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Cisco VP To Memo Leaker: Finding You Now 'My Hobby' 312

Posted by timothy
from the like-a-bad-movie dept.
netbuzz writes "A Cisco vice president, who happens to have been a CIA operations officer in the 1980s, believes that the employee who recently leaked an internal company memo to a blogger committed corporate treason and violated a 'family' trust. In an email sent to Cisco employees, the executive invites the anonymous leaker to come clean, concedes that's unlikely, and adds, 'so I will now make (finding) you my hobby. Ask around (and) you will find out that I like to work on my hobbies.' That email got leaked and published as well. The tempest was sparked by a series of stories in Network World examining a host of bidding and contract questions involving the California higher education system."
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Cisco VP To Memo Leaker: Finding You Now 'My Hobby'

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 08, 2012 @06:38PM (#41925345)

    This is why VPs are overpaid children

    • Re:Jimmies Rustled (Score:5, Interesting)

      by 19thNervousBreakdown (768619) <davec-slashdot&lepertheory,net> on Thursday November 08, 2012 @07:20PM (#41925921) Homepage

      So wait, the Internet Toughguy act isn't a cool grown-up thing to do?

      You'd think a CIA super-spy would have some neat tracking tricks in a guaranteed-to-be-leaked memo, but a visual inspection of the code shows nada, and as for hidden Unicode characters: nope [dotnetpad.net]. It'd be interesting to get multiple copies of the memo from different places to compare, but there's nothing suspicious I can see there.

      The thing about confidential information is, there's no such thing at all once you go beyond 10 people or so. More like 3-4 can, maybe, sometimes, keep a secret, but that's pushing it. 2 people knowing a thing is great, because if you didn't tell, you know who did, and 1 is the best of all. There's plenty of ways of getting the behavior you want out of people without being so vulgar as to actually tell them things. He's really got no one to blame but himself for both of the leaks. You think company loyalty exists these days? Hah! I'm sure you'd sell Cisco out in a heartbeat if you saw a profit in it, why do you think your employees, many of whom actually know what it's like to struggle, are any different? You'd think a black-ops specialist would know that, but, obviously, nope.

      And the real tricky thing about threats is, you absolutely, positively, must carry them through, or your future threats will mean (less than) nothing. In fact, if you don't already have the proverbial gun to someone's head (preferably without them knowing it's there), it's best not to make the threat at all, although that does take some self-control, which I understand can be a rare commodity in upper-management, and maybe best saved for more important occasions. Although a credible threat can be absolutely terrifying, silence from someone who has a reason to hate you is a lot scarier than hollow chest-thumping. You'd think such an intimidating beast would know that, 20 years after working for the CIA. Time will tell, but I'm guessing that once again the answer will be a big fat nope.

      Of course, I'm no 007, I learned all this playing a silly internet spaceships game and reading fantasy books. I imagine this spook knows what he's doing, and we're all dancing on the puppetmaster's strings.

      • One is too many. Zero is the optimal number.

      • I don't believe the CIA super-spy wrote the memo, so even if he has those tricks, it's probably not relevant here.
      • Re:Jimmies Rustled (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 08, 2012 @09:58PM (#41927489)

        I'm amused at the CIA guy going on about "family trust" .. the CIA makes its living off people who break trust, every day. Sometimes literally the trust of family. Unless Cisco is unlike many other corporations, there's no real trust, family or other wise. If corporations want to be free to fire people, they should expect that employees will happily sell the company out if the right offer comes along. Its the flip side of the mercenary behavior corporations engage in. If they would rather have some employee loyalty, then they need to earn it. And repay the loyalty of employees with loyalty TO employees. Loyalty is expensive. Sometimes in cash money terms, but quite frequently in forgone options.

