Statement of Danielle Brian, Executive Director, Project On Government Oversight
Danielle Brian, Executive Director of the Project On Government Oversight (POGO), today issued the following reaction to FBI Director James B. Comey’s decision not to to recommend criminal charges against Hillary Clinton’s handling of classified information:
Hillary Clinton and others in positions of power who mishandled classified information, such as former CIA Directors General David Petraeus and Leon Panetta, have suffered little or no serious consequences for the same infractions that have destroyed the lives of whistleblowers.
Consider Robert MacLean, who spent more than a decade fighting to get back his job as a US air marshal after blowing the whistle on cutbacks that would have removed air marshals during a time when the government was aware of a looming terrorist plot.
Or Thomas Drake, a decorated US Air Force and Navy veteran who was relentlessly prosecuted under the Espionage Act for his revelations about illegal domestic surveillance activities by the NSA.
It’s worth noting that neither MacLean nor Drake ever released classified information; yet, their lives were turned completely upside down.
My point is not to argue for harsher penalties against Clinton, Petraeus, Panetta or others in high positions of power. Rather, it is to highlight the double standard and demand better from our government. As long as it is willing to consider the intent behind, and consequences of, these infractions for high level officials, it should do so for whistleblowers exposing wrongdoing in the public interest.