Friday, July 29, 2005

The Double CYA Rule 

I defer to POGGE in postings about the Maher Arar inquiry because he had done so much research in this area. But today, I couldn't resist posting about this snippet of bureaucratic buck-passing: The Globe and Mail: Mountie's lawyer accuses RCMP of shirking responsibility for Arar.
Here is what happened at the inquiry: "a lawyer [Don Bayne] for leading RCMP investigator Michel Cabana accused senior Mounties of ducking responsibility for the Arar affair by shifting blame to front-line officers . . . in the days after the Sept. 11 attacks, [then-Deputy RCMP Commissioner Gary]Leoppky issued an urgent directive to investigators to 'pull out all the stops' in giving the Americans whatever information they needed, as quickly as possible."
Now, however, Leoppky says that this directive didn't mean Cabana and other front-line RCMP officers were permitted to suspend the usual time-consuming restrictions on information-sharing with the US. So 'pulling out all the stops' actually just meant 'business as usual'. Who wouldda thunk it?
Its just another example of how people have to protect themselves in any bureaucracy. Call it the Double CYA (cover your ass) Rule -- if you think you have permission from a superior to ignore a policy, don't believe it. Before you actually do it, you must tell the superior in writing that you are going to do this, and get specific permission AGAIN. Sounds bureaucratic, I know -- but its a bureaucracy you're working in.

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