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GAP Releases Statement on Snowden and the NSA

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In a statement released last week, the Government Accountability Project (GAP) put the leak by National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden in context with previous leaks by whistleblowers from the NSA and other government agencies.

GAP’s statement notes that Snowden is facing “classic acts of predatory reprisal” for his leak of highly classified documents about the NSA’s surveillance programs. Other NSA whistleblowers including Tom Drake, William Binney, and J. Kirk Wiebe have previously blown the whistle on similar programs and in turn faced similar repercussions, even when they used internal channels to raise concerns.

From the statement:

Ultimately, the use of these internal channels served only to expose Binney, Drake and Wiebe to years-long criminal investigations and even FBI raids on their homes. As one example, consider that Tom Drake was subjected to a professionally and financially devastating prosecution under the Espionage Act. Despite a case against him that ultimately collapsed, Drake was labeled an “enemy of the state” and his career ruined.

The statement also notes that while whistleblower protections have expanded for many federal workers, the intelligence community has consistently been cut out whistleblower bills. 

[A]t the behest of the House Intelligence Committee, strengthened whistleblower protections for national security workers were stripped from major pieces of legislation such as the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act (for federal employees) and the National Defense Authorization Act of 2013 (for federal contractors). If those protections existed today, Snowden’s disclosures would have stood a greater chance of being addressed effectively from within the organization.

The Snowden case has raised a lot of issues about privacy, whistleblowers, the use of intelligence contractors, and the extent of government surveillance. GAP’s statement is required reading for those interested in how Snowden’s case fits into the larger context of federal whistleblowing, and we encourage you to go read it here.

By: Andre Francisco
Online Producer, POGO

andre francisco Andre Francisco is the Online Producer for the Project On Government Oversight.

Topics: Whistleblower Protections

Related Content: Intelligence

Authors: Andre Francisco

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