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Whistleblowers Enter the Post-Snowden Era 129

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the exile-not-optional dept.
Presto Vivace (882157) writes GovExec Magazine reporting on the aftermath of Snowden's disclosures: '...At the Intelligence Community's Office of the Inspector General, [Dan Meyer, executive director for intelligence community whistleblowing and source protection] told Government Executive that a communitywide policy directive signed in March by the director of the Office of National Intelligence "is an affirmative statement that you have to blow the whistle" upon encountering wrongdoing, noting that in the past it was seen as an option. The new directive, he added, "shows firm support for the IC IG Whistleblowing program that actively promotes federal whistleblowing through lawful disclosures, which ultimately strengthens our nation's security." The key to the campaign of openness to whistleblowers, as distinct from criminal leakers and publicity seekers, Meyer stresses, is that it "must aid the agency mission. It is developmental and helps all stakeholders understand that we have rules in effect," he added. Meyer is expecting a bow wave of whistleblower retaliation cases (which can involve punishments ranging from demotion to pay cuts to required psychiatric evaluation) to come through his office directly or through a hotline in the coming months.'

Given the realities of the insider threat program and war on whistleblowers I can't say that I am optimistic about the new directive."
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Whistleblowers Enter the Post-Snowden Era

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  • by CRCulver (715279) <crculver@christopherculver.com> on Tuesday June 03, 2014 @07:09AM (#47153797) Homepage

    The key to the campaign of openness to whistleblowers, as distinct from criminal leakers and publicity seekers, Meyer stresses, is that it "must aid the agency mission.

    There's your problem (or rather society's problem) right there: when the agency mission is sucking up as much information as possible, privacy of American citizens be damned, and then covering up for one another to reassure the American public, then that is something no one wants to aid, and the whole point of whistleblowing is to stop it.

    That the NSA's mission is a megalomaniac "collect it all" approach has been clear for a long, long time now. Back in the early millennium I read James Bamford's Body of Secrets [amazon.com] and followed keenly the European Parliament's ECHELON investigation (which was sadly obscured in the news by 9/11). Sadder than the fact that Snowden risks lifelong imprisonment is the fact that it took so long to get a Snowden in the first place after years of hints that something was wrong.

    • There's your problem (or rather society's problem) right there: when the agency mission is sucking up as much information as possible, privacy of American citizens be damned, and then covering up for one another to reassure the American public, then that is something no one wants to aid, and the whole point of whistleblowing is to stop it.

      Thats what the ballot box is for. The agency mission is generally an open thing.

      We need whistleblowers to expose hidden wrongdoing, not to try to change policy.

      • by CRCulver (715279) <crculver@christopherculver.com> on Tuesday June 03, 2014 @07:24AM (#47153897) Homepage

        Thats what the ballot box is for. The agency mission is generally an open thing. We need whistleblowers to expose hidden wrongdoing, not to try to change policy.

        My whole point is that there is a gap between the purported mission that voters can direct, and the real mission which, as we have seen, is kept hidden from the public until whistleblowers speak out. The NSA's public mission is reassuringly worded fluff, voters could have known nothing about the agency's insistence on ready access to all American internal telecommunications until Snowden spoke out.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          There's a dichotomy in your facts, which is possibly creating the false dilemma. The NSA's mission is to assumulate intelligence on FOREIGN activities. Let's throw this example back 30 years. 30 years ago a room in a foreign embassy is bugged. One day a US Citizen walks into "Country XYZs" embassy and says, "I want to give away secrets." 30 years ago, there would be no uproar when that information is acted on and the threat negated. Nowadays it suddenly has "dragons" and a dozen conspiracy theories, bu

          • ... If you're ni the IC (Intelligence Community), following rules set out is part of your job.

            Ah, you must think you are pretty clever hiding that carefully coded message in your post. Well, I will see your "ni" and raise you a shrubbery. (ducks to avoid missles)

      • by malignant_minded (884324) on Tuesday June 03, 2014 @07:24AM (#47153901)
        But if you must blow the whistle as soon as you encounter wrongdoing won't that mean everyone is slowly introduced to the fold therefore weeding out the potential of any real serious whistleblowing?
        • Not at all (Score:2, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward

          It means each employee is put in a lose-lose position. When wrongdoing is observed, either:

          1) You blow the whistle using proper channels, which means you really piss off your superiors who retaliate against you in a whole host of horrible (but technically legal) ways, and even if you raise grievances for this you are in for a long, character-destroying, career-destroying, savings-destroying legal battle.

