Washington Post: U.S. Officials Scrambled to Nab Snowden, Hoping He Would Take a Wrong Step. He Didn’t.
This article details how, in the months following the initial disclosures of widespread NSA surveillance by GAP client Edward Snowden, “senior officials from the FBI, the CIA, the State Department and other agencies assembled nearly every day” to generate ideas about how the whistleblower could be brought back to the United States. The article touches on the controversial forced landing of Bolivian President Evo Morales’ plane last summer.
Key Quote: “The best play for us is him landing in a third country,” [White House Homeland Security Advisor Lisa] Monaco said, according to an official who met with her at the White House. The official, who like other current and former officials interviewed for this article discussed internal deliberations on the condition of anonymity, added, “We were hoping he was going to be stupid enough to get on some kind of airplane, and then have an ally say: ‘You’re in our airspace. Land.’”
U.S. officials thought they saw such an opening on July 2 when Bolivian President Evo Morales, who expressed support for Snowden, left Moscow aboard his presidential aircraft. The decision to divert that plane ended in embarrassment when it was searched in Vienna and Snowden was not aboard.
Acting Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Sloan Gibson issued a public message to VA employees as the ongoing waiting-time crisis unfolds. With regard to whistleblowers, he stated that the department would not tolerate retaliation against those who expose misconduct within the agency. The pledge came one week after the Office of Special Counsel stated it is investigating the claims of 37 whistleblowers regarding inappropriate record-keeping practices at VA hospitals.
In related news, this piece looks at the potential ramifications of the dispute between the VA Office of Inspector General (IG) and GAP’s coalition partner, the Project on Government Oversight (POGO). The nonprofit group has refused a subpoena from the IG to turn over VA whistleblower submissions it has received.
Dylan Blaylock is Communications Director for the Government Accountability Project, the nation’s leading whistleblower protection and advocacy organization.