David Patraeus, Who Leaked Classified Info To His Mistress, Says Snowden Should Be Prosecuted

from the say-that-again? dept

Last week, the Intercept published Ed Snowden's powerful foreword to Jeremy Scahill's new book The Assassination Complex. The foreword is entitled: Whistleblowing Is Not Just Leaking — It’s an Act of Political Resistance. It's really worth reading. In it, among other things, he does note that there are very different kinds of leaking information. There are situations where you are alerting the public to important information. And then there are... other situations. Like what happened to former CIA Director, General David Petraeus:
Not all leaks are alike, nor are their makers. Gen. David Petraeus, for instance, provided his illicit lover and favorable biographer information so secret it defied classification, including the names of covert operatives and the president’s private thoughts on matters of strategic concern. Petraeus was not charged with a felony, as the Justice Department had initially recommended, but was instead permitted to plead guilty to a misdemeanor. Had an enlisted soldier of modest rank pulled out a stack of highly classified notebooks and handed them to his girlfriend to secure so much as a smile, he’d be looking at many decades in prison, not a pile of character references from a Who’s Who of the Deep State.
That's a pretty good summary of the "high court" situation that lets powerful people like Petraeus get away with passing on such information that could have legitimately put people at risk.

So, it was interesting, just days later, to see a long interview in the Financial Times with David Petraeus, in which he's asked about Snowden (warning: the link may be paywalled). The interview covers many subjects, and the comment on Snowden is quite brief:
Should Edward Snowden be prosecuted, I ask? “Unquestionably,” he replies. “If Snowden had wanted to help that debate he could have very easily been a whistleblower who could have gone to the appropriate organisation and offered his views. He didn’t.”
This is bullshit on so many levels. First, it's bullshit because Petreaus himself got off with barely a wrist slap for his own activity, which had nothing to do with whistleblowing and appeared to be much more dangerous than what Snowden did. Second, as Petreaus absolutely knows, the intelligence community does not treat whistleblowers well. Previous whistleblowers, including Thomas Drake, basically had their lives destroyed as punishment for using the "appropriate" channels for whistleblowing. Hell, just last week, we wrote about yet another case of an intelligence community whistleblower, who used the "appropriate" channels, suddenly having her home raided and her career in shambles.

Third, it's bullshit because even in using the "appropriate" channels, as an NSA contractor, Snowden was not protected from direct retaliation for whistleblowing. Fourth, it's bullshit because the "proper channels" would just be to run it up the line of people who thought it was hunky dory to lie to the American public to reinterpret the PATRIOT Act to enable them to spy on everyone's communications data. That wouldn't have done anything. Fifth, it's bullshit because once the information actually did get out through the press -- which never would have happened through "appropriate channels," it has set in motion a number of changes, among companies, individuals, Congress and the intelligence community. That's the point of whistleblowing, to actually change the behavior through alerting more people to what's going on.

But, really, it seems especially idiotic that someone in Petreaus' position would weigh in so hypocritically on Snowden's situation.

Filed Under: david petraeus, ed snowden, high court, leaks, low court, prosecution, whistleblowing

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  1. identicon
    Jack Frisbee, 10 May 2016 @ 1:28pm

    Re: Re:

    The irony lost with most about Clinton, is that she was an author of Sarbanes-Oxley, and later voted for strengthening punishment. What is SO, you ask? Sarbanes Oxley was a direct result of CEOs doing exactly what Clinton did about the Benghazi incident.

    Congress committee chairman: "What did you know and when?"
    Clinton/Madoff: "I didn't know. I can't tell you what I didn't know."

    So Congress went off and wrote SO to state, "You will keep copies of your email systems. You will certify under oath that the systems conform and can be recalled to testify." If you fail to comply, federal prison and fines.

    So here we are, an author of the bill that is supposed to create accountability and the ability to subpoena publicly traded large companies records is in charge of the entire State Department. And she violates multiple tenants: runs it off site, doesn't have back-ups, and when called to submit, picks and chooses what she sends.

    This alone speaks volumes about integrity, accountability, competence, and trustworthiness.

    If the police chief was caught stealing, when your house gets robbed, do you want him in charge?

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