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(114,904 posts)
Sat Aug 20, 2016, 10:02 AM Aug 2016

The hate for whistleblowers so prevalent in Democratic circles is disturbing.

Put aside Julian Assange if you can, and focus on the bigger picture.

The federal government is at war with whistleblowers. Trying to hold government accountable for malfeasances is nigh on impossible under the law.

Consider the case of Jeffrey Sterling, for example.

Locked away in federal prison, Jeffrey Sterling is struggling to keep his demons at bay. The former CIA officer whose case came to signify the Obama administration’s crackdown on leakers spends his days reading, tutoring fellow inmates and finishing a memoir, which he says he has to write by hand and mail home so his wife can type it.

“There is no sugarcoating it for me,” Sterling said. “I’m in prison.”

Sterling said he wants the public to know that he has “survived with my head held high.” But he concedes that he feels low on some days. He was a CIA officer, helping run an operation to sabotage Iranian plans to design a nuclear weapon. Now he’s Inmate No. 38338-044 in Englewood, Colo., taking classes on checking and saving accounts to help increase his chances of eventually being released to a halfway house.

“I am doing my best,” he wrote in a recent message, “to hang on.”

Much more:


Whistleblowing protections in the U.S. are weak. Whistleblowing within a department of government is often akin to the police policing itself: there's motive to protect the agency in question.


The US Supreme Court has stripped whistleblower protections for most government workers. Garcetti v. Ceballos is a decision that indicates that first amendment protection for free speech does not apply to situations that fall within the scope of the job description associated with the employment of each individual government worker. The Supreme Court decision means that government management may discipline government employees that disclose crime and incompetence under certain circumstances.

Job related functions are supposed to be disclosed to management by grievance (usually through the union), to the Inspector General, to the [Office of Special Council], to appointed officials, or to elected officials. This is counterproductive when the employer has violated the law, and agencies responsible for enforcement actions are often not funded.



On Leak Prosecutions, Obama Takes it to 11. (Or Should We Say 526?)





The hypocrisy of applauding whistleblowers in Republican administrations and demonizing them under Democratic ones, leads us in a dangerous direction.

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The hate for whistleblowers so prevalent in Democratic circles is disturbing. (Original Post) cali Aug 2016 OP
It does seem hypocritical bluedye33139 Aug 2016 #1
We need a whistleblowing process/platform that enables real reform. Period. cali Aug 2016 #2
What would the proper way for Sterling to have alerted the press to the Iranian nuclear operation? bluedye33139 Aug 2016 #3
I didn't say to the press. cali Aug 2016 #4
I'm sorry, I was following your link to the Sterling case, which arguably isn't a reason to bluedye33139 Aug 2016 #5
I totally agree! cpamomfromtexas Aug 2016 #6
thanks. cali Aug 2016 #7
people who murder indiscriminately using drones are not concerned about this guy nt msongs Aug 2016 #8
Characterizing as "hate?" I totally DISAGREE. Hortensis Aug 2016 #9
Fear! Fear! Fear! Fear! Fear! Fear! wildbilln864 Aug 2016 #10
Wasn't trying to trigger your fight or flight response. Hortensis Aug 2016 #11
you are mistaken. I am not running. wildbilln864 Aug 2016 #12
Who said they haven't also performed positive and Hortensis Aug 2016 #13
ok. n/t wildbilln864 Aug 2016 #14
Excellent post and documentation. The point needs to be made that AikidoSoul Aug 2016 #15
Kick and rec -- NT AikidoSoul Aug 2016 #16
If the jury was right, Sterling is no "whistle-blower." The jury found that he leaked details struggle4progress Aug 2016 #17
I just served on a jury for this even though I had recommended it. Ron Obvious Aug 2016 #18
perhaps they thought that would make you a perfect whistleblower nashville_brook Aug 2016 #19
Self righteous assholes who call themselves whistle blowers... uponit7771 Aug 2016 #20
BIG kick and rec Arazi Aug 2016 #21
The gullibility of some to fall for a professional liar is disturbing. msanthrope Aug 2016 #22
Agree with you! bobGandolf Aug 2016 #23


(1,474 posts)
1. It does seem hypocritical
Sat Aug 20, 2016, 10:09 AM
Aug 2016

We should probably decry people who illegally funnel information to the press under Republican administrations, too, in order to avoid hypocrisy


(1,474 posts)
3. What would the proper way for Sterling to have alerted the press to the Iranian nuclear operation?
Sat Aug 20, 2016, 10:43 AM
Aug 2016

He went to the press and revealed details which, when transmitted to Iranian authorities, put people's lives at risk. I can't imagine what positive outcome he intended from this, or what "wrongdoing" he was exposing, or what ethical principle he was following, except that he put people's lives at risk by breaking his oath of confidentiality.

Ultimately, I've been pretty happy with the Obama administration's attempts to contain Iran's nuclear weapons program while also working to support Iran's right to nuclear power, which began decades ago under the Shah. It's a muddy and nuanced approach, but it would be impossible if all CIA employees were given carte blanche to reveal every single detail of their jobs every single day with no penalty whatsoever.



(114,904 posts)
4. I didn't say to the press.
Sat Aug 20, 2016, 10:47 AM
Aug 2016

We need to reform the entire whistleblower protection act and we need a truly independent entity set up for whistleblowers. As we don't have that, many whistleblowers have gone outside the system. And it's becoming worse and worse- not to mention the terrible fucking awful double standard.


