Given what we now know, it's easy to ignore what we don't know about how our government is acting in our name. That's why the figure of the whistleblower -- and the Obama administration's urge to suppress whistleblowing of any sort -- remains so important.
This is the very definition of post-Constitutional America where legality and illegality blur -- and always in the government's favor; where the founding principles of our nation only apply when, as, and if the executive sees fit. The devil is indeed in the details.
President Obama ran his initial campaign on a pledge for transparency and a promise to enhance whistleblower protection, both of which have been scrapped. Instead, the administration now forwards the narrative that whistleblowers by their very nature are a threat to national security.
Critics of the Justice Dept.'s subpoena of AP telephone records have shamelessly mischaracterized the Dept.'s actions and the purposes for them. Any interference with the free press merits close scrutiny, but that scrutiny needs to consider just what the Dept. actually has done and why.
There's a new urgency in Washington, a sense that the time has come to establish a national media shield that would protect news organizations and reporters from federal subpoenas and secret spying. It won't happen, certainly not in any meaningful way.
You can hardly point out that the Emperor has no clothes if you're not even allowed to look in his direction. And that's precisely the point of the government's war on whistleblowers. The message couldn't be more clear or more authoritarian: Avert your eyes, citizens!
The industry's response to years of evidence of egregious, and often criminal, animal cruelty and of diseased and adulterated meat entering the market is to attempt to outlaw undercover investigations.
The White House recently released a presidential directive extending legal protections to intelligence community employees who expose government fraud, waste, or abuse. The directive, however, does not allow any disclosures to the media.
The Obama administration has been cruelly and unusually punishing in its use of the 1917 Espionage Act to stomp on governmental leakers, truth-tellers, and whistleblowers whose disclosures do not support the president's political ambitions.
Those who imagine the era of overreach in the name of national security coming to an end any time soon would do well to remember that some spectacular national security trials are on the horizon -- and that we may be entering a new age of governmental vindictiveness.