Diploma mills

I just got one of those fake degree spams, you know:

no degree = no job = no money
get an instant university degree = higher salary

no required tests, classes, books, or interviews!
get a Bachelors, Masters, MBA, and Doctorate (P-h-D) diploma!


–> call 1-240-352-7337 (24hrs)

no neeed [sic] study or test

>> call 1-240-352-7337 (24hrs)

I did the usual by reporting it through spamcop and then wondered if there might be some official body in the US to report this to. And discovered to my surprise that the Deputy Chief Information Officer at the US Dept of Homeland Security, who had previously been a webmaster in the Clinton White House, has been suspended on full pay since last summer for citing bogus degrees from a diploma mill in her CV.

That’s extraordinary enough, that the government department most concerned with security failed to vet its own officials. But I was also stunned by the press coverage describing her as a “Clinton official”. As far as I can tell she actually only faked the degrees when she wanted the Homeland Security job under President Bush. Surely that makes her a “Bush official”?

Vetting your potential employees is so damn important. I’m in the process of hiring someone for one of our very politically sensitive field positions. At this level I tend to ignore the referees provided by the applicant – in this case there were none anyway – and use my own network of contacts to take soundings from friends who I know were previously serving in the same place at the same time – in this case there were three, so I sent off emails to Washington, Stockholm, and another capital city further to the east, all three of which elicited very positive responses. It’s still not enough; the candidate claims to be about to finish a postgraduate degree and I will want sight of at least part of the thesis before I make a decision.

I’m just stunned that the Department of Homeland Security can’t be bothered to take the same degree of care. Slate, as so often, has a kick-ass article about the latest revelations of Bush’s failure on terrorism. I’m beginning to feel that even a war-time president is vulnerable if he appears to be incompetent in fighting the war. American commentators have a tendency to concentrate on the precedents of Lincoln, Wilson and FDR who were all re-elected in wartime. They shouldn’t forget Asquith and Chamberlain. (And the fact that Wilson wasn’t actually at war when the election came.)

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1 Response to Diploma mills

  1. natural20 says:

    It’s the sheer… naked need to hold on to power that really disgusts me. “We need to do this, on this one day, so, er, yeah, we can do it in time, but if we need to delay, well, er, it’s for the good of the country! Oh, but reducing the stupidly high number of TDs isn’t, sure we’ll need all the help we can get to have a few seats in the next Dáil!” Nothing they do now is for the good of the country.

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