Hamilton — Captain Segura’s Theory: Tourturables vs. Untorturables
We like to think we can achieve equal justice under law. But do you suppose that some people can achieve a status that elevates them above the law? Can it be that some people rise to the point they cannot be punished? Or, to give the word “punished” a painful twist, even tortured?
In Graham Greene’s classic spy novel, Our Man in Havana, Captain Segura, the Cuban official in charge of torture, explains some people are “torturable” and some are not. In other words, “ordinary” people are torturable; however, mostly based on class and their previous achievements, some people may not be torturable.
For example, When the Boers of South Africa captured the famous war correspondent, Winston Churchill, they would not think of torturing a direct descendant of the Duke of Marlborough. By contrast, President Richard Nixon’s humble beginnings did not elevate him above being forced to resign for using his executive powers in unconstitutional ways and orchestrating a cover-up.
So, who you are has a bearing on whether you are torturable/punishable or not. Thanks to his eminence, General David Petraeus got a relative slap on the wrist for allowing his biographer/lover access to classified documents. But then, the Petraeus case was mitigated because his biographer was a reserve Army officer who had possessed, at one time, a Top Secret security clearance and was highly unlikely to put U.S. security at risk.
But what if a serving military officer, say, an Army captain, decided to buy an e-mail server, install it somewhere off-post, and use the server to conduct official correspondence? And let’s say that captain was caught sending classified information back and forth to colleagues via the “personal” server. After an Article 32 investigation, a court-martial would likely ensue that would reduce the captain in rank, strip away certain benefits, and might even put the former captain in prison at. Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas.
Let’s say you are the head of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) and your security is so lax that the Chinese Communists (CHICOMs) are able to penetrate your computer records and gain access to the Personnel Security Investigations (PSI) of millions of American who have applied for security clearances. Those PSI files might contain derogatory information developed by the investigating agents who are required to follow up and record negative comments made by associates who may simply harbor a petty dislike for the SUBJECT of the PSI. As a result; virtually all PSIs contain some derogatory information. Ergo: the CHICOMs may now have the ability to blackmail thousands of Americans, many currently in high places.
Now, OPM claims it was not “hacked.” OPM says “social engineering” caused the breach. “Social engineering” is Administration-speak for somebody who, by either accident or design, gave the needed passwords to the CHICOMs. It is fair to ask: Will anyone at OPM be punished for this enormous security breach?
In the fullness of the current presidential campaign, what if we learn one of the candidates compromised our nation’s security by using a personal server to conduct official business at the highest levels of our government? If Captain Segura’s Class Theory is correct, the Latina head of OPM might be punished; however, the white, female presidential candidate will not.
Nationally syndicated columnist, William Hamilton, is a laureate of the Oklahoma Journalism Hall of Fame, the Colorado Aviation Hall of Fame, the Oklahoma University Army ROTC Wall of Fame, and is a recipient of the University of Nebraska 2015 Alumni Achievement Award. He was educated at the University of Oklahoma, the George Washington University, the U.S Naval War College, the University of Nebraska, and Harvard University.
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