I had a great idea for a spy novel that I can't write because it would be waaaayy to literary.
Or maybe just... Clearance.
It came to me when I was talking to my daughter about her security clearance interview and I thought back on my own interview for Defence, sometime in the mid-eighties. Later, after I’d somehow got through the clearance process and into Defence, I ended up working with the clearance gurus at OSCAR.
I was thinking that so much has changed socially and culturally since then that things which were absolute deal breakers in 1985—like, say, being gay—wouldn't necessarily rate now. (If you were secretly gay now, that'd be different, because of the possibility for blackmail).
A better writer than me, one more interested in nuance and character and layers of meaning, yada yada yada, could probably make something really cool and artful in a book about a dude whose whole life was uncovering secrets, who found himself in a world were people just didn't have secrets anymore. Quite the opposite, in fact. Oversharing and self promotion are the rule now.
I dunno what John Le Carre would make of it, but I reckon there's a great book there.
In my pessimistic view of increasingly authoritarian gov’ts worldwide I offer this dark take... the official who is performing security clearance realizes that the people he’s investigating are not seeking employment that requires clearance... that he is in fact rooting out dissent from groups or individuals who are not conforming to what gov’t considers acceptable views....and the mayhem commences...
How about a book of short stories all around security clearances, but have it span all the universes that you've created ...
Could it also be about how they promised that the clearance would take six weeks, but actually takes six months...or is that just the axe I like to grind?
But seriously, I was interviewed as a referee for someone's clearance and at the end I was asked for another referee who could speak about the person. I realised I had been chosen specifically because I didn't know this person's other friends. Red flag moment, I reckon.
I dunno. Listen to any of the public prognostications of our local spooks and it's impossible to conclude that they've advanced their world-view a jot since 1985-ish. Perhaps make that 1950...
Oh, sure. They _say_ that the right-wing terrorists are a threat, but that's most likely just to give them plausible deniability for attending the meetings...
I have sometimes wondered if it was you who was seeking information on me when I was getting my clearance
Due to some batshit scare campaign by some government as a result myself and others in my state government authority have been deemed to need a baseline security clearance (for no sufficiently clear reason provided to me, other than acting as a transfer of 400 from the taxpayer to the private organisation that does the checks) as a result we had to complete a series of minutia including 'where I went for my holidays' in the last 5 years (thank dog for google calendar automatically uploading my flight details with no effort on my part regarding as family trip that included China) no interview for me, but I did make sure I had paid to join the Australian Communist party, Victorian Socialists and the Greens before I submitted the details so I had something to put in those boxes. Needless to say I was given clearance -which the lack thereof hadn't stopped me for doing any part of my job, prior to getting said clearance.
“ Oversharing and self promotion are the rule now” - sounds like the sounds of Los Angeles. So many self absorbed wankers spilling their guts out while on the phone while on the street.
Actually scratch that. It might have been a good story 5 or 10 yrs ago but now it’s the norm if not worse. Besides social media is already doing the heavy lifting for the gov’t .