          2) You keep quiet, which (by this directive) means you are complicit in the wrongdoing, and will be puni

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by jbmartin6 (1232050)
        And when is abolishing the NSA going to be on the ballot? Last hundred elections all I saw was a choice between Kang and Kodos
        • Sounds like you should be voting in primaries, then.

          Good news, theyre going on over the coming weeks.

        • by jythie (914043)
          Unfortunately, we get the government that most voters want, or at minimal is a product of most voter's desires. If 90% of the voters wanted the NSA gone and had that as their big determining issue, it would be gone pretty quickly. But voters want a complex mix of often mutually exclusive thing and with a whole range of priorities. The NSA stuff just is not important enough to enough people.
          • Voters don't really have any influence on public policy in the US, according to a recent study [sunlightfoundation.com].
      • by MrL0G1C (867445)

        "Thats what the ballot box is for."

        Ok, so you have a first-past-the-post system which means if you don't vote for one of the 2 leading parties then your vote means nothing.

        So, who is going to bring about sweeping reforms and restore the constitution to it's former glory, Democrats or Republicans?

        First-past-the-post is an anathema to democracy, it is the reason why two thirds of the population don't vote.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      the agency mission is sucking up as much information as possible

      More correctly: the agency mission is sucking up as much information as legally allowed. Which is his point, do the job but don't break the law. Some of what Snowden revealed was borderline illegal, most of it was legal.

      • The fact that it's legal doesn't make it right. A lot of people would be shocked at what's legal.
      • by Creepy (93888)

        What Snowden did was illegal and treason according to the Espionage Act of 1917. Of course, the Espionage Act of 1917 is entirely broken and redefines treason as giving any confidential information to anyone that isn't supposed to have it. Heck, the White House itself committed treason just last week when it revealed the name of the CIA head in Afghanistan.

        Furthermore, the NSA's charter forbids it from collecting information on Americans, but they've wanted their fingers in that honeypot for a long time. Th

    • by CrimsonAvenger (580665) on Tuesday June 03, 2014 @07:36AM (#47153979)

      openness to whistleblowers, as distinct from criminal leakers and publicity seekers

      So, how do you distinguish between "whistleblowers" and "criminal leakers" and "publicity seekers" BEFORE you make the decision to blow the whistle?

      If you guess wrong, you become one more statistic in the Obama Administration's policy of prosecuting whistleblowers (twice as many prosecutions as ALL other Administrations combined so far).

      I'm willing to bet, however, that the basic rule will be "if it embarrasses the other Party more than the Administration, it's "whistleblowing", but if it embarrasses the Administration it's "criminal leakers" or "publicity seekers"...

      • by cdrudge (68377)

        So, how do you distinguish between "whistleblowers" and "criminal leakers" and "publicity seekers" BEFORE you make the decision to blow the whistle?

        Do you stand to gain, directly or indirectly, any benefit either personally, professionally, or politically, by whatever is being whistle blown on?

        If yes, the whistle blower is a publicity seeking criminal leaker. If no, then the whistle blower should be a celebrated patriot.

        Unfortunately, far far too many people benefit directly or indirectly to effect real ch

        • Do you stand to gain, directly or indirectly, any benefit either personally, professionally, or politically, by whatever is being whistle blown on?

          That is an extremely wide difinition.

          Anyone whistle blowing is doing it because they want something changed, whether that is an improved working environment or a social/political change. That means they are indirectly benefitting and therefore by your definition no whistleblower is a whistleblower.

          • by cdrudge (68377)

            When I said "Do you stand to gain..." I was referring to someone other than the whistle blower, most likely the entity that the whistle is being blown on. Obviously the whistle blower has something to gain ultimately by what they are doing, otherwise why do it?

            For example, the NSA and in general the US Government had a lot to gain from the activities that Edward Snowden has revealed. Therefor the government has portrayed him as a "bad guy".

