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Obama’s Simply Wrong: Whistleblower Protections Would Not Have Applied To Snowden

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Mike Masnick
Tech Dirt
August 11, 2013

During the Q&A portion of today’s President Obama press conference, reporter Chuck Todd asked Obama about Ed Snowden and whether he was a “patriot,” after Obama announced some reforms and even directly made clear that those who support civil liberties and greater transparency “love their country” and are “patriots.” Except, Obama said that he does not think Snowden is a patriot, in part because he had signed the Whistleblower Protection Act and extended the protections to the intelligence community. This is laughable on a variety of levels, including the Obama administration’s actions against other whistleblowers like Thomas Drake and William Binney, who did go through official channels, and then were subject to ridiculous investigations and (with Drake) totally trumped up charges on a bogus unrelated issue.

But there’s a bigger point: Snowden actually is not covered by the Whistleblower Protection Act, entirely contrary to President Obama’s claims. That’s because the act does not cover contractors, such as those who worked for the NSA via Dell or Booz Allen like Snowden did. After the Snowden revelations came out, the Obama administration admitted that it was “looking at” ways to extend the protections to contractors, but at this time (and at the time that Snowden leaked) they do not cover him.

In other words, there were no legal protections under the Act, contrary to Obama’s claims, and (worse) it’s not as though the government has a history of respecting such whistleblower protections in the first place. Why bother when you can just trump up some other charges on those same people as punishment? Remember that this is the very same Obama administration that has directly declared that anyone leaking documents is aiding the enemy.

This article was posted: Sunday, August 11, 2013 at 4:03 am

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