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Honorverse ramblings and musings

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Re: Honorverse ramblings and musings
Post by cthia   » Mon Feb 13, 2017 9:26 am

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cthia wrote:Perusing MoH looking for something in particular and rehappened upon this particular tidbit that slightly puzzles me, slightly...

Mission of Honor Ch. 35 wrote:-snip-

Spencer Hawke, on the other hand, never even hesitated. He simply followed his Steadholder across her flag bridge and into the briefing room, then arranged himself against the bulkhead behind her.

Honor felt him there, at her back. Technically, she supposed, she should have instructed him to wait outside the briefing room door, given the security code Brantley had said the message carried. That thought had crossed her mind more than once over the years, in similar situations, yet it had never even occurred to her to actually do it with Andrew LaFollet, and she knew she would never do it with Hawke, either. He was a Grayson armsman, and he would guard his steadholder's secrets with the same iron fidelity with which he guarded her life.

She seated herself, set Nimitz on the conference table to one side of her terminal, and brought up the display.

"Put it through, Harper," she told the com officer when his image appeared.

"Yes, Ma'am," he replied, and disappeared, to be replaced almost instantly by a brown-haired, brown-eyed man of average build in the uniform of a captain of the list. She recognized him immediately.

"Good afternoon, Jackson," she said.

"Good afternoon, Your Grace," Captain Jackson Fargo replied quietly. "It's good to see you home again, although I wish it were under other circumstances."

"I know." She smiled briefly at the man who headed Hamish Alexander-Harrington's Admiralty House staff. "It's good to see you again, too, with the same proviso."

"Thank you, Your Grace." Fargo gave her a small half-bow, then cleared his throat. "The First Lord asked me to screen you. He's actually on Sphinx at this moment. Well, more accurately, he's aboard a shuttle which happens to be headed in your direction at this moment. His ETA is about twelve minutes, and he asked me to tell you he would very much like to join you aboard your flagship when he arrives, if that would be convenient."

A tiny flicker of joy flashed like distant lightning across the horizon of the emptiness within her, and she felt herself smiling ever so slightly.

"I believe, Captain," Lady Dame Honor Alexander-Harrington told him, "that I'll be able to find the time somehow."
This could have been a point of contention when first trying to incorporate the notion of Grayson armsmen into the RMN. Especially with Janacek at the helm. Did Grayson armsmen ever formally obtain the proper security clearance?
WeirdlyWired wrote:IIRC Elizabeth herself, Herself granted diplomatic immunity. Seadholder Harrington being a Head of state of an allied Star system.

Thanks for reminding me of that.

Yet, diplomatic immunity does not equal security clearance. Diplomatic immunity as it would apply to someone possessing it in the U. S., e.g., simply means that said person cannot be prosecuted in our country for committing a crime in lieu of simply being booted out of the country.

It will not allow them to enter sensitive security areas.

A Grayson armsman cannot be prosecuted by Manticoran law. I suppose, since Haven is part of the GA, that the same immunity has been extended by the Havenites.

But still leaves the question of the formal security clearance. Being vetted.

High Ridge could have really been a skunk on this issue. Demanding that all armsmen first be vetted before allowed to be incorporated.

And much as I hate to admit it, he'd have a point. Governments or factions-like Maccabeus-could infiltrate Grayson Armsmen and attempt to "acquire" sensitive data, tactics, strategy, orders etc., or simply carry out a hit.

Son, your mother says I have to hang you. Personally I don't think this is a capital offense. But if I don't hang you, she's gonna hang me and frankly, I'm not the one in trouble. —cthia's father. Incident in ? Axiom of Common Sense
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Re: Honorverse ramblings and musings
Post by Dauntless   » Mon Feb 13, 2017 10:07 am

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you are right that diplomatic immunity and security clearance aren't the same but given that each armsmen is sworn to their steadholder essentially they get whatever clearance Their steadholder has.

Honor's is super high so that is extended to Her armsmen. A less trusted Steadholder would have more restricted access.

