I started working as a private contractor for the NSA in 2003.
Anyone who’s truly employed by the NSA is actually a private contractor. Hiring contractors is typically the ONLY way the government gets anything done.
It did not take me long to buildup a positive reputation for providing sound advice and direction in a wide range of subjects – from computer security, to artificial intelligence, to theoretical physics, to modern entertainment, and technological direction in general.
This actually gave me an audience I had never even anticipated.
Now anyone who knows me – knows I have long been an absolute addict to video games and movies.
This played a crucial role in my being offered a role with the NSA to begin with – a highly valuable trait they referred to as “cultural acuity”.
Why was it important?
In 2005, I was invited to the White House and I was asked to present a report on a well received science fiction movie named “Serenity”.
So here I was – invited to the White House and being asked to provide a report on one of my favorite subjects: A science fiction movie!
Unbeknownst to me – I learned that GW Bush himself had been reviewing many of my reports, in particularly about technology related to video games and entertainment media.
I was not told specifics on what to report.
Serenity was the movie’s name, and it was about “A band of renegades on the run in outer space who get in more hot water than they anticipated in this sci-fi action-adventure adapted from the television series “
Now what was unusual about this movie was that somehow, despite being strongly in touch with science fiction media, I had overlooked the magnificent series when it came – AND went on television..
I was utterly confused on what to report.
What was the President looking for me to say about the movie?
I was confused.
I mean, if he wants a review of the movie, he can just as easily look it up online or in the paper, right?
What in the hell was he wanting from me?
It was an odd movie he had selected to have me report on.
Now what ‘got’ me about this extraordinary movie was – it was a Canadian production – and it quite frankly made American science fiction – with rare exception – look downright awful.
Strong production values. Amazing storyline and character.
Yet somehow, I had missed the tv series when it first came out.
So that’s what I chose to report on – was how the movie was so disjointed with the rest of the entertainment being offered around the world.
First, I described the movie in great detail.
Then I went into detail about how everyone ‘in my circles’ was completely unaware of the television show when it originally came out.
I investigated this further, and no one – and I do mean no one – had heard of or seen the television show when it first claimed to air.
Yet the entire series was available and yet SOMEHOW had been cancelled before gathering ANY kind of following.
It was too fantastically cool. A science fiction lover’s wet dream.
Why had something this amazing been cancelled?
And I outlined my theories based on a blend of science, science fiction, and simulation – and elaborated on these theories.
I pulled no punches on how technical I got. I figured, I am NOT going to dumb this report down, and IF the President wants to ask me questions about specifics, then let’s chat.
Now I was asked to provide a report to my Managing Director for review prior to providing it to the President.
But I had great concerns that such a highly biased, opinionated, technical and perspective based report might get squashed by my management before I was able to present it.
I was downright proud of what I was presenting.
I wanted the president to know MY truth, not just bullshit advisement, I acknowledged it as such, and simply wanted to be open and honest..
But I knew I had to create a deceptive strategy to provide this – my personal observations – to GW Bush.
I didn’t like the idea of it at first.
But something inside me felt deception was necessary.
Going back in time to my training for the NSA – in 2003 while I was at Fort Meade in Maryland, I was asked to provide an ‘official report’ on a bomb threat which occurred in the Air Force barracks across the street from the Army Barracks where I was housed.
A part of our training – and responsibilities as operatives in the NSA was to be able to provide consistent, reliable and unbiased reports on the things we were tasked with – and things within our domains.
Now what had happened with that bomb threat was – a team leader – CQ Desk Clerk as they called it – had transitioned onto his assignment, and soon found a ‘bomb’ underneath his desk.
Immediately, he freaked – and evacuated the area.
This led to several blocks being cordoned off.
And since Fort Meade is a Defense Labs Institute with all military branches present – the Army, Navy, and Marines barracks were all evacuated as well.
This led to the bomb squad being called in.
Four hours later. The area is deemed ‘clear’.
Now as I found out in my investigation. What really happened was that the Air Force CQ staff was on duty as a simulated bomb threat was being run by the Air Force, included not too realistic looking materials with a clock stuck to it.
A not too uncommon event, run roughly once every two months.
But one day, the CQ transitioning off duty failed to put the equipment away, and did not report the bomb simulation to the transitioning manager, which led to the CQ transitioning on duty to find materials which had fallen out of the box, who then overreacted, and whammo.
600 people become involved in a fiasco that occurred due to simple miscommunication.
My first report called them stupid. I realize now that was just harsh, it’s a mistake anyone could make, and was immediately asked to revise.
That’s when II learned that the PA (Public Affairs) representative was out sick, and my report was to appear in the ‘base newspaper’, so I explained the story exactly as it happened.
Which still painted the event in a light of a series of miscommunications.
This, to me WAS absolutely truthful and as much without bias as I thought was possible.
I learned a lesson that day as the base public affairs officer demanded that I make the Air Force look good, and to NOT portray the event as having any miscommunication at all.
I was forced, against my will you could say, to write a story about the valiant efforts of everyone involved to maintain safety and to remove “accusations” of miscommunication.
You could say, I did NOT know my audience at the time, which was – first and foremost – the editor in chief – the base commander.
And an Air Force General looking to protect his image..
Fast forward to 2006.
I realize that in order to get my observations past my managing director’s negation, I had to create two distinct reports.
Prior to this point, I had never suspected that my reports were being delivered directly to the President.
My Managing Director glibly played off my lack of awareness by claiming this was something he had told me ‘ages ago’.
