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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 7/2/13

The Wider War on Whistleblowers

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National Security Agency (NSA) whistleblower Edward Snowden's shocking revelations of massive illegal government surveillance was swiftly met by the Obama administration's routine response to whistleblowers, criminal prosecution in federal court. The program he exposed is nothing less than a full-scale government effort to completely eliminate individual privacy. The federal regime, in homage to their ostensible ideological forbearers, the East German Stasi, has at least in practice adopted the Stasi's motto of "to know everything." Snowden was charged with a variety of offenses directly flowing from his whistleblowing, including theft of government property, unauthorized communication of national defense information and willful communication of classified communications intelligence information to an unauthorized person, in a criminal complaint dated June 14th.

 

 


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The U.S. government, as was the case in East Germany, is using state security agencies to destroy privacy in a quest to "know everything"     


 

Snowden now joins a long and growing list of whistleblowers designated as enemies of the Obama administration and prosecuted mercilessly by his Department of Justice (DOJ), headed by Attorney General Eric Holder. The administration's tactics with targeted whistleblowers involves a strategy of charging them criminally and then using compliant reporters, who are essentially acting as agents of the government, to disseminate damaging information on the source of the government leaks while completely ignoring the exposed wrongdoing. Obama is hardly the first president to use the DOJ for blatantly political purposes, but he is now disturbingly doing so as a matter of course.

 

 


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Barak Obama and his predecessor, George W. Bush. Two presidents, one uninterrupted regime?


 

Snowden and other high profile whistleblowers have received the bulk of the media's attention on this topic, but they represent only a fraction of the criminal cases brought by federal prosecutors at the behest of the Obama administration. Countless lesser-known whistleblowers and other enemies of the administration have been maliciously prosecuted for offenses that at first glance have nothing to do with taking a principled stand. These people are subjected to the microscope wielded by federal prosecutors and examined until a suitable offense can be found. The ever-expanding federal code offers creative prosecutors all they need to make convenient cases against targeted individuals. Working with their judicial partners on the federal bench who continue to expand the scope of already ridiculously broad and amorphous statutes, federal prosecutors rarely come away empty handed.

 

Harvey Silvergate, author of Three Felonies a Day: How the Feds Target the Innocent, explains how federal criminal laws have become dangerously disconnected from legal tradition and asserts that prosecutors can now pin crimes on anyone for practically nothing at all.  The problem, he says, is modern federal criminal laws, which have exploded in number and become impossibly broad and vague. According to Silvergate, "Justice has become sufficiently perverted in this nation that federal prosecutors, if they put their minds to it, could find a way to indict almost any one of us for almost anything." This malleability makes federal prosecution the weapon of choice for the Obama administration's ongoing war against whistleblowers. 

 


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Barry Scott Sussman- Born and raised in New Jersey. Graduated from Rutgers University with a BA in Sociology. Graduated with a JD from the Benjamin Cardozo School of Law specializing in Federal Criminal Procedure and Federal Prosecutorial (more...)
 

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