War on Whistleblowers: Free Press and the National Security State

Discussion in 'Freedom of Expression' started by The Wrong Guy, Feb 11, 2013.

  1. The Wrong Guy Member

    War on Whistleblowers: Free Press and the National Security State

    War on Whistleblowers: Free Press and the National Security State is a project of War Costs and Brave New Foundation.

    Published by bravenewfoundation on Feb 11, 2013

    In a democracy, citizens are entitled to the freedom of information and the freedom of the press, but what happens when that democratic government turns its back on the truth and begins to punish those who stand up to falsehood, secrecy, and deception?

    In Robert Greenwald's latest film for Brave New Foundation, we reveal the war targeted at the people who put the US constitution before everything. We reveal the War on Whistleblowers.
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  2. cafanon Member

    Looks like a good movie, and an important cause. Thanks for sharing TWG.
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  3. The Wrong Guy Member

    NYT Reporter: Obama Admin's Crackdown Has Scared Whistleblowers From Speaking to Journalists

    Published by democracynow on Apr 10, 2013

    Watch the full interview with Mark Mazzetti on Democracy Now! at

    Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Mark Mazzetti of the New York Times says the Obama administration's crackdown on whistleblowers has silenced government officials willing to speak with journalists. "There's no question it's harder and harder," Mazzetti says. "This crackdown has perhaps had its intended effect, which was maybe not to prosecute the cases that have been brought, but to scare others into not talking." His new book just out is called, "The Way of the Knife: The CIA, a Secret Army, and a War at the Ends of the Earth."
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  4. "Free press" LMAO yeah, right.

    You've a better chance of showing me a motherfucking Clear.
  5. The Wrong Guy Member

    <img src=clear_fucking_his_mother.jpg>
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  6. cafanon Member

    Thank god for PBS.
  7. The Wrong Guy Member

    Obama administration equates whistleblowing to spying -

    The persecution of a former National Security Agency official highlights a disturbing government initiative.

    By Marcy Wheeler

    When Thomas Drake, then an official at the National Security Agency, realized that the agency’s decision to shut down an internal data analysis program and instead outsource the project to a private contractor provided the government with less effective analysis at much higher cost, he tried to do something about it. Drake’s decision to join three other whistleblowers in asking the agency’s inspector general to investigate ultimately made him the target of a leak investigation that tore his life apart.

    In 2005, the inspector general of the Department of Defense, of which NSA is a part, confirmed the whistleblowers’ accusations of waste, fraud and security risk.

    Earlier this year, former NSA Director Michael Hayden even conceded that TrailBlazer, the program for which the NSA paid over $1 billion to the Science Applications International Corporation, had failed. The agency, after killing its own program (called ThinThread) “outsourced how we gathered other people’s communications,” he said in response to a question from investigative journalist Tim Shorrock. “And that was a bridge too far for industry. We tried a moonshot, and it failed.”

    Nevertheless, Drake’s efforts to expose that waste and abuse would ultimately lead to his being charged under the 1917 Espionage Act — a law intended for the prosecution of spies, not whistleblowers.

    Drake, a subject of a new documentary, War on Whistleblowers: Free Press and the National Security State, could have been put away for the rest of his life. “Speaking truth to power is now a criminal act,” Drake told filmmaker Robert Greenwald.

    The investigation that would ensnare Drake began in 2006, under the Bush administration. But he wasn’t charged until 2010, when the Obama administration accused him of providing information to Baltimore Sun reporter Siobhan Gorman. In 2006 and 2007, she wrote a series of articles on NSA inefficiencies sourced to as many as 18 people, including Drake, who contends that he did not provide any classified information to her.

    Rather than charging him with leaking classified information, the government charged him with retaining classified information. Over the course of the investigation, however, the government admitted that some of the documents in question had subsequently either been declassified or were never classified to begin with. Between that embarrassing revelation and the attention of good government groups, the case against Drake fell apart.

    In 2011, the government dismissed all espionage-related charges against Drake, and he pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor charge: unauthorized use of a government computer. The judge in the case, Richard Bennett, said the case against Drake “doesn’t pass the smell test,” when he sentenced him to probation. Today Drake works at an Apple retail store rather than serving the country in a high-level national security role.

    In a speech at the National Press Club last month, Drake talked about being charged with a crime originally targeted at people who sold sensitive information to our enemies.