            Most others had nothing to gain from the revealed activities. Theref

        • Do you stand to gain, directly or indirectly, any benefit either personally, professionally, or politically, by whatever is being whistle blown on?

          If yes, the whistle blower is a publicity seeking criminal leaker.

          By this definition, the people who leaked the Watergate stories were "publicity seeking criminal leakers", since they stood to gain something "either personally, professionally, or politically". At a minimum, they removed a President they despised, which has to count as a benefit....

          • by cdrudge (68377)

            I worded my post poorly I guess. What I meant was those that benefited from the allegedly illegal activities (the government, evil corporations, etc) are going to view the whistle blowing negatively, but those that don't stand to benefit (usually the public in general) wouldn't.

      • by Creepy (93888)

        Well currently it doesn't matter - any whistleblowing to anyone that can't legally see the documents is treason by current law, so your only choice is to go through your superiors, which Snowden did and his grievances were ignored. Basically, all this says is now you are obliged to bring these things up with your superiors when you see them so you can quickly be tossed in a tiny isolated cell and be called a threat to national security before you take the next step and tell the press.

      • by vux984 (928602)

        If you guess wrong, you become one more statistic in the Obama Administration's policy of prosecuting whistleblowers (twice as many prosecutions as ALL other Administrations combined so far).

        I've read that stat, and don't dispute the truth of it; but I question whether it lacks context. Perhaps there are simply a lot more whistleblowers due to the degree the government has gone so far off he rails? Perhaps there is a peer, where once people started coming forwards, a lot more of them felt emboldened to com

    • by jythie (914043)
      It does not help that the difference between what the policy describes as "criminal leakers and publicity seekers" is purely in how the agency spins it.
    • Then I'm to understand that Snowden could come back to America and expect, what?
  • by cdrudge (68377) on Tuesday June 03, 2014 @07:09AM (#47153803) Homepage

    I see one of two outcomes from the flood of whistles about to be blown:
    1. Nothing. TPTB essentially say "That's nice. We'll handle it" and business goes on as normal. Whistle blower becomes frustrated and stops blowing whistle.
    2. Whistle blower disappears.

    Either way, the problem is solved.

    • by Gothmolly (148874)

      Exactly. Or both outcomes happen.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      There's a third option... the world changes in a positive direction because the right people respond.

      • by cdrudge (68377)

        Oh you and your naivety.

        When was the last government whistle blower that resulted in something positive for the world? Then also find me one where it didn't come a great personal cost to the whistle blower with the "protections" afforded to them.

        • by spacepimp (664856)

          Some would argue the Pentagon Papers and Daniel Ellsberg amounted to a positive change.

          • They would be wrong. Nothing has changed. In fact it has gotten worse steadily over the years. What did we get after Nixon? Reagan! Bush.. Clinton.. Obama... and the crookedest congress in ages. Where's the "positive" in that?

            • by spacepimp (664856)

              It unraveled Nixon, and was a tipping point in his paranoia, which would ultimately lead to the SIU/Watergate break ins. Even if people do not react intelligently, they are better served by the truth about their government than lies/misrepresentations.

              • Nixon was a punk, like every other elected official. They are all quite expendable. The system stands tall as ever.

          • by cdrudge (68377)

            After all was settled and looking back 40+ years, what positive effect aside from having an public historical account of what lead up to the Vietnam War? Not discounting the importance of having such information, but in the scheme of things that sounds pretty minor.

            Did it result in serious policy change? Did it result in more transparency, accuracy, or accountability in government operations? Did it result in the reduction of lost lives, damage to the environment, or cost reductions? No to all the above.

    • Bullshit (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Bullshit. I've done it. Policy was changed with appropriate congressional notification within about 3 days. Now, granted, what annoyed me was a technical violation of law that a few pilots were unaware of due to the Air Force screwing up the UAV manning, but the point is that in the spy world, IG complaints are taken seriously.

