Former CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling was charged under the famously ambiguous Espionage Act for "leaking" classified information to a reporter. This gives Obama, the "transparency" president, the dubious distinction of bringing the most "leak prosecutions" of any administration, ever.
Nowhere in the Washington Post article on this latest witch-hunt does the word "whistleblower" appear. But that's what he is.
Yet another indictment under the Espionage Act. Of a whistleblower. By disgraced prosecutor William Welch, who himself is still under criminal investigation for botching the prosecution of late-Senator Ted Stevens.
There's a lot that the MSM gets wrong in the articles this morning, so let me clarify what I can.
First, as to Mr. Sterling, who worked for the CIA for nearly 10 years, he was the only black officer assigned to the Iran Task Force in January 1995 and the first black case officer to file a racial discrimination suit against the CIA. After the CIA spent your taxpayer dollars training him in Farsi and having him log long hours on the Iranian Desk, CIA officials considered him a liability because of his skin color, telling him he couldn't be a good spy because
you kind of stick out as a big black guy.
When did you realize I was black?
He's being punished because he blew the whistle to New York Times reporter Jim Risen, who won the Pulitzer Prize for the story about Bush's illegal warrantless wiretapping. Risen wrote a story on March 2, 2002 about the massive racial discrimination against Sterling.Although this indictment is supposedly due to allegations that Sterling provided information to Risen for his 2006 book State of War, what it really stemmed from Sterling filing a suit contending that CIA managers retaliatedagainst him after he had filed a complaint in 2000 with the anti-discrimination office. Sterling also had the audacity (remember when Obama used to like that word?) to meet with staff members of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI) in 2003 to disclose concerns about problems with CIA's flawed program that may have helped the Iranians gain nuclear technology.
Despite receiving positive performance evaluations, Sterling was passed over for new cases due to his race, ordered to undergo a complete security reinvestigation two years ahead of schedule, and was eventually put on administrative leave and then let go. Classic whistleblower retaliation.
This sounds a lot like Thomas Drake, who the MSM continually misrepresents as
a former executive at the National Security Agency accused of leaking information to the Baltimore Sun.
(quoting today's Washington Post). Although other reporters from the same newspaper, like Ellen Nakashima have reported it correctly, the Post continues to stubbornly get it wrong.
For the record:
- Drake NEVER gave classified information to a reporter.
- Drake is NOT ACCUSED of giving classified information to a reporter.
- Drake is a whistleblower who was vindicated by the Department of Defense Inspector General, who recruited him to be a material witness and a person of knowledge regarding its investigation into NSA waste and illegalities.
Like Sterling, Drake reported through the proper internal channels including his bosses, the NSA Inspector General, the Department of Defense Inspector General and the the congressional Intelligence Committees. After internal channels largely failed them, they went to the media with information that was clearly in the public interest (note to Government: you can't properly classify something because it's embarrassing)--a form of blowing the whistle authorized by law.
The icing on the cake of the latest indictment is that--just as the Obama administration, via beleaguered prosecutor William Welch, resurrected the failed pretextual "leak investigation" into the New York Times warrantless wiretapping sources in Drake's case--the Obama administration (again via Welch) renewed the Bush-era grand jury subpoena against Risen for his sources. Risen was twice subpoenaed to divulge his sources and Judge Leonie Brinkema quashed the federal grand jury subpoena in November--a rarity I've never heard of happening.
Where's your outrage, Kossacks?
Jesselyn Radack is Homeland Security & Human Rights Director for the Government Accountability Project, the nation's leading whistleblower advocacy organization. This post originally appeared in her Daily Kos column.