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The recent revelation that Obama is using OFA members to quash opposition to the Keystone XL Pipeline gave credence to accusations that the president has already endorsed big energy's interests while pretending to weigh the concerns of the public.

A report written yesterday by Marisa Taylor and Jonathan S. Landay for McClatchy suggests the president has been employing an even more loathsome tactic to protect corporate interests:

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. They also show how millions of federal employees and contractors must watch for “high-risk persons or behaviors” among co-workers and could face penalties, including criminal charges, for failing to report them. Leaks to the media are equated with espionage.

http://www.mcclatchydc.com/...

The story contradicts the administration’s claims that government spying on U.S. citizens has been limited to terrorist investigations.

Attempting to curb leaks by Department of Agriculture employees suggests the Insider Threat Program was designed to protect the interests of big business, not to shield the general public from terrorist threats.

Consider this:

With the recent passage of the Monsanto Protection Act, a questionable bill that prevents Monsanto from being sued, it is easy to make the assumption that leaks originating within the Department of Agriculture could be damaging to Monsanto’s bottom line. By opting to protect Monsanto’s dubious policies, Congress, and the Obama administration have effectively stifled efforts to stem the forced usage of genetically modified crops.

I don’t believe any Democratic voter in 2008 could have imagined the new president implementing an Orwellian policy that would require government employees to spy on fellow workers. Those of us, who are old enough to have lived during the 1960s, remember watching news reports that detailed the arrests of German citizens who had been reported by fellow workers for exhibiting suspicious behavior.

And when news broke that Justice Department officials had secretly tracked the communications of journalists, media personnel reported a chilling effect had descended on the news industry, drying up confidential news sources that had been essential to exposing corruption.

Christine Haughney of the NY Times recently reported:

Josh Meyer, director of education and outreach at the Medill National Security Journalism Initiative at Northwestern University and a writer for Quartz, said that in the 30 years he has lived on and off in Washington, he has never found journalists to be so skittish about being under the government’s watchful eye.

“It’s so bad that there’s a gallows humor that has sort of emerged out of this,” Mr. Meyer said. “You see journalists at parties, and you joke about ‘How is the investigation going?’ ” People just assume they’re being investigated, and it’s not a good feeling.”

http://www.nytimes.com/...

Obama assured us that information gathered by the NSA was limited in scope and that the agency followed strict guidelines when accessing the information. But information uncovered by news agencies repudiates the spin coming from the White House:
Government documents reviewed by McClatchy illustrate how some agencies are using that latitude to pursue unauthorized disclosures of any information, not just classified material.
And of course, we have the assurance that none of the information that has been processed by federal employees and contractors has fallen into the wrong hands.
At the hearing, McFarland called for much closer oversight of the investigators who conduct background checks. He said that 18 background investigators and record searchers have been criminally convicted since 2006 for fabricating information in background reports.

McFarland's office is actively working on 11 fabrication cases and another 36 cases involving background investigators are pending, according to data he provided to the subcommittees.

Of the 18 investigators who were criminally convicted, 11 were federal employees and seven were contractors. Of the 47 active and pending cases, six involve federal employees and 41 involve contractors, according to McFarland.
Like Watergate, this story might take months to unravel.

(All emphasis mine)

Obama promised a transparent presidency, but his administration has been anything but forthcoming. Most of his policies have been crafted behind closed doors, relying solely on the input of corporate lobbyists.

And he has gone to extreme lengths to protect the interests of big business, including developing covert programs that stifle dissent. Unwittingly, he defined his presidency when he told bankers, "My administration is the only thing between you and the pitchforks."

UPDATE: I followed smiley7's advice and changed the name of the diary.

Originally posted to praenomen on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 01:05 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Well, that's...... (9+ / 0-)

    ......an uncomfortable comparison. ;)




    Somebody has to do something, and it's just incredibly pathetic that it has to be us.
    ~ Jerry Garcia

    by DeadHead on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 02:27:47 AM PDT

  •  Nothing to see here! (7+ / 0-)

    It's all in your employee handbook.  

