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Carson wants program to spy on government workers

It's not a joke: Ben Carson likes the idea of a "covert division" of government, in which people spy on public-sector workers to improve efficiency.
Dr. Ben Carson speaks to address the crowd at CPAC in National Harbor, Md., on Feb. 26, 2015. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call/AP)
Dr. Ben Carson speaks to address the crowd at CPAC in National Harbor, Md., on Feb. 26, 2015.
When I first heard yesterday that Republican presidential hopeful Ben Carson wants to spy on U.S. government workers, I thought this was some kind of joke. It sounded like a satirical way of poking fun at the right-wing neurosurgeon's strange political views.
But as msnbc's Jane C. Timm reported, Carson actually shared his thoughts on a "covert division" yesterday.

Republican presidential contender Ben Carson said Wednesday that if elected next year he might implement a "covert division" of government workers who spy on their coworkers to improve government efficiency. The pediatric neurosurgeon-turned-candidate told a crowd of Iowa Republicans he is "thinking very seriously" about adding "a covert division of people who look like the people in this room, who monitor what government people do."

The idea, apparently, would be to help motivate government employees to work as effectively as possible, fearing that their co-workers are spying on them.
That guy in that cubicle across the aisle who seems like he's working on a spreadsheet? He's not -- he's part of Ben Carson's "covert division," watching you, making sure you're not goofing off. (He may also check to make sure you're using the proper cover sheets on TPS reports.)
A Carson campaign official later clarified the candidate's position and walked back Carson's word-choice. "Covert division? More like Secret Shopper, a quality control strategy used worldwide to improve customer service and customer care," communications director Doug Watts said.
Digby added that there are already programs in place for government employees who fear possible security threats among their co-workers, but Carson apparently wants to go considerably further. The goal would be to root out people who are lazy, not just people who might be dangerous.
To watch Carson deliver his remarks in Iowa, the video is below.