The reason High Ridge did nothing about it is they simply escaped his notice when they first arrived on the scene just prior to her duel with Pavel Young. Then she was in exile and High ridge and the rest of the opposition paid her no attention . She returned at their request and getting argumentative about her armsen (assuming he saw then as anything more then simple security) would not have appeased the merchants who were pressuring him to let her try and fix the Silesa problem.

after that well he couldn't touch her as she had won another big victory and was popular with the masses again, and by extension her asrmsen.

after that well we get the whole captured and belived dead thing.

during the time Janacek was back and high ridge PM they probably did try and restrict armsman access, they certainly cut off Grayson as much as they could.
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Re: Honorverse ramblings and musings
Post by cthia   » Mon Feb 13, 2017 11:49 am

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Dauntless wrote:you are right that diplomatic immunity and security clearance aren't the same but given that each armsmen is sworn to their steadholder essentially they get whatever clearance Their steadholder has.

Honor's is super high so that is extended to Her armsmen. A less trusted Steadholder would have more restricted access.

The reason High Ridge did nothing about it is they simply escaped his notice when they first arrived on the scene just prior to her duel with Pavel Young. Then she was in exile and High ridge and the rest of the opposition paid her no attention . She returned at their request and getting argumentative about her armsen (assuming he saw then as anything more then simple security) would not have appeased the merchants who were pressuring him to let her try and fix the Silesa problem.

after that well he couldn't touch her as she had won another big victory and was popular with the masses again, and by extension her asrmsen.

after that well we get the whole captured and belived dead thing.

during the time Janacek was back and high ridge PM they probably did try and restrict armsman access, they certainly cut off Grayson as much as they could.

Yes, but that does not answer or solve the formal issue of becoming formally vetted and formally issued a security clearance. A government cannot allow just any old Tom, Dick or Hairy, Sue, Sara or Jane within range or access of sensitive areas. It is taken so seriously on our own planet that the backlog is an appalling 500,000 strong.

Son, your mother says I have to hang you. Personally I don't think this is a capital offense. But if I don't hang you, she's gonna hang me and frankly, I'm not the one in trouble. —cthia's father. Incident in ? Axiom of Common Sense
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Re: Honorverse ramblings and musings
Post by Louis R   » Mon Feb 13, 2017 3:51 pm

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You're missing two things. First, of course, is the fact that in an alliance, each member is responsible for clearing their own people. So if Grayson says Honor's armsmen are cleared, they are.

Second, Grayson armsmen are _not_ chosen at random - you're trusting the lives of the rulers of your planet to them. So they have been very thoroughly vetted, and Honor's more so than most since they were the founding members of the brand new security team of the most controversial Steadholder in a thousand+ years.

Honor's reflection was a nod to the principle that the mere fact that you are cleared for access to information doesn't automatically grant you access: you also have to _need_ that access, and, technically, her armsmen can do their jobs without knowing what people are saying to her as long as they know who's saying it. Or so it was long thought, anyway.

cthia wrote:Yes, but that does not answer or solve the formal issue of becoming formally vetted and formally issued a security clearance. A government cannot allow just any old Tom, Dick or Hairy, Sue, Sara or Jane within range or access of sensitive areas. It is taken so seriously on our own planet that the backlog is an appalling 500,000 strong.
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Re: Honorverse ramblings and musings
Post by saber964   » Mon Feb 13, 2017 4:47 pm

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Louis R wrote:You're missing two things. First, of course, is the fact that in an alliance, each member is responsible for clearing their own people. So if Grayson says Honor's armsmen are cleared, they are.

Second, Grayson armsmen are _not_ chosen at random - you're trusting the lives of the rulers of your planet to them. So they have been very thoroughly vetted, and Honor's more so than most since they were the founding members of the brand new security team of the most controversial Steadholder in a thousand+ years.

Honor's reflection was a nod to the principle that the mere fact that you are cleared for access to information doesn't automatically grant you access: you also have to _need_ that access, and, technically, her armsmen can do their jobs without knowing what people are saying to her as long as they know who's saying it. Or so it was long thought, anyway.

cthia wrote:Yes, but that does not answer or solve the formal issue of becoming formally vetted and formally issued a security clearance. A government cannot allow just any old Tom, Dick or Hairy, Sue, Sara or Jane within range or access of sensitive areas. It is taken so seriously on our own planet that the backlog is an appalling 500,000 strong.



Try reading FoD for Honor's armsmen motivation. IIRC several of them owe life debts and debts of honor. Also most of them came out of Protectors Palace Security and I don't think PBIX would be sending out any Tom Dick or Harry to keep HH safe and out of trouble.
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Re: Honorverse ramblings and musings
Post by Jonathan_S   » Mon Feb 13, 2017 5:07 pm

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Louis R wrote:You're missing two things. First, of course, is the fact that in an alliance, each member is responsible for clearing their own people. So if Grayson says Honor's armsmen are cleared, they are.

