Murray Polner: “Where Were You Last Night at 7? Speak Up!”Roundup: Historians' Take
tags: Barack Obama, presidents, Murray Polner, civil liberties, NYT eXaminer
Murray Polner is a regular book reviewer for the History News Network. His column “Keeping Score” appears here fairly regularly.
I always loved that great New Yorker cartoon, which has a President ordering his assistant, “Leak to the press that my Administration won’t stand for any more leaks.”
How relevant. As our Big Media endlessly reports on the sheriff and his posse’s relentless pursuit of Edward Snowden, and while Pfc. Bradley Manning sits in a military court awaiting a probable guilty verdict, he and Snowden may, sadly, prove to be small fry in the long run, forgotten as the years pass as they languish in a federal prison.
Now, with no thanks to Big Media and TV’s sycophantic network news programs, the Obama Administration has something new and more odious to offer—its Insider Threat Program, which the President signed into law in October 2011 and, I believe, was first revealed in depth last June by the McClatchy Newspapers’ Marisa Taylor and the intrepid Jonathan Landay’s “Obama’s Plan to Crack Down on Whistleblowers Leaked.” Widely overlooked except by the leftist Nation, Truth-out and a handful of bloggers, what Taylor and Landay reported was, to put it conservatively, potentially “game changing.”
Remember the McClatchy Newspapers, one of the infinitesimal number of newspapers that dared question Bush-Cheney- neocon fictions about Iraq?
Now they’re at it again. The Insider Threat Program, Taylor and Landay report, is “an unprecedented government-wide crackdown under which millions of federal bureaucrats and contractors must watch out for ‘high-risk persons or behavior’ among co-workers. Those who fail to report them could face penalties, including criminal charges.”
Five million federal employees now have to keep a sharp eye out on their fellow employees and “pay particular attention to the lifestyles, attitudes and behaviors—like financial problems, odd working hours, or unexplained travel—of co-workers as a way to predict whether they might do ‘harm to the United States.’ ” And, “although agencies and departments are still setting up their programs, some employees already are being urged to watch co-workers for ‘indicators’ that include stress, divorce and financial problems.”
McClatchy says it received a copy of the document “which was produced by an Insider Threat Task Forces that was set up under Obama’s order” but won’t say from whom. Their doorbells could soon be ringing by men and women in dark suits.
Taylor and Landay’s conclusion is downright scary and threatens to raise a genuine and serious insider threat. Eric Feldman, a former IG of the National Reconnaissance Office, the agency supervising U.S. spy satellites, told the two reporters that the ITP could lead to “ a repressive kind of culture. “The answer to it,” said Feldman, “is not to have a Stasi-like response.”
What’s next? Anyone at the Times, Washington Post, NPR, 60 Minutes, National Review, Washington Times, Washington press corps, or silent Democratic liberals interested in following up? I can’t wait to read the Onion’s take.
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