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Whistleblowers Enter the Post-Snowden Era

Unknown Lamer posted about 4 months ago | from the exile-not-optional dept.

Government 129

Presto Vivace (882157) writes GovExec Magazine reporting on the aftermath of Snowden's disclosures: '...At the Intelligence Community's Office of the Inspector General, [Dan Meyer, executive director for intelligence community whistleblowing and source protection] told Government Executive that a communitywide policy directive signed in March by the director of the Office of National Intelligence "is an affirmative statement that you have to blow the whistle" upon encountering wrongdoing, noting that in the past it was seen as an option. The new directive, he added, "shows firm support for the IC IG Whistleblowing program that actively promotes federal whistleblowing through lawful disclosures, which ultimately strengthens our nation's security." The key to the campaign of openness to whistleblowers, as distinct from criminal leakers and publicity seekers, Meyer stresses, is that it "must aid the agency mission. It is developmental and helps all stakeholders understand that we have rules in effect," he added. Meyer is expecting a bow wave of whistleblower retaliation cases (which can involve punishments ranging from demotion to pay cuts to required psychiatric evaluation) to come through his office directly or through a hotline in the coming months.'

Given the realities of the insider threat program and war on whistleblowers I can't say that I am optimistic about the new directive."

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Some thing are not worth aiding (5, Insightful)

CRCulver (715279) | about 4 months ago | (#47153797)

The key to the campaign of openness to whistleblowers, as distinct from criminal leakers and publicity seekers, Meyer stresses, is that it "must aid the agency mission.

There's your problem (or rather society's problem) right there: when the agency mission is sucking up as much information as possible, privacy of American citizens be damned, and then covering up for one another to reassure the American public, then that is something no one wants to aid, and the whole point of whistleblowing is to stop it.

That the NSA's mission is a megalomaniac "collect it all" approach has been clear for a long, long time now. Back in the early millennium I read James Bamford's Body of Secrets [amazon.com] and followed keenly the European Parliament's ECHELON investigation (which was sadly obscured in the news by 9/11). Sadder than the fact that Snowden risks lifelong imprisonment is the fact that it took so long to get a Snowden in the first place after years of hints that something was wrong.

Re:Some thing are not worth aiding (2)

LordLimecat (1103839) | about 4 months ago | (#47153873)

There's your problem (or rather society's problem) right there: when the agency mission is sucking up as much information as possible, privacy of American citizens be damned, and then covering up for one another to reassure the American public, then that is something no one wants to aid, and the whole point of whistleblowing is to stop it.

Thats what the ballot box is for. The agency mission is generally an open thing.

We need whistleblowers to expose hidden wrongdoing, not to try to change policy.

Re:Some thing are not worth aiding (4, Interesting)

CRCulver (715279) | about 4 months ago | (#47153897)

Thats what the ballot box is for. The agency mission is generally an open thing. We need whistleblowers to expose hidden wrongdoing, not to try to change policy.

My whole point is that there is a gap between the purported mission that voters can direct, and the real mission which, as we have seen, is kept hidden from the public until whistleblowers speak out. The NSA's public mission is reassuringly worded fluff, voters could have known nothing about the agency's insistence on ready access to all American internal telecommunications until Snowden spoke out.

Re:Some thing are not worth aiding (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47155511)

There's a dichotomy in your facts, which is possibly creating the false dilemma. The NSA's mission is to assumulate intelligence on FOREIGN activities. Let's throw this example back 30 years. 30 years ago a room in a foreign embassy is bugged. One day a US Citizen walks into "Country XYZs" embassy and says, "I want to give away secrets." 30 years ago, there would be no uproar when that information is acted on and the threat negated. Nowadays it suddenly has "dragons" and a dozen conspiracy theories, but I digress.

The article's original point is that it's now a requirement to whisleblow. If you're ni the IC (Intelligence Community), following rules set out is part of your job. Nearly all intelligence you routinely read will start with a legal disclaimer about valid use of the information that follows. If you violate those rules, your job and clearance can be revoked. Plain and simple. Happens occasionally. Lieutenant takes SECRET and air gaps it over to UNCLASS and sends it to couple dozen people (including a General Officer), in hand-cuffs, gone. Now, there's an additional requirement: See something illegal you MUST report it. It's no longer a judgement call. Using another example, in certain cases things are optional reporting, such as a random stranger asking specific questions about IC work. If it's a US military member, not really a security incident. Now, lets say same questions are asked by a Chinese National on a flight through Dubai, it's now crossing over to something you must report to a security manager.

