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IG Report Confirms Hate Speech in Classified IC Chat Rooms
But it excoriate the whistleblowers who brought it to spy agencies' attention
An investigation by the Intelligence Community’s Inspector General has confirmed what SpyTalk first exclusively reported over a year ago: That a classified chat channel used by alphabet-agency employees was fouled by “transphobia, hate speech and misogynistic discussions.”
SpyTalk based its March 2022 report mainly on a personal blog written by Dan Gilmore, a former mid-level administrator of the Intelink chat rooms, who said that the system “became a dumpster fire” of hate speech around 2019, during the administration of President Donald Trump, who had refused to condemn neo-Nazis who organized a provocative march in Charlottesville, VA. “Professionalism was thrown out the window, and flame wars became routine,” wrote Gilmore, a 30-year veteran of Navy and NSA cryptologic systems.
SpyTalk subsequently reported in March 2022 that the House and Senate intelligence committees were looking into the allegations and making inquiries to the relevant agencies.
Kill the Messenger
But the IG came down heavier on Gilmore and another whistleblower (both of whose names are blacked out in the report), for engaging with purveyors of commentary that they disagreed with, which included some IC employees’ support for the Jan. 6 insurrection—and going out of channels to report it.
The IG “focused heavily on the propriety of a contractor trying to uncover misconduct — with the watchdog finding that the contractor didn’t have permission to investigate the messages,” Starks wrote.
At the same time, the IG gave a pass for now to the “misuse” of the chat rooms, saying the hate speech was “outside the scope” of its investigation and would not be addressed in the report.
The IG report, which, in an unusual step, blacked out the name of the official who wrote it (out of fear of being “doxxed” by rightwing zealots, Gilmore theorized) gave the whistleblowers faint praise for taking the initiative to report the hate speech.
"To be clear, [redacted] motivation to identify and report bigotry and hate speech on IC systems is appropriate and desirable,” it said. “Improper use of IC communications can, and should be reported through properly recognized channels within the IC. [Redacted]] however, materially exceeded [redacted]] authority in this regard by unilaterally persisting in this agenda after being given multiple lawful directives to cease and desist [redacted] activity. Our final report of investigation detailing our investigative activity, and findings is attached.”
Tara Lemieux, a senior cybersecurity assessor contractor for the Defense Department who worked for the Intelink program from 2012 to 2016, blasted the IG’s report and its negative emphasis on the whistleblowers.
“If anything, this report confirms that our system is broken and those who previously would have lost their clearance are instead being protected and encouraged to stay,” she told SpyTalk.
“In my tenure with Dan on the Intelink project, we operated with unwavering ethics and accountability…Now…the IG has chosen bureaucratic technicalities over [the] right action. Rather than address the issue, they restored the messages and dismissed Dan for upholding our ethical standards.”
“This isn’t about mere messages,” she concluded, “It’s a breach of integrity within the Intelligence Community. To those who ignored duty for the convenience of passing that buck: You’ve failed us all.”
The Barn Door
Dan Gilmore was not impressed, especially when it comes to disciplining or revoking the security clearances of hate mongers populating the IC chat rooms.
“The ODNI report is complete bullshit,” he told SpyTalk. “They send something out to make themsselves look good, as p.r.—and not a thing will happen.” He quickly added, “I hope I’m wrong.”
You can read it for yourselves here. ###
This piece has been updated to clarify that there were two whistleblowers criticized in the IG report. It also adds Gilmore’s dismissive opinion on the IG report from an interview on Friday, Aug. 18.
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