Secret society FAIL

Secret society FAIL August 18, 2012

Royal Order of the OPSEC Violation

Service members are not permitted to transmit certain details about their deployments over unsecured lines. This includes data on major troop movements. Potentially, this information can be pieced together by enemies to predict upcoming operational maneuvers. The military jargon is ‘OPSEC’ – for Operational Security. “Loose lips, sink ships,” etc.

Indiana Freemasons have an embarassingly ironic OPSEC violation on their hands from a 2005 publication. The information is utterly useless now, obviously, but you’d think that a secret society (and its members) would know how to keep a secret.

OK. We all get our little laugh. The secret society goofed. It’s not like they posted any incriminating evidence against any of their members… or did they?

Masonic Boom!

Remember Maj. Gen. R. Martin Umbarger from yesterday’s Indiana National Guard scandal? He was providing selective benefit to an exclusive group, and endorsing a non-federal entity using his official title and uniform (asking for donations, no less!)

Maj. Gen. Umbarger is also a Freemason. That fact would otherwise be irrelevant, except that he once again appears to be violating multiple ethics regulations – the exact same regulations he violated in yesterday’s story. Now it looks like a pattern of abuse.

 “He is said to have surrounded himself with many Master Masons on his staff.”

If true, that’s favoritism, elitism, preferential treatment, and a whole host of ethical concerns. We’re talking about government promotions being granted based on one’s status in a non-federal entity.

1) DoD 5500.7

2) DoDI 5410.19

3) JER 3-300

4) DoDI 1334.01

*Thank you to all the Freemasons who contacted me on Facebook last night. I altered the tone of this post significantly before publishing.*

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  • Can someone explain what’s wrong with the first guy? Does saying that’s he’ll serve in Iraq for a specified amount of time count as an operational detail?

    • Justin Griffith

      Yes. We don’t mention exact dates of upcoming troop movements. Units often deploy / redeploy together. So if one person publicly states “I’ll be home in 516 days”, a foreign power can assume that he’s not the only one. Likewise, an enemy could wait for a specific date to look out for a convoy headed to/from Kuwait for example.

      Perhaps this person also mentions “I’m in SUCH AND SUCH unit” – an inference can be made about the type of troops about to join / leave the battlefield.

      Repeat this over several people, and a pretty clear picture of our war-fighting effort emerges. Vulnerabilities can be detected, missions can be less effective if predicted, etc…

      • steve84

        But it’s not like the military doesn’t announce general movements all the time itself:

        Usually the media always knows and reports when larger units leave

        • Justin Griffith

          “Arrives in Kuwait.” Therefore it already happened. I’d be surprised if they said “And they’ll be going to Iraq on exactly november 14, coming back to USA in 353 days.”

      • steve84

        It was published on the same day it happened. So depending on the situation, the information could still be useful.

        And that was just one example. There are plenty of articles about units being sent off. Which is up to several days before they arrive at their destination.

        • Justin Griffith

          Just ask some soldiers about OPSEC. That one could have gotten in trouble. Remember this is back before service members were allowed to have myspace / facebook accounts – for this very reason.

  • Pierce R. Butler

    Does that “He is said to …” circumlocution indicate the blurb-writer knew he* was skating past the line?

    *C’mon, does anybody doubt this pronoun?

    • Justin Griffith

      I thought the exact same thing. Good all-seeing eye.

  • Nice. The history of Freemasonry is one of my marginal hobbies. A few items…

    Pierce: Nobody doubts the “he” since Freemasonry is a fraternal order (the “F” in AFAM), though there is a “ladies’ auxiliary” called Eastern Star which uses the inverted (i.e., ‘satanic’) pentacle for its symbol. Heh.

    John Q. Adams formed the “Anti-Masonic Party” in the early 19th century and forced Masons globally to alter their blood-curdling oaths. Previously the Masons considered their own oaths to supersede even oaths of office. Until that time they were America’s very first political party.

    Part of my own interest is that I could be a Legacy Mason, I have so many relatives who were members that I could not be denied… except for the fact that they do not permit atheists to join.

    Other than that, however, Freemasonry has served an excellent purpose in U.S. history — they allowed any man of any religion to join from their earliest days. It’s an important point because they really were heavily involved in disseminating Enlightenment philosophy when they weren’t falling down drunk at the local pub.

    Too often we dismiss anything Masonic as conspiracy-related, but in fact one may argue that far from being founded on “Christian principles,” the U.S. was founded on “Masonic principles” including separation of powers, separation of church of state, and even the concept of a Constitution, which finds some of its earliest references in Masonic texts.

    All that said, today they are a highly diverse organization. Some of them are as progressive as you and me. Other lodges (like those in the South) are a hair’s breadth different from the KKK.

    Check out this link for links to some interesting recent research linking Masons to revolutionary ideas — including revolutionary theological concepts. (Just got an email two weeks ago from Mark Hoffman about this very subject.)

    • leftwingfox

      Part of my own interest is that I could be a Legacy Mason, I have so many relatives who were members that I could not be denied… except for the fact that they do not permit atheists to join.

      Same boat here. My father has been strongly encouraging my brother and I to join. Unfortunately, between my atheism, opposition to being a male-only organization, some of the woo-ish beliefs, and my extreme introversion, It’s just not happening. It’s the one sore spot in an otherwise happy relationship.

    • Pierce R. Butler

      Thanks for the Masonotrivia. Can you recommend a good written history of the Freemason movement?

  • finland321

    ”He is said to have surrounded himself with many Master Masons on his staff.”……REALLY???? Might want to check that information before you slander some…I “to” altered the tone of this post significantly before publishing….

    • Indiana Masons said that, not Justin. Justin uses qualified language. If anyone is committing libel here, it’s the masons.

  • montrealprotest

    add comment moderation to your BS

    5000 whining atheists vs the Great Prophet

    • Justin Griffith

      I remember when Mabus and the Great Prophet falsely predicted that I’d give a shit.



  • Christoph Burschka


    | Oh hey it’s David Mabus.

  • Art

    But … IOKWAR (or believer) DI.

  • thepoint3

    5000 whining atheists vs the Great Prophet

    one applicant right here…

    get the POINT, Randi….

    • Justin Griffith

      I predict Mabus will get arrested again in the next 5 years. WHERE ARE YOU NOW, RANDI?!?!?