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.

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Comments on “DOJ Puts Another Leaker In Jail: The War On Whistleblowers Rolls On”

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Anonymous Coward says:

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).

Edward Teach says:

Re: 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.

Anonymous Coward says:

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.

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