DOJ Puts Another Leaker In Jail: The War On Whistleblowers Rolls On

from the no-leaks-allowed dept

You may recall that, prior to the whole Snowden affair, the DOJ was under fire for spying on the phone records of a bunch of Associated Press journalists. The issue was some details of the US disrupting a supposed plan by al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) to bomb a US-bound plane were leaked. The DOJ has now triumphantly announced a guilty plea for the leak from Donald Sachtleben, an ex-FBI agent, who apparently gave detailed info about the plot to AP journalists. Sachtleben was already dealing with charges for child porn, so this just piles on top of that. He's agreed to serve 43-months in jail for the leak, covering both a charge of disclosing national defense information as well as retaining classified info.

While this does seem like a case of more of a general "leak" rather than direct whistleblowing, it clearly fits in with the President's war on whistleblowers, whose architect loves to send people to jail to make an example of them.

It's still difficult to see how this justified spying on so many AP phone lines. While some keep insisting that the leak was really dangerous, as has been previously noted, now CIA boss (prior to being in that position) appeared to reveal a lot more about the "plot" that suggested that here was never any actual threat at all. Furthermore, the AP had agreed to hold off on publishing the info until the government had made it clear that there was no risk.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 24th, 2013 @ 2:58am

    "Transparency"

    You keep on using that word. I do no think it means what you think it means.

    -The Princess Bride

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
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    Ninja (profile), Sep 24th, 2013 @ 4:25am

    Really. Makes one wonder if the child porn charges aren't just made up. The US is quickly surpassing those they heavily criticized in the past. Sad irony.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    icon
    silverscarcat (profile), Sep 24th, 2013 @ 4:53am

    And this is why...

    Snowden ain't coming back until Obama's out of office at least.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 24th, 2013 @ 5:08am

    Whistleblower

    Can someone explain what wrongdoing this guy blew the whistle on? By this logic Dick Cheney and Ken Starr were whistleblowers.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
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    RyanNerd (profile), Sep 24th, 2013 @ 5:23am

    Inconceivable!

    DOJ: Death of Journalism

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 24th, 2013 @ 5:46am

    How did they even charge him with child porn? This seems like a case where they used NSA's spying to start a fishing expedition against him, and then just find stuff to incriminate him and pile on him, so they don't have a case of just "leaking".

    In fact I bet they told him they wouldn't want charge him with the child porn stuff, if he "just admitted to the leaking", which makes it even more obvious that the child porn stuff was gathered illegally, and they also cared about "sending a message" to journalists, than actually catching a "child pornographer" or whatever (if he really was doing stuff like that).

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 24th, 2013 @ 6:44am

    Not So Anonymous

    The best and most reliable way to discredit someone is to slander them with child pornography.
    Can't think of a better way.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    icon
    You're a Gazelle! (profile), Sep 24th, 2013 @ 6:44am

    Vic Says

    If You are against spying, you are with the pedophiles.
    This almost makes him right...but not really.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 24th, 2013 @ 7:04am

    I bet the child porn charges were filed just to put pressure on him to come to a plea deal, and as a malicious way to forever ruin his reputation for leaking details in the first place. There's no better way these days to ruin someone's reputation then pointing at them and screaming "child rapist" or "child porn" even if there's zero evidence of it.

    After all, they claimed that was why they over charged Aaron Schwartz, to pressure him into a 6 month jail time plea deal.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 24th, 2013 @ 7:14am

    Is wonder why vice president Biden is not in jail if the standard for "leaking" anything is that.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 24th, 2013 @ 7:49am

    Re: "Transparency"

    Who defines it?

    quis custodiet ipsos custodes?
    - Juvenals satires

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    identicon
    me, Sep 24th, 2013 @ 8:07am

    Re: And this is why...

    He's not coming back until the US reduces its government drastically. Which isn't going to happen with any of the two large parties in office. They both have too much to gain from it being large.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Sep 24th, 2013 @ 9:14am

    Re:

    Given what we've seen out of the DOJ in the past, I am extremely skeptical of any accusation they make against people who the government perceives as a threat to policy.

    I think the only intelligent way to react to such accusations is to ignore them totally unless there's some damn good evidence.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
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    Ninja (profile), Sep 24th, 2013 @ 9:26am

    Re: Re:

    The sad part is that a whole lot of people do care and will judge him for mere accusations.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 24th, 2013 @ 10:17am

    just ignore him and what he's done. think about how the FBI has saved the day by locking up someone else

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
    identicon
    Edward Teach, Sep 24th, 2013 @ 12:21pm

    Ubiquitous Child Porn Charges

    It seems like every major federal case has "and additional child pornography" charges on it. I have a friend who claims the feds plant the kiddy porn, just so that they have one more screw to turn on someone, which makes sense after what we've seen of federal prosecutors and their "track records".

    Since the Snowden disclosures of "tailored access", the systematically weakened cryptography programs, and what Bruce Schneier says about getting 0wned no matter what OS you use, it's not inconceivable to think that planting kiddy porn might actually be within the real of possibility.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 24th, 2013 @ 5:44pm

    Re:

    You know I'd like to tell you off saying our government would never do such things.
    We protect people uncovering and reporting abuse.
    We give people fair trials.
    We don't spy on our own.

    Unfortunately I agree with you, but I don't want to. :(

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
    identicon
    Glenda, Sep 24th, 2013 @ 6:11pm

    Whistleblower protection law

    I thought there were laws put into place to protect whistleblowers?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
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    Jollygreengiant (profile), Sep 25th, 2013 @ 12:34pm

    Re: Whistleblower

    From what I've read he gave away information about the underpants bomb, which could have only come from a small group of people, thus endangering the life of an undercover informant.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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