Exclusive: President Obama says he welcomes the debate on post-9/11 surveillance of Americans and the world, but that debate was only made meaningful by the disclosures of NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, who was then indicted and sought asylum in Russia, where he just met with some ex-U.S. intelligence officials, including Ray McGovern.
The attack line against whistleblowers Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden – that they should have gone through “proper channels” – ignores that those oversight channels have been badly corrupted over the past several decades. That has left Americans dependent on out-of-channel leaks, says ex-CIA analyst Melvin A. Goodman.
On Nov. 21, former National Security Agency official Thomas Drake was honored for his courage in blowing the whistle on the U.S. government’s abuse of its secrecy powers. In his acceptance speech, Drake explained the larger and more frightening context – the loss of American liberty.
In recent decades, information – the lifeblood of democracy — has often been cut off from the American body politic on “national security” grounds or because insiders feel it wouldn’t be “good for the country.” To counter that benighted view, a group of ex-U.S. intelligence officials honors brave whistleblowers, this year Thomas Drake and Jesselyn Radack.