    • Re:Jimmies Rustled (Score:4, Insightful)

      by ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) <{ten.mocrie} {ta} {kaerfshtamevissesbo}> on Thursday November 08, 2012 @09:33PM (#41927267) Homepage Journal

      You will find that there are quite a lot of overpaid juveniles running major public companies these days. This is what happens when you promote employees for qualities other than actually doing their jobs well.

  • I can definitely think of some better hobbies..
  • Dead giveaway (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 08, 2012 @06:39PM (#41925359)

    The email is a dead giveaway that they dont have shit on the person who leaked it. If I were the person that leaked it, I would be rejoicing right now.

    • Re:Dead giveaway (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Midnight_Falcon (2432802) on Thursday November 08, 2012 @06:43PM (#41925411)
      The AC is right..he sent out this e-mail, and now is waiting for the potentially paranoid person to start making mistakes, acting nervous, or otherwise creating suspicion on themselves by trying to move suspicion away from themselves.

      He also sent out the email to discourage any other Cisco employees from potentially engaging in leaking as well. Or, to stop the current leaker from leaking by injecting paranoia.
      Had they any leads or information, this step would not have been necessary. The other employees would have been discouraged from leaking by the fact the leaker was busted, exposed, and their career ruined.

      • by TooMuchToDo (882796) on Thursday November 08, 2012 @06:52PM (#41925579)

        Looks like someone is going to be on double secret probation.

    • by Antipater (2053064) on Thursday November 08, 2012 @06:56PM (#41925639)

      The email is a dead giveaway that they dont have shit on the person who leaked it. If I were the person that leaked it, I would be rejoicing right now.

      But you would have guessed that that would be my reaction - you would have counted on it! So I can CLEARLY not choose the wine in front of me!

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Jeng (926980)

      True he might not have anything on him at the time that he sent the email, but he may have something now.

      If fat face is smart he sent a slightly different email to each department to narrow down his list of suspects.

      • True he might not have anything on him at the time that he sent the email, but he may have something now.

        If fat face is smart he sent a slightly different email to each department to narrow down his list of suspects.

        I would hope the leaker would be smart enough not to leak this email. Presumably it was leaked somewhere else since it was sent to a large number of employees.

      • by dave562 (969951)

        Hey, I saw that in Miami Vice!

    • Doesn't quite fit the meme but here goes:

      1. Would send out a slightly different version of the letter (misspell a word, transpose words, different punctuation, white space, etc) to each person disguised as a mass/group email.
      2. Find out which version is leaked and trace back to the individual.
      3. Profit!

  • by GeneralTurgidson (2464452) on Thursday November 08, 2012 @06:40PM (#41925381)
    I thought IronPort has a pre canned filter for "leaking memos". I could never fine tune that product though, apparently Cisco can't either.
  • Not impressed. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Animats (122034) on Thursday November 08, 2012 @06:41PM (#41925393) Homepage

    If this guy had really been a good CIA ops officer, he would have said nothing until he knew who the leaker was.

    • by burni2 (1643061)

      Yep,

      also a totally transparent tactic to possibly lure the leaker out or scare the hell out of him, that his "Angst" sweat and actions will expose him.

      @Leaker
      - you are safe
      - go with the rest, follow the swarm,
      - shut up (no second Manning case please)
      - don't ask, don't tell what your hobbies are !

    • by kenorland (2691677) on Thursday November 08, 2012 @06:56PM (#41925629)

      If he had been a good CIA ops, perhaps he'd still be working for the CIA.

    • by CODiNE (27417)

      And he would have subtly tweaked the message for each employee to find out who leaks the new one.

      • And he would have subtly tweaked the message for each employee to find out who leaks the new one.

        Probably someone who doesn't read Tom Clancy?

  • Really? (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 08, 2012 @06:41PM (#41925395)

    I'd think his hobby would be more along the lines of "eating cake among other things."

  • What's the worst this asshat can legally do to him?

    • Cry in a press release about it. Not name names either, as with out absolute proof that would open him up to defamation.
    • by yurtinus (1590157)
      Legally? Probably fire him. Probably pursue some civil action for breach of contract (I'm sure there's something in there for proprietary information).

