Strengthening Checks and Balances

Op-Ed Argues for More Whistleblowers, Not Fewer

An op-ed in The Baltimore Sun argues that the long list of secret and questionable activities by the government means we need more whistleblowers to expose wrongdoing and inform the public.

Melvin Goodman, a former CIA analyst, wants to know where the whistleblowers were for CIA black sites, extraordinary rendition, warrantless wiretapping and secret military facilities abroad.

Whistleblowers serve a vital function in a system where internal government watchdogs, inspectors general, are hampered with temporary leaders and the traditional checks and balances of the judiciary and Congress have given way to the will of the executive branch, argues Goodman.

When these other systems fail, the public needs whistleblowers to be properly informed about the actions of their government.

[S]ecrecy itself has fostered ignorance in the United States. The overuse of secrecy limits necessary debate on foreign policy and deprives citizens of information on which to make policy and political judgments. Only a counter-culture of openness and a respect for the balance of power can reverse the damage of the past decade. As long as Congress defers to the president in the conduct of foreign policy, the courts intervene to prevent any challenge to the power of the president in the making of foreign policy, and the media defer to authorized sources, we will need courageous whistle-blowers.

Read more at The Baltimore Sun.