Seeking To Root Out Leakers, The Intelligence Community Is Destroying Official Routes For Whistleblowers
from the ensuring-there's-only-one-way-out dept
The Trump Administration is continuing its war on leakers. It’s probably meant to keep whistleblowers at bay as well. This isn’t necessarily a trait unique to Trump’s White House. There really hasn’t been a whistleblower-friendly administration in pretty much ever, but this particular administration has been awash in leaked documents, each one prompting more severe crackdowns.
But it’s going to come to a head at the national security level. The “Intelligence Community” — sixteen agencies participating and partaking in intelligence analysis and collection under the Office of the Director of National Intelligence — is basically ousting its internal oversight. Jenna McLaughlin, writing for Foreign Policy, has the details.
[Dan] Meyer, whose job is to talk to intelligence community whistleblowers, can no longer talk to whistleblowers. He has been barred from communicating with whistleblowers, the main responsibility of his job as the executive director for intelligence community whistleblowing and source protection. He is currently working on an instructional pamphlet for whistleblowers, and he will have no duties to perform after he’s completed that work.
He can also no longer brief the agencies or the congressional committees on his work as he’s done in the past, send out his whistleblower newsletter, or conduct outreach. And he has no deputy or staff.
This is the end result of internal struggles and the continual sidelining of the so-called “proper channels.” They weren’t worth much when Snowden decided to leak. They were relatively worthless when others leaked documents years before Snowden began changing the intelligence community from the far outside. And if they were ever going to be worth anything, that effort has been derailed in favor of hunting down leakers.
This is incredibly stupid. If the administration wants to stop leaks, one of the better tools is proper channels that actually work — ones that get results and shield whistleblowers from retaliation. Instead, intelligence officials have decided leaking and whistleblowing are pretty much the same thing and have headed off attempts to build an official whistleblowing outfit worth a damn
What’s being ousted, bit by bit, is the IC’s Inspector General’s office. Elimination of whistleblower outlets may only be part of the plan. Once rendered toothless, it may be prevented from performing other oversight duties. But the war of leakers starts where it always starts: with whistleblowers. If the Inspector General’s office is completely neutralized, the only option will be leaking, not exactly the best news for this particularly sieve-like administration.