Whistleblowers Under New Threat From Government
|Whistleblowers:Coleen Rowley, Thomas Drake, Jesselyn Radack, Edward Snowden, Sarah Harrison, Ray McGovern Source:Leaksource|
In the wake of the Edward Snowden leaks in June of 2013, whistleblowers have been making headlines for what they have reported and what the government has done in response to them.
Now, the government has called on Bill Evanina, a former FBI special agent and counter-terrorism specialist, to help in their efforts to help “assess damage from intelligence leaks and tighten the security clearance process,” according to TechDirt.
Evanina is taking up a position titled the National Counterintelligence Executive, or NCIX. According to Defense One, the position requires Evanina spend most of his days in his Bethesda, Md. office coming up with a “marketing strategy of new openness, which includes explaining which part of the federal government does what.”
However, in the same breath, Evanina seems to feel leakers and whistleblowers, no matter what their intentions might be, are still performing criminal acts and should be prosecuted. “Instead of getting carried away with the concept of leakers as heroes,” said Evanina, “we need to get back to the basics of what it means be loyal…Undifferentiated, unauthorized leaking is a criminal act.”
Evanina continues by saying security clearances are “sacred,” and a person who has access to confidential files should feel honored and privileged with their level of access. People should not take advantage of their level of access to sensitive information and to do so, according to Evanina’s stance, is to treated like a crime, no matter what the outcome or what the material shows.
An initial way to combat the whislteblowers and their potential crimes, according to the same TechDirt article, is to take away 100,000 employee’s security clearances. This does indeed lower the number of probable whistleblowers, but it also means the prospect for abuses of power rises as fewer people have eyes on what the government is doing.
Another plan in place is to hold continuous evaluations which would “expose future Snowdens,” but it would also help to identify employees in financial need so agencies could sooner understand and help them with their struggles.
Some are arguing the continuous evaluations would threaten the privacy of government employees, but Evanina said, “employees understand that it’s done to protect them.”