Everyone here, regardless of race, religion or political preference, fall into one of two categories, either you are a leakor or a leakee.
A leakor is someone who spills the beans before they are ready to be served up to the world. A leakee is somebody on the receiving end. Some people are both.
Government workers and officials have been leaking documents to public, press or politicians since George Washington's time. It has taken human civilization thousands of years to put leaks in their place. Our thanks to the newest federal bureancracy, the Department of Energy, for doing same last month. DOE is headed by the former chief of the CIA, a place where leak is truly a four-letter word.
What DOE has done is to codify leaks. It has even designated who the official leakers are to be. They are, as one might expect, the people in charge of the Big Picture, who presumably know when, where and how to leak better than more civil servants.
Like other federal operations, DOE is a sensitive place. It never calls anything by its popular name, partly because "leak" is a rather crude term, and in part because "leak" to too descriptive and understood by too many people.
Rather, the DOE team has decided to call potential leaks "innappropriate informal disclosures." Although the new directive is addressed at documents relating to regulatory policy developments, employes have been advised that covers and awful lot of territority. When in doubt, the watchword is, do not leak.
In a memo to DOE staffers, secretary James R. Schlesinger gave the background for the new no-leak policy.
Schlesinger, who also served as Defense Secretary to President Nixon, pointed out that DOE regulations in the works affect millions of people and millions of dollars. An unwise leak by the wrong person to the wrong person would be unwise, he noted.
In fact, the Department's Inspector General currently is investigating charges of leaks by DOE employes to outsiders about proposed regulatory policy.
To make sure that leakage is controlled. DOE has said that only the Assistant Secretary, Schlesinger himself, or other presidential appoistees may make leaks. And then only with the greatest of care.
The first thing that happened was that an employe leaked a copy of the draft of the no-leak guidelines to Louis Kehlmeier. He edits "The Regulators," a newsletter dealing with inside DOE staff.
Almost an quickly, a copy of Regulators no-leak scoop about the Energy Departments no-leak policy was leaked to this column. Now you know too.
Washington still leaks.
City taxes: The President has signed legislation that requires the withholding of local taxes from paychecks of U.S. employes who live in those city or county tax areas, but who work elsewhere in the state. Rep. Bill Clay (D-Mo.) authored the bill. It could have a major impact in the Washington metro area where so many people live in one area and work for Uncle Sana in another jurisdiction.
Martin Agronsky, one of television's best and most durable journalists, is the Nov. 1 speaker at the National Chapter of Government Communicators luncheom. Place is the Flagship Members $5, guests, $6. Reservations ought to go quickly for this one. Call Sandy Walker at 296-5772.
Downgradings: Both Agriculture and the Department of HUD have submitted proposed downgrading avoidance plans to employe unions of rcomment. Idea is to place workers now in overgraded jobs into properly graded positions by the end of next year. It may mean soem transfers out of area for some employes.
Vanishing Printing Jobs: Government Printing Office late this summer graduated what may be its last apprentice class for some time. Meantime, GPO has shut down its Smithsonian Institution print shop. Machines elsewhere have taken over.
Southern End Run: The Canadian government, hit with another postal strike, is again moving its east-west mail south to the U.S., shipping it across this country and then picking it up at border points for delivery in Canada. Meantime, mail bound for Canada is not being accepted at U.S. Post Offices.