Over the weekend, The Listening Post, an Al Jazeera program, aired an episode entirley focused on exploring the Obama administration's attack on intelligence whistleblowers. In the past few years, the administration has charged six intelligence whistleblowers under the Espionage Act, an archaic legislation that was enacted during World War I to catch spies. These six prosecutions are more than all other past administrations combined.
GAP has spent a lot of time on this issue. It is telling that, despite the implications this has for journalists, there has been a major lack of coverage in the mainstream media. However, the foreign press seems to get it. GAP National Security & Human Rights Director Jesselyn Radack highlighted this in her blog earlier today.
The case of NSA whistleblower and GAP client Thomas Drake was used to exemplify the trumped-up nature of many of these prosecutions. Charges against Drake were dropped shortly before trial last June, when he pled guilty to a misdemeanor and was sentenced only to a year of probation (no fine). That's a far cry from the 35 years the federal government was seeking to put Drake away for.
GAP Executive Director Bea Edwards is also among those interviewed about the current status of whistleblowers in the US. But the second half of the show features an extensive interview with Radack, herself a DOJ whistleblower in the case of "American Taliban" John Walker Lindh. She challenges American media to dig further and address the issue. Radack calls this attack on intelligence whistleblowers the "worst crackdown on public information that we've seen since the McCarthy era."
Hannah Johnson is Communications Associate for the Government Accountability Project, the nation's leading whistleblower protection and advocacy organization.