Barry L. Reece: Whistle-blowers beware

November 15, 2013 

For reasons unclear to many of us, our president wants to be remembered as the leader who is tough on whistle-blowers. The Obama administration has prosecuted more whistle-blowers under the Espionage Act than all previous administrations combined. Gone are the days when some of the best known whistle-blowers were considered patriots.

Daniel Ellsberg made public the secret U.S. government study of America’s ill-fated involvement in the Vietnam war. After the 9/11 attacks, FBI attorney Coleen Rowley wrote a memo to FBI director Robert Mueller explaining that the department ignored the pleas of the Minneapolis field office to investigate Zacarias Moussaoui, who was subsequently indicted as a Sept. 11 co-conspirator. Rowley was one of three whistle-blowers recognized by Time magazine as “Persons of the year.”

So, problems with drone warfare, NSA spying on allies and affronts to our values at Guantanamo and other embarrassing activities will likely continue. Persons in a position to report serious misdeeds know they may face career-ending consequences and possibly time in prison.

Barry L. Reece

Pittsboro

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