In any case – the clues were always there – they always had to follow a specific format, I was frequently asked to reword items and key areas.
I just wasn’t aware that some of these reports were being received and read by the President himself..
So I took advantage of the situation and created two reports.
One report for my Managing Director was nothing more than a review of the movie – and a practical assessment of the technology within it.
It was dry.
It was bland.
And it took no time for my managing director to approve it – ‘as is’ to the President.
But the real report – the one I ultimately delivered to the president, was MUCH different.
In it, I detailed my opinions on the weird way in which the movie was released without fanfare – and how it was making me question the reliability of information on the internet and the possibilities of information manipulation or historical backdating.
I made it a fact NOT to throw accusations. I had already gotten tired of the snipe hunt for terrorists and did not want to add fuel to that fire.
To me, the motivations and evidence of manipulation of the media was most definitely there, but for the life of me I could not determine if they were good nor evil or why what was observed had actually happened without further investigation.
I stated as much in my report.
I even threw in examples based on theoretical physics and the concepts I believe in of the multiple universe theory to suggest there may be some fantastic alternatives as well as extremely ‘unconventional’ answers such as alternate realities that could suggest nontraditional answers of the the true nature and origin..
I then suggested that asking the man who loves science fiction and fantasy about why something fantastic occurred may not be the best advice in the world.
And I concluded with “I suspect you may actually have a reason in asking for me, specifically, to provide this report on this particular movie.”
The report was a masterpiece. My best yet.
And I was praying I wouldn’t be laughed out of the White House.
In April of 2006, I was flown from Luke Air Force base just outside of Phoenix, Arizona to Washington DC on board a Lockheed C5 Galaxy plane headed direct for DC.
En route – one of the crew members came up to me on this highly turbulent flight – as he calmly asked “What makes you so important?”
I soon learned the crew had been called last minute, they were not apprised of their cargo and were only informed that they would have one passenger who was to remain unnamed and unlogged, and the entire flight for this monstrous plane was for me and me alone.
As if I wasn’t nervous before with the turbulence of the flight and anticipation of speaking to the President himself. I was getting special attention.
To say it freaked me the fuck out is an understatement.
When I finally showed up to the Oval Office the next day, I was surprised to see a familiar face in the room.
A man I had only briefly come across before this date.
Donald Rumsfeld, the Secretary of Defense.
President Bush directed me to sit down in front of the famous mahogany desk, as he then waved ‘Rummy” to have a seat next to me.
As if to express to me the need to relax, he sat behind the desk in his chair, and put his feet up on the desk.
“Mr Gregory. You have a habit of providing explanations for things in ways that have a lot of very smart people scratching their noggins and questioning their own education.”
I remember smiling like a cheshire cat.
And I also remember not having any idea how to respond other than nodding my head and saying “yeah, I guess so.”
“Do you have something for me?,” The President asked, getting right down to business.
“I do,” I responded, and grabbed three printed pieces of paper from my black leather bound folder.
The funny thing was – I made it a fact to go out and buy the most expensive and beautiful looking paper I could find to print this cheesy report I was so proud of on.
As I pulled it out , I remember Rumsfeld piping in about that time –
“Your managing director approved that, didn’t he?,” he asked.
“Of course,” I said, as I looked at the papers in my folder that I had literally just shown my Managing Director just prior to coming in.
I made sure the papers I were the right ones that I intended the president to see, and handed them over to him.
“Would you like a copy,” I asked Mr Rumsfeld, prepared to hand him the papers the Managing Director had seen.
He waved his hand in protest “No, that’s ok.”
What felt like an eternity went by as the President read.. I remember looking around the room, it is SO much more impressive to actually be inside that room than it is on television.
It’s a living piece of history.
I could hear the clock in the room ticking, silently, as he read it.
Then he set it down and said.
“Rummy, I need you to leave the room.”
Mr Rumsfeld leaned forward, about to verbalize a protest.
President Bush then held up his hand in a ‘talk to the hand’; gesture.
“Rummy, I will have no objections on this. I want to speak to this young man in private. Just me and Mr Gregory here.”
Mr Rumsfeld glared at me as his face turned red.
He knew something was up.
I don’t think I made a friend that day.
In a huff – he left the room, slamming the door behind him.
Now what happened and what was discussed next, I am actually bound by my word with the former President and former friend known as “Curious” (as was his childhood nickname) George W Bush.
He asked that what we talked about that day was never to be discussed with anyone ever again.
And for that day – for a little more than an hour and a half – the Egyptian minister’s appointment shelved due to our long meeting – I came to understand a man who gave me a deep and heartfelt respect not just for him – but for America and for what she stands for.
Not just America – but for this world as a whole.
It was through President Bush’s recommendation that I came to work with President Obama, directly, from day one in 2008 – until I was released from service in 2011.
Here’s me at Obama’s inauguration in 2008 (right behind the Bill Gatesish looking character on the right):
So here’s my confession:
I am publicly admitting that I was released from employment with the NSA as a private contractor for consistently misreporting and misrepresenting information to this country, to the NSA and other intelligence services, and most of all – to President Obama.
It wasn’t espionage.
And I was not working on behalf of another government as I have been accused of.
I know I was anything but honest with what happened through all that.
I feel I had valid reasons that I do not wish to get into publicly.
Please consider this BLOG entry as my formal request for a pardon.
What you and I discussed and agreed on in the oval office that day back in April of 2006, Mr Bush, had to undergo significant improvisational change.
Improvisation: The art or act of improvising, or of composing, uttering, executing, or arranging anything without previous preparation
Please forgive me.