      Snowden? Didn't take any of the steps he was told in his inbriefing to address concerns. None of them. Not a single fucking one. He's not a hero; he's a traitor. He should be tried an

      • by Anonymous Coward

        liar liar, pants on fire. We all know the classic "repeat a lie and it will become a truth" and "don't tell a small lie, tell a big lie" - But that does NOT mean that we'll accept the lies of idiots and sycophants.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by jelIomizer (3670957)

        Snowden? Didn't take any of the steps he was told in his inbriefing to address concerns. None of them. Not a single fucking one. He's not a hero; he's a traitor. He should be tried and prosecuted.

        If the government is doing something blatantly unconstitutional, as the NSA was, then the people need to know about it. Risking it all being swept under the rug by trying to go to the 'proper channels' is foolish for exactly that reason. The people should be the first to know what the evil scumbags in the government are doing.

        I don't know who he unjustifiably betrayed, but it wasn't me, and it wasn't the ideals that this country is supposed to aspire to.

        • by BVis (267028)

          He'd have had a great deal more credibility (and thus have a greater impact) had he gone through proper channels first and gotten no satisfaction. He'd be able to say "I tried to do this the right way, hoping that the system would correct itself, but it didn't, so I decided that the people should know about this by other means."

          • Re:Bullshit (Score:5, Informative)

            by CRCulver (715279) <crculver@christopherculver.com> on Tuesday June 03, 2014 @08:07AM (#47154233) Homepage

            He'd have had a great deal more credibility (and thus have a greater impact) had he gone through proper channels first and gotten no satisfaction.

            Snowden has always claimed -- and the US government has recently admitted - that he did first approach his superiors, and only when his unease was brushed aside did he decide to release his information to journalists.

            • by BVis (267028)

              I stand corrected then.

            • Re:Bullshit (Score:4, Insightful)

              by Straif (172656) on Tuesday June 03, 2014 @10:14AM (#47155565) Homepage

              Not quite or even partially true. Snowden CLAIMS he approached his superiors multiple times but the only released document was about a technical question about the legal power of executive orders.

              He essentially asked if executive orders outweighed actual signed laws and the answer given him that while they have the weight of a law, if they conflict with a law then EO's are effectively void.

              Of course you can claim that this was the only document released by the NSA because it proves Snowden is lying about his attempts to properly handle what he saw as a violation of the constitution, but if there were other documents don't you think Snowden would have presented them to prove his case. Or is a man who managed to copy millions of classified document not able to copy HIS OWN EMAILS from his account prior to leaving?

              • by Anonymous Coward

                So far when Snowden's word stood against the word of government officials, it was a rather one-sided spectacle who had to eat his word again and again and again.

                So I don't get what people clamoring "he must be lying" are doing to themselves: why the moral outrage over something he has not ever proven to be doing while accepting your own government proven time and again to be liars, oathbreakers, torturers, murderers, and terrorists?

                Why even waste time speculating about the nature of a single man when your w

                • by Straif (172656)

                  1) I'm not American so their internal spying did not violate my non-existent constitutional rights.
                  2) I don't have much of an issue with his disclosures about their internal spying programs since I happen to believe they are violations of the constitution.
                  3) It's his disclosure of external spying I disagree with. All countries spy on each other; that's nothing new or unexpected but his disclosure of specifics placed him clearly outside of the concerned citizen category into the traitor camp.
                  4) This part of

              • Re:Bullshit (Score:5, Insightful)

                by NoKaOi (1415755) on Tuesday June 03, 2014 @03:39PM (#47159441)

                Because the important thing is to focus on whether Snowden followed proper procedure. Forget about what he exposed, all those gross violations of the constitution are completely irrelevant if he didn't follow procedure when exposing them.

          • He'd have had a great deal more credibility (and thus have a greater impact) had he gone through proper channels first and gotten no satisfaction. He'd be able to say "I tried to do this the right way, hoping that the system would correct itself, but it didn't, so I decided that the people should know about this by other means."

            You mean like this?

            http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-switch/wp/2014/03/07/snowden-i-raised-nsa-concerns-internally-over-10-times-before-going-rogue/

            • by BVis (267028)

              If you bothered to read my other response to the first person who corrected me, you'd see that this comment was unnecessary. Please satisfy your desire to be right on the internet somewhere else.

