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OpEdNews Op Eds    H1'ed 5/12/15

Punishing Another Whistleblower

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A Close Look at the CIA Cables

Writer/truth-seeker David Swanson, who joined us in January for much of the Sterling trial, has done us a real service by scrutinizing the evidence that turned up at the trial and going through a lot of it with a studied eye. Dissecting one not-carefully-enough-redacted CIA cable released by the government, he noticed telling signs that Iraq was next on the list for receiving damning blueprints of the kind CIA operatives tried to give to Iran.

On Monday, Swanson re-posted an analytic piece he wrote in January, entitled "In Convicting Jeffrey Sterling, CIA Revealed More Than It Accused Him of Revealing."

Except for an interview that I gave to Steven Nelson of U.S. News & World Report after Sterling's sentencing, Iran's PressTV was the only outlet that called me for comment despite a press release put out by the Institute for Public Accuracy noting my availability.

I began by explaining to the audience that it was the First Amendment to our Constitution that guaranteed my right to speak candidly with them -- or with anyone else. I then told my Iranian hosts that the First Amendment is actually what the Jeffrey Sterling case is all about. And the opaque Obama administration saw the Sterling trial as an opportunity to draw yet another layer of dark curtain to keep out unwanted light.

The message to potential whistleblowers was: Do not talk to reporters. Your government will learn of it and won't hesitate to pull out all stops to convict you even with the flimsiest of circumstantial evidence spun by charming CIA "case officers." Of course, different standards apply to the powerful and well-connected. The likes of David Petraeus can even lie to the FBI and escape unscathed.

Ultimately, I don't think this government strategy is going to work -- and I hope I am not being unrealistic. Evidence is already building that grossly defamed whistleblowers like Edward Snowden and Jeffrey Sterling will eventually be recognized for the patriots they are. Indeed, the process has already begun.

On May 7, for example, a New York appeals court gave tacit vindication to Snowden by ruling that the bulk collection of telephone metadata by NSA was, in fact, "illegal." Earlier disclosures by Snowden's actually proved that two of the judges on that appeals court had been lied to by Justice Department lawyers in the past. So, this time around, one of them, Judge Robert Sack, pointedly asked the attorneys from Justice, "What else haven't you let us know?"

In his formal opinion, Judge Sack compared Snowden to whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg, writing "the 'leak' by Edward Snowden that led to this litigation [against the National Security Agency], calls to mind the disclosures by Daniel Ellsberg that gave rise to the legendary 'Pentagon Papers' litigation." Perhaps, in that light, Judge Brinkema will reflect a moment on what she allowed to transpire in her court during the Sterling trial.

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Ray McGovern works with Tell the Word, the publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in inner-city Washington. He was an Army infantry/intelligence officer and then a CIA analyst for 27 years, and is now on the Steering Group of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS). His (more...)
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