      Of course, I am not a lawyer, but I like to pretend I'm on on Slashdot.
  • How about (Score:5, Insightful)

    by geekoid (135745) <dadinportland&yahoo,com> on Thursday November 08, 2012 @06:43PM (#41925413) Homepage Journal

    Cisco firing and downsizing whenever they see fit? how does that fit into your dumbass view of:

    "committed corporate treason and violated a 'family' trust. "?

    Also, look up treason.

  • Coming from a CIA-man, that's less of a promise, and more of a threat.
  • Memos (Score:4, Funny)

    by game kid (805301) on Thursday November 08, 2012 @06:45PM (#41925457) Homepage

    In an email sent to Cisco employees, the executive invites the anonymous leaker to come clean, concedes that's unlikely, and adds, 'so I will now make (finding) you my hobby. Ask around (and) you will find out that I like to work on my hobbies.

    Quinn then underscored his point in a second less widely-distributed memo, in which he added, "I'm all out of gum." Roddy Piper did not immediately return our calls for comment.

  • by FatLittleMonkey (1341387) on Thursday November 08, 2012 @06:45PM (#41925459)

    I doubt Mike Quinn could find his own penis.

  • by WaffleMonster (969671) on Thursday November 08, 2012 @06:46PM (#41925481)

    Kind of creepy to hear of "ex" CIA officers in top Cisco positions... advertising this must do wonders for foreign (and domestic) sales...

    And ah... continually beating wardrums about an issue which only *reminds* customers of cost issues with Cisco products and services is no winning proposition for Cisco either.

    • Kind of creepy to hear of "ex" CIA officers in top Cisco positions... advertising this must do wonders for foreign (and domestic) sales...

      And ah... continually beating wardrums about an issue which only *reminds* customers of cost issues with Cisco products and services is no winning proposition for Cisco either.

      Don't worry. It's only those chinamen at Huwei who have sinister links to clandestine entities. You can Pay More with Confidence(tm) with your friends at Cisco!

    • yea.. kinda would make me leery of using cisco products.

  • by preaction (1526109) on Thursday November 08, 2012 @06:49PM (#41925535)

    I remembered nothing about this leaked memo, but now that someone's all angry about it, I'm going to go find out as much as possible. Thanks Cisco VP for helping me find some entertainment!

  • by TimHunter (174406) on Thursday November 08, 2012 @06:50PM (#41925543)
    "I don't know who you are. I don't know what you want. If you are looking for ransom, I can tell you I don't have money. But what I do have are a very particular set of skills; skills I have acquired over a very long career. Skills that make me a nightmare for people like you. If you let my daughter go now, that'll be the end of it. I will not look for you, I will not pursue you. But if you don't, I will look for you, I will find you, and I will kill you."
    • by gbjbaanb (229885) on Thursday November 08, 2012 @07:30PM (#41926045)

      yeah, but this guy is a manager at Cisco.. the skills he acquirted over his very long career involve licking his superior's ass, stuffing his face with dinner and charging to expenses, stabbing his colleagues in the back and generally not having a clue about anything other than his own ambition.

      so in this case its more "I don't know who you are. I don't know what you want. if you are looking for ransom,. I have lots and lots of money but I won't give any of it away. But what I do have are a very particular set of skills; skills I have acquired over a very long career. Skills that make me a laughing stock for people like you. If you let my pride go now, that'll be the end of it. I will still look for you, I will still try to sack you. But if you don't, I will look for you, I will find you - probably behind the photocopier which is where I found my set of postit notes - and I will tell you off, so there".

  • by mattbee (17533) <matthew@bytemark.co.uk> on Thursday November 08, 2012 @07:00PM (#41925697) Homepage

    ...or did he send a very slightly differently punctuated/spaced email to every employee, just to see which version ended up leaked? I'm pretty sure that's what Bruce Schneier would do.