              • I'm right in person too! ;-)

                Look, I didn't mean to be redundant or piss you off. I see by your member number that you've been here a while. So you know how this forum is. That article was the first hit on Google when I searched for: snowden report to superiors. I often do a little research before I post here because I know I'm dealing with a bunch of know-it-all nerds, and I want to make sure my shit is legit. You seem like a good guy (I assume you're a guy, but no one knows if you're a dog on the Inte

          • That's a terrible fucking idea. If the government is violating the highest law of the land, then the people need to be the first to know. Trying to go the "right way" isn't the right way at all! Informing the people should happen first, because otherwise you jeopardize your mission.

            • Also, I know that he did try to go through the 'right channel', but I think that was a bad idea on his part. What if they shut him out afterwards, got rid of him, or some other such thing, and he was prevented from being able to leak the documents? This is why you need to leak the activities of these government scumbags to the people; it's the only moral thing to do.

              He would not lose "credibility" at all by not reporting this shit in secret to corrupt government scumbags; the documents would still expose th

      • Bullshit. I've done it. Policy was changed with appropriate congressional notification within about 3 days. Now, granted, what annoyed me was a technical violation of law that a few pilots were unaware of due to the Air Force screwing up the UAV manning, but the point is that in the spy world, IG complaints are taken seriously.

        Snowden? Didn't take any of the steps he was told in his inbriefing to address concerns. None of them. Not a single fucking one. He's not a hero; he's a traitor. He should be tried and prosecuted.

        Really? Not a single fucking one? Do you know something he doesn't?

        http://www.washingtonpost.com/... [washingtonpost.com]

        Maybe try some bullshit that's not refuted by the very first Google hit.

      • by spacepimp (664856)

        He most certainly did claim to have made attempts and on public Television afforded the NSA the ability to to prove he hadn't. HAve you seen the NSA step up and repeat that no attempts were made and prove him wrong?

    • by NotDrWho (3543773) on Tuesday June 03, 2014 @07:42AM (#47154017)

      Anyone stupid enough to believe this "we respect whistleblowers" horseshit had best read up on Thomas Drake [wikipedia.org].

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Meyer stresses, is that it "must aid the agency mission. It is developmental and helps all stakeholders understand that we have rules in effect," he added.

    OK, so if the mission is secret and criminal that means that there still is no other option than to use foreign media to blow the whistle.

    Since anything the top of the organization approves of will be considered to be the agencies mission that means that this can only be used to report activities within the organization that is against the will of those in command. That has never been a problem, telling the boss that a coworker is doing something he shouldn't have always been viable.

    The only thing this is g

  • Idiotic Management (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 03, 2014 @07:16AM (#47153859)

    This is same kind of idiot managers who send out company-wide announcements that tell employees to trust the company and talk at length about the rewards of loyalty... 2 weeks after a massive layoff.

    "actively promotes federal whistleblowing"? Who are they kidding? Would anyone intelligent enough to work in intelligence agency be so stupid to believe that? If anyone did, they just disqualified themselves of their job!

  • by coofercat (719737) on Tuesday June 03, 2014 @07:27AM (#47153919) Homepage Journal

    > Meyer stresses, is that it "must aid the agency mission. It is developmental and helps all stakeholders understand that we have rules in effect," he added

    Aside from the poor editorial prose, here's what he really means:

    "If you're a potential whistleblower, you must disclose to your immediate manager. It's the only way we'll ever know who all the people that work for us aren't really 'for' us, such that we might put them on projects 'more in keeping' with their principles and standards".

    How on earth you can have a whisteblower hiding out in Russia (of all places!) in fear of the repercussions of his actions and say people should come forward is beyond me. At the very least, he should be in the US, on a (fair) public trial with known potential outcomes. Without that, no one is trustworthy.

  • It smells like a trap.
  • by fredrated (639554) on Tuesday June 03, 2014 @07:36AM (#47153975) Journal

    How about this: Must support the Constitution. These people think they come before the Constitution.

