State Department Vindictiveness: Using Single Blog Link To Wikileaks To Investigate Employee Who Published Critical Book

from the chilling-effects dept

We've discussed a few times just how ridiculous it is that the US government still pretends that the State Department cables available via Wikileaks are somehow classified and secret. It's a head-in-sand approach, in which government employees have to pretend that information, which the rest of the world knows about, isn't actually known. This makes no sense. In the business world, if you sign a non-disclosure agreement, and content becomes public through other means, you're free to talk about it. The way the government does it is crazy... and opens up the possibility of abuse, such as in the following case.

State Department employee Peter van Buren has written a book that apparently criticizes the US's efforts in Iraq entitled: We Meant Well: How I Helped Lose the Battle for the Hearts and Minds of the Iraqi People. Not surprisingly, the State Department isn't happy about the book. While it did review the manuscript before it was published, it can't stop the publication.

So, instead, it appears to being coming up with other ways to be vindictive. Such as investigating him for "disclosing classified information." And, no, it's not because of info in the book, which was pre-vetted by the government. It's because he wrote a blog post, where he dares to link to a Wikileaks cable, which is public to the whole world.

But, in the vindictive little minds of folks in the State Department, since such info is still technically "classified," they can go after van Buren for "disclosing classified info." And, making it even better, the investigators who interrogated him over this told him that if he wrote about the interrogation, he could also be charged with "interfering with a government investigation." It makes you wonder if the people involved in this recognize how petty and childish they appear in their actions. No one who can think straight thinks that van Buren linking to a very public document reveals classified information -- and on top of that, speaking publicly about State Department bullying is not, in any way, interfering with a government investigation.

Tragically, this is not an isolated incident. Despite the President's insistence that he wants to see more whistleblowing, every time we see whistleblowing in the federal government it seems like it's followed up by vindictive attacks by the federal government.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    icon
    Ninja (profile), Sep 30th, 2011 @ 11:47am

    The US is a Police State already. And it seems the majority of the American are fine with it.

    https://wwws.whitehouse.gov/petitions/%21/petition/free-pfc-bradley-manning-accused-wikileaks -whistleblower/kX1GJKsD?utm_source=wh.gov&utm_medium=shorturl&utm_campaign=shorturl

    Wake up Americans. Wake up. Start protecting the ones that fought for freedom and transparency.

     

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

  2.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 30th, 2011 @ 11:53am

    I hate Our government

    Simply put:
    I can not stand this ridiculous wasteful and corrupt Government.Both of the major Parties are to blame for the way things are now and will be going in the near future anyways.
    In 2012 I do hope that all of you vote with your brain and think about it good before you do.

    If you think the system is broken do you really want to vote for either of the two parties who broke it ?

    I say NO WAY !!! Time for us to stand strong and maybe vote these assholes out on the street for a new Party or new Parties.We need Washington to at least:
    1.limit terms in Senate/Supreme Court, etc
    2.end money lobbying
    3.end the large donations by Corporations
    4.end the involvement in Afghanistan and Iraq
    5.stop giving aid to countries where terrorism or terrorist groups flourish
    6.fix the wasteful ways of Washington
    7.fix our Education System so we are the Number One as we should be

    There you go.Seven suggestions of fixing things that have nothing to do with liberal or conservative values.Just common sense was used

     

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

  3.  
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    Thomas (profile), Sep 30th, 2011 @ 12:02pm

    Surprised..

    that the State Department didn't simply send in one of the DOJ Gestapo agents and make the guy disappear permanently. That's the way a true police state operates.

     

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

  4.  
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    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Sep 30th, 2011 @ 12:19pm

    Motive

    Despite the President's insistence that he wants to see more whistleblowing, every time we see whistleblowing in the federal government it seems like it's followed up by vindictive attacks by the federal government.

    Of course. He wants whistleblowing so he can find the disaffected federal workers and get rid of them. It's a morale building exercise; nobody likes a complainer.

     

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

  5.  
    identicon
    Infowars, Sep 30th, 2011 @ 12:43pm

    I hate our .gov too

    In a few words...


    Ron Paul 2012!!!!

     

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

  6.  
    icon
    Chronno S. Trigger (profile), Sep 30th, 2011 @ 12:55pm

    Re: Surprised..

    "that the State Department didn't simply send in one of the DOJ Gestapo agents and make the guy disappear permanently. That's the way a true police state operates."

    If people start disappearing right after they post something critical of the government, people start talking; it leads to a revolution. If you pretend to be doing things by the book, it casts doubt and can put off rebellion by years or even decades.

     

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

  7.  
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    Almost Anonymous (profile), Sep 30th, 2011 @ 1:04pm

    Summary is wrong

    """-- and on top of that, speaking publicly about State Department bullying is not, in any way, interfering with a government investigation."""

    Totally disagree with you on this one Mike. The State Department is totally correct in stating that disclosure of their interrogation, both questions and tactics, could interfere with the investigation. If enough people read about this and start making noise (calling their congress-critter, writing the newspaper, getting media coverage), the State Department would almost certainly have to end their investigation.

     

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

  8.  
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    Tor (profile), Sep 30th, 2011 @ 1:14pm

    An analogy

    I guess people who work at American crematories better be careful. I mean, if it's possible to disclose information that has already been disclosed then I guess it must similarly be possible to kill people who are already dead. According to the logic reasoning of the state department crematory staff should be found guilty of murder.

    By the way, in linguistics there is a simple test for telling different kinds of verbs apart. It's possible to say "he painted for an hour" but you cannot say "he died for an hour", i.e. some verbs signify a continuous activity/event whereas others signify a punctual transition from the current state to a final state. I'd argue that "disclose" belongs to the latter class. To not recognize this difference one has to put aside both all reading comprehension and logic.

     

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

  9.  
    identicon
    HothMonster, Sep 30th, 2011 @ 1:40pm

    Re: I hate our .gov too

     

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

  10.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 30th, 2011 @ 3:09pm

    Re: I hate our .gov too

    Ru Paul 2012! Put some Sugah in the tank!

     

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

  11.  
    identicon
    Rekrul, Sep 30th, 2011 @ 9:40pm

    Despite the President's insistence that he wants to see more whistleblowing, every time we see whistleblowing in the federal government it seems like it's followed up by vindictive attacks by the federal government.

    Obama is a lying weasel, like 99.99% of all politicians. Hasn't this fact sunk in yet?

     

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

  12.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 30th, 2011 @ 10:04pm

    http://edition.cnn.com/2011/09/30/politics/targeting-us-citizens/index.html

    The US government just admitted they can kill anyone if they don't like that person including American citizens.

     

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

  13.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 1st, 2011 @ 4:15am

    Died for hours?

    Reminds me of narmy shows that try to draw out a death for the whole episode.

    Some even do this for multiple episodes.

     

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

  14.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 1st, 2011 @ 4:16am

    Re: Died for hours?

    *across multiple

     

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

  15.  
    identicon
    S, Oct 1st, 2011 @ 12:04pm

    Re: Re: I hate our .gov too

    I don't particularly think Ron Paul is a great candidate, but this list was obviously written by someone with an axe to grind -- that little jibe about 'unnatural obsession with guns' especially showed what their real priorities are.

     

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

  16.  
    identicon
    Scott, Oct 20th, 2011 @ 9:35pm

    Re: An analogy

    Classification is a continuous state. Disclosing information does not declassify it.

     

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


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