Monday, June 24, 2013

Obama has ordered criminal charges against US government employees who don't report someone they suspect might be a whistleblower

A program being implemented by the Obama administration titled "Insider Threat" requires millions of federal employees to keep a close watch on each other—a "sweeping" effort to crackdown on whistleblowers and leakers across the U.S. government, McClatchy reports Friday after obtaining a series of government documents.

The program, which has largely gone unmentioned in the media, spans all government agencies and mandates that employees and their superiors seek out “high-risk persons or behaviors” tied to someone who might expose government wrongdoing. Those who fail to expose someone they belief to be a leaker face penalties that include criminal charges.

As McClatchy reports Friday, the program creates a "sweeping" government-wide crackdown on federal employees who may find certain harmful actions or policies of their employer worthy of public knowledge.

The program was launched in October 2011 directly after Army Pfc. Bradley Manning leaked military documents that exposed U.S. war crimes to the website WikiLeaks.

“Hammer this fact home . . . leaking is tantamount to aiding the enemies of the United States,” says one of the documents—a June 1, 2012 Defense Department strategy written for the program.
As the documents reveal, any "leaks to the media" are officially "equated with espionage," through the administration's eyes.

As McClatchy reports:

President Barack Obama’s unprecedented initiative, known as the Insider Threat Program, is sweeping in its reach. It has received scant public attention even though it extends beyond the U.S. national security bureaucracies to most federal departments and agencies nationwide, including the Peace Corps, the Social Security Administration and the Education and Agriculture departments. It emphasizes leaks of classified material, but catchall definitions of “insider threat” give agencies latitude to pursue and penalize a range of other conduct.

Government documents reviewed by McClatchy illustrate how some agencies are using that latitude to pursue unauthorized disclosures of any information, not just classified material. [...]

The McClatchy piece goes on to detail the individualized implementations of the program within differing government agencies—all with their own tactics for identifying the "spy in our midst," as The Defense Department puts it.

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