Thursday, December 03, 2009

Significant Moments: Pornography

In the meantime Ellsberg continued reading his documents and thinking about the "lessons of Vietnam," and concluded that the lies and deception were systematic, not just the aberrations of particular Presidents or the result of errors of judgment. The intelligence estimates, he concluded, despite his earlier feelings about inaccurate reporting from the field were "remarkably accurate." He had become privy to a new secret.

That ultimate secret seemed to have something to do with the nature of secrecy itself. He could verge on the rhapsodic when he spoke about what the possession of secrets could do to the possessor, about the safes within safes, the clearances above Top Secret, the secrets within secrets that he had discovered in the inner chambers of the Pentagon. People in Washington derived kicks from having access to information from those inner chambers, achieved a kind of euphoria from knowing things that were not known by others. He would later say that his own fascination with them might have some relation to a parallel fascination with pornography. For years he had collected pornography, and his apartment was full of the stuff. Now he also possessed the hardcore information about the war, the pornography of Vietnam. Was the language suggestive: disclosure, revelation, protection, penetration?
Peter Schrag, Test of Loyalty.

Chalk this up to my paranoid schizophrenia, but I recall feeling, back in the fall of 1991, during the final weeks of my employment at the D.C. law firm of Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld, that the surveillance of me by firm managers became especially intense.

I felt that the scrutiny became ever more deep and obsessive as it related to the manager of my apartment building, Elaine Wranik (now deceased) and the assistant manager, Mal Eno. Whatever happened to Mal Eno?

Recall that in August 1989 a coworker at Akin Gump (Stacey Schaar) said to me at work: "We're all afraid of you. We're all afraid you're going to buy a gun, bring it in, and shoot everybody. Even the manager of your apartment building (Elaine Wranik) is afraid of you."

In the late summer and fall of 1991 -- coincidentally, at about the time Bob Strauss withdrew from the partnership to become U.S. Ambassador to the Soviet Union -- I formed several bizarre ideas.

I formed the belief that Elaine Wranik started to go through my trash. My supervisor and coworkers started using words and phrases from documents that I had thrown in the trash. I thought at the time: "These people are desperate for information. What on earth are they looking for?"

I formed the belief that Elaine Wranik was coming into my apartment at odd times, for example, on weekends, when I was out; or early in the morning when I used to go out on my morning jog. (I used to jog about 50 minutes every weekday morning before I went to work.)

I formed the belief that Elaine Wranik told Akin Gump about the pornography I looked at; the fact that she had found what appeared to be DNA stains on my sheets early in the morning (after I masturbated--yes, I admit it, I was the Bill Clinton of paralegals years before it became fashionable to be "Bill Clinton"). I wasn't offended or ashamed. I was deeply curious. I thought: "These people are crazy. And these people are managing a major law firm?"

Maybe some day I will find out what was going on. What was happening at Akin Gump in 1991 after Bob Strauss left? I've always thought there was a "story behind the story."

I think one of the factors in my job termination was the following. I've never told anybody about this before. During the summer of 1991 I began to play with the heads of Akin Gump's managers. I started to leave humorous (and not so humorous) notes on a table in my apartment. I believed that Elaine Wranik read the notes and reported back to Akin Gump what she learned. Some of the notes may have been disturbing to my supervisor, Chris Robertson. I had opened up a channel of communication with Akin Gump's senior managers over which Chris Robertson had no control. From the beginning of our work relationship I believed that Chris Robertson felt a lot of job insecurity -- especially in relation to me. I believed that the notes I was leaving for Elaine Wranik ("the carrier pigeon," as I used to think of her) were getting Chris Robertson very nervous.

I am psychotic, so I can say this. At the termination meeting on October 29, 1991, I had an idea of reference about the notes I was leaving for Elaine Wranik in my apartment building. I was in Dennis Race's office. Personnel Director Laurel Digweed got up from her chair to leave the office. Laurel Digweed took a piece of paper and put it on Dennis Race's desk -- I perceived Laurel Digweed's behavior in placing the paper on Dennis Race's desk as dramatic, affected, and ceremonious. I had the paranoid impression that Laurel Digweed was mimicking my behavior of leaving notes on my table at home. I thought: "So this is what this is all about? I drove Chris Robertson crazy with the notes I was leaving!" In any event, that was the idea of reference I experienced at about noon on Tuesday October 29, 1991 in Dennis Race's office -- almost exactly 18 years ago.

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