Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Career corner: enjoy critical thinking, counseling, torture?

By Noe V. Lifteng
Careers Editor

Hey there, recent law grad!  Down in the dumps because you didn't get a job working at Deathstar and you're staring at about $250,000 in student loans?  Have you considered other opportunities, like government?

The blog Above the Law has an exciting opportunity for you: the General Counsel's Office at the CIA!  It interviewed the General Counsel to the spooks, one Caroline Krass, who was able to tick off at least three benefits of working for her, in addition to meeting Carrie.  We are told that Ms. Krass has a “deep commitment to public service.”  You too could be serving the public like her.

Their legal opinion: A-OK!
For example, you could help defend the CIA operatives who have so far evaded being brought to justice for torturing detainees at Bagram prison and other CIA-maintained “black sites.”  While your classmates are reviewing 30,000,000 documents in some endless antitrust case, you could be arguing that there's nothing wrong with sodomizing detainees, including those captured by mistake, with enemas loaded with food.  Hmm, in California people pay big bucks for enema cleanses; these lowlifes got them for free!

If that sounds a little too, um, meaty for you, how about justifying breaking into the secure web sites of a supposedly coordinate branch of government and stealing their documents?  The CIA could use a little help on this one.  So far all they've come up with is “We're just stealing them back.”   Separation of powers?  Hell, if you've got the power to hack into anyone's computers and steal their files, isn't that nine-tenths of the law?  Would you rather stay up six nights in a row hashing out documents for the eighth over-leveraged buyout of a mattress maker?  Didn't think so.

For those of you with more of a trial bent, you could work on the CIA's destruction of videotaped evidence of detainee torture.  And why settle anything when you can argue that courts have no business interfering in such matters because your client classified them as “state secrets?”  It's almost too easy!

No wonder that Counselor Krass argues that one advantage of working at CIA GC is that “her clients at the CIA are sophisticated in their risk analysis, which leads to engaging discussions. ‘Taking big risks is an integral part of my clients’ jobs,’ explains Krass.”  Amazingly enough, that's exactly the argument that the CIA uses to shield its wayward torturers from criminal prosecution or even civil liability.  If they could be sent to the chokey for beating, freezing, sodomizing, shackling, waterboarding, and otherwise tormenting individuals, most of them innocent, what CIA officer would take the risk?

We're sure CIA lawyers laugh at unsophisticated risk analyzers like the brass at Wells Fargo who thought they could manage risk of being caught committing fraud by firing low-level drones and bamboozling the Board.  Who would want to lawyer those guys?
“Can we get a quick legal OK on this?  It's just routine.”

But wait – there's more, as CIA detainees discovered.  Your colleagues are great.  Maybe not as great as the departed CIA GC, one Robert Eatinger, who according to The Washington Post
was deeply involved in legal issues surrounding the interrogation program and is mentioned by name at least 1,600 times in the committee’s report, according to Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), the chairman of the Intelligence Committee.

Eatinger recently outraged Feinstein and other committee members by sending a notification to the Justice Department alleging that committee staff may have broken the law when it took copies of the Panetta review documents from a computer database set up by the agency for the Senate probe.
Gee, you seek to have Senate Committee staffers indicted for the crime of looking into your client's torture and obstruction of justice and everyone gets bent out of shape.

But the greatest advantage of all according to GC Krass is that teen-age boys will be impressed:
Krass explains that  . . . . [n]ow that her kids understand more about her position at the CIA, however, there is a definite ‘cool factor.’ ‘Recently I brought my son to my office for the CIA’s bring your child to work day, and I managed to impress him,’ Krass says, with the delight of a parent who managed to surprise a “too-cool” teenager. ‘My son is very interested in ancient Rome, the Cold War, and current geopolitical events,’ explains Krass. ‘He was beyond impressed when I showed him the AK-47 that once belonged to Osama Bin Laden.’ The benefits of her job go beyond just momentary awe, however.  Krass says,  ‘I remember thinking how lucky I was to be able to share this part of my professional life with him.’
Just as long as she doesn't have to share it with the Congress.  We can't wait to hear his reaction when he sees the table and towel used to waterboard CIA detainees.

Not that there's anything wrong with trying to impress teen-age boys.  If you're a teen-aged girl, that is.   And if that's your goal in your legal career, let's face it, no teenager, boy or girl, will be impressed by your Christmas Day redline of that amended and restated limited partnership agreement.  To them it will sound like torture.  If you worked as a lawyer for the CIA, you'd know better.

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