Something’s bugging teachers-union boss Michael Mulgrew — or, at least, he thinks so.
The United Federation of Teachers president blew a huge wad of union cash to play out a paranoid James Bond fantasy when he paid $17,849 for a security team to sweep his headquarters for bugs, documents show.
A crew from Protective Countermeasures & Consulting Inc. was hired to sweep for listening devices at the UFT’s offices at 52 Broadway, a review of union spending reports reveals.
The payments were made in January and March of last year, just as the union leadership grappled with key strategic decisions such as labor-contract negotiations and who to support as the next mayor.
The union would not say if any surveillance devices were found.
Some union members thought it was unlikely anyone would bug the union — and that it was ridiculous that Mulgrew is using Cold War tactics to play a game of “Tinker, Teacher, Soldier, Spy” in the UFT headquarters.
“I have no idea why they’re doing it. It’s very odd,” said James Eterno, a dissident UFT member who ran against Mulgrew for president in 2010. “I didn’t know we were like the CIA and have to keep secrets. I didn’t think we were that important. It’s not like someone is going to get killed if something leaks out.”
Let's dispense with the question of who they think might be bugging their offices for a moment and focus on this question:
What exactly are they discussing at 52 Broadway that they don't want to get out to anybody else?
Sure, I know the Post article says " key strategic decisions such as labor-contract negotiations and who to support as the next mayor," but doesn't it seem a little over the top to have the offices swept for bugs at least two times over that stuff?
Seriously, it didn't take a genius to see who they were going to endorse - I called it months before, and believe me, I'm no genius.
As for labor contract negotiations, which one's are they talking about?
If I remember correctly, they sent the contract negotiations to non-binding arbitration at the PEP board after years of impasse with Bloomberg and the DOE.
So what exactly were they discussing at 52 Broadway that they feared being overheard?
It's over a year ago that Mulgrew had 52 Broadway first swept for bugs, but Norm Scott did report last week that Mulgrew and his merry men and women at the UFT have launched a guerrilla attack against Dick Iannuzzi and the NYSUT Executive Board via the UFT/Unity slug at NYSUT, Andy Pallotta
Norm has more today that reports the fix is essentially in and Mulgrew and the UFT will probably get their way when the vote comes around in spring.
Now I don't think the counter-surveillance contracting was directly linked to the NYSUT machinations.
But I do think it does point to the kind of underhanded stuff they discuss at 52 Broadway that they don't want to get out.
If you watch the union leadership closely, you know they could give two hoots about the rank and file membership - they care only about their own power and privilege.
In the end, I don't know exactly what they were discussing that they didn't want overheard anymore than I know who they feared might be bugging them.
But I do know this - whatever conversations they were trying to protect and keep discreet were not one's that benefit rank and file members of the union.
Mulgrew had 52 Broadway swept for bugs because he was worried something he and his merry men and women in the leadership were doing would come back to haunt them.
In the age of digital communication and recording, I would think most organizations do this? One spec of a bug can pick up all conversations, discussions, etc. Who would want that?ReplyDelete
Perhaps. And yet, who did the UFT leadership fear was bugging them? The NSA? Hell, the NSA doesn't need bugs to monitor communication. Bloomberg? If that were the case, the UFT would have a pretty good case to bring against him, wouldn't they? Dissidents within the union? As James Eterno pointed out, that seems like an odd concern for them to have.Delete
So who were they worried might be listening to them?
Lets say Bloomberg, or any enemy of the people in that office. How about the NY Post, since its owner, 'Ol Rupert, whose News Corp organization has been busted repeatedly for hacking subjects so they could either blackmail, extort, or publicize private information as public information in his,worldwide media empire. All Im saying is that prominent organizations probably all do this. Lets just say Murdoch has Mulgrew's office bugged. They pick something juicy up, whatever it may be, and publish it in The Rag the next day under "anonymous sources." This is just one possibility.ReplyDelete
Okay, good theory, and certainly plausible. But as I wrote below, the Murdoch M.O. was computer and phone hacking, plus bribing of sources, not office bugging. Doesn't mean it couldn't happen, but if it did, why would the Post than publish the story about the UFT having 52 Broadway swept of bugs? Wouldn't they risk exposing themselves? Nah, the Murdoch outlets weren't having 52 Broadway bugged. Neither was the opposition in MORE. Hard to see Bloomberg having it done either. If anything, Mulgrew and Company were worried about either their fellow union leaders at the AFT or NYSUT or criminal probes from the feds.Delete
As we all know now...there is no privacy...but why make it easy for those "buggers"...?ReplyDelete
Perhaps, but it speaks to a certain paranoia.Delete
Bugs or Bed Bugs?ReplyDelete
As the DOE always tells us when a school comes up rife with bed bugs, schools and school-like facilities are not conducive living environments for bed bugs. Of course, there are a lot of bloodsuckers at 52 Broadway, so maybe you're right...Delete
Maybe the bug is up Mulgrew's ass. Granted the AFT and UFT have sold out to the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation. What the heck is Mulgrew hiding?ReplyDelete
More likely Mulgrew's head up Cuomo's hindquarters than anything up Mulgrew's ass. But yeah, I wonder what they're too. Have to wonder, any, uh, malfeasance they're looking to keep hidden.Delete
They do plan how to counter the growth to a group like MORE -- we knew this in ICE too. They track members and work to send in their people to the schools where we have strong people. Their major focus is on holding onto power and while MORE is not a real threat yet if it reaches a certain critical mass - to me that is getting over a third of the vote and showing up to DAs with a few hundred chapter leaders and delegates -- that becomes a threat. They work very hard to not let it get to that point.ReplyDelete
Yes, they work much harder at maintaining power and privilege than anything else.Delete
Dont forget...Murdoch took to The Jackal Klein to get him out of his deep doo-doo concerning the London hacking case. These media Brits are apparently psychopathic and sociopathic if you've followed it at all-dirty isn't the word.ReplyDelete
It's true - but the hacking was done through phones and computers, not office bugs. Not saying the Murdoch people wouldn't do what you're suggesting they might have done - just that their Mo.O. was more subtle than office bugging. Subtle enough that if they hadn't screwed up so bad with the Milly Dowler messages, they might not ever have been caught.Delete
You just left MB, so do you think anything is possible. Come on CHE, you know better about BIG BROTHER. It would not matter if we got $10 million as a contract. You are a contentious lot. Dr. John Marvul.ReplyDelete
Dr. John, I would love to respond to what you wrote, but it was completely incoherent, so alas, I cannot.Delete
Eighteen Thousand Dollars !!! Did they at least get kissed ?ReplyDelete
You could have flown in the Best TSCM Team in the Country for half that price.
Appears the Union was the screwee and not the screwer.
I believe that the sweeping of bugs is necessary after having seen Bloomberg's vicious attacks on the Union and teachers over the past 8 years. His administration was eager to find any way to humiliate the UFT to it's members and to turn the city against teachers. This seemed to be the New York City education culture for many years.ReplyDelete
I do not believe that the sweeping of bugs calls for a great deal of speculation further than that. I also don't think privacy translates into secrecy. I believe that avoiding misinterpretation is crucial for any organization. The media and anti-union administrations are always looking to for information to twist it in a way that makes the union look bad in the eyes of it's members.
The UFT hold records of all of it's members including social security numbers, and home addresses. After the whole Target debacle making sure that the headquarters of the UFT is secure is important to me. Making sure that the information, wether corporate or the records of our brothers and sisters I think that doing a security sweep once a year is important. But as pointed out several times on this blog the author, and the members of MORE don't take the security o our union very seriously at all. I am glad they don't have access to my personal information.ReplyDelete
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