• Whistleblowers Write Open Letter to Federal Employees after Snowden

    December 23, 2013

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    Posted in: Democracy



    I know you’re out there, and this is for you.

    Somewhere there is a Federal government employee who has witnessed an act of government waste, fraud, malfeasance or mismanagement and is unsure what to do next. Several former whistleblowers have written a letter to you. I fully endorse what they say (see my additional thoughts here), and encourage you to take the hard, right choice over staying silent.

    We’re all depending on you.

    (This open letter originally appeared in the UK’s Guardian newspaper; links added)

    The Letter

    At least since the aftermath of September 2001, western governments and intelligence agencies have been hard at work expanding the scope of their own power, while eroding privacy, civil liberties and public control of policy. What used to be viewed as paranoid, Orwellian, tin-foil hat fantasies turned out post-Snowden, to be not even the whole story.

    What’s really remarkable is that we’ve been warned for years that these things were going on: wholesale surveillance of entire populations, militarization of the internet, the end of privacy. All is done in the name of “national security”, which has more or less become a chant to fence off debate and make sure governments aren’t held to account – that they can’t be held to account – because everything is being done in the dark. Secret laws, secret interpretations of secret laws by secret courts and no effective parliamentary oversight whatsoever.

    By and large the media have paid scant attention to this, even as more and more courageous, principled whistleblowers stepped forward. The unprecedented persecution of truth-tellers, initiated by the Bush administration and severely accelerated by the Obama administration, has been mostly ignored, while record numbers of well-meaning people are charged with serious felonies simply for letting their fellow citizens know what’s going on.

    It’s one of the bitter ironies of our time that while John Kiriakou (ex-CIA) is in prison for blowing the whistle on US torture, the torturers and their enablers walk free.

    Likewise WikiLeaks-source Chelsea (née Bradley) Manning was charged with – amongst other serious crimes – aiding the enemy (read: the public). Manning was sentenced to 35 years in prison while the people who planned the illegal and disastrous war on Iraq in 2003 are still treated as dignitaries.

    Numerous ex-NSA officials have come forward in the past decade, disclosing massive fraud, vast illegalities and abuse of power in said agency, including Thomas Drake, William Binney and Kirk Wiebe. The response was 100% persecution and 0% accountability by both the NSA and the rest of government. Blowing the whistle on powerful factions is not a fun thing to do, but despite the poor track record of western media, whistleblowing remains the last avenue for truth, balanced debate and upholding democracy – that fragile construct which Winston Churchill is quoted as calling “the worst form of government, except all the others”.

    Since the summer of 2013, the public has witnessed a shift in debate over these matters. The reason is that one courageous person: Edward Snowden. He not only blew the whistle on the litany of government abuses but made sure to supply an avalanche of supporting documents to a few trustworthy journalists. The echoes of his actions are still heard around the world – and there are still many revelations to come.

    For every Daniel Ellsberg, Drake, Binney, Katharine Gun, Manning or Snowden, there are thousands of civil servants who go by their daily job of spying on everybody and feeding cooked or even made-up information to the public and parliament, destroying everything we as a society pretend to care about.

    Some of them may feel favourable towards what they’re doing, but many of them are able to hear their inner Jiminy Cricket over the voices of their leaders and crooked politicians – and of the people whose intimate communication they’re tapping.

    Hidden away in offices of various government departments, intelligence agencies, police forces and armed forces are dozens and dozens of people who are very much upset by what our societies are turning into: at the very least, turnkey tyrannies.

    One of them is you.

    You’re thinking:

    ● Undermining democracy and eroding civil liberties isn’t put explicitly in your job contract.
    ● You grew up in a democratic society and want to keep it that way
    ● You were taught to respect ordinary people’s right to live a life in privacy
    ● You don’t really want a system of institutionalized strategic surveillance that would make the dreaded Stasi green with envy – do you?

    Still, why bother? What can one person do? Well, Edward Snowden just showed you what one person can do. He stands out as a whistleblower both because of the severity of the crimes and misconduct that he is divulging to the public – and the sheer amount of evidence he has presented us with so far – more is coming. But Snowden shouldn’t have to stand alone, and his revelations shouldn’t be the only ones.

    You can be part of the solution; provide trustworthy journalists – either from old media (like this newspaper) or from new media (such as WikiLeaks) with documents that prove what illegal, immoral, wasteful activities are going on where you work.

    There IS strength in numbers. You won’t be the first – nor the last – to follow your conscience and let us know what’s being done in our names. Truth is coming – it can’t be stopped. Crooked politicians will be held accountable. It’s in your hands to be on the right side of history and accelerate the process.

    Courage is contagious.

    Signed by:

    Peter Kofod, ex-Human Shield in Iraq (Denmark)
    Thomas Drake, whistleblower, former senior executive of the NSA (US)
    Daniel Ellsberg, whistleblower, former US military analyst (US)
    Katharine Gun, whistleblower, former GCHQ (UK)
    Jesselyn Radack, whistleblower, former Department of Justice (US)
    Ray McGovern, former senior CIA analyst (US)
    Coleen Rowley, whistleblower, former FBI agent (US)



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  • Recent Comments

    • pitchfork said...

