals and conscience. you will know how to manage, present and shade the information and opinion you will offer to best effect. you will be smart enough to be subversive if you think the situation calls for it and you can be effective and wise enough to know the difference.

    i also think that the folks at the event will likely not be all that you fear. folks rarely are when we meet them in person. i’d bet anything there will be more listening there than you might imagine.

    in short. events like this need voices like yours and i hope you will trust yourself as much as i do to know how to use the opportunity to it’s greatest purpose.

    i think you may have told me once that changes are made by people who show up.

    you should show up, danah b.

    much love to you.

    –V.

  • imho they are not a positive force for the changes you want, and therefore not to be aligned with.

    Do something useful/fun with your time.

  • “with the objective of providing extensive insight into how terrorists can and likely will use cyberspace for influence purposes.”

    That’s a very weirdly written phrase right there. Is that a direct quote? If you take the meaning literally, it doesn’t make any sense at all. After all, if you’re a terrorist you use terror to influence people, not cyberspace.

    If, however, you substitute “our current enemies” for “terrorists”, suddenly it makes sense again. Now the agenda of the conference seems a bit clearer: they are not trying to stop terrorism, they are trying to stop some target group of enemies, which they are willing to label “terrorists” regardless of whether those enemies actually use terror to achieve their goals.

    I don’t know, maybe I’m reading too much into that one quote, but it seems to reveal a lot about the mindset of the organizers. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t go, but are you prepared to deal with people who conflate “enemy” with “terrorist” so casually?

    Another bit of advice I got recently: before you accept, you should try to get some kind of contract from them, something in writing that delineates how they can and can’t use your name, image, words, etc. That way you can hopefully avoid the risk of being made to look like a supporter of policies you don’t actually believe in.

  • op

    the more cognitive dissonance, the merrier!

    i’m not surprised that you asked for input and that you’re not sure if you want to go but i _will_ be surprised if you don’t go – you’re definitely who i would vote for to represent the interweb.

    i hear a lot of talk these days about how criminal our government is but i’m not seeing any molotov cocktails being thrown; there’s no well armed militia rising from our ranks.

    “We must always fear the wicked. But there is another kind of evil that we must fear the most, and that is the indifference of good men.”

    “Be the change you wish to see in the world”

    good luck!

  • Go! Challenge! Learn!

    What’s the worst that could happen? They brand you as a liberal activist to be monitored. From your writings and blogs, I distill a distinct need to challenge orthodoxy, so you should be used to being branded a liberal activist by those who don’t understand.

    Most important reason to go is that in challenging orthodoxy most people create their own and lose perspective. The best way out of this trap is to keep an open mind and experience as many different perspectives on what you are passionate about as you can. I am pretty sure you will get different perspectives during this meeting 😉

    Have fun!

  • Please go. You are obviously a brilliant young woman and know your web, but with all due respect you need too spend WAY more time with the types of folks you think undermine global interests but in fact do more to preserve them than you seem to understand.

    We are all in this together, and the more we share views the better our chances for resolving things to everybody’s satisfaction.

  • Don’t go. You have nothing to gain.
    Listen to a Jewish mama.

  • Dan

    I’m normally the one who says “engage and talk to people, no matter how nasty they are”

    But this case is a bit different, because your talking to them may well help them do bad things more effectively. It looks like the jailers asking for advice on how to keep us locked up.

    On balance I’d still say go, but give them some conditions. For example explain that you’ll walk out if you feel you’re doing more harm than good, or if you’re being totally misinterpreted.

  • lilly

    dude. totally go. if not, also to learn and put your own perspectives about the military community as well. dialogue is always always key, and even more so among disparate bodies of people.

    helping them understand is by no means aiding the cause. i once went for a job interview at the NSA and it was a mind fuck. the task as hand was pretty cool, they offered me a job doing cyptology, which probably would’ve amused me for some period of time, but i rejected their offer to go to school instead.

    anyways, it was an enlightening experience all the same and if you can walk away with that, then you’re all the better.

  • Go! And meet the Intelligence Community.

    They have a lot in common with us. How? Well, “we” here out on the Internet are one gigantic Intelligence Community, too.

    We face similar problems and questions.

    When you’re there, ask about the phrase “OSINT.”

    They’ve been using the phrase “Open Source” for a loooot longer than we have..!

    A lot of the “Global Brain” crowd are connected with the Intelligence Community crowd. Dig it, research it, figure out what’s going on.