Second, Grayson armsmen are _not_ chosen at random - you're trusting the lives of the rulers of your planet to them. So they have been very thoroughly vetted, and Honor's more so than most since they were the founding members of the brand new security team of the most controversial Steadholder in a thousand+ years.

Honor's reflection was a nod to the principle that the mere fact that you are cleared for access to information doesn't automatically grant you access: you also have to _need_ that access, and, technically, her armsmen can do their jobs without knowing what people are saying to her as long as they know who's saying it. Or so it was long thought, anyway.
That's not necessarily true - even before you start talking about things like compartmented access and need-to-know which mean that even the government clearing people for access to the most sensitive information aren't cleared to know all the information at that sensitivity level.

And alliance would have to address how security clearances for shared information would work - and often they would not simply agree to accept each other's security clearances without further review or oversight -- especially for clearances that pre-date the alliance where you might be concerned about ideological tendencies that are hostile to some members of the alliance that weren't an issue when you were only considering their loyalty to their home system.

The other countries may well insist on the right to review supporting records (interview notes, background investigation details, etc) before accepting any given person's clearance for shared alliance classified material. They might even request the government that issued the clearance do some additional investigation about alliance specific security concerns. This could be even more likely if the alliance has access to screening methods that the pre-alliance systems didn't (treecats or other more reliable lie detection methods)
At an extreme they might insist on repeating some of the security clearance process themselves.

And of course this is only step one. Even once the other systems in the alliance agree to accept someone's clearance someone still has to add them to the need-to-know list for any given project or area. I'd image that, except for purely internal items, that that would either be the system that's taking the lead in providing the intel or doing the research or its a group drawn from various allied systems. But I can't imagine either Grayson or Manticore would be willing to let the other unilaterally add even cleared people to every single classified project or area.
In other words, even if Manticore's security establishment has accepted the Top Secret Compartmentalized clearance for her armsment the process to add them to the cleared list for an eye's only Manticoran naval dispatch it going to involve discussions between Grayson and the RMN; Grayson can't do it unilaterally.

Though commanding officers usually have some leeway to provisionally override normal classified handling rules if a developing situation calls for it (though they'll have to justify it later). But I'd think allowing the armsman to stay inside the hatch rather than outside is arguably a small abuse of that customary authority.
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Re: Honorverse ramblings and musings
Post by cthia   » Mon Feb 13, 2017 10:56 pm

cthia
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Jonathan_S wrote:
Louis R wrote:You're missing two things. First, of course, is the fact that in an alliance, each member is responsible for clearing their own people. So if Grayson says Honor's armsmen are cleared, they are.

Second, Grayson armsmen are _not_ chosen at random - you're trusting the lives of the rulers of your planet to them. So they have been very thoroughly vetted, and Honor's more so than most since they were the founding members of the brand new security team of the most controversial Steadholder in a thousand+ years.

Honor's reflection was a nod to the principle that the mere fact that you are cleared for access to information doesn't automatically grant you access: you also have to _need_ that access, and, technically, her armsmen can do their jobs without knowing what people are saying to her as long as they know who's saying it. Or so it was long thought, anyway.
That's not necessarily true - even before you start talking about things like compartmented access and need-to-know which mean that even the government clearing people for access to the most sensitive information aren't cleared to know all the information at that sensitivity level.

And alliance would have to address how security clearances for shared information would work - and often they would not simply agree to accept each other's security clearances without further review or oversight -- especially for clearances that pre-date the alliance where you might be concerned about ideological tendencies that are hostile to some members of the alliance that weren't an issue when you were only considering their loyalty to their home system.

The other countries may well insist on the right to review supporting records (interview notes, background investigation details, etc) before accepting any given person's clearance for shared alliance classified material. They might even request the government that issued the clearance do some additional investigation about alliance specific security concerns. This could be even more likely if the alliance has access to screening methods that the pre-alliance systems didn't (treecats or other more reliable lie detection methods)
At an extreme they might insist on repeating some of the security clearance process themselves.