  • Slight correction (Score:5, Insightful)

    by NotDrWho (3543773) on Tuesday June 03, 2014 @07:39AM (#47153995)

    The new directive, he added, "shows firm support for the IC IG Whistleblowing program that actively promotes federal whistleblowing through lawful disclosures, which will be ignored and will get you fired and maybe thrown in prison

    FTFY

  • by LordKronos (470910) on Tuesday June 03, 2014 @07:40AM (#47154005) Homepage

    Yes, if only this existed before Snowden, then people would have felt compelled to blow the whistle and the problem would have been taken care of before the whole Snowden incedent. Right?

    Oh yeah, that's right. There were already people trying to blow the whistle on this stuff. PBS had a pretty good couple of episodes a few weeks back called United States of Secrets. They covered the whole background of these NSA programs. And they covered the story of someone who tried to blow the whistle on one of the programs. Want to know what happened from it? Let me just repost what I posted in another forum a few days ago:

    As I recall from the frontline documentary, one of the guys involved in one of the illegal programs did go to someone in congress (someone on the intelligence oversight committee). When that representative tried to pursue the matter, she was met with mostly silence, mixed with a few "requests" to stop looking into the matter. The investigations she did manage to get started went nowhere. For the report that was generated, the NSA managed to get it classified, and nearly the entire thing was withheld. When someone eventually did leak details to the press, the representative (now retired) had her house raided by the FBI (multiple times), dragged before congress, and was under investigation for years.

    Also, if I'm not getting my people mixed up, I believe the person that did go to her was also a suspect in the above mentioned leak. His home was also raided (along with 4 other guys who retired because they didn't want to be associated with the illegal program). The FBI took his computer and then said that he was screwed (something like a 30+ year sentence) because they found classified documents on his computer. He spent his entire retirement fund on his legal defense, then when he ran out of money had to take a public defender. When the specific "classified" documents that he supposedly had on his computer were revealed, his lawyer was eventually able to find those documents online. They were previously unclassified, and were changed to classified after the fact in order to manufacture the evidence against him. After this came to light, the Feds just quietly dropped their case against him.

    That's what happens when you try to do things the "right" way.

    So do you think that sort of thing is going to encourage people to come forward? And do you think the few that do are likely to have any actual results?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by bughunter (10093)

      Not only this, but two successive White House administrations went to extraordinary lengths to put domestic wiretapping in place in secrecy and keep it in place, without approval or oversight from Congress, much less public opinion.

      When seeking authorization for domestic wiretapping in 2004 using convoluted legalese and twisted definitions, Bush White House lawyers Andrew Card and Alberto Gonzales couldn't get approval from the acting Attorney General, James Comey, who cited a DOJ opinion that the program l

  • by sirlark (1676276) on Tuesday June 03, 2014 @07:48AM (#47154075)

    actively promotes federal whistleblowing through lawful disclosures (Emphasis Mine)

    It's not about disclosing illegal activities. It's about disclosing activities that shouldn't be legal, or activities the public should be made aware of because their government is doing it behind their backs, even if legally. Yes, the ballot box is supposed to be the place to sort it out, but the ballot box presumes an informed citizenry. An informed citizenry presumes a system where whistle blowers are protected if they're actions are indeed in the public interest.

    There can be no lawful disclosure if revealing legally classified documents is unlawful, even if the legal system facilitating the classification of those documents doesn't enjoy the broad support of the people. The correct term, that doesn't allow legal weaselling is "the public interest".

  • Neither Snowden nor Manning had to go public. They knew the whistle-blower system was broken. Why in Sam Hill didn't they just leak the information and keep their names out of it? Thoughts?
    • Because they would have been identified eventually, anyway.

    • by Githaron (2462596)
      A whistle blower's exclusion of their name is likely only going to protect them for so long. It is better to be seen as a hero than just to disappear or be cleverly murdered one night. Also, revealing themself as a source adds validity to the information leaked.
      • Yeah, I see your point about "cleverly murdered." The way it is now, if Snowden is fatally harmed, the conspiracies theories would never end.
    • by spacepimp (664856)

      An anonymous leak can be dismissed as fake, and the US gov't could spin it into any number of threads purporting it is in fact a foreign ploy or what have you.

