Sick Spies

Channel 4 in D.C. ran a story on the evening news last night about companies who hire investigators to “Spy” on their employees who call in sick and then use the day to go shopping, golfing and even working for other companies.

We have covered this topic before, so the story itself is not new, but what did seem strange, was the newscasters’ attitudes towards the private investigator who had been hired by the company.

One newscaster shook his head and said something like; “Can you believe that guy, he actually enjoys spying on people…what a job, I don’t know how he can do it”. Which leads one to understand that he condones employees who are dishonest and who call in sick when they are perfectly well and able to go to work.

There are some companies who allow employees to accumulate sick days and to get paid for them if they do not use them. On the other hand, if a company allows a person to call in sick only when they are sick and that person then goes out to the golf course, it is fraud.

If you are such an employer and reading this, you are totally within your rights to take measures which would detect an employee committing fraud. Investigators investigate such cases, they do not “spy”. I wonder if Channel 4 news also condones social welfare fraud or those who fraudulently claim workman’s comp?

It is little wonder that people like Bernie Madoff are allowed to steal billions of dollars in ponzi schemes and the mortgage industry issued loans that they new would not be repaid when we see our newscasters feeling empathy for people with fraudulent intent.

Spying on the terrorists

CSPAN had a very interesting author on this morning, Mike German, discussing his latest book, “Thinking like a Terrorist.” Not only did he speak about the insights gained from living with terrorist groups while an undercover FBI agent, but he also spoke about how ineffective many of our approaches and agencies are in dealing with terrorism.

For instance, Mr. German is very much against wide sweeping powers that grant agencies greater powers to detain and question suspects. He believes that by lessening control and oversight, there is a danger for agents and law enforcement officers to concentrate more on quantity of arrests and concentrate less on quality of information.

Mr. German also believes that spending a lot of money on equipment and technology does not necessarily make a community any safer. He cites the example of London and the much talked about “Ring of Steel”. However, all of those surveillance cameras did nothing to prevent the London bombings, when young men were able to transport bombs in their back packs. He said that there are so many video cameras placed throughout the British capital that an average person walking around London is photographed approximately three hundred times a day, yet those same cameras were not able to prevent the bombers.

This is an interesting view, especially when one considers that surveillance cameras are being considered for cities throughout the U.S. like they are in London. Mr. German raised another interesting point regarding religious fanatacism. He said that while the focus today is on Islamic terrorists, few stop to consider that domestic terrorist groups such as the Aryan Nation, had and continue to have strong ties to Christianity. Mr. German pointed out the full name of the Aryan Nation is; Church of Jesus Christ-Christian Aryan Nation.

No matter what church or beliefs they are alligned with, terrorists come in many different forms. Mr. German knows that better than most. After the Oklahoma bombing by Timothy McVeigh, Mr. German successfully infiltrated an anti-Government anarchist group and helped to bring them down before they perpetrated any of the heinous crimes they were planning.