    • by DriveDog (822962)
      Or perhaps the leaker modified numerous inconsequential things before leaking it. Maybe the leaker is an email system admin and compared several versions of the trap. Maybe she used the version sent to the person responsible for the subject of the original leak. Wilderness of mirrors.
  • by erp_consultant (2614861) on Thursday November 08, 2012 @07:01PM (#41925721)

    Typical corporate jackass. Trying to throw around his (considerable) weight with veiled threats. Yeah, donut boy, I'm sure the memo leaker is just quivering in his boots right about now. If you were a Cisco employee what would you be thinking right about now? I know what I'd be thinking. I'd be thinking I'm not going to work for an idiot like that. Maybe donut boy still thinks he's in the CIA. Maybe he gets off on stupid little power trips. Maybe his wife treats him like shit and the only way he can get back is to take it out on the people he works with. Maybe he's just a fucking loser.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 08, 2012 @07:03PM (#41925735)

    And perhaps some day companies will learn that. http://www.inquisitr.com/283632/cisco-firing-1300-employees-2-of-global-workforce/ [inquisitr.com]

  • Who heard that email in Cheetos crunching comic book guy voice?
  • by swschrad (312009) on Thursday November 08, 2012 @07:11PM (#41925827) Homepage Journal

    both of which are generally seen as dangerous behavior by HR types, and policy manuals generally, like those in my outfit, add that such actions are subject to discipline up to and including termination.

    make it your hobby, pinhead, to discover which dictionary definition of "termination" you are going to be facing.

    • by Velex (120469)
      Uh.. this guy's a VP. You know, the class of people for whom macho outbursts like this are encouraged.
    • by 54mc (897170) <samuelmcraven AT gmail DOT com> on Thursday November 08, 2012 @08:29PM (#41926679)

      I want to preface by saying that I absolutely agree that this is harassment and threatening behaviour.

      However, I can say with certaintly that HR does not care one single bit. HR really couldn't care either way on most issues. They do their job. That job is to protect the company and its higher ups.

      If a low level employee sent this, then yes, absolutely, they'd be terminated.

      Now, when a low level employee brings these concerns to HR, they'll be informed that it is not in fact threatening, but rather a reminder of company policies regardling leaks and an assurance from the VP that he personally takes those policies very seriously. Then she'll offer some candy from the bowl on her desk and ask you if you've remembered to signup for this weekend's company picnic.

  • by hawguy (1600213) on Thursday November 08, 2012 @07:15PM (#41925877)

    If this is the "leaked memo": http://www.bradreese.com/blog/11-1-2012.htm [bradreese.com]

    well...it says nothing of any substance, and it looks generic enough that it was sent to the entire internal sales team, so there are hundreds if not thousands of people that could have "leaked it". But surely a Cisco VP knows that you can't send something to thousands of people and not expect it to be leaked.

    Certainly doesn't seem like it's enough to make a VP get all worked up about.

    I don't see anything in the memo that Cisco couldn't have published on their home page.

  • by amoeba1911 (978485) on Thursday November 08, 2012 @07:27PM (#41926019) Homepage
    it was me.
  • they both exposed wrong doing in their organisation.
  • by future assassin (639396) on Thursday November 08, 2012 @07:49PM (#41926239) Homepage

    we are ran by CIA operatives.

  • He would be very busy with his hobby.

  • by strangeattraction (1058568) on Thursday November 08, 2012 @08:13PM (#41926555)
    A short list of his hobbies are: Water-boarding, fingernail pulling, testicular electrical shock, sodium pentathol injections, sleep depravation,
  • by Chelloveck (14643) on Friday November 09, 2012 @11:22AM (#41931995) Homepage
    So it's true. Bad-ass lines from action movies really do sound asinine in real life. I'm sure the guy who leaked the memo is just pissing himself with fear. Er, I mean laughter. Pissing himself with laughter.

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