    • by Arker (91948)
      In Snowdens case, he has said that he feared if he tried to do it secretly his own coworkers would come under suspicion for it, an outcome that was not acceptable to him.
      • Thanks for the information. I did not see that in my readings. It does make sense that his anonymity would have launched a witch hunt, and probably provided more than one scapegoat.
    • by Guppy06 (410832)
      If you stay in the dark, what they end up doing to you also stays in the dark.
    • by bughunter (10093)

      Because then Greenwald and Poitras and the Guardian would be under threat of imprisonment to reveal their source, and would be the target of White House retaliation for revealing classified information.

      Faced with these threats, no publisher would go with a single anonymous source (unless, of course, that source is "an unnamed administration official"). They would be far more easily convinced by the White House / Pentagon to keep the documents under wraps, or destroy them. That's why Wikileaks found a nich

  • by CaptainDork (3678879) on Tuesday June 03, 2014 @08:12AM (#47154283)
    We know about these guys. How many others have access to classified information who are walking in, taking the goods, walking out and selling the stuff? The government didn't know about either of these guys. It's scary.
  • ...that lots of people still spell Whistleblower S-N-I-T-C-H.

  • by gstoddart (321705) on Tuesday June 03, 2014 @09:23AM (#47154919) Homepage

    When you blow the whistle, and your bosses say "shut up and do your job, because this is policy" what do you do?

    Do you say "oh, gee, well, if it's policy that's OK"? Or, does someone eventually do what Snowden did?

    This to me sounds more like a way to say "now that you've reported it, you can't tell anybody else about it, even if we utterly fail to change anything".

    This sounds like a policy designed to assist in sweeping these type things under the rug.

  • >"is an affirmative statement that you have to blow the whistle" upon encountering wrongdoing

    its exactly what they told me repeatedly in my time in the army, and that if I comitted a war crime "following orders" would not save my ass. I was instructed on the chain of comman, and other support channels to report attrocities and the laws of war.

    that said, the systems knows if they just feed the public a line, the public will eat it up.

    if you ever met people who work in politics and government, you know how

  • by Charliemopps (1157495) on Tuesday June 03, 2014 @09:29AM (#47154993)

    Snowden DID use those channels, and the NSA ignored him:
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/... [washingtonpost.com]
    http://www.theguardian.com/wor... [theguardian.com]

    Not only that, but there were people speaking publicly about this for YEARS prior to Snowden and they were also ignored:
    http://www.usatoday.com/story/... [usatoday.com] (warning, auto-start video)

    The NSA tried to portray those people as crackpots until Snowden came along with proof. Remember, he didn't reveal anything new... he just provided details and corroborative evidence so the NSA could no longer ignore/deny it.

    To this day, the NSA claims what they are doing is Legal. How on earth could Snowden have gotten anywhere without bringing this to the public's attention? It's going to take congressional action to even begin to limit what they are doing. There was no other way for that to happen than for him to go public. I'm not even sure if he went far enough.

  • AFAIK all the information released by Snowden is about official NSA programs that have been approved by legions of higher-ups. It is obviously a loser to go to one of those higher-ups to claim that such a program is illegal. Whistleblowing within the organization only makes sense when it involves actions by some rogue person(s) that goes against organization policy. Telling your boss that what he does is illegal, will just get you into trouble.

  • Watered down to the point of being meaningless.

  • Is the IG obligated to tell the people anything? Or is this an attempt for them to find out (and cover up) any wrongdoings before we find out?

    "Mr S found out about a part of project X. We need to tighten security on that project before the wrong workers find out about the rest of project X. Also start monitoring all of Mr S's personal communications and arrest him if anything looks suspicious and save anything that we can use to attack him publicly and destroy his credibility if he tells a reporter that

  • by idontgno (624372) on Tuesday June 03, 2014 @11:12AM (#47156315) Journal

    Il est dangereux d'avoir raison dans des choses où des hommes accrédités ont tort.
    (It is dangerous to be right in matters where established men are wrong.)

  • By reporting internally:

    • The secrets stay secret. Congress, the Courts, and especially the American public will never know.
    • The problem can be "addressed" without doing anything.
    • The malcontent identifies him or herself to the higher-ups, who can decide how to handle him or her from there and most especially prevent them from doing more damage.
    • If the malcontent is not satisfied with the result and later leaks for real, he or she will be first on the list of people to look at to identify the leak.
    • If there is

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