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Top-Secret World Loses Blogger

Christine Axsmith, with her husband, Justin Benedict, says she was fired by BAE Systems after she took a stand on the Geneva Conventions.
Christine Axsmith, with her husband, Justin Benedict, says she was fired by BAE Systems after she took a stand on the Geneva Conventions. (By Kevin Clark -- The Washington Post)

Her opinion, Axsmith added, was based on newspaper reports of torture and waterboarding as an interrogation method used to induce prisoners to cooperate.

"I thought it would be okay" to write about the Geneva Conventions, she said, "because it's the policy."

In recounting the events of her last day as an Intelink blogger, Axsmith said that she didn't hold up well when the corporate security officers grilled her, seized her badge and put her in a frigid conference room. "I'm shaking. I'm cold, staring at the wall," she recalled. "And worse, people are using the room as a shortcut, so I have no dignity in this crisis."

She said BAE officials told her that the blog implied a specific knowledge of interrogations and that it worried "the seventh floor" at CIA, where the offices of the director and his management team are.

She said she apologized right away and figured she would get reprimanded and her blog would be eliminated. She never dreamed she would be fired. Now, Axsmith said, "I'm scared, terrified really" of being criminally prosecuted for unauthorized use of a government computer system, something one of the security officers mentioned to her.

Axsmith said she's proud of having taken her views public -- well, sort of. "I know I hit the radar and it was amplified," she said. "I think I've had an impact."

In the meantime, she's been thinking about Lt. Cmdr. Charles Swift, the Navy lawyer who successfully challenged the constitutionality of military tribunals at the Guantanamo Bay prison.

The National Law Journal named Swift one of the 100 most influential lawyers in the country, but the Navy has so far passed him over for promotion. He told the Los Angeles Times then, "One thing that has been a great revelation for me is that you may love the military, but it doesn't necessarily love you."

"That's how I feel," Axsmith said, recalling what Swift said. "I love the CIA. I love the mission. I love the people. It's such a great place to work."


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