This is what pisses me off about ignorant internet experts spouting about crap they don't even know what they don't know. If you follow some on here, if you're gov & IC then you're automatically just doing what you want and ignore laws. If you fly an armed drone then you MUST be just randomly shooting GBUs at civilians whenever it suits your fancy, like it's just a CoD:Ghosts game where you get to call in missiles.

Re:Some thing are not worth aiding (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47155971)

Interesting. Do you have any actual facts to back up your arguments?

Captcha: reread

Re:Some thing are not worth aiding (1)

ThatsDrDangerToYou (3480047) | about 4 months ago | (#47157403)

... If you're ni the IC (Intelligence Community), following rules set out is part of your job.

Ah, you must think you are pretty clever hiding that carefully coded message in your post. Well, I will see your "ni" and raise you a shrubbery. (ducks to avoid missles)

Re:Some thing are not worth aiding (3, Insightful)

malignant_minded (884324) | about 4 months ago | (#47153901)

But if you must blow the whistle as soon as you encounter wrongdoing won't that mean everyone is slowly introduced to the fold therefore weeding out the potential of any real serious whistleblowing?

Not at all (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47155859)

It means each employee is put in a lose-lose position. When wrongdoing is observed, either:

1) You blow the whistle using proper channels, which means you really piss off your superiors who retaliate against you in a whole host of horrible (but technically legal) ways, and even if you raise grievances for this you are in for a long, character-destroying, career-destroying, savings-destroying legal battle.

2) You keep quiet, which (by this directive) means you are complicit in the wrongdoing, and will be punished for this should someone else ever blow the whistle (or by your own conscience).

It is not very unlike the situation military personnel face. They are required to disobey any order that is illegal, negating the "just following orders" defense, and yet their commanders are empowered to shoot them on the spot for insubordination (and dead men tell no tales).

Re:Not at all (2)

CheezburgerBrown . (3417019) | about 4 months ago | (#47156073)

'and yet their commanders are empowered to shoot them on the spot for insubordination (and dead men tell no tales).'

What country do you live in?

Re:Not at all (1)

deadweight (681827) | about 4 months ago | (#47156851)

Read Band of Brothers. One of the "BoB" shot a man for disobeying an order and was not punished.

Re:Not at all (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47158051)

The rules for military members in time of war are not the rules for government agencies in times of peace.

Re:Not at all (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47158361)

When has the US ever really been at peace?

Re:Some thing are not worth aiding (2, Insightful)

jbmartin6 (1232050) | about 4 months ago | (#47153959)

And when is abolishing the NSA going to be on the ballot? Last hundred elections all I saw was a choice between Kang and Kodos

Re:Some thing are not worth aiding (1)

LordLimecat (1103839) | about 4 months ago | (#47154215)

Sounds like you should be voting in primaries, then.

Good news, theyre going on over the coming weeks.

Re:Some thing are not worth aiding (1)

Richy_T (111409) | about 4 months ago | (#47156703)

Like Ron Paul's supporters?

Re:Some thing are not worth aiding (0)

jythie (914043) | about 4 months ago | (#47154413)

Unfortunately, we get the government that most voters want, or at minimal is a product of most voter's desires. If 90% of the voters wanted the NSA gone and had that as their big determining issue, it would be gone pretty quickly. But voters want a complex mix of often mutually exclusive thing and with a whole range of priorities. The NSA stuff just is not important enough to enough people.

Re:Some thing are not worth aiding (-1, Flamebait)

kilfarsnar (561956) | about 4 months ago | (#47154793)

Unfortunately, we get the government that most voters want, or at minimal is a product of most voter's desires. If 90% of the voters wanted the NSA gone and had that as their big determining issue, it would be gone pretty quickly. But voters want a complex mix of often mutually exclusive thing and with a whole range of priorities. The NSA stuff just is not important enough to enough people.

You mean like when 90% of those polled want stricter gun control laws, or to expand social services, or to increase the minimum wage. or when just about everyone was against the Wall Street bailouts? Public sentiment is often ignored by those in office. But that's not even the point. People generally don't come up with issues on their own. They choose form a list of issues on which they can side with the Left or the Right. The masses can be led, if you do it right. This has been known for a long time and has been refined greatly over the past hundred years or so. So I think saying that the US is the way it is because of the voters ignores the reality that they are lied to, frightened and manipulated into voting the right way.

