Interesting Timing: Senate Passes Federal Whistleblower Protection Bill

from the as-we-torture-one... dept

We were just highlighting how the government is terrible at protecting whistleblowers -- with particular attention to the horrific treatment of Bradley Manning. As all of this is going on, it's worth pointing out that the Senate (apparently without much sense of irony) has passed a "Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act," which would seek to grant greater protections to government employees who blow the whistle on government wrongdoing. Of course, some have concerns with the new bill, in that it specifically weakens some protections for "the intelligence community," while increasing protections for other government employees.

Filed Under: senate, whistleblower

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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 Dec 2010 @ 5:07am

    See both sides

    For getting the truth out about the helicopter attack that killed the journalists, I personally think Manning is a hero. That was whistleblowing.

    When it comes to the cables, it gets murkier.

    There may be things in those cables that need the whistle blowing. But releasing them en masse means you cannot have checked them and some will simply have a destructive effect when aired without actually exposing any wrongdoing.

    Of course, Bradley Manning (if 'twas he, and he's innocent until proven guilty) probably doesn't have the resources to check through 250k cables, so he'd delegate looking through them to Wikileaks. I wonder what unwritten "contract" he had with Wikileaks exactly ?

    Therefore I expect Wikileaks to honour his sacrifice by spending the time to just release stuff that needs the whistle blowing, and not do anything that is just blatantly destructive.

    That assumes that whistleblowing is the objective.
    If "destroying the secrecy of government" is actually the aim, that is a wider goal and one for which you could argue any secret doc can be released.
    You might believe in this cause and think Julian Assange is a hero for it, but you'd probably be forced to admit he'd breached the law in pursuit of such a goal, however well intentioned the goal. There's no law protecting people who simply aim to reveal secrets for the hell of it !

    I think that even if the whistleblowing laws did extend to Bradley Manning, it would be easy to argue that (for example) exposing secret embassy messages reporting the views of the Saudi leader are NOT whistleblowing per se. They don't seek to expose hidden wrongdoing.

    So there'd still be a ton of stuff they could string Manning up for.

    I think the way the US has handled it has been counter productive. The most futile game of whack-a-mole ever.

    I wonder if Wikileaks are actively toning down the embarrassment for countries that have so far given tacit support for Assange's rights ?

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