Saturday, July 27, 2013

whistleblower's price

It is sometimes argued that leakers of secret documents like Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden should have taken their concerns to their superiors, that there were mechanisms in place for anyone wishing to contradict or question current policies. By not going through channels and not availing themselves of those mechanisms, these men broke their vows and broke the law and became the 'traitors' they are sometimes accused of being, according to the argument.

Anyone seriously interested in testing the validity of this argument (and yes, it does require a mind capable of thinking outside a 141-character box) may be interested in the tale told by Sabrina De Sousa, a former CIA operative who apparently got her ass kicked when she attempted to play by the rules. De Sousa was a bit player in the extraordinary rendition activities that spirited "terrorists" to secret prisons set up by the CIA. When she attempted to point out the legal flaws in one particular kidnapping, she was hung out to dry while those most responsible -- big-name players -- were left untouched.

As told in the McClatchy article, De Sousa's tale has no counterpoint. There is no rebuttal. There is no support. There is no denial. But the specificity of her arguments and recollections and depictions have a ring of truth: If they were not true, surely someone would come forward to call her a liar to her face. If the State Department and CIA and FBI and president's office found some egregious and self-serving flaw in her story, wouldn't they try to clean off the mud she had thrown on their clothing? Perhaps not. Perhaps it is easier to pillory De Sousa and Manning and Snowden using back-channel ruses and defamations ... put 'em in jail, cut off their livelihood, mete out the punishment that might have befallen those who meted it out.

De Sousa's story certainly puts the lie to "going through channels" for anyone wishing to say something serious.

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