Obama Administration Arresting Whistleblowers Under A Century Old Law
On January 23, the Obama administration charged former CIA officer John Kiriakou under the Espionage Act for disclosing classified information to journalists about the waterboarding of al-Qaeda suspects. His is just the latest prosecution in an unprecedented assault on government whistleblowers and leakers of every sort.
The Obama administration has already charged more people - six - under the Espionage Act for alleged mishandling of classified information than all past presidencies combined. (Prior to Obama, there were only three such cases in US history.)
Kiriakou, in particular, is accused of giving information about the CIA’s torture programmes to reporters two years ago. Like the other five whistleblowers, he has been charged under the draconian World War I-era Espionage Act.
The well-reported case of Thomas Drake is an example. As an employee, Drake revealed to the press that the National Security Agency (NSA) spent $1.2 billion on a contract for a data collection programme called Trailblazer when the work could have been done in-house for $3 million. The NSA’s response? Drake’s home was raided at gunpoint and the agency forced him out of his job.
“The government convinced themselves I was a bad guy, an enemy of the state, and went after me with everything they had, seeking to destroy my life, my livelihood, and my person - the politics of personal destruction, while also engaging in abject, cut-throat character assassination, a complete fabrication and frame up,” Drake told Antiwar.com.