Re:Some thing are not worth aiding (1)

jythie (914043) | about 4 months ago | (#47155545)

That is where 'care enough' comes in. If 90% want stricter gun control, but say, immigration issues are a higher priority for may people, they will vote on the immigration axis regardless of what their gun control beliefs are since we vote in general representatives.

I agree that voters can be liked to, frightened, manipulated, etc, but that does not absolve us of being responsible for the outcome. They manipulate people based off what people want and feel, in a way it is just our own political thoughts thrown into sharp relief and reflected back.

Re:Some thing are not worth aiding (1)

Digital Vomit (891734) | about 4 months ago | (#47156599)

Voters don't really have any influence on public policy in the US, according to a recent study [sunlightfoundation.com] .

Re:Some thing are not worth aiding (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47155019)

Don't blame me, I voted for Kodos.

Re:Some thing are not worth aiding (1)

MrL0G1C (867445) | about 4 months ago | (#47157669)

"Thats what the ballot box is for."

Ok, so you have a first-past-the-post system which means if you don't vote for one of the 2 leading parties then your vote means nothing.

So, who is going to bring about sweeping reforms and restore the constitution to it's former glory, Democrats or Republicans?

First-past-the-post is an anathema to democracy, it is the reason why two thirds of the population don't vote.

Re:Some thing are not worth aiding (1)

LordLimecat (1103839) | about 4 months ago | (#47157795)

The country in its "former glory" was also a 2 party system.

Re:Some thing are not worth aiding (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47153957)

the agency mission is sucking up as much information as possible

More correctly: the agency mission is sucking up as much information as legally allowed. Which is his point, do the job but don't break the law. Some of what Snowden revealed was borderline illegal, most of it was legal.

Re:Some thing are not worth aiding (2)

kilfarsnar (561956) | about 4 months ago | (#47154815)

The fact that it's legal doesn't make it right. A lot of people would be shocked at what's legal.

Re:Some thing are not worth aiding (1)

Creepy (93888) | about 4 months ago | (#47156889)

What Snowden did was illegal and treason according to the Espionage Act of 1917. Of course, the Espionage Act of 1917 is entirely broken and redefines treason as giving any confidential information to anyone that isn't supposed to have it. Heck, the White House itself committed treason just last week when it revealed the name of the CIA head in Afghanistan.

Furthermore, the NSA's charter forbids it from collecting information on Americans, but they've wanted their fingers in that honeypot for a long time. They got bashed on the wrist for illegal wiretapping under Nixon, Carter scolded them for phone tapping again and told them to stop, and then they got in trouble again with Echelon, since it scoops up all information from all satellites, including US communications. The NSA only has jurisdiction when one end of the communication is in a foreign country (and only then because of and since the Patriot Act). Anything else is illegal for them to do, since it is FBI jurisdiction and under tighter rules.

Re:Some thing are not worth aiding (5, Insightful)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | about 4 months ago | (#47153979)

openness to whistleblowers, as distinct from criminal leakers and publicity seekers

So, how do you distinguish between "whistleblowers" and "criminal leakers" and "publicity seekers" BEFORE you make the decision to blow the whistle?

If you guess wrong, you become one more statistic in the Obama Administration's policy of prosecuting whistleblowers (twice as many prosecutions as ALL other Administrations combined so far).

I'm willing to bet, however, that the basic rule will be "if it embarrasses the other Party more than the Administration, it's "whistleblowing", but if it embarrasses the Administration it's "criminal leakers" or "publicity seekers"...

Re:Some thing are not worth aiding (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47154237)

I'm willing to bet, however, that the basic rule will be "if it embarrasses the other Party more than the Administration, it's "whistleblowing", but if it embarrasses the Administration it's "criminal leakers" or "publicity seekers"...

Too many words. "If it embarrasses the Party, it's doubleplusungood."

Re:Some thing are not worth aiding (1)

cdrudge (68377) | about 4 months ago | (#47154439)

So, how do you distinguish between "whistleblowers" and "criminal leakers" and "publicity seekers" BEFORE you make the decision to blow the whistle?

Do you stand to gain, directly or indirectly, any benefit either personally, professionally, or politically, by whatever is being whistle blown on?

