The New York Times: Ex-Officer is First From C.I.A. to Face Prison for a Leak
This front-page, above-the-fold, extensive article from yesterday's New York Times provides much of the backstory of CIA/torture whistleblower and GAP client John Kiriakou, who recently pled guilty to violating the Intelligence Identities Protection Act in exchange for the government dropping other charges against him, including several under the Espionage Act. Kiriakou is now the sole CIA officer who faces jail time for any action involving the federal government's torture program, despite being a whistleblower on it.
GAP National Security & Human Rights Director Jesselyn Radack has an excellent complementary blog post detailing what the New York Times story omitted. Notably, she points out that the six individuals charged by the Obama administration under the Espionage Act for leak-related actions have all been whistleblowers (including Kiriakou). These six Espionage Act charges are more than all past presidential administrations combined. (The Al Jazeera program Listening Post also re-aired an in-depth look at the Obama administration crackdown on intelligence whistleblowers this week, covering Espionage Act prosecutions and featuring a long-form interview with Radack).
Key Quote (Radack's Blog): The bottom line is that the CIA officers who committed torture, the lawyers who wrote the memos justifying it, the officers who ordered it, and those who destroyed the videotapes of it have not been held professionally accountable, much less been charged with crimes … If you committed crimes under the guise of national security and the war on terrorism, you will not be held criminally liable, but if you blow the whistle on crimes, you risk criminal prosecution under the Espionage Act.
Related Article: FireDogLake
Huffington Post: Obama Objects to Whistleblower Protections in NDAA, Surprising Key Backer
President Obama released a signing statement last week regarding the newly passed whistleblower provisions for federal contractors in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) of 2013. The president said his administration would interpret the whistleblower provisions in a way that still allowed him to direct heads of federal agencies "to supervise, control, and correct employees' communications with the Congress" if those communications would be unlawful or "reveal information that is properly privileged or otherwise confidential."
Key Quote: But Tom Devine, legal director of the Government Accountability Project, said the language of Obama's objections could have been much worse.
"The president's expressions of concerns were a milquetoast version of traditional Pentagon fretting about whistleblowers," Devine told HuffPost. "We all considered them so muted that it was almost like tacit support for making those rights, expanding those rights."
"What we've seen is President Obama prosecuting more aggressively than his predecessors on leaks," Devine said. "At the same time, though, he's provided unprecedented support for free speech rights overall within the executive branch."
Al Jazeera English: Inside Story Americas – Interview with Thomas Drake
GAP client and NSA whistleblower Tom Drake speaks to Al Jazeera about the recent Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Amendment extension and its implications on Americans’ civil liberties.
Business Insurance: Whistleblower Case Against American Sleep Medicine Settles for $15.3M
A whistleblower will receive a $2.6 million award in a settlement involving American Sleep Medicine LLP, which was charged for billing Medicare and Tricare for sleep diagnostic services that were ineligible for payment.
Forbes: SEC Asked to Do More to Protect Whistleblowers
A former SEC attorney asks the Commission to do more to help whistleblowers who expose securities law violations and other wrongdoing. He details the case of Christopher Tobe, who tried to unveil violations by the Kentucky Retirement Systems and was allegedly retaliated against for his whistleblowing.
Dylan Blaylock is Communications Director for the Government Accountability Project, the nation's leading whistleblower protection and advocacy organization.