As we have all heard by now, Bradley Manning was found not guilty of aiding the enemy — the most serious charge against him. He was, however, found guilty of most of the other lesser charges, which still gives him a potential sentence of up to 136 years in prison. Although this might be one of the most publicized cases when it comes to whistleblowers, the Obama administration has already brought twice as many prosecutions than previous administrations combined.
Under Obama, a total of eight whistleblowers have been charged under the Espionage Act. These eight individuals are:
- Bradley Manning
- Edward Snowden
- Thomas Drake
- Stephen Jin-Woo Kim
- James Hitselberger
- Shami K. Leibowitz
- John Kiriakou
- Jeffrey Sterling
These brave men called out waste, fraud, and abuse in government and these acts of courage should be encouraged rather than vilified and stifled. But wait, I feel like I’ve heard that before… Oh right! President Obama vowed to protect whistleblowers, like these 8 men, according to his own agenda on the change.gov website under “Ethics”:
“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. Barack Obama will strengthen whistleblower laws to protect federal workers who expose waste, fraud, and abuse of authority in government.”
The truth is (as I previously mentioned in my Gitmo force-feeding post) President Obama has once again turned his back on his word, and the chilling effect is the government is just as secretive as ever and won’t tolerate whistleblowers.
Continuous prosecutions of these leakers who called out horrible abuses by our government reinforce the fact that the state will do anything under the guise of national security. This extremism-for-safety mentality allows for the punishment of brave leakers for exposing dubious government programs to the citizenry. Whoever thought that telling the public about what their government is doing would be deemed espionage? Thanks to President Obama, these leakers have been punished for doing the very thing he initially said was courageous and patriotic.
In the aftermath of the Bradley Manning verdict and the current news surrounding Edward Snowden, we must stand with them because, unlike the government, they’re looking out for us. We desperately need more Snowdens, Mannings, Drakes, and all the other would-be whistleblowers lurking inside the government — because the state obviously has an abundance of nefarious activities they wish to keep hidden from us.