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Commentary from Jim Hightower


Bizarrely, Obama turns on truthtellers

Monday, March 12, 2012   |   Posted by Jim Hightower
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Some say that Barack Obama never seems to go far enough with his policy proposals, settling instead for half-step reforms. On one important issue, however, the Obamacans have been going way too far.

With an executive excess that would've given pause even to the Bush-Cheney regime, Obama's Justice Department has been trying to silence whistleblowers who dare to expose government wrongdoing to journalists. Every president hates leaks, but this one is hauling public-spirited leakers into federal court, vengefully accusing them of being spies!

His bludgeon is the 1917 Espionage Act, intended to apply to people who give aid to our enemies. In its nearly 100-year existence, the Act has been used just three times to prosecute people who revealed national security secrets – but Obama has now brought out this sledgehammer six times in only three years to prosecute simple whistleblowers.

Thomas Drake was one of them. His "crime" was telling a Baltimore Sun reporter that the agency he worked for was paying hundreds of millions of dollars to a corporate contractor for a software program, rather than installing a much cheaper, more effective, and less problematic program developed by the agency itself. Even though his claim was true, Drake was prosecuted under the Espionage Act, charged with 10 felonies carrying punishments of up to 35 years in prison. What he had revealed was not a matter of national security, but merely a political embarrassment to the administration. It was such overkill that the case collapsed from its own absurdity, but not before putting Drake through a wringer and sending a chill through other potential whistleblowers.

To learn more about Obama's bizarre, heavy-handed attacks on truth-tellers, contact the Government Accountability Project: www.WhistleBlower.org.

"Blurred Line Between Espionage And Truth," The New York Times, February 27, 2012.

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