  • Danah,

    Go. Perhaps I’ve watched too much Alias, but I think you’d make a pretty hot spy.

  • Margaret Kosmala

    I won’t tell you go or don’t go, Danah, but here’s a perspective from the inside:

    I worked for the NSA for four years post-Brown. The intelligence community is really struggling to get a grip on the fast changes in technology; it’s hard for a massive bureaucracy. From what you say about the audience being “high-level” gov’t types, your crowd will be equivalent to what I understand of your Yahoo! old guard — reasonably tech-ish, but not really on the cutting edge. They’ll want to learn about Friendster, for example, but they won’t be the type to go home and play with it themselves. Your audience most likely won’t be anyone who has much of any control over policy at all, so any attempt at “changing minds” probably will be moot. And you might be surprised at how many might agree with you to start out with. (Don’t stereotype “military folks” or the civvies who work with them! Very few people make policy. The rest have to just follow orders.)

    Here’s how I came to see the moral/ethical/politial dilemma of participating with (in your case) or working for (in my case) the government: First, the majority of people who work in the intelligence community are highly loyal to the country, to the people, and to their organizations. Their political leanings are all over the spectrum. Their careers generally span many presidential administrations and most of them work at one time or another under a president they disagree with. So how do they justify doing so? What I got from the people who aren’t simply apathetic is that they work for NSA (or whichever organization) to create the best intelligence possible. Policy decisions are out of their hands, but they feel that by providing the best tool — the best intelligence — the country as a whole benefits.

    Now, I also liked to ask people about complicity, because that really bothered (bothers) me. If I do some work — or you share some knowledge — that eventually leads to intelligence that is acted upon that ends up killing people, how complicit am I — or are you? I still don’t have a good answer to the question, but I think it’s more than zero and less than very. But by extension, as a voting US citizen, we’re already both complicit in everything this administration has done whether we like it or not.

    In the end, my pact with myself was this: as a government agent, I endeavored provide the best, most accurate intelligence possible as a service to the people of my country. (Their taxes paid my salary.) Outside work, as a citizen of that country, I fight as hard as possible for the policies I believe in, so that the intelligence I helped create is used in morally and ethically just ways.

    If you go and share your knowledge, you’ll be helping to create a better tool that will be used in some unforseeable way by policy-makers. How this tool is used is likely out of the hands of your audience as much as it is out of yours. The policies and actions that result could be good (from your point of view) or bad (from your point of view)– or more likely a combination of both over time.

    So here’s one way to rephrase your “should I go?” question: “am I willing to contribute to a tool that can be used in powerfully good ways and powerfully bad ways; that will likely be used in a bad way over the short term (given your views on the current administration), but may be used in good ways in the long term?”

    Good luck.

  • Peter Childs

    Go. You don’t have to say anything you don’t want to – and you’ll get a perspective of the world that more pervasive than most of want to acknowledge.

  • I vote for going with your eyes open. I’m not sure it’s a bad thing for the CIA to understand blogging better. However, I also don’t find terrorists lovable, and I’m somewhat hawkish. But if it were me, heck yeah, I’d go. I’d be too curious to stay home. Don’t you want to gain some insight into their world?

  • Participation in any discussion of something important is difficult to resist. This is a test of power, corruption, and personal health.

    If a tree were to fall in the woods…

  • It’s a difficult call. I’d say no…

    They’d probably just discourage all your brilliant and creative ideas and just bring a lot of bad karma into your life.

    There are plenty of other positive things to do if you want to change the world.

  • Jojo

    I think Mojo makes it clear that the only reasons to go would be if you believe our system is working well or will sometime very soon.

  • Jojo

    Sorry, it wasn’t Mojo, it was Margaret Kosmala, following Mojo.

  • mkd

    F*uck the CIA. Until those morons can chill in SE DC they ain’t gonna even get close to catchin’ a yahoo they funded in a cave system they helped finance!

    Yeah, yeah, you will learn something from some of the folks in the room. But that happens everywhere and anywhere, if you open your ears and eyes–which you do tremendously.

    And to think what the CIA does matters, when the President and his co-conspirators actively undermine the intel, lie to Congress and break the law because they can! (Now of course the spooks are getting even… leaking docs to the NYTimes, etc.) But what is there really to gain in a networked-culture of professional liars (which is what they really are when you pause and reflect on it)?

    For sure it will be a great story for the grandkids (or nieces and nephews or your students) but why be the Man’s ho?