The Guardian: Daniel Ellsberg – Snowden Would Not Get a Fair Trial and Kerry is Wrong

In the wake of GAP client Edward Snowden’s television interview with NBC News last week, there is a multitude of stories about the actions of this generation’s most prominent whistleblower.

Late last week, Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg published an op-ed in The Guardian challenging Secretary of State John Kerry for making derogatory remarks about Snowden and stating he should return to the United States for trial, while invoking Ellsberg as a patriot who bravely faced the court system. Ellsberg states that Kerry is either “disingenuous or simply ignorant” as Snowden would not receive a fair trial whatsoever, explaining how the Espionage Act has been perverted to persecute whistleblowers and not allow them (at trial) to explain why they revealed information. Ellsberg also appeared on MSNBC.

GAP National Security & Human Rights Director Jesselyn Radack appeared on several national outlets to challenge continued false assertions made about Snowden. In this online piece from NBC News, she rebuts several incorrect assertions from a former Chief of Staff to the CIA Director. Radack also appeared on RT to detail the importance of Snowden’s interview.

After Snowden’s interview last week, the NSA released an internal email which it claims shows that the whistleblower did not raise concerns internally before going public. In a Q&A session with the Washington Post, Snowden stated that the agency released an incomplete email, failed to reveal other emails he sent that raised concerns, pointed out that months ago the agency claimed not to have any of his emails, mentioned that the NSA was recently caught in a lie about skirting German laws, and reiterated that he raised concerns multiple times both in writing and in person. More about what the released email actually indicates can be found on Empty Wheel.

Lastly, in the latest revelatory story based on Snowden’s disclosures, the NSA is “harvesting huge numbers of images of people from communications that it intercepts through its global surveillance operations for use in sophisticated facial recognition programs.”

Salon: America’s Leak Hypocrisy – The Double Standard for Exposing Undercover Identities

This excellent op-ed from GAP’s Radack details the ongoing hypocrisy over federal officials’ reveal of classified information. While a recent release by the White House of an undercover CIA official’s name will in all likelihood go unpunished, CIA/torture whistleblower John Kiriakou sits in jail.

In related news, in his latest letter, John sends thanks to all the supporters for their efforts on his behalf, including the May 9th Day of Action on which GAP and others asked members of Congress to ask the Bureau of Prisons to move John to a halfway house near his family.

Key Quote (Salon): Less than two months after the Obama administration gave blanket “look forward, not backward” immunity to all CIA officers who participated in torture, Mr. Kiriakou was convicted for telling a reporter the name of a covert CIA officer involved in the program. The officer’s name and his involvement in the “enhanced interrogation” program was well-known among human rights activists and journalists covering the torture beat, and ended up in a classified court filing, not the newspaper. In other words, Mr. Kiriakou is in jail for giving a reporter a name, which was never published, of someone highly-involved in the torture program. The irony is that if Mr. Kiriakou had actually tortured someone, he would not be in jail today.

Financial Times: William D Cohan on Wall Street Whistleblowers

This lengthy column looks at how several financial industry whistleblowers tried to report wrongdoing in the years before the 2008 economic downturn, but were ignored, marginalized or retaliated against. Further, the piece looks at the problems of the primary reform bill – the Dodd-Frank Act – and quotes GAP Executive Director Bea Edwards about severe shortcomings in the SEC bounty provisions.

Key Quote: As a further harbinger of danger, Edwards points to the secret $14m award the SEC made recently to an anonymous whistleblower at an unnamed financial institution. The SEC didn’t even reveal the nature of the wrongdoing the whistleblower uncovered, so both the company’s shareholders and the public remain in the dark about what was specifically uncovered and where. All that is known is that the SEC did bring a major enforcement action against a financial institution that resulted in a large penalty and the corresponding $14m award to the whistleblower. “If you allow this – that the award can be made without naming the company or the type of fraud – it’s really nothing more than hush money,” she says. “How is it different? The SEC of course defends itself by saying, ‘We’re not revealing the name of the company or the nature of the fraud because we’re protecting the identity of the whistleblower.’ But the SEC is a disclosure agency, so they should have to establish that [not revealing the information] is really required in order to protect the whistleblower, if they’re going to in a sense subvert their mission...They really are not able to justify why they are silent about the name of the company or the nature of the fraud.”

Associated Press: Whistleblower Says Officials Tried to Silence Him

A Department of Veterans Affairs employee in San Antonio claims officials put pressure on him to keep quiet after he began reporting scheduling manipulation to his superiors. He said scheduling clerks were “regularly told to enter false scheduling information to make it appear that wait times for appointments were far shorter than they really were.”


Dylan Blaylock is Communications Director for the Government Accountability Project, the nation’s leading whistleblower protection and advocacy organization.