In the golden age of Crypto City, the NSA headquarters at Fort Meade, Maryland, stressed out personnel could turn to NSA’s “Employee Assistance Service” (EAS). There, security-cleared therapists heard the confessions of employees who were over-burdened with secrets. (Background: “Trouble In Crypto City”, Ersjdamoo’s Blog entry of July 10, 2013)
Reported leakers Pfc. Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden, due to being “outsourced” personnel (Manning in the military; Snowden at Booz-Allen & Hamilton), could not unburden themselves to the security-cleared therapists at Crypto City. And so, they eventually unburdened themselves elsewhere.
But even within Crypto City during its golden age, the question arises: Who would therapize the therapists? The security-cleared therapists had secrets dumped upon them: Where were they supposed to turn when the burden became unbearable? This type of situation was explored in a movie from 1967: The President’s Analyst. Dr. Sidney Schaefer (James Coburn), a psychiatrist, is chosen by the U.S. government to act as the President’s top-secret personal psychoanalyst. However, the President’s Analyst has one problem: There is no one to whom he can talk about the President’s ultra-top-secret and personal problems. As he steadily becomes overwhelmed by stress, Schaefer begins to feel that he is being watched everywhere — which is actually true — until he becomes clinically paranoid.
Writing circa 2001, author James Bamford foresaw NSA soon crossing the “petaflop threshhold” followed by super computers next achieving exaflop, zettaflop, and even yottaflop speeds. In 2001, secret researchers were moving to “marry the digital with the biological by altering the common E. coli bacterium to function as an electronic circuit.” (Body Of Secrets, by James Bamford. New York: Doubleday, 2001)
It was all heading towards a supreme computer being, even beyond HAL in the movie, 2001: A Space Odyssey. All that would be needed as a supreme therapist would be a holographic image added onto the supreme computer being. The holographic image would give confessing therapists an illusion of humanity in their listener. This holographic image might be a comforting figure like Barry Fitzgerald, simulating the eccentric Irish priest he played in the 1944 movie, Going My Way.
The whole supreme therapist system might be nicknamed, “The Pope.” It could be located in a secret building on the NSA campus at Fort Meade. Maybe the building could be code-named, “The Vatican.”
And so, in this way, a method to therapize the therapists would be provided. Themselves overburdened, the therapists could go confess to the super computer’s Barry Fitzgerald holographic image. As it is now, however, not even everyday NSA personnel and their outsourced counterparts have much of any way to unburden themselves of the secrets they carry. Thus it happens that persons such as Pfc. Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden at last “crack” under the strain. The wonder is that such things have not happened more often. In what twisted ways do other NSA personnel and their outsourced counterparts relieve the strain? Do they sadistically torment their children and/or spouses? Do they douse their problem with liquor and drugs? “Surely we can do better,” as President Barack Obama once said.