I tended to romanticize the White House site because I remembered when I visited it in its infancy two years ago. It rocked my world. If it weren't for an audio file of Socks the cat I might not have gotten absorbed in the web like I did. So why wasn't the site keeping up?
This disappointment coupled with seeing the talents of my co-workers wasted was getting me pretty damn pissed. So I did what I thought I was supposed to do in this town.
The two online reporters and I met at a corner table in a nearby deli. We could have met at a darkened parking garage, I suppose, but I was hungry. During bites from my sandwich I surveyed the room, making sure there were no familiar faces.
I told them everything I knew, and then some. Though they never actually said they planned to write a story out of our lunch, I didn't stop talking when one of them starting taking detailed notes on a napkin.
The session was therapeutic for me. I had this crazy illusion that if the outside world knew what was going on on the other side of the metal detectors, they'd be as upset as I was. They'd demand change. If I couldn't get anything done on the inside, maybe I could from the outside.
I only asked that they wait at least a month until I was gone before they published. Cowardly, sure, maybe even disingenuous, but I remembered the stern admonitions about talking to the press.
On a rainy Friday two weeks later the article appeared on the web. As I expected, it kicked butt and named names. And though it didn't mention my name, there were just the right details so that there would be no doubt who the source was.
Coincidentally, I had taken that Friday off. I started to panic with guilt and concern. I was so lucky to be there. What an ungrateful wretch I had become! What had I done?
I started to ponder what the suits would do to me. Would they fire me? Would they even let a security risk like me in the building? Would they fire my supervisor for not keeping me on a tighter leash? Would they end the internship program? Would they sue me?