Obama Doesn’t Want to Punish Whistleblowers?

In a recent speech regarding a $16 billion shot in the arm to the VA, Obama recently had these words to say about whistleblowers:

If you blow the whistle, you should be thanked. You should be protected for doing the right thing. You shouldn’t be ignored and you certainly shouldn’t be punished.

Great words. I guess. I don’t really know who he’s talking about as such. The Inspector General? It’s his job to make sure that bureaucracies are operating on the up and up. He’s not a whistleblower as such.

In other news, Edward Snowden was offered an extension of his asylum in Russia. He’s being protected. By another country. He certainly isn’t being ignored. But would he be punished? I think so. He’s been charged with three felonies. And Obama had this to say of Snowden in January:

Given the fact of an open investigation, I’m not going to dwell on Mr. Snowden’s actions or motivations. Our nation’s defense depends in part on the fidelity of those entrusted with our nation’s secrets. If any individual who objects to government policy can take it in their own hands to publicly disclose classified information, then we will not be able to keep our people safe, or conduct foreign policy.

Apparently, Obama is trying to convince whistleblowers that they can “keep things internal,” and not fear punishment. Except, what could Snowden have done? Bring the information to his superiors? He tried. In his own words:

I had reported these clearly problematic programs to more than ten distinct officials, none of whom took any action to address them. As an employee of a private company rather than a direct employee of the US government, I was not protected by US whistleblower laws, and I would not have been protected from retaliation and legal sanction for revealing classified information about lawbreaking in accordance with the recommended process.

And would the VA scandal have even been addressed if it had not become such a public scandal? Probably not. If it had been dealt with “internally,” it wouldn’t have been dealt with at all. Whistleblowers shouldn’t feel safe and protected. The federal government is obviously about the business of protecting its own concerns, no matter how many taxpayers and individuals have to pay the price. Any contention to the contrary is unbelievable. Because the federal government obviously doesn’t want reform. It just wants the appearance of reform to legitimize its continually escalating acquisition of power.

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