Tuesday, May 21, 2013

"War on Whistleblowers": new doc from Robert Greenwald examines how government muzzles the truth

As a result of a posting on my “International Issues” blog (May 14) on warrantless Department of Justice Monitoring of Associated Press reporter phone records, I wound up with a free review copy of the new 65-minute documentary “War on Whistleblowers: Free Press and the National Security State”, by Robert Greenwald, from Brave New Foundation (link). 
Greenwald points out that in the Middle Ages, “Whistleblowers” on the Church establishment went to prison but laid the foundation for the modern world – like Galileo.
One of the most important concepts in the film is the distinction between leaking and whistleblowing.  The latter does not usually involve the release of classified information.
The film interviews many reporters who have investigated the Federal government’s post 9/11 abuses – like David Cain, Bill Keller, Jessica Radack, and Michael Isekoff.
The film seems to focus on three or more specific cases.  One was a DOJ lawyer Thomas M. Tann, who actually reported on the agency’s own abuse of warrantless searches.  He resigned, but came home one day in August 2007 to find his wife and family under the control of eighteen federal agents. 
A second case is the NSA’s Tom Drake, and another was Lockheed’s Michael DeKort.
Often the government will threaten to prosecute under the Espionage Act, even when there has been no spying.
Bradley Manning’s case (the “friendly fire” killings in Iraq) is mentioned toward the end.  (My review and embed of “Collateral Murder” appears on my “cf” (“Cautionary”) blog, April 7. 2010.
The government said it was concerned, in the AP case, about federal employees disclosing classified information. It wasn’t concerned about reporters.  But now reporters find that officials may be afraid to talk to them,
The Obama administration is said to be more draconian on "leaks" than even the Bush administration.

What if a blogger accidentally got a hold of classified information and disclosed it? 

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