    All right the criminal charges are kinda new, but if you have nothing to hide, why are you spreading or helping others spread around the government secrets?

    ...wait...

    /snark

    I don't blame Christians. I blame Stupid. Which sadly is a much more popular religion these days.

    by detroitmechworks on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 01:12:58 PM PDT

  •  More (16+ / 0-)

    Common Dreams

    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.
    SAC BEE
    WASHINGTON -- Even before a former U.S. intelligence contractor exposed the secret collection of Americans’ phone records, the Obama administration was pressing a government-wide crackdown on security threats that requires federal employees to keep closer tabs on their co-workers and exhorts managers to punish those who fail to report their suspicions.

    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.

    MSNBC
    A year and a half after Pfc. Bradley Manning was arrested for one of the greatest unauthorized leaks in American history to the website Wikileaks, President Obama took steps to ensure that such a thing would never happen again. On October 7, 2011, he signed an executive order which mandated the creation of an inter-agency Insider Threat Task Force and required any agency handling classified material to “implement an insider threat detection and prevention program” with guidance from the task force.

    Nearly two years later, the Insider Threat Program has gone far beyond an early warning system for potential leaks. It has instead become something far more aggressive, and far more sweeping.
    “The program could make it easier for the government to stifle the flow of unclassified and potentially vital information to the public, while creating toxic work environments poisoned by unfounded suspicions and spurious investigations of loyal Americans, according to these current and former officials and experts,” according to a new report from McClatchy’s Washington Bureau. “Some non-intelligence agencies already are urging employees to watch their co-workers for ‘indicators’ that include stress, divorce and financial problems.”

  •  I am having problems with the (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Nada Lemming

    "Inside Threat".

    So you are to inform, IOW blow the whistle, on people you suspect of being whistleblowers?

    Help me out here.

    This diary is a little bit disjoint to me. Would you expand on the  KXL/OFA thing?

    •  There have been a number of articles (7+ / 0-)

      reporting OFA's talking points re: the KXL.

      Talking points being circulated by Organizing for Action, President Barack Obama's former campaign arm that now operates as a nonprofit organization supporting the president's agenda, are warning volunteers over activists working in opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline, according to a copy of the talking points provided to HuffPost.

      The release of the memo comes after HuffPost reported Thursday that OFA is working to dampen passionate grassroots opposition to the pipeline.

      •  I don't even understand this sentence: (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        OldDragon
        are warning volunteers over activists working in opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline, according to a copy of the talking points provided to HuffPost.
        I get the last sentence. If Obama grants the permit for KXL, he hasn't seen passionate. Holy fucking hell will bust out.
        •  i think they meant "about"... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          blueoasis

          it's just poor writing by the writer or by the writer of the talking points, but the meaning is the same...

          The further a society drifts from truth, the more it will hate those that speak it. ~George Orwell

          by poligirl on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 06:02:52 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  do you have a link to the article? (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        praenomen, 3goldens
        •  The links I have in my notes no longer work, (5+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          jbsoul, 3goldens, burlydee, poligirl, blueoasis

          but here are quotes from two articles discussing the issue:

          WASHINGTON -- Top officials from President Barack Obama's campaign arm, which was recently rechristened as Organizing for Action, are working to dampen the passionate grassroots opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline, just as the organization launches its campaign against climate change, according to donors and OFA members.

          Leaders of the group have on multiple occasions told gatherings of activists and donors that OFA will not pressure the White House on Keystone regardless of its members' interest in the project, a 1,700-mile pipeline that would move heavy crude from the Canadian tar sands to the Gulf. The administration recently pushed back a decision on approving the pipeline to November, December or even 2014. OFA's refusal to press the administration on the controversial Keystone project is reminiscent of its decision not to pressure Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) on gun purchase background checks, despite -- or perhaps because of -- OFA Chairman Jim Messina's close relationship with him. Baucus voted against the president and subsequently announced his retirement.

          The reticence worries those who hoped that the Obama campaign's legacy would be a strong, independent grassroots movement that could bring outside pressure on Washington, rather than continuing to act as an arm of the president. Instead of a new organization that will push the White House from a progressive flank, on Keystone, OFA is in effect pushing grassroots activists in the opposite direction. Its approach to the pipeline indicates it is shaping up to be little more than another element of the administration that activists must lobby.