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  8. The Wrong Guy Member

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  9. The Wrong Guy Member

    Six Whistleblowers Charged Under the Espionage Act

    By John Light and Lauren Feeney

    The Obama administration has been carrying out an unprecedented crackdown on whistleblowers, particularly on those who have divulged information that relates to national security. The Espionage Act, enacted during the first World War to punish Americans who aided the enemy, had only been used three times in its history to try government officials accused of leaking classified information — until the Obama administration. Since 2009, the administration has used the act to prosecute six government officials. Meet the whistleblowers.

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  10. The Wrong Guy Member

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  11. Anonymous Member

    The US government has a long history of attacking journalists. The 1798 Alien and Sedition act for instance:

    Jefferson, bless his soul, pardoned all of them and the US Treasury returned the fines when Jefferson became president in 1801.

    Of course if you read the Acts, you'll find that the only official NOT protected by the Act was the Vice president, T.Jefferson. He was in the other party.

    Even back then, political parties trumped reason. The same people who supported the Bill Of Rights, including free speech, then wrote a law saying the opposite when it suited their needs.
    the more things change...
    No wonder people don't trust politicians.
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  12. Anonymous Member

    Following in the footsteps of Gerald Celente, I have become a political atheist. I just don't believe in it anymore.
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  13. Anonymous Member
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  14. Anonymous Member

    Cross post
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  15. JohnnyRUClear Member

    Funny you should use that phrase now; I've been contemplating lately the similarities between how atheists have been regarded in (mostly) the past and how anarchists still are.

    This article by Joe Sobran is similar to my own story.
  16. Anonymous Member

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  17. Disambiguation Global Moderator
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  18. Disambiguation Global Moderator

    When I find the Register as a Whistleblower link I'll post it here so we can all register.
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  19. rof Member

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  20. The Wrong Guy Member

    U.S. slips again in press freedom ranking with blame on Obama administration | CNN

    The United States has dropped 29 spots in the annual Reporters Without Borders press freedom ranking since 2009, when President Barack Obama took office.

    The U.S. ranked 49th this year out of 180 countries included in the organization's World Press Freedom Index, joining the ranks of countries like Niger, Malta and Romania.

    The decline from its position at No. 20 in 2009 has been spurred by the Obama administration's aggressive prosecution of whistleblowers, said Delphine Halgand, the organization's U.S. director.

    "We consider that the Obama administration has launched a war against whistleblowers," Halgand said. "This year is a continuation of the concern we already expressed that national security protection has been more and more threatening freedom of information in the U.S."

    The U.S. has prosecuted eight alleged whistleblowers under the Espionage Act, more than all previous presidential administrations combined, Halgand said.

    Despite Obama's campaign pledge to make his administration one of the most transparent in history, reporters and press freedom watchdogs have continually slammed the administration as one of the least transparent and criticized its dogged efforts to plug leaks.

    Reporters without Borders, an organization that works to protect journalists around the world, tied the U.S.'s drop in this year's rankings to the "judicial harassment" of James Risen, a New York Times reporter who last year stared down federal prosecutors pushing him to reveal the identity of an anonymous source.

    The purported source, ex-CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling, was convicted early this year on nine felony counts for leaking classified information. Risen refused to reveal his source, and federal prosecutors decided not to indict him on any charges.

    Reporters without Borders also pointed to the Ferguson protests, where it says at least 15 journalists were arrested.

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  21. The Wrong Guy Member

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  22. The Wrong Guy Member

    Federal prosecutors urge ‘severe’ sentence for ex-CIA officer in leak case | The Washington Post

    Federal prosecutors on Monday urged a judge to impose a “severe” sentence on a former CIA officer convicted of giving classified information to a New York Times reporter, arguing that the officer’s case was unique and that a stiff penalty would dissuade others with access to government secrets from giving them away.

    Ryan Gallagher @rj_gallagher · 5 minutes ago
    Key reason US prosecutors want to throw ex-CIA officer Sterling in jail for 2 decades is to scare off other leakers:

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    At least the GF was military. I sure as hell would not view Fox News as safe.
  24. The Wrong Guy Member

    David Petraeus receives no jail time for leaking, while whistleblowers face decades in jail

    By Trevor Timm, Freedom of the Press Foundation

    Former CIA director David Petraeus received his sentence today for the sweetheart plea deal he struck with the Justice Department after he was discovered to have leaked highly classified information to his biographer and lover Paula Broadwell. As was widely anticipated, the celebrated general received no jail time and instead got only two-years probation plus a $100,000 fine. (As journalist Marcy Wheeler has pointed out, that's less than Petraeus receives for giving one speech.)

