Frontline: United States of Secrets
Last night, Frontline premiered the first part of its two-part series looking at the history of the National Security Agency (NSA) surveillance program. The two-hour piece explores how the George W. Bush administration allowed the agency to institute warrantless mass surveillance of Americans in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, despite having an alternative that would have protected Americans’ privacy rights. The piece looks at the efforts of whistleblowing insiders to bring accountability to the surveillance programs over several years, including numerous GAP clients such as Tom Drake, J. Kirk Wiebe, and Bill Binney. Further, the report details how the whistleblowers were retaliated against harshly for years, which continued under the Obama administration (along with the surveillance programs). The reprisal against Tom Drake is a particular focus. The piece begins and ends with snippets of the story of Edward Snowden. GAP National Security & Human Rights Director Jesselyn Radack is interviewed.
The documentary is a must-watch for all citizens concerned about the growing surveillance state. Next week, the second part of the series will focus more on the disclosures of Snowden, and the questionable relationship between the NSA and major technology companies.
In another whistleblower case involving a Veterans Affairs Medical Center, insiders from the Hines center in Illinois are alleging that “multiple secret waiting lists” of veteran patients exist. Such lists were allegedly created so that veterans would not be put on official lists until they were ready to be seen, keeping the reported wait times very low, leading to bonuses for center staff.
A former prison executive in Oregon has settled his whistleblower suit against the state Department of Corrections. The executive claims he was fired for informing state officials about the department’s “questionable spending and hiring.”
Dylan Blaylock is Communications Director for the Government Accountability Project, the nation’s leading whistleblower protection and advocacy organization.