Thanks to Jane Hamsher of Firedoglake, we have another example of hypocrisy and disparate treatment associated with the Obama administration's unprecedented war on whistleblowers. Hamsher analyzes an e-mail exchange that suggests that former Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) official James Casey leaked to Stratfor chief Fred Burton that the Justice Department had a sealed indictment against Wikileaks founder Julian Assange:
Burton clearly felt firstname.lastname@example.org was his own little Wikileaks window into the DoJ. So on 1-26-2011 when Burton sent an email to email@example.com saying he had intelligence that the DoJ had a “sealed indictment” on Assange, you have to wonder where it came from.
Even if Casey didn't leak the indictment, someone did. Hamsher is right on explaining the disparate treatment:
Moral of the story: Bradley Manning gets charged with “aiding the enemy” for potentially leaking information that was available on the SIPRNET to hundreds of thousands of people. This guy gets a gold watch and no investigation for potentially leaking the existence of a sealed DoJ indictment of Julian Assange that I imagine almost nobody knew about.
Hamsher's article comes on the heels of hard-hitting questions from ABC White House correspondent Jake Tapper on the Obama administration's policy of using the Espionage Act to prosecute so-called "leakers," who are usually whistleblowers.
There is a glaring disparity between Obama's rhetoric on transparency and whistleblowers and the record-breaking number of Espionage Act prosecutions, which results in a disheartening scorecard for accountability:
Criminal prosecutions for officials who authorized or conducted torture and warrantless surveillance: 0
Criminal prosecutions for so-called "leakers," who are more often than not whistleblowers: 6
Now we can add:
Criminal prosecutions for leakers of SEALED indictment of Julian Assange: 0Here are the 6 Espionage Act cases:
FBI translator Shamai Leibowitz;
National Security Agency (NSA) whistleblower Thomas Drake;
Central Intelligence Agency's (CIA) Jeffery Sterling;
Army's Bradley Manning;
State Department's Stephen Kim;
CIA's John Kiriakou
The Espionage Act defendants are labeled spies and face prison time, but countless wrongdoers have benefited from the Obama administration's assertions of state secrets and "look forward not backward" policy.
In addition to the leaker of the SEALED indictment for Assange, here are just a few individuals and companies not held accountable at all:
Jay Bybee, torture memo author;
John Yoo, torture memo author;
CIA officials who engaged in torture (Obama said we're looking forward not backward);
Donald Rumsfeld, former Secretary of Defense who approved torture;
All the telecommunications companies who helped the NSA spy on Americans (have immunity under the FISA Amendment's Act of 2008);
Jeppesen airlines, subsidiary of Boeing and airline using for extraordinary rendition flights. (Justice Department - under Obama - used state secrets privilege to successfully shut down lawsuit).
The Justice Department's priorities are disastrously out of whack.
Jesselyn Radack is National Security & Human Rights Director for the Government Accountability Project, the nation's leading whistleblower protection and advocacy organization.