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The War on Whistleblowers
August 15, 2012 11:01 PM   Subscribe

The year 2009 began a disturbing new trend: the criminalization of whistleblowing. The Obama administration has pursued a quiet but relentless campaign against the news media and their sources. This Article focuses on the sources who, more often than not, are whistleblowers. A spate of “leak” prosecutions brought under the Espionage Act has shaken the world of whistleblower attorneys, goodgovernment groups, transparency organizations, and civil liberties advocates. The Obama administration has prosecuted five criminal cases under the Espionage Act, which is more than all other presidential administrations combined. posted by AElfwine Evenstar (32 comments total) 27 users marked this as a favorite

 
There was also a parallel campaign to dilute the meaning of whistleblowing to include dumping information into the public arena where there was no particularly clear evidence of wrong-doing. That said, carry on.
posted by unSane at 11:13 PM on August 15, 2012 [5 favorites]


There was also a parallel campaign to dilute the meaning of whistleblowing to include dumping information into the public arena where there was no particularly clear evidence of wrong-doing. That said, carry on.
I know, Daniel Ellsburg was such a douche when he dumped thousands of pages from the pentagon papers into the public domain.
posted by delmoi at 11:16 PM on August 15, 2012 [8 favorites]


[Comment deleted; let's not have Romney derail two comments in?]
posted by taz at 11:24 PM on August 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


As the UK threatens to raid an Ecuadorean embassy to capture Julian Assange, I cannot help but fear that the problem extends beyond Mr. Obama.
posted by sarastro at 11:29 PM on August 15, 2012 [4 favorites]


This really makes me think about Wikileaks andMa... oh hey, there was a link about Manning in here.
posted by Archelaus at 11:30 PM on August 15, 2012


there was a link about Manning in here.

He's also featured prominently in the first link of the fpp.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 11:35 PM on August 15, 2012


Surely this....
posted by Malor at 11:36 PM on August 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


It's mentioned in the first link, but here is the whole quote from Obama's transition website:

Protect Whistleblowers: Often the best source of information about waste, fraud, and abuse in government is an existing government employee committed to public integrity and willing to speak out. Such acts of courage and patriotism, which can sometimes save lives and often save taxpayer dollars, should be encouraged rather than stifled. We need to empower federal employees as watchdogs of wrongdoing and partners in performance. Barack Obama will strengthen whistleblower laws to protect federal workers who expose waste, fraud, and abuse of authority in government. Obama will ensure that federal agencies expedite the process for reviewing whistleblower claims and whistleblowers have full access to courts and due process. (source)
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 11:47 PM on August 15, 2012 [8 favorites]


"Change" you didn't think you were going to have to believe in.
posted by Vibrissae at 12:30 AM on August 16, 2012 [8 favorites]


*starts and stops, then deletes, four or five comments*
*holds head in hands*
posted by adoarns at 4:01 AM on August 16, 2012 [14 favorites]


Add this to HR347, NDAA, TrapWire and the looming threat of a new SOPA and you get a perfect storm of fucked up. What else is there even left to be taken away?
posted by pwally at 4:48 AM on August 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


Guys, don't worry. It's all part of Obama's long game. He's a master strategist and will fix all of this when the Stars are Right.
posted by Legomancer at 5:11 AM on August 16, 2012 [10 favorites]


What else is there even left to be taken away?

Just you wait, citizen! You ain't seen nothing yet!

No, I really mean it, you saw NOTHING, capiche?
posted by lalochezia at 5:29 AM on August 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


And meanwhile, the UK threatens to launch an assault on the Ecuadorean embassy to take down the biggest whistleblower of them all...
posted by jet_manifesto at 6:01 AM on August 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


It is just so frustrating. I had such high hopes (especially after our last president shredded every amendment except the second). But I keep seeing erosions on such very core issues that I have a hard time seeing the good he does.