      1

      Wow! This post is probably the BEST post you’ve ever written Peter. This subject IS at the heart of everything going on in terms of DISCLOSURE.

      quote:”Somewhere there is a Federal government employee who has witnessed an act of government waste, fraud, malfeasance or mismanagement and is unsure what to do next.”unquote

      Not to make light of that observation, but I can’t help think..they are in the MAJORITY of Federal employees. After all, how can one work for the Fed’s and NOT see waste/malfeasance.:) Now, fraud maybe a little more isolated but I’m sure even CONGRESS is filled with witness’s. Which reminds me..ever seen a CONGRESSIONAL whistleblower? hahahahahaha! not.

      quote:”What used to be viewed as paranoid, Orwellian, tin-foil hat fantasies turned out post-Snowden, to be not even the whole story.”unquote

      Absolutely. I’ve even noticed, after each of the revelations were disclosed, the quantity of NSA apologists, slowly but surely are disappearing from comment sections. Especially when a revelation provided proof that the previous response by NSA was a bald faced lie. Had there been no revelations, this whole “debate” thing would NEVER taken place.

      quote:”Numerous ex-NSA officials have come forward in the past decade, disclosing massive fraud, vast illegalities and abuse of power in said agency, including Thomas Drake, William Binney and Kirk Wiebe. The response was 100% persecution and 0% accountability by both the NSA and the rest of government.”unquote

      This one really really bothers me too. Here is my question. HOW, can an entity, which is a “fiction”..like the USG, possess human characteristics like..VINDICTIVENESS? I mean, I see VINDICTIVE reactions day in and day out from the USG. Why? I understand “rule of law” should govern reactions to unlawful actions by Federal employees. But it works in REVERSE. Instead of prosecuting and reprimanding Federally employed people who are guilty of fraud, malfeasance, crime, lying under oath, theft etc, those in “power” only prosecute the ones who WHISTLE BLOW!
      Furthermore, the term “embarrass” seems to be the key here. Every time a whistle blower “embarrasses” the USG, that ole “vindictive” characteristic raises it’s ugly head. How can you embarrass a fiction?????

      I mean, there’s something wrong with this picture, and EVERY ONE knows it. Frankly, what this says to me is..the whole goddamned USG is so corrupt, those at the top are only protecting their own goddamned ass!! Living proof is..ahem..”look forward..not backward”. Otherwise..Bush&Co. would be incarcerated RIGHT NOW! What truly has happened is..the USG has turned it’s back on NUREMBERG.

      All I know is before this astounding revelation party is over, either this government is going to become the laughing stock of the entire planet for stupidity alone, or the USG knows something they are so afraid will be released, as embarrassment will be the least of their worries..as in causing..INSURRECTION OF BIBLICAL PROPORTIONS.

      anyway, nuff from me for the moment.

      12/23/13 4:37 PM | Comment Link

    • jim hruska said...

      2

      PVB,
      I just read a book by Bernard Lewis and i came away with a point that should be obvious to all of us. With the security state we have extreme control of the minds of men and this is done by rewriting history.
      Ellsberg was successful because he reintroduced truth and history into the VN war. The lies were exposed.
      The worst to flow from the PWOT is the high jacking of truth which is necessary to write scholastic history. It’s bad enuf that a sector of our society are ignorant to history or distort it ,but now we can’t even research it because of security classifications.
      This is a pretty good definition of totalitarian purpose.
      jim hruska

      12/24/13 4:21 PM | Comment Link

    • pitchfork said...

      3

      quote:”…,but now we can’t even research it because of security classifications.”unquote

      I beg to differ ..to an extent. Enter into the record Exibit A. Edward Snowden

      Your honor, I want to enter into the record..Exhibit B..
      http://vserver1.cscs.lsa.umich.edu/~crshalizi/nsa.html

      if you can’t fathom that one then don’t bother trying.

      12/25/13 12:20 AM | Comment Link

    • Joe Carson said...

      4

      One factor in 9/11 and its aftermath of more gov’t agency lawbreaking is decades-long, continuing law-breaking at U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC) and U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB), see http://www.broken-covenant.org for extensive detail.

      These two tiny, obscure, federal agencies have essential responsibilities for the regulation of the management culture in every of the almost 300 federal agencies, including intelligence agencies.

      They are supposed to be the “immune system” for the integrity of the federal civil service, but they are the most corrupting, relatively speaking at least, of all federal agencies, by their failure to follow the law regarding their essential responsibilities for the regulation of the management cultures in every federal agency.

      But their law-breaking is a goldmine to so-called “watchdog” organizations as GAP and POGO, which cast a blind eye at gov’t agency law-breaking that benefits their business models, as that at OSC and MSPB do. That is why is it me, in nearly 2014, doing what they should have done decades ago. Snowden’s revelations and the cost he has and will pay for them are unnecessary and unimaginable absent the OSC/MSPB law-breaking GAP and POGO enable and profit from. They exploit people like him while claiming to be his champion.

      12/27/13 11:27 AM | Comment Link

    • Sgt. America said...

      5

      “These two tiny, obscure, federal agencies have essential responsibilities for the regulation of the management culture in every of the almost 300 federal agencies, including intelligence agencies.”

      You forgot to mention the Foreign Service Grievance Board. The way HR and DS collude to crush employees, often by using sub-par biased investigations and records of investigations, should be enough for the grievance board to do everything possible to protect employees. Instead, employees are forced to wait almost a year or more to even get an appeal to the board in the hopes of getting a ‘fair trial’.

      Has anyone ever sued state and won? What about these settlements that everyone talks about but no one seems to provide details of how it was done (yeah i get that there are restrictions on disclosures) Why does the department attack its own employees, in who it has placed so much time and resources developing? It’s an up or out system, but why does the department try to make sure that employees are pushed out by virtue of excessive and inconsistent ‘discipline’? I just fail to see how the department justifies having an employee’s morale destroyed by making her wait 4 years for a 10 day suspension? So after 4 years of doing nothing she has to swallow a suspension that will probably force her out? How do agents who have their own indiscretions or criminal behavior investigate others accused of even the most minor misconduct?

      12/28/13 4:24 AM | Comment Link

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