    The gross hypocrisy in this case knows no bounds. At the same time as Petraeus got off virtually scot-free, the Justice Department has been bringing the hammer down upon other leakers who talk to journalists—sometimes for disclosing information much less sensitive than Petraeus did. It's worth remembering Petraeus' leak was not your run-of-the-mill classified information; it represented some of the most compartmentalized secrets in government.

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    Petraeus Plea Deal Reveals Two-Tier Justice System for Leaks

    By Peter Maass, The Intercept

    David Petraeus, the former Army general and CIA director, admitted today that he gave highly-classified journals to his onetime lover and that he lied to the FBI about it. But he only has to plead guilty to a single misdemeanor that will not involve a jail sentence thanks to a deal with federal prosecutors. The deal is yet another example of a senior official treated leniently for the sorts of violations that lower-level officials are punished severely for.

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  25. The Wrong Guy Member

    Man Who Hacked And HiJacked Airplane On The Run From FBI, John McAfee Speaks Out

    Published by WeAreChange on May 18, 2015

    In this video, Luke Rudkowski talks to John McAfee at the Hack Miami Conference about his friend Chris Roberts who is a white hat hacker that recently hijacked a airplane through the entertainment system.

    McAfee breaks down the latest news with Chris Roberts, what he is up to and how people can help.

    Follow Hack Miami here:
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  26. The Wrong Guy Member

    Federal judge probes destruction of evidence in prosecution of NSA whistleblower Thomas Drake

    By Xeni Jardin, Boing Boing

    A federal judge is investigating charges that the United States government may have illegally destroyed possible evidence during the high-profile media leak investigation of National Security Agency whistleblower Thomas Drake.

    McClatchy reports that U.S. Magistrate Judge Stephanie Gallagher launched her inquiry after Drake's lawyers in April accused the Pentagon inspector general’s office of destroying documents during Drake’s criminal prosecution. The case against Drake ended almost four years ago.

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  27. The Wrong Guy Member

    Legal Organization Representing WikiLeaks Submits Report for UN Official’s Review of Whistleblower Protections

    The Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), a legal organization based in New York which represents WikiLeaks and its editor-in chief Julian Assange, has submitted a report to help United Nations Special Rapporteur David Kaye complete his review on the global issue of whistleblowers and the protection of sources.

    Kaye serves as the UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression. The review addresses how human rights law should protect journalists from having to disclose their sources and how whistleblowers are or are not protected, especially after exposing human rights violations, corruption or other abuses.

    Part of the review includes a kind of survey of all governments in the world asking them how journalists are protected from being compelled to reveal sources and how whistleblowers are afforded protections. It also asked for non-governmental organizations to share their views and studies.

    CCR is uniquely positioned to provide insights, given that it represents a media organization which has endured an ongoing and unprecedented investigation by the United States government into the publication of documents provided by US military whistleblower Chelsea Manning.

    The legal organization asserts in its submission [PDF], “States have an obligation to protect whistleblowers, a vulnerable group that faces systematic stigmatization as a result of exercising fundamental rights to access and obtain information.”

    State governments also “have a positive obligation to promote freedom of expression through cyber laws, and must not use technical violations to punish whistleblowers,” CCR argues.

    “There is a serious risk that cyber laws will displace secrecy laws as a tool to prosecute whistleblowers on basis of their activities accessing and obtaining information. In the United States, the cases of Chelsea Manning, NSA whistleblower Thomas Drake, and WikiLeaks reveal the application of “unauthorized access” computer laws to punish whistleblowers and publishers.”

    The legal organization adds, “Today significant amounts of access to information, particularly by whistleblowers, is enabled by computers. Whistleblowers must not be punished for using a computer to blow the whistle. Cyber laws sanctioning whistleblowers or sources who already have access to computers, purely based on their intent to blow the whistle, raise serious problems for freedom of expression.”

    The US government has prosecuted whistleblowers for violating the Espionage Act and disseminating information. In these cases, the intent of the whistleblower does not matter to prosecutors and judges. What matters is that a secrecy agreement was breached.

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  28. The Wrong Guy Member

    Vindication for Edward Snowden From a New Player in NSA Whistleblowing Saga


    The Guardian published a stunning new chapter in the saga of NSA whistleblowers on Sunday, revealing a new key player: John Crane, a former assistant inspector general at the Pentagon who was responsible for protecting whistleblowers, then forced to become one himself when the process failed.

    An article by Mark Hertsgaard, adapted from his new book, Bravehearts: Whistle Blowing in the Age of Snowden, describes how former NSA official Thomas Drake went through proper channels in his attempt to expose civil-liberties violations at the NSA — and was punished for it. The article vindicates open-government activists who have long argued that whistleblower protections aren’t sufficient in the national security realm.

