State Department whistleblower Peter Van Buren writes in TomDispatch today about the escalating retaliation taken against him since he wrote a book about massive reconstruction fraud in Iraq: We Meant Well: How I Helped Lose the Battle for the Hearts and Minds of the Iraqi People.
Van Buren writes:
For the crime of writing this book and maintaining a blog that occasionally embarrasses, State Department officials destroyed my career, even as they confirm my thesis, and their own failure, by reducing the Baghdad Embassy to half its size in the face of Iraq's unraveling.
Even as the Secretary of State rails against suppression of free speech abroad, the State Department continues to retaliate and threaten Van Buren for a book written in his personal capacity on his personal time.
Van Buren detailed some of the retaliation, which tellingly began shortly before his book's publication:
Without allowing any rebuttal or defense, State suspended my security clearance, claiming my blogging was an example of “poor judgment,” transferred me from a substantive job into a meaningless telework position, threatened felony conviction over alleged disclosure of classified information, illegally banned me from entering the building where I supposedly work, and continues to try to harass and intimidate me.
“The State Department was aware of Mr. Van Buren’s book long prior to its release,” explains attorney Jessleyn Radack, who now represents me. “Yet instead of addressing the ample evidence of fraud, waste, and abuse in the book, State targeted the whistleblower. The State Department’s retaliatory actions are a transparent attempt to intimidate and silence an employee whose critique of fraudulent, wasteful, and mismanaged U.S. reconstruction efforts in Iraq embarrassed the agency.”