The heavily redacted report, which MuckRock requested following on an announcement in the January newsletter of the Department of Defense Inspector General, found that the supervisor accused the whistleblower of being a mentally unstable drug abuser in addition to revoking his security clearance for the offense of reporting that colleagues were allowed to leave work hours early and lie on their time cards.
So, suffice it to say I was already skeptical of Gladwell’s recent piece attacking Ed Snowden as not being a “real” whistleblower. But the piece is much, much worse than even I expected. The short, Gladwellian-style summary of it might be: real whistleblowers have to look the part, and they need to be part of an Ivy League elite, with clear, noble reasons behind what they did. Here’s how Gladwell describes Daniel Ellsberg, the guy who leaked the Pentagon Papers, and to whom Gladwell has given his stamp of approval as a “Real Whistleblower™”
It’s really sick how some persons of authority can misuse public trust for personal gain, and how many of their colleagues help them hide it
Not all leaks are alike, nor are their makers. Gen. David Petraeus, for instance, provided his illicit lover and favorable biographer information so secret it defied classification, including the names of covert operatives and the president’s private thoughts on matters of strategic concern. Petraeus was not charged with a felony, as the Justice Department had initially recommended, but was instead permitted to plead guilty to a misdemeanor. Had an enlisted soldier of modest rank pulled out a stack of highly classified notebooks and handed them to his girlfriend to secure so much as a smile, he’d be looking at many decades in prison, not a pile of character references from a Who’s Who of the Deep State.
It appears that Chelsea Manning is now facing indefinite solitary confinment for a short list of “infractions” which include having expired toothpaste (“medicine misuse”) and having a copy of the Caitlyn Jenner issue of Vanity Fair, along with some other magazines (“prohibited property”). The other two charges may seem slightly less crazy, but not when you look at the details. They are for “disrespect” and “disorderly conduct,” but the “disorderly conduct” was for apparently sweeping some food on the floor during a dinner, and the “disorderly conduct” was for asking for a lawyer when Manning was being yelled at over the food incident.
Australia’s long sleepwalk into a surveillance state continued last week, with the largely-uncontested passage of the suite of bills creating the Australian Border Force (ABF).
As well as telecommunications metadata access, the legislation wrapped the Australian Border Force (ABF) in a protective coating of spook-power.
Last week, Senator Scott Ludlam warned that the ABF – a mash-up of the “border control functions” of the Departments of Immigration and Customs – was being designated a law enforcement agency under the Telecommunications Interception Act.
That means that Australian citizens who haven’t committed a crime, or even travelled overseas, might still be swept up in a metadata request.
However, as an anonymous reader pointed out to Vulture South, the law goes even further than that.
In the digest of legislation needed to create the ABF, it’s also noted that “the Bill gives significant law enforcement powers to all officers of Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP).”
What that means is that the ABF will be able to conduct controlled operations which, under the government’s new national security regime, means the agency now has the power to block reporting of its activities and pursue whistleblowers.
That’s more than a trivial change, since it’s already known that the Australian Federal Police (AFP) has been investigating journalists reporting on asylum-seeker issues to try and uncover their sources.
The lawyer for imprisoned leaker Stephen Kim has asked the Department of Justice to immediately release him from jail, accusing the government of a “profound double standard” in its treatment of leakers following a comparatively lenient plea deal for former Gen. David Petraeus.
Petraeus avoided prison time for disclosing a trove of classified information to his lover and lying to the FBI about it. Kim, meanwhile, was sentenced to 13 months in prison for violating the Espionage Act by talking to a Fox News reporter about a single classified report on North Korea. Kim pleaded guilty after a five-year legal battle that depleted his finances and sent him to the brink of suicide. Petraeus, in the wake of his plea arrangement, is expected to continue his lucrative career working for an investment bank and giving speeches.
Kim’s lawyer, Abbe Lowell, noted in a scathing letter to the DOJ that Petraeus, in his plea deal, admitted leaking a range of highly sensitive material “at least as serious and damaging to national security as anything involved in Mr. Kim’s case” to Paula Broadwell, his lover and authorized biographer. Petraeus also acknowledged that when he was director of the CIA he lied to the FBI about leaking to Broadwell, as well as about keeping classified information at his home.
Yet while Kim, a former State Department official, was prosecuted under a draconian law against leaking — even though he merely discussed a single document that a government official later described in court filings as a “nothing burger” — Petraeus was allowed to plead guilty to a misdemeanor offense of mishandling classified information, and he was not charged at all for the felony of lying to the FBI. Under the deal, he is expected to be placed on probation for two years and pay a fine of $40,000.
“The decision to permit General Petraeus to plead guilty to a misdemeanor demonstrates more clearly than ever the profound double standard that applies when prosecuting so-called ‘leakers’ and those accused of disclosing classified information for their own purposes,” Lowell wrote in his two-page letter, which was dated March 6, just three days after the Petraeus plea deal was announced. “As we said at the time of Mr. Kim’s sentencing, lower-level employees like Mr. Kim are prosecuted under the Espionage Act because they are easy targets and lack the resources and political connections to fight back. High-level officials (such as General Petraeus and, earlier, Leon Panetta), leak classified information to forward their own agendas (or to impress their mistresses) with virtual impunity.”