    It vindicates NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden who, well aware of what happened to Drake, gave up his attempts to go through traditional whistleblower channels – and instead handed over his trove of classified documents directly to journalists.

    And it adds to the vindication for Drake, who was already a hero in the whistleblower’s pantheon for having endured a four-year persecution by the Justice Department that a judge called “unconscionable.”

    The case against Drake, who was initially charged with 10 felony counts of espionage, famously disintegrated before trial – but not before he was professionally and financially ruined. And now it turns out that going through official channels may have actually set off the chain of events that led to his prosecution.

    Drake initially took his concerns about wasteful, illegal, and unconstitutional actions by the NSA to high-ranking NSA officials, then to appropriate staff and members of Congress. When that didn’t work, he signed onto a whistleblower complaint to the Pentagon inspector general made by some recently retired NSA staffers. But because he was still working at the NSA, he asked the office to keep his participation anonymous.

    Now, Hertsgaard writes that Crane alleges that his former colleagues in the inspector general’s office “revealed Drake’s identity to the Justice Department; then they withheld (and perhaps destroyed) evidence after Drake was indicted; finally, they lied about all this to a federal judge.”

    Crane’s growing concerns about his office’s conduct pushed him to his breaking point, according to Hertsgaard. But his supervisors ignored his concerns, gave him the silent treatment, and finally forced him to resign in January 2013.

    Due to Crane’s continued efforts, however, the Department of Justice has opened an investigation into the Department of Defense for its treatment of whistleblowers, and Hertsgaard tells The Intercept that a public report on the results of the investigation is expected next year.

    Crane brings unprecedented evidence from inside the system that ostensibly protects whistleblowers that the system isn’t working. And defenders of the system can’t accuse him of having an outside agenda. Crane has never taken a position for or against the NSA’s programs, or made contact with Drake during the investigation.

    “Crane kind of made it a point not to know him,” Hertsgaard told The Intercept on Monday. “He didn’t want it to become something personal.”

    For him, it was about whistleblowing, Hertsgaard explained, and the principle that “anonymity must be absolutely sacred.”

    Snowden told The Guardian that Drake’s persecution was very much on his mind when he decided to go outside normal channels. And he told The Guardian that colleagues and supervisors warned him about raising his concerns, telling him, “You’re playing with fire.”

    In his Guardian interview, Snowden called for changes.

    “We need iron-clad, enforceable protections for whistleblowers, and we need a public record of success stories,” he said. “Protect the people who go to members of Congress with oversight roles, and if their efforts lead to a positive change in policy – recognize them for their efforts. There are no incentives for people to stand up against an agency on the wrong side of the law today, and that’s got to change.”

    U.S. officials, including President Barack Obama and Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton, have insisted that Snowden should and could have gone through channels – and would have been heard.

    “When people look at Edward Snowden, he’s the most famous,” Hertsgaard told The Intercept. “What they don’t realize is just how exceptional he is. He actually got his message out and he lived to tell the tale. … That is highly unusual. In most cases, whistleblowers pay with their lives to save ours.”

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  29. JohnnyRUClear Member

    "In most cases, whistleblowers pay with their lives to save ours.”
    Remind me again how we need this corporation you call "the government"?
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  30. anon8109 Member

    The use of violence is needed against those who would use it against innocent people.

    That can either happen under the guise of government institutions where there are layers of oversight, or it can take the shape of gangs and strongmen.

    I much prefer the former.
  31. JohnnyRUClear Member

    I used to think I did too. Then I tried to activate those layers of oversight. Turns out they suck.
  32. The Wrong Guy Member

    Whistleblowing in the Age of Snowden, with Mark Hertsgaard and John Crane

    'Snowden’s two goals - alert people of mass spying, encourage future whistleblowers' | RT Op-Edge

    Will there be more Snowdens? Is the US government doing everything in its power to clamp down on future whistleblowers? RT discussed this with ex-DOD official John Crane and Mark Hertsgaard, author of Bravehearts: Whistleblowing in the Age of Snowden.
  33. The Wrong Guy Member

    UK government threatens jail for journalists who work with whistleblowers | Boing Boing

    Under a new proposal from the UK Law Commission, journalists who handle or report on leaked documents demonstrating corruption or government malfeasance would face prison sentences.

    The recommendation applies to any documents that relate to the "economic wellbeing of the country" and other "national secrets" -- including documents that relate to the ongoing Brexit negotiations.
  34. The Wrong Guy Member

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