"As a matter of law, no one who leaks classified information to the media (instead of to an appropriate governmental authority) is a whistleblower entitled to legal protection," Zaid wrote in a Washington Post op-ed piece in 2017. "That applies to Winner, Snowden, and Chelsea Manning, no matter what one thinks of their actions. The law appropriately protects only those who follow it. Anyone who acts contrary does so at their own peril."
According to Zaid and his organization -- which MoveOn is now avidly promoting and helping to subsidize -- if the White House whistleblower's memo had been bottled up via official channels and then had been leaked to a news organization, the whistleblower leaking the memo would not be, and should not be, "entitled to legal protection."
But, as Snowden has often emphasized, the official scenario of going through channels is a dangerous myth for "national security" whistleblowers. The reason Snowden didn't go through channels is that he saw what happened to whistleblowers who did -- like Drake, who was targeted, harassed, and then prosecuted on numerous felony counts. Snowden clearly understood that going through channels would achieve nothing except punishment, which is why he wisely decided to go directly to journalists.
MoveOn has not only refused to support courageous whistleblowers like Snowden, Drake, Manning, Kiriakou, and Sterling -- who've informed the world about systematic war crimes, wholesale shredding of the Fourth Amendment with mass surveillance, officially sanctioned torture, and dangerously flawed intelligence operations.
Now, MoveOn is partnering with a legal outfit that actually contends such brave souls don't deserve any protections as whistleblowers. Despite its assertion that "protecting whistleblowers is critical for a healthy democracy," MoveOn is now splitting donations with an organization that supports the absence of legal protections for many of them.
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