          President Obama’s grassroots operation has a message for environmentalists upset with their refusal to get involved with Keystone XL pipeline: Go someplace else. “The people who want to work on that issue, they should go work with 350.org and the organizations that are doing great work [on Keystone],” a senior official with Organizing for America told BuzzFeed.
  •  uh.... (8+ / 0-)
    requires federal employees to keep closer tabs on their co-workers and exhorts managers to punish those who fail to report their suspicions.
    How would you know what somebody suspects? Unless they told you, and then it is ipso facto reported, right?

    This sounds awful.

    Is this an Obama thing or one of his many asshole minions' ideas?

    I am thinking we don't know this man at all.

  •  Orwellian Thought Police (6+ / 0-)

    Another load of shit to cover up people exposing other loads of shit.

    End the secrecy.

    Secrecy prevents governments from being honest.

    Take some time to chew on that one?

    Another flaw in the human character is that everybody wants to build and nobody wants to do maintenance. Kurt Vonnegut

    by ToKnowWhy on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 01:53:14 PM PDT

  •  Who in the hell did (8+ / 0-)

    did we vote for?

    I didn't vote for this.

  •  Hope this diary gets attention... (6+ / 0-)

    praenomen, thank you.

    "Lets show the rascals what Citizens United really means."

    by smiley7 on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 03:28:50 PM PDT

  •  This is incredible. I mean it's really hard (6+ / 0-)

    to take in that Federal employees are being told to spy on and report on each other or risk criminal charges for not doing so.  This is McCarthyism in the year 2013.  With each day, I'm getting more and more thoroughly disgusted with this administration.  The paranoia within this group (the Obama administration) is something I expected within the group of paranoid psychopaths who surrounded Dick Cheney during Dubya's reign.  And the President comes out and lies to our faces; Clapper lies on television to a U.S. Senator and to the nation as a whole; various other members of the Obama administration also take to the airwaves and lie about policies and procedures.  And most outrageously hypocritical of all, they tell us to trust them.  My God.

    Thank you, praenomen, for a very worthwhile diary.  And I'm glad McClatchy hasn't been threatened into silence.  

    "A voice is heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more." - from the prophet Jeremiah

    by 3goldens on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 05:31:54 PM PDT

  •  Certainly of rec list importance. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    praenomen, KenBee, smiley7

    You've been doing lots of good work on the emerging totalitarianism/fascism and I hope you don't get discouraged.  You've already been more successful than many others and if you continue you will do lots of good.

    Don't let the appearance of large opposition to freedom and democracy get you down, though I understand the truth itself is depressing enough.  The majority of the membership here still believes in truth and are intelligent enough to understand the consequences.

    I hope that you or another good diarist pursues this until it breaks through the partisan firewall.

    More matter, with less art. Hamlet, 2. 2

    by blueoasis on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 08:28:29 PM PDT

    •  Thank you, blueoasis. You just made my day. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      blueoasis
      •  I think almost everyone who is knowledgeable (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        praenomen, KenBee, smiley7

        and open-minded is very frustrated and down about what's happening to the nation now and the type of future that's being created.  Even those who for whatever reasons pretend otherwise.

        But we sometimes forget to tell others who are doing good work and having an effect how much we appreciate their efforts and skills.

        Ironically there was a time when the investigation and analysis of the evils in society and government as a good and selfless act were taken for granted by enough of a majority that appreciation could almost be assumed.  Not that there weren't great difficulties throughout our history, but what we are confronted with today is different.

        More matter, with less art. Hamlet, 2. 2

        by blueoasis on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 09:03:49 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Very well put. There aren't a lot of us, but (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          blueoasis, KenBee, smiley7

          I still think our efforts are having an impact. I know, among my circle of friends, this is a very important topic, and both my daughters have returned to school to work on advanced degrees, and they tell me that the professors are literally screaming at the students to wake up.

          Keep the faith. You are articulate and we need your voice.

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