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Whistleblowers: are they heroes or traitors?

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By Brent Daggett

Contributing writer for End the Lie

(Image credit: savebradley/Flickr)

(Image credit: savebradley/Flickr)

I pledge allegiance to my country to sacrifice civil liberties to a possible police state, and to the powers that be, for which it controls, one nation under tyranny and censorship, with blind obedience to all.

Obviously, that is not the original version of the Pledge of Allegiance, but given the recent state of affairs with whistleblowers being treated like criminals and the shredding of our rights by both parties over the past 12 years, it begs the question, should those who speak out be consider heroes or traitors?

Here is a partial list of whistleblowers. While a full list is too long to reproduce, a more complete list can be found here.

Deep Throat – Revealed in 2005, the man behind the identity was former FBI Associate Director Mark Felt. Felt was the individual who provided Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein with the inside information regarding the wrongdoing of President Nixon and his Commission to Re-Elect the President.

Coleen Rowley – Whether 9/11 could have been prevented, no one will probably know. But prior to the attacks, Rowley, who was a 24-year veteran of the FBI wrote a memo from the Minneapolis office to FBI Director Robert Mueller about D.C.’s mishaps pertaining to suspected terrorist Zacarias Moussaoui. During Rowley’s testimony before the 9/11 Commission, it was revealed that gaps within the FBI’s internal organization could have lead the bombers to go under the radar. In 2002, Rowley was named “Person of the Year,” by Time Magazine.  

Michael Connell – On September 2008, in Ohio, Connell was served with a subpoena related to alleged vote tampering occurring during the 2004 presidential election. Connell, the president of GovTech Solutions and New Media Communications was also Karl Rove’s computer expert. Before Connell was set to testify about whether his monitoring systems or installation of Rove’s e-mail server caused or perhaps revealed voter fraud, Connell, an experienced pilot, died in a plane crash two miles from his home.

During the case, the lead attorney wrote the U.S. Attorney General; “We have been confidentially informed by a source we believe to be credible that Karl Rove has threatened Michael Connell, a principle witness in [the case]… that if he does not agree to take the fall for election fraud in Ohio, his wife will be prosecuted for supposed lobby law violations.” a case regarding alleged Republican vote tampering in the 2004 Presidential

For more information on the incident visit watch the below videos:

Julian Assange – “You have to start with the truth.  The truth is the only way that we can get anywhere.  Because any decision making that is based upon lies or ignorance can’t lead to a good conclusion.”  Well, this proved true in 2010 when the Wikileaks founder released over 3 million classified documents as wells as government cables. The release was not seen favorably by the U.S. State Department. But the calls for more transparency in the way governments conduct their affairs seems to be falling on deaf ears, due to the fact that since August of last year, Assange was granted political asylum at the Ecuadorian Embassy in England. This protection prevents him from being extradited to Sweden to face charges of sexual assault.     

Edward Snowden – The most recent whistleblower (who is not on the trutv.com list) and instead of rehashing the story, I would recommend reading Madison’s articles on the subject.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), was not to keen on Snowden’s actions.

“I don’t look at this as being a whistleblower. I think it’s an act of treason,” said Feinstein.

Feinstein went on the say, “He violated the oath, he violated the law. It’s treason.”

Feinstein is not the only one in Washington enraged by the information leak.

“The Department of Justice is in the initial stages of an investigation into the unauthorized disclosure of classified information by an individual with authorized access,” said Nanda Chitre, a spokeswoman for the agency.  “Consistent with long standing Department policy and procedure and in order to protect the integrity of the investigation, we must decline further comment.”

Not all agree with the sentiments of the NSA, Feinstein and the Obama administration.

In an interview with Fox Business News, retired congressmen Ron Paul expressed concern for Snowden.

Paul elaborated, “I’m worried about somebody in our government might kill him with a cruise missile or a drone missile.”

“I mean, we live in a bad time where American citizens don’t even have rights and they can be killed. But the gentleman is trying to tell the truth about what’s going on,” Paul said.

Paul is no stranger to supporting whistleblowers, since he supported Bradley Manning while on the campaign trail.

“The Fourth Amendment is clear,” Paul said this week, according to the Washington Times.  “We should be secure in our persons, houses, paper and effects, and all warrants must have probable cause.  Today the government operates largely in secret, while seeking to know everything about our private lives – without probable cause and without a warrant.”

Paul added, “The government does not need to know more about what we are doing.  We need to know more about what the government is doing.”

“We should be thankful for individuals like Edward Snowden and Glenn Greenwald who see injustice being carried out by their own government and speak out, despite the risk.  They have done a great service to the American people by exposing the truth about what our government is doing in secret,” Paul said.

To me, whistleblowers should not be treated as criminals; after al,l we need transparency in government.

Also, government believes whistleblowers are often actually traitors.  I say, what about when government violates the Constitution, where is the accountability then?

Hopefully, with the committee meetings being held about the secret PRISM program, some government officials and politicians might have an epiphany and support our civil liberties.

The aforementioned is easier said than done, given our current culture’s mantra, “see something, say something,” and “if you have nothing to hide, then you have nothing to worry about.”

I’m reminded of some great words by Ayn Rand, which is pertinent to this discussion.

While I have not explored all of Rand’s views in great detail, she has a point when she wrote:

“There’s no way to rule an innocent man. The only power government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren’t enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that is becomes impossible to live without breaking laws.”

Edited by End the Lie

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2 Responses to Whistleblowers: are they heroes or traitors?

  1. April June 20, 2013 at 4:08 PM

    Awesome piece, Brent.

    There is a part of me that worries, “But what if someone saying something compromises what the government needs to keep quiet for security reasons?”

    From what I have noticed, most whistle blowers, at least recently, do not have a need to compromise American security against foreign enemies. They DO want to make sure the American public knows what’s going on and to keep them safe. Knowledge is power. Whistle blowers put their life on the line to tell the truth.

    I think there is no greater honor than that.

  2. Pat Gray July 16, 2013 at 5:28 AM

    Whistle blowers, hero or traitor? Seems a mixed bag, depending on reason…
    Those that spy for money or country are by definition (here) a traitor. Those that have blown the whistle on home-grown illegal or corrupt practices by our government or corporations, are again, by definition heroes.
    We hate betrayers, but love the defenders… the difference is all in the rationale.


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