Commenting on Edward Snowden, his disclosure, and the government’s predictable reaction, the Government Accountability Project issued a principled organizational statement in support of his actions. Among its points was the following:
VII. WE ARE WITNESSING THE CRIMINALIZATION OF WHISTLEBLOWING.
During the last decade, the legal rights for whistleblowers have expanded for many federal workers and contractors, with the one exception of employees within the intelligence community. The rights of these employees have significantly contracted. The Obama administration has conducted an unprecedented campaign against national security whistleblowers, bringing more Espionage Act indictments than all previous administrations combined.
Moreover, at the behest of the House Intelligence Committee, strengthened whistleblower protections for national security workers were stripped from major pieces of legislation such as the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act (for federal employees) and the National Defense Authorization Act of 2013 (for federal contractors). If those protections existed today, Snowden’s disclosures would have stood a greater chance of being addressed effectively from within the organization.
I have been critical of GAP precisely because, when lobbying for those bills, it went easy on those in Congress who weakened the legislation; it refused to be open and transparent about its lobbying activities; it took a secretive and exclusive approach, going so far as to malign and smear critics and sow dissent among the grassroots (much like retaliators do); and it refused to name and shame the legislators who traded away whistleblower protections when it mattered. I covered these issues in real time. That coverage can be found here.
I am heartened to see this change in philosophy. I hope it translates into more transparent, inclusive, and uncompromised advocacy in Congress. I thank GAP for taking this principled and courageous stance today.