Now, if only I can find that manual on how to be a hermit...
posted by jason says at 8:03 AM on August 16, 2012


I once believed this was just the doings of the "rich white Republican Christian boys uber alles club" mentality of the GWBush/Cheney pack. A crew that would send thousands of our soldiers to their deaths on disputed intel with insufficient armor and planning in a country that didn't seriously threaten us... Yeah, they would totally create the Patriot Act, marginalize groups critical of the State, and harass whistleblowers.

But not Obama. He opposed the Patriot Act! He opposed the War in Iraq! He was different!

I hate finding out that I'm still naive enough to believe in Santa Claus; I just named him differently this time.

Oh, well, I'll vote for the lesser of two evils, since the worse is much worse.
posted by IAmBroom at 9:33 AM on August 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


Yeah, it's purely a function of being in power vs being out of power.

I once rode around in the back of a cop car for about three months. By the end of it I thought like a cop, and everyone on the outside of the car looked like a potential criminal.

It took a long while to get that out of my system.
posted by unSane at 9:39 AM on August 16, 2012 [4 favorites]


I once rode around in the back of a cop car for about three months.

You got arrested for hypnotizing a cop into forgetting where the station was?
posted by kengraham at 10:13 AM on August 16, 2012 [1 favorite]






Meanwhile, in Republican Bizarro Land, the White House is intentionally leaking everything under the sun.
posted by Hollywood Upstairs Medical College at 12:22 PM on August 16, 2012


Meanwhile, in Republican Bizarro Land, the White House is intentionally leaking everything under the sun.

Yes those wacky bizzaro land republicans at Demcracy Now! really need to get their shit straight.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 12:41 PM on August 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


Meanwhile, in Republican Bizarro Land, the White House is intentionally leaking everything under the sun.

Obama gets his own Swift Boat attack ad (video)
posted by homunculus at 1:29 PM on August 16, 2012


Priorities have changed dramatically since the heady days of 2009. It's hard to see how any president could manage to do a worse job than Bush II, but Obama has somehow managed that feat, at least where open government and transparency are concerned.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:04 PM on August 16, 2012 [3 favorites]






Glenn Greenwald: Obama campaign brags about its whistleblower persecutions
posted by homunculus at 9:22 AM on September 5, 2012






homunculus: Whistle-Blower Gets $104 Million Award From I.R.S.
And without his whistleblowing, the IRS would never have recuped the illegally hidden taxes of 4500 lawbreakers, nor the nearly $1B fine levied on UBS. So, despite the fact that he's a scummy tax-evading millionaire, it makes sense to provide incentives for people like him to whistleblow.

So, what's your point, exactly?
posted by IAmBroom at 9:11 AM on September 12, 2012


So, despite the fact that he's a scummy tax-evading millionaire, it makes sense to provide incentives for people like him to whistleblow.

I agree. $104 million seems extreme, but this is basically a case where the whistleblower was handled right, unlike most of the others here.
posted by homunculus at 9:34 AM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


homunculus, thanks for clarifying.

I consulted at a company that gave 30% commission to their salespeople. Their best salesman never, ever came in to the office without first distributing donuts & coffee across the factory floor. Needless to say, when he needed help in the field, the workers went the mile for him.

Anyway, the company had a new douchebag GM, who balked at paying the salesman a $210,000 bonus for selling a $700,00 machine. "Why should I give you this much money? The customer only buys our goods; they would have bought from us without you!"

Every single employee knew about that confrontation by the end of the day; not one sided with the GM. You'd think the salesman was a widow, about to be tossed out in the snow by a moustachioed landlord.

But, of course, he did deserve it. His contract said so. And it was entirely in the best interests of the company to keep that salesman happy at home with them, which the GM screwed. Only a fool would believe that he had no impact on the customer's repeat business, or that some sales wouldn't follow him out the door. And that fool was in charge.
posted by IAmBroom at 11:40 AM on September 13, 2012


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