If yes, the whistle blower is a publicity seeking criminal leaker. If no, then the whistle blower should be a celebrated patriot.

Unfortunately, far far too many people benefit directly or indirectly to effect real change.

Re:Some thing are not worth aiding (2)

Captain Hook (923766) | about 4 months ago | (#47154953)

Do you stand to gain, directly or indirectly, any benefit either personally, professionally, or politically, by whatever is being whistle blown on?

That is an extremely wide difinition.

Anyone whistle blowing is doing it because they want something changed, whether that is an improved working environment or a social/political change. That means they are indirectly benefitting and therefore by your definition no whistleblower is a whistleblower.

Re:Some thing are not worth aiding (1)

cdrudge (68377) | about 4 months ago | (#47155525)

When I said "Do you stand to gain..." I was referring to someone other than the whistle blower, most likely the entity that the whistle is being blown on. Obviously the whistle blower has something to gain ultimately by what they are doing, otherwise why do it?

For example, the NSA and in general the US Government had a lot to gain from the activities that Edward Snowden has revealed. Therefor the government has portrayed him as a "bad guy".

Most others had nothing to gain from the revealed activities. Therefor the public views him more of a "good guy" (or at least not a "bad guy")

Re:Some thing are not worth aiding (1)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | about 4 months ago | (#47155471)

Do you stand to gain, directly or indirectly, any benefit either personally, professionally, or politically, by whatever is being whistle blown on?

If yes, the whistle blower is a publicity seeking criminal leaker.

By this definition, the people who leaked the Watergate stories were "publicity seeking criminal leakers", since they stood to gain something "either personally, professionally, or politically". At a minimum, they removed a President they despised, which has to count as a benefit....

Re:Some thing are not worth aiding (1)

cdrudge (68377) | about 4 months ago | (#47155629)

I worded my post poorly I guess. What I meant was those that benefited from the allegedly illegal activities (the government, evil corporations, etc) are going to view the whistle blowing negatively, but those that don't stand to benefit (usually the public in general) wouldn't.

Re:Some thing are not worth aiding (1)

Creepy (93888) | about 4 months ago | (#47157003)

Well currently it doesn't matter - any whistleblowing to anyone that can't legally see the documents is treason by current law, so your only choice is to go through your superiors, which Snowden did and his grievances were ignored. Basically, all this says is now you are obliged to bring these things up with your superiors when you see them so you can quickly be tossed in a tiny isolated cell and be called a threat to national security before you take the next step and tell the press.

Re:Some thing are not worth aiding (2)

vux984 (928602) | about 4 months ago | (#47157711)

If you guess wrong, you become one more statistic in the Obama Administration's policy of prosecuting whistleblowers (twice as many prosecutions as ALL other Administrations combined so far).

I've read that stat, and don't dispute the truth of it; but I question whether it lacks context. Perhaps there are simply a lot more whistleblowers due to the degree the government has gone so far off he rails? Perhaps there is a peer, where once people started coming forwards, a lot more of them felt emboldened to come forward. (The way rape victims tend to be more inclined to come forward when they know other victims are coming forward.)

Maybe the ratio at which this administration is prosecuting whistleblowers is no higher than previous administrations, there are just so many more of them so the absolute numbers are higher.

Anyone know?

Re:Some thing are not worth aiding (1)

jythie (914043) | about 4 months ago | (#47154385)

It does not help that the difference between what the policy describes as "criminal leakers and publicity seekers" is purely in how the agency spins it.

Re:Some thing are not worth aiding (1)

LifesABeach (234436) | about 4 months ago | (#47154449)

Then I'm to understand that Snowden could come back to America and expect, what?

What's the worse that can happen? (3, Insightful)

cdrudge (68377) | about 4 months ago | (#47153803)

I see one of two outcomes from the flood of whistles about to be blown:
1. Nothing. TPTB essentially say "That's nice. We'll handle it" and business goes on as normal. Whistle blower becomes frustrated and stops blowing whistle.
2. Whistle blower disappears.

Either way, the problem is solved.

Re:What's the worse that can happen? (2)

Gothmolly (148874) | about 4 months ago | (#47153915)

Exactly. Or both outcomes happen.

Re:What's the worse that can happen? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47153933)

There's a third option... the world changes in a positive direction because the right people respond.