(1,474 posts)
5. I'm sorry, I was following your link to the Sterling case, which arguably isn't a reason to
Sat Aug 20, 2016, 10:52 AM
Aug 2016

revise our attitudes toward whistleblowers. It seems to me that there are whistleblowers who expose wrongdoing, and there are whistleblowers who participate in massive data-dumps which jeopardize the lives of others thoughtlessly. They seem to be all acting for different reasons, some to escape from the military (like Chelsea Manning), some for no reason (Sterling), and some for ethical reasons and in order to shed light on illegal behavior within organizations (the Pentagon Papers etc.).


(58,785 posts)
9. Characterizing as "hate?" I totally DISAGREE.
Sat Aug 20, 2016, 01:03 PM
Aug 2016

We have a huge privacy problem. People have died and investments of literally billions toward causes important, sometimes critical, to our own wellbeing have been compromised or largely ruined by "whistleblowers." Not all are noble or wise by a long shot. Some are ignorant, naive, arrogant, disgruntled resentful.

Every single day without fail cyberattacks attempt to take down various parts of the interconnected systems we depend on to live. Many of these are trials of weapons in development to be deployed for real in future, others real attempts.

That's only one kind of attack being fended off, but people should know that a cyberattack that took down our entire grid coast to coast, difficult but far from impossible, would kill an estimated 90% of our population within the first year. That's according to a study presented to Congress.

There are many smaller attacks that are constantly defended against, such as elections tampering, derailing trains, technology theft, and on and on.

President Obama started prosecuting these things, not because he "hates" whistleblowers (outrageous suggestion) or because he plans on making himself a dictator, but because our wellbeing and in some cases our lives literally depend on lax security being tightened.



(13,382 posts)
10. Fear! Fear! Fear! Fear! Fear! Fear!
Sat Aug 20, 2016, 01:18 PM
Aug 2016

Fear! Fear! Fear! Fear! Fear! Fear! Fear! Fear! Fear! Fear! Fear! Fear! Fear! Fear! Fear! Fear! Fear! Fear! Fear! Fear! Fear! Fear! Fear! Fear! Fear! Fear! Fear! Fear! Fear! Fear!


(58,785 posts)
11. Wasn't trying to trigger your fight or flight response.
Sat Aug 20, 2016, 01:35 PM
Aug 2016

This discussion is meant to engage frontal lobe executive functions to consider WHY President Obama is clamping down hard on willful security breaches.

Btw, running away from scary possibilities is not the best way to handle them.



(13,382 posts)
12. you are mistaken. I am not running.
Sat Aug 20, 2016, 01:41 PM
Aug 2016

I believe whisteblowers are necessary ! And thank you Wikileaks, Mr. Assange, Mr. Snowden, Ms Manning and all the others. Please keep it up.


(58,785 posts)
13. Who said they haven't also performed positive and
Sat Aug 20, 2016, 01:49 PM
Aug 2016

important functions? No one. It's possible for an action to be both beneficial and harmful, Wildbilln.

II was responding to the shabby, dishonest claim that Democrat "hate," "hate," "hate" whistleblowers. Very silly and best aimed at those who prefer reacting from what they call their gut to thinking.


(2,150 posts)
15. Excellent post and documentation. The point needs to be made that
Sat Aug 20, 2016, 02:22 PM
Aug 2016

the Supreme Court made the decision that government employee whistleblowers essentially don't have First Amendment rights. Garcetti v. Ceballos is ripe for abuse by those in power over them, and punishment is often the result when an agency or government official is put on the scrutiny block for actions deemed questionable.

Summary of Garcetti v. Cweballos:

Statements made by public employees pursuant to their official duties are not protected by the First Amendment from employer discipline. Garcetti v. Ceballos, 547 U.S. 410 (2006), is a U.S. Supreme Court decision involving First Amendment free speech protections for government employees.

Even everyday citizens are victimized by the powerful for their political activism, be it politics or environmental issues Many are followed, harrassed, lose their funding, lose their jobs, are shot at, their houses burned down, etc. This is real and DUers should take the time to undersand that this is not what Democracy is supposed to look like.

Harrassment and punishment is becoming more of an issue everyday for activists.

Dear God. When I was in grade school we were told that this was what the Communist countries did to their citizens.


(117,757 posts)
17. If the jury was right, Sterling is no "whistle-blower." The jury found that he leaked details
Sat Aug 20, 2016, 03:00 PM
Aug 2016

of a covert disinformation campaign to slow down potential Iranian development of a nuclear weapon. That would qualify as extraordinarily irresponsible behavior. Sterling claims that the disinformation effort was incompetent -- and, of course, it is possible that he is correct in that assessment. But it is also possible he did not have a complete view of the game-board and didn't really understand fully what position he was exposing

I suppose people are free to take the view that we should not engage in any covert campaigns at all, even with the aim of limiting the further spread of nuclear weapons, but that call really wasn't Sterling's to make here


(90,152 posts)
20. Self righteous assholes who call themselves whistle blowers...
Sat Aug 20, 2016, 06:59 PM
Aug 2016

... send to be what is disliked not people who out relevant data



(37,549 posts)
22. The gullibility of some to fall for a professional liar is disturbing.
Sun Aug 21, 2016, 06:45 AM
Aug 2016

Sterling was convicted, primarily, for revealing the identity of a Russian scientist who was working with the CIA to stem the Iranian nuclear program.

Think about that for a second.....you are defending a man convicted by a federal jury of revealing the identity of a true whistleblower.

And why did Sterling do this? Because he lost his lawsuit against the CIA...didn't get his book proposal, and ultimately, after going to Senate Intelligence and failing to get Republican staffers interested in a Clinton-era black op he was frustrated.

He must have been damn frustrated when Risen decided to sit on the "whistleblowing" for two years.

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