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View Diary: Part II: NSA Whistleblowers Asked Supreme Court to Review Warrantless Wiretapping (57 comments)

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  •  I agreee certain things should be secret: (10+ / 0-)

    nuclear weapons design technology, troop movements, identities of undercover CIA agents.

    But the Bush administration classified CRIMES.

    The Canary in the Coalmine is available for purchase at

    by Jesselyn Radack on Sat Jun 12, 2010 at 08:18:09 AM PDT

    [ Parent ]

    •  I'm not disagreeing with you (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      And I'm not saying the crimes shouldn't be exposed.  Preferably, the exposure should be done by lawmakers (elected representatives).  If that route is dysfunctional, then whistleblowers may be alone in their exposure efforts.

      Regardless, what I'm saying is that whistleblowers who reveal classified information to unauthorized persons shouldn't expect to be immune from investigation and potential prosecution.  That's the risk you take, and in part a jury of his or her peers can determine whether or not the leak was justified.

      •  I also want to be clear... (0+ / 0-)

        ...that I'm not saying whistleblowers are always, or even most of the time, in the wrong.  I appreciate your actions, Jesselyn, and I believe they took quite a bit of courage precisely because you took a risk.

        There are all kinds of people in the world, with all kinds of motivations.  IMHO, we simply cannot allow people to commit illegal actions without taking the risk that others may not agree the actions were justified.  That itself is an oversight process.

        •  Ironic that candidate 'TelecomI Immunity... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          dancewater, Aranfell

          ...Filibuster' voted to grant immunity from prosecution to the telecom companies who aided the NSA in its warrantless (illegal) data-mining / eavesdropping endeavors.  

          Our government spies on us illegally.
          Our wireless/long distance/internet carriers permit and assist illegally.
          Our elected leaders retroactively make it all legal, EXCEPT for the people who exposed it when it was illegal.

          When the guy at the top is in on the fix, what recourse do people of conscience have?  This is Orwellian.  

      •  And that's what Schoenfeld argues: (7+ / 0-)

        If what you really did wasn't that bad, a jury of your peers will exonerate you.

        But should you have to go through the living hell of being the target of a criminal investigation and prosecution for doing the right thing?

        I spent upwards of $100,000 defending myself as the target of a federal criminal "leak investigation," that was eventually closed with no charges ever being brought.

        Thomas Drake, Thomas Tamm and numerous others have been the target of federal criminal investigations for allegedly "leaking" about Bush's secret surveillance.  

        Drake is now being defended by a federal public defender because he has exhausted his personal resources.  His house has been raided and turned upside-down.  He's lost jobs.  He is currently not allowed to leave the state of Maryland.

        So when a jury eventually finds him not guilty--is it just, oh well, sorry for the trouble of putting you under a pretextual criminal proceeding?

        The Canary in the Coalmine is available for purchase at

        by Jesselyn Radack on Sat Jun 12, 2010 at 09:10:50 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Yes. (0+ / 0-)

          It doesn't make it right, or easy for the individual(s) to take, but it has to be so for the reasons highlighted in the questions I and others have raised for you.

          •  No! (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            A whistleblower is someone who exposes a WRONG, with nothing to gain from doing so. There are grey areas, but it's not that hard to categorize the vast majority of people who reveal secrets as either having done it for personal benefit, or having done it out of a plausible argument that this was necessary to stop a wrong from being committed.

            It is true (and courageous) that such people risk being charged with crimes to try to get the right thing to happen. But that DOES NOT JUSTIFY charging them with crimes! That's another wrong. There exist whistleblower protection laws precisely for that reason. And even when those laws don't apply, Attorneys General are supposed to ONLY initial prosecution when it is just and reasonable to do so.

            So lots of people are failing their responsibilities when someone who acted to expose wrongdoing (after other methods failed, and for no personal gain) gets prosecuted for doing so. A lot of the time, it seems pretty clearly to be a case of using the justice system to punish someone who embarrassed someone important, instead of using for, I don't know, say, for justice.

            •  Exactly. It's called prosecutorial discretion. (0+ / 0-)

              And when that discretion is used to go after whistleblowers who revealed seriously wrong government conduct, and not used to go after torturers, warrantless wiretappers, and the people who committed the bigges crimes of my generation, that's f*cked up.

              The Canary in the Coalmine is available for purchase at

              by Jesselyn Radack on Sat Jun 12, 2010 at 02:43:25 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  here's hoping (0+ / 0-)

            something this unjust happens to you....

    •  What does that mean, Jesselyn? (0+ / 0-)

      That isn't the focus of half the cases you are citing...

      I am growing confused.

      Let's simplify:

      Does the Obama Administration have the right and responsibility to prosecute individuals who forward classified information to outside third parties without authorization or court involvement, yes or no?

      Regardless of what type of information it is.

      •  Not regardless of what type of information (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        LostInTexas, dancewater

        it is.  If it's information of a violation of the laws of this country, the rules should be completely different.  There should be no right to classify violation of laws, period.  We're a country of laws, and once they are permitted to be covered up by simply classifying them, we're done as a country of laws.  

        "If you trust you are not critical; if you are critical you do not trust" by our own Dauphin

        by gustynpip on Sat Jun 12, 2010 at 11:36:07 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Drake is not charged with forwarding (0+ / 0-)

        classified information to outside their parties.

        Yes, Obama has the right and responsibility to prosecute individuals who forward classified information to outside third parties (e.g., journalists).  This includes pretty much all of his senior officials, who regularly make selective leaks to the press.

        The Canary in the Coalmine is available for purchase at

        by Jesselyn Radack on Sat Jun 12, 2010 at 02:39:24 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

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