And of course this is only step one. Even once the other systems in the alliance agree to accept someone's clearance someone still has to add them to the need-to-know list for any given project or area. I'd image that, except for purely internal items, that that would either be the system that's taking the lead in providing the intel or doing the research or its a group drawn from various allied systems. But I can't imagine either Grayson or Manticore would be willing to let the other unilaterally add even cleared people to every single classified project or area.
In other words, even if Manticore's security establishment has accepted the Top Secret Compartmentalized clearance for her armsment the process to add them to the cleared list for an eye's only Manticoran naval dispatch it going to involve discussions between Grayson and the RMN; Grayson can't do it unilaterally.

Though commanding officers usually have some leeway to provisionally override normal classified handling rules if a developing situation calls for it (though they'll have to justify it later). But I'd think allowing the armsman to stay inside the hatch rather than outside is arguably a small abuse of that customary authority.

You simply cannot leave your security in the hands of another government. Just because they are your ally doesn't mean that you can trust them implicitly above and beyond needing them.

It also doesn't mean - even though you can trust them today - that you can trust them tomorrow. Administrations change. Grayson found that out the hard way. And things run under the new administration may not be as thorough or run as smoothly. I can imagine High Ridge or Janacek pulling strings and cronying someone into a position he shouldn't be in. Does anyone think the League should be trusted for properly vetting? Anyone at all?

"But you told me he was clean!"

It is your own fault to trust someone else to vet for you.

Effective National Security comes from abject paranoia about every one and every thing. The U.S. government certainly understands that without pumping the brakes.

Thing is, I would imagine the slogan "Grayson vetted, better vetted" to be true. But then, remember the Maccabeus Mayhews? Vetting failure? Huge vetting failure?

Son, your mother says I have to hang you. Personally I don't think this is a capital offense. But if I don't hang you, she's gonna hang me and frankly, I'm not the one in trouble. —cthia's father. Incident in ? Axiom of Common Sense
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Re: Honorverse ramblings and musings
Post by cthia   » Tue Feb 14, 2017 12:30 am

cthia
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Louis R wrote:You're missing two things. First, of course, is the fact that in an alliance, each member is responsible for clearing their own people. So if Grayson says Honor's armsmen are cleared, they are.

Second, Grayson armsmen are _not_ chosen at random - you're trusting the lives of the rulers of your planet to them. So they have been very thoroughly vetted, and Honor's more so than most since they were the founding members of the brand new security team of the most controversial Steadholder in a thousand+ years.

Honor's reflection was a nod to the principle that the mere fact that you are cleared for access to information doesn't automatically grant you access: you also have to _need_ that access, and, technically, her armsmen can do their jobs without knowing what people are saying to her as long as they know who's saying it. Or so it was long thought, anyway.

cthia wrote:Yes, but that does not answer or solve the formal issue of becoming formally vetted and formally issued a security clearance. A government cannot allow just any old Tom, Dick or Hairy, Sue, Sara or Jane within range or access of sensitive areas. It is taken so seriously on our own planet that the backlog is an appalling 500,000 strong.
saber964 wrote:Try reading FoD for Honor's armsmen motivation. IIRC several of them owe life debts and debts of honor. Also most of them came out of Protectors Palace Security and I don't think PBIX would be sending out any Tom Dick or Harry to keep HH safe and out of trouble.
Of course, I remember it. I love that passage too. Gives me goosebumps every time. Actually, their professionalism brings me to tears. (Thanks for bringing it up. It represents a really touching passage for me.)

However, I know that, you know that and Honor knows it in spades. Yet it is not Honor's job to vet. It is the Manticoran vetters job to vet. And they don't know that. Every cog in the wheel must engage its own sprocket or the wheels come off. If there is an incident, Honor's ass won't be the one in a vise. We can be fairly certain though, that after all is said and done that the Manticoran vetters will not be disappointed and perhaps even a bit embarrassed. But at the end of the day, that's neither here nor there.

Son, your mother says I have to hang you. Personally I don't think this is a capital offense. But if I don't hang you, she's gonna hang me and frankly, I'm not the one in trouble. —cthia's father. Incident in ? Axiom of Common Sense
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Re: Honorverse ramblings and musings
Post by cthia   » Tue Feb 14, 2017 8:25 am

cthia
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It would be far too easy for a High Ridge to deputize err nepotise someone to an elevated security position without actually having been properly vetted. But if a government exercises their own brand of vetting would represent another sieve to catch the dirt, another layer of security or firewall. You cannot remove that extra layer of security simply because you are caught up in blind trust, complacency. It is alright to enquire of the other government as to someone's actual trustworthiness. It isn't a breach of manners. I imagine it would even be expected of a professional government and SOP - and cooperation and a recommendation that you will effect your own vetting. After all, you may catch something we missed. Something grave.

