Questions that now occur to me to have asked Rex Tillerson:
1. Mr. Tillerson, you were the CEO of one of, if not the, most powerful non governmental entities on, if not in the history of, planet Earth. Am I correct sir?
“You strain modesty, but you are essentially correct.”
2. Is it safe to say, sir, that there was and are a nearly inexhaustible supply of people who would like to have that position of power?
“Many would want it in the abstract, but in reality it is a difficult job that many people are unsuited to. But, I think I follow your arc, and I can’t meaningfully disagree.”
3. Thank you sir. To continue with the arc, competition to achieve the position that you have achieved was, at the very least, stiff. Is that accurate?.
“Yes, although I have been blessed with good fortune and that can not be overstated in its importance.”
4. So we can safely assume that your success has been hard fought. You were selected to head up the ExxonMobil corporation as a result of meritocracy.
“Modesty encourages me to invoke my 5th Amendment rights. And my training instructs me to look for a trap door somewhere near here.”
5. Not to worry, Mr. Tillerson. But I do have to ask you this; How will you be able to sublimate your estimable talent and training to a Carnival Barker con man of such ill repute and faulty business practices as President Trump? You ran a supremely complex organization and the last time we had a genuine misstep was the Exxon Valdez disaster nearly 30 years ago. And now you’re going to be taking marching orders from a landlord? From a Reality TV star who seems to have a new embarrassment on a quarterly basis. I’ll ask you this, Mr. Tillerson, if Donald Trump were an employee of your company, would he have climbed the corporate ladder as you did?
“Well, first let me answer the second part of your question, so that maybe no one will notice that I’m not touching the first part with a 30 foot Ukraine, forget a ten foot Pole! (Pause for laughter. Laugh, pause some more.)
“Mr. Trump was wise to take the path that he did. As I said earlier, not everyone is suited to the position.” (Pause… Pause… Pause some more… the first one who talks, loses.)
6. OK, Mr. Tillerson, fair enough. Let’s move on to a different topic.
Mr. Tillerson, how familiar are you with the internet?
6.1 Your company is a far flung enterprise. Is it safe to presume that your company uses the internet to communicate with its operations around the world.”
“Yes, sir, we have an extensive internet paradigm. I’m really not at liberty to go into any detail on it.”
7. We’re just talking about the 30,000 foot picture, here Mr. Tillerson. In the abstract, however, you are familiar with the existence of hackers?
7.1 I’m not suggesting that you would be one, but if you were, what might be your goal?
“I suppose the usual hacker is looking for money. They want to find a way to attach a leak to liquidity. It might be akin to someone trying to tap a pipeline and divert some product to their own purpose.”
7.2 So your impression of hackers is individuals or groups of people with criminal intent to steal money from XOM?
“Or its trading partners. Yes, we are always aware of that and we are constantly vigilant.”
8. Are you also vigilant against those that are not interested in money, per se? I mean, after all, if someone taps a pipeline, you’re eventually going to find out, right?
“XOM has a rigorous inspection program in place to monitor out entire product life from exploration to transport to refinery to transport to delivery.”
9. Yes, this speaks to the earlier point of a clear record. My question is about the vastly more sophisticated hacker, however. The Hacker that is interested in money, but is smart enough not to be taking it directly out of your pocket. The hacker who only wants information. Information about which tankers are empty and which are full and which ones are running early and which ones are running late and when you are planning a price increase and when you are experiencing a glut at your refineries and when there are problems with converting from refining for heating oil. The hackers who can use this information to know something more than anyone else in the pits and on the trading floors. Hedge funds that run tens of billions of dollars and have financed installations of fiber optic routes to have information milliseconds before the trading floor does and have made untold billions in profits from front running trades.
“Is there a question in here?”
9.1 Yes. Does ExxonMobil have a system that is secure enough to keep those people out of their information stream?
“As I said, I am not at liberty to discuss the particulars of the XOM protocol. But I assure you, and the markets, that XOM has a very robust internet security program. We budget over $750million per year on internet security.”
10. Mr. Tillerson, you are aware that Secretary of State Clinton was defeated in the last presidential election, in no small part due to unease relating to her use of a private server she had in the basement of her home in Chappaqua, NY?
11. What assurances can you give this committee, Mr. Tillerson, that your corporate connections won’t be put to “good use” as an information back channel outside of the oversight of this committee?
12. Given the leaky nature of your proposed boss’ administration and the ad hoc nature of decisions being made, and the adversarial nature of his relationship to intelligence AND the Intelligence Agencies, do you really think that you, a strategic genius, who has successfully plotted his course through what is one of the most competitive power structures in the world will feel comfortable as this man puts the entirety of the global economy at risk? Are you willing to put everything you have worked for at jeopardy? If you see this President running the globe’s economy towards the precipice, as he has done with any number of business enterprises, what will you do?
“I’ll advise him not to.”
13. You mean like how he came to you for your advice on the travel ban?
That didn’t really happen yet, these are still the Review and Consent interviews.
14. Fair enough. My question is “What assurances can you give that you won’t be using the very safe, very secure servers at your former company to communicate, off the record, as it were?”
I guess I can say this. I can’t quite understand why you and the media haven’t figured this out by yourselves, but. Look, whenever there is a communication sent to the State Department and perhaps ANYPLACE else, that message is first screened by the NSA and they know where it came from what route it traveled to get there and what is in the message before it is let into the system. If I send anything to anyone and that information is forwarded anywhere, the signature of my protocol is there for those looking, to see.
15. Are you saying that everybody that needed to know knew that Mrs. Clinton was using her own server? And they knew it …
…from the first email they got, yes sir. So if I use XOM servers, and believe me they do scramble the data so that only “eyes only” can see them. The NSA will know.