Occasionally, a couple of days will go by where I feel I have nothing to write about. Panic ensues. However, we live in the age of the Obama administration where scandals and other nonsensical things occur with regularity, so the panic turns out to be fleeting. Here are a couple of recent head-scratching examples.
In congressional testimony last week FBI Director Robert Mueller indicated that his agency does use drones for domestic surveillance. But, he noted, “It’s very seldom used and generally used in a particular incident where you need the capability.” Further, Mueller indicated that the FBI is only now working on the rules for using drones for domestic surveillance. The proverbial drone first and avoid questions later.
Reading Mueller’s comments reminded me, oddly enough, of a scene from Woody Allen’s movie Annie Hall. In one scene (a split screen) Allen’s character, Alvy Singer, and Diane Keaton’s Annie Hall are separately talking to their respective therapists. Each of them is asked by their therapist how often they have sex. Alvy Singer tells his therapist, “Hardly ever, maybe three times a week.” Annie Hall responds to her therapist, “Constantly, like three times a week.” The point is that Muller’s “very seldom” comment may mean something vastly different to somebody outside of this administration.
One thing we do know, however, is that once a surveillance target enters a mosque, the drones are shut down and the FBI surveillance team goes back to reading the sports page. (“Hey, Bryce Harper had two hits again last night.”) It turns out that since 2011 mosques are off-limits to any federal investigative agency without first getting approval from an outfit within the Justice Department called the Sensitive Operations Review Committee. Presumably, approval must also come from the We Feel Your Pain and Promise Not to Offend Sub-Committee. The Sensitive Operations Review Committee was apparently created as a result of pressure from Islamist groups.
So, the NSA gathers data on just about every phone call in America, but federal law enforcement can’t look for would-be Islamic terrorists in mosques. Think about that. It’s like setting up a DUI checkpoint, but making sure that those driving home after excessive happy hour partying pass through unfettered. Our federal security bureaucracy seems to be quite uninterested in the terrorist needles, but is thrilled with the haystack.
Next we turn to the Equal Opportunity Employment Committee. The Obama administration, through the EEOC, is suing private employer Dollar General as well as a BMW facility in South Carolina because of their alleged use of criminal background checks for job applicants. In 2012 the EEOC issued new guidelines suggesting that employers should avoid rejecting minority applicants for jobs because they have been convicted of past crimes. In other words, businesses should not use criminal background checks or make hiring decisions based on information contained within those criminal background checks as that can be considered discriminatory against African-Americans.
Before going further, this from USAJOBS, the official job site of the United States Federal Government:
Job Title: Equal Employment Opportunity Specialist, Department Of Health And Human Services
•Background investigation required.
Conditions of Employment:
- 1. Security and Background Requirements: If not previously completed, a background security investigation will be required for all appointees. Appointment will be subject to the applicant’s successful completion of a background security investigation and favorable adjudication. Failure to successfully meet these requirements may be grounds for appropriate personnel action. In addition, if hired, a background security reinvestigation or supplemental investigation may be required at a later time. Applicants are also advised that all information concerning qualifications is subject to investigation. False representation may be grounds for non-consideration, non-selection and/or appropriate disciplinary action.
So, even an “Equal Employment Opportunity Specialist” applicant within HHS is subject to a “background security investigation.” Although this does not specifically mention a criminal background check, one would be hard-pressed to argue that a “background security investigation” would be complete without one. Unless, I guess, you are the federal government.
Based on the EEOC’s rationale, child day care operations should be unconcerned whether or not an applicant is a convicted child molester or your local bank should welcome convicted embezzlers to the Accounts Receivable team. Granted, I think criminal background checks are discriminatory – against criminals. Just as I suspect school districts use of motor vehicle reports when hiring bus drivers is discriminatory – against bad drivers. And isn’t that the point?
Barack Obama’s federal government – the place where logic (and the family Obama) takes a vacation.