Had the Maccabeus Mayhews been twice vetted by another impartial set of eyes might have twarted an attempted coup.

Anyways, I was just somewhat gobsmacked that a skunk of a stink wasn't raised over it by a certain Manticoran government that should never again be named.

Son, your mother says I have to hang you. Personally I don't think this is a capital offense. But if I don't hang you, she's gonna hang me and frankly, I'm not the one in trouble. —cthia's father. Incident in ? Axiom of Common Sense
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Re: Honorverse ramblings and musings
Post by cthia   » Tue Feb 14, 2017 8:46 am

cthia
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Jonathan_S wrote:
Louis R wrote:You're missing two things. First, of course, is the fact that in an alliance, each member is responsible for clearing their own people. So if Grayson says Honor's armsmen are cleared, they are.

Second, Grayson armsmen are _not_ chosen at random - you're trusting the lives of the rulers of your planet to them. So they have been very thoroughly vetted, and Honor's more so than most since they were the founding members of the brand new security team of the most controversial Steadholder in a thousand+ years.

Honor's reflection was a nod to the principle that the mere fact that you are cleared for access to information doesn't automatically grant you access: you also have to _need_ that access, and, technically, her armsmen can do their jobs without knowing what people are saying to her as long as they know who's saying it. Or so it was long thought, anyway.
That's not necessarily true - even before you start talking about things like compartmented access and need-to-know which mean that even the government clearing people for access to the most sensitive information aren't cleared to know all the information at that sensitivity level.

And alliance would have to address how security clearances for shared information would work - and often they would not simply agree to accept each other's security clearances without further review or oversight -- especially for clearances that pre-date the alliance where you might be concerned about ideological tendencies that are hostile to some members of the alliance that weren't an issue when you were only considering their loyalty to their home system.

The other countries may well insist on the right to review supporting records (interview notes, background investigation details, etc) before accepting any given person's clearance for shared alliance classified material. They might even request the government that issued the clearance do some additional investigation about alliance specific security concerns. This could be even more likely if the alliance has access to screening methods that the pre-alliance systems didn't (treecats or other more reliable lie detection methods)
At an extreme they might insist on repeating some of the security clearance process themselves.

And of course this is only step one. Even once the other systems in the alliance agree to accept someone's clearance someone still has to add them to the need-to-know list for any given project or area. I'd image that, except for purely internal items, that that would either be the system that's taking the lead in providing the intel or doing the research or its a group drawn from various allied systems. But I can't imagine either Grayson or Manticore would be willing to let the other unilaterally add even cleared people to every single classified project or area.
In other words, even if Manticore's security establishment has accepted the Top Secret Compartmentalized clearance for her armsmen the process to add them to the cleared list for an eye's only Manticoran naval dispatch it going to involve discussions between Grayson and the RMN; Grayson can't do it unilaterally.

Though commanding officers usually have some leeway to provisionally override normal classified handling rules if a developing situation calls for it (though they'll have to justify it later). But I'd think allowing the armsman to stay inside the hatch rather than outside is arguably a small abuse of that customary authority.
My bold to call attention.

Very nice and insightful post.

This is a small abuse that could bite big. And it would only need to get its teeth sank into someone once before the letter of the law will be strictly enforced from that point on. Especially in the case of a successful hit. It may not represent as much danger in the case of Honor amidst her telempathic abilities but remember, other bonded officers are afoot.

I really don't mean to belabor the subject but it always lightly puzzled me. I really thought that it happened offscreen but for the life of me couldn't understand why we as readers were not made privy to it since it is so important, especially during a certain administration. As I said, I really expected it to become a point of contention. Anyway, that's not being fair to High Ridge, the matter should remain salient to every administration. National Security is not a toy. And your leading National Security Advisor should not be picked out of a hat. (Ahem!) Vet the vet!

Son, your mother says I have to hang you. Personally I don't think this is a capital offense. But if I don't hang you, she's gonna hang me and frankly, I'm not the one in trouble. —cthia's father. Incident in ? Axiom of Common Sense
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