In response to Priorities, Priorities: NSA Launches Probe into PRISM Leaker:
It’s important that we get the terminology right, here, because what the Obama administration is doing falls right into its now familiar pattern of punishing Obama’s enemies i.e. people who criticize him or make him look bad.
Whistleblowers tend to do the latter.
A whistleblower (whistle-blower or whistle blower) is a person who tells the public or someone in authority about alleged dishonest or illegal activities (misconduct) occurring in a government department or private company or organization. The alleged misconduct may be classified in many ways; for example, a violation of a law, rule, regulation and/or a direct threat to public interest, such as fraud, health and safety violations, and corruption. Whistleblowers may make their allegations internally (for example, to other people within the accused organization) or externally (to regulators, law enforcement agencies, to the media or to groups concerned with the issues).
The Obama administration has been at war with whistleblowers.
In the Spring of 2011, when several agents with the ATF testified before Congress about Fast and Furious, (the U.S. government program that armed Mexican drug cartels with thousands of assault rifles), the administration denied it happened and questioned the agents’ integrity.
The men were nervous and scared. They said they feared for their careers, their reputation and their families.
“Any attempt to retaliate against them for their testimony today would be unfair, unwise and unlawful,” Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA), R-Iowa, warned the Department of Justice.
Obama said that the “people who screwed up” would be held accountable, but most of those in charge of the criminally stupid operation were initially reassigned or promoted. In December of 2012 (after the election) many of the officials were finally fired or reprimanded. But the whistleblowers faced isolation, retaliation and transfer immediately after they testified before Congress.
A leak is “an unauthorized or a deliberate disclosure of confidential information.” Leaks can be used by government officials to prop a person or persons up, or to smear their enemies.
One example of the latter would be when former Arizona U.S. Attorney Dennis Burke leaked a memo that cast aspersions on John Dobson, one of the ATF agents who had blown the whistle on Fast and Furious to Congress. When that was exposed, Burke had to be thrown under the bus.
At a House Oversight and Reform hearing, last month, Gregory Hicks testified that after he questioned Susan Rice and the State Department’s post-Benghazi talking points, he was “effectively demoted from deputy chief of mission to desk officer.”
It’s not surprising that Congress is having difficulty finding whistleblowers to testify on the Benghazi debacle because so many of the people who were involved are afraid of retaliation.
“Leaks” that make Obama look bad are retaliated against. Leaks that make him look good – are encouraged, no matter who suffers.
There were a series of White House leaks in the wake of Osama bin Laden’s assassination that glorified the president’s role in the raid, but had very damaging national security implications. Administration spin-meisters leaked that they had gotten local help in Pakistan.
The tidbit gave an angry Pakistani government enough data to identify Dr. Shakil Afridi. He now faces 33 years in prison for helping the U.S. end bin Laden’s murderous career.
It was former CIA Director Leon Panetta, himself who “revealed the name of the Navy SEAL unit that carried out the Osama bin Laden raid and named the unit’s ground commander at a 2011 ceremony attended by “Zero Dark Thirty” filmmaker Mark Boal.”
The families of Navy SEAL Team 6 members killed in the disastrous August 2011 helicopter crash in Afghanistan say the government is to blame for the tragedy.
The family members, speaking at the National Press Club, tried to reopen the book on the crash, in which 30 Americans were killed, most of them belonging to the same unit as those who carried out the raid on Usama bin Laden earlier that year. The helicopter was shot down by insurgents.
During the event organized by a group called Freedom Watch, family members and former military personnel claimed President Obama turned the SEALs group into a Taliban target after the administration revealed they had conducted the bin Laden raid.
Doug Hamburger, whose son Patrick was killed, called the incident an “ambush” that could have been prevented.
“We’re very concerned that the administration had disclosed that the Navy SEALs had carried out a successful attack on bin Laden’s compound resulting in his death. And you know, never before in the history of our county (had) a sitting president released that type of information to the public, especially when he was talking about special forces. Their names and their missions had never been revealed before. And we really feel that this put our guys in an unnecessary risk,” Hamburger said.
The agent, ostensibly studying at an Arabic-language school, passed himself off as a potential suicide bomber. His British passport eased access to the U.S. ABC News reported that the agent was withdrawn because leaks risked alerting AQAP. Revealing the agent’s existence, after the operation, does increase terrorist paranoia, which has a certain value, but the administration’s breathless confirmation of operational details could hinder future U.S. and allied intelligence cooperation.
These serious leaks put U.S. security and the lives of American spies and SEALS at risk – and no one was ever reprimanded.
But if anyone dares blow the whistle on wrongdoing in this administration – there’s hell to pay.