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.

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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 Sep 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

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