Re:What's the worse that can happen? (1)

cdrudge (68377) | about 4 months ago | (#47154137)

Oh you and your naivety.

When was the last government whistle blower that resulted in something positive for the world? Then also find me one where it didn't come a great personal cost to the whistle blower with the "protections" afforded to them.

Re:What's the worse that can happen? (1)

spacepimp (664856) | about 4 months ago | (#47154909)

Some would argue the Pentagon Papers and Daniel Ellsberg amounted to a positive change.

Re:What's the worse that can happen? (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about 4 months ago | (#47155131)

They would be wrong. Nothing has changed. In fact it has gotten worse steadily over the years. What did we get after Nixon? Reagan! Bush.. Clinton.. Obama... and the crookedest congress in ages. Where's the "positive" in that?

Re:What's the worse that can happen? (1)

spacepimp (664856) | about 4 months ago | (#47160637)

It unraveled Nixon, and was a tipping point in his paranoia, which would ultimately lead to the SIU/Watergate break ins. Even if people do not react intelligently, they are better served by the truth about their government than lies/misrepresentations.

Re:What's the worse that can happen? (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about 4 months ago | (#47164143)

Nixon was a punk, like every other elected official. They are all quite expendable. The system stands tall as ever.

Re:What's the worse that can happen? (1)

cdrudge (68377) | about 4 months ago | (#47155417)

After all was settled and looking back 40+ years, what positive effect aside from having an public historical account of what lead up to the Vietnam War? Not discounting the importance of having such information, but in the scheme of things that sounds pretty minor.

Did it result in serious policy change? Did it result in more transparency, accuracy, or accountability in government operations? Did it result in the reduction of lost lives, damage to the environment, or cost reductions? No to all the above.

Bullshit (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47153951)

Bullshit. I've done it. Policy was changed with appropriate congressional notification within about 3 days. Now, granted, what annoyed me was a technical violation of law that a few pilots were unaware of due to the Air Force screwing up the UAV manning, but the point is that in the spy world, IG complaints are taken seriously.

Snowden? Didn't take any of the steps he was told in his inbriefing to address concerns. None of them. Not a single fucking one. He's not a hero; he's a traitor. He should be tried and prosecuted.

Re:Bullshit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47154015)

Others in his position took those steps, they were ineffective all times.

You are traitor that tries to defend unconstitutional behavior.

Re:Bullshit (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47154035)

liar liar, pants on fire. We all know the classic "repeat a lie and it will become a truth" and "don't tell a small lie, tell a big lie" - But that does NOT mean that we'll accept the lies of idiots and sycophants.

Re:Bullshit (3, Insightful)

jelIomizer (3670957) | about 4 months ago | (#47154037)

Snowden? Didn't take any of the steps he was told in his inbriefing to address concerns. None of them. Not a single fucking one. He's not a hero; he's a traitor. He should be tried and prosecuted.

If the government is doing something blatantly unconstitutional, as the NSA was, then the people need to know about it. Risking it all being swept under the rug by trying to go to the 'proper channels' is foolish for exactly that reason. The people should be the first to know what the evil scumbags in the government are doing.

I don't know who he unjustifiably betrayed, but it wasn't me, and it wasn't the ideals that this country is supposed to aspire to.

Re:Bullshit (2)

BVis (267028) | about 4 months ago | (#47154143)

He'd have had a great deal more credibility (and thus have a greater impact) had he gone through proper channels first and gotten no satisfaction. He'd be able to say "I tried to do this the right way, hoping that the system would correct itself, but it didn't, so I decided that the people should know about this by other means."

Re:Bullshit (5, Informative)

CRCulver (715279) | about 4 months ago | (#47154233)

He'd have had a great deal more credibility (and thus have a greater impact) had he gone through proper channels first and gotten no satisfaction.

Snowden has always claimed -- and the US government has recently admitted - that he did first approach his superiors, and only when his unease was brushed aside did he decide to release his information to journalists.

Re:Bullshit (1)

BVis (267028) | about 4 months ago | (#47154273)

I stand corrected then.

Re:Bullshit (0)

N1AK (864906) | about 4 months ago | (#47155855)

Perhaps you shouldn't post bullshit on public forums in future then? If you don't know what he did, or didn't, do then why type uninformed noise?

Re:Bullshit (3, Insightful)

BVis (267028) | about 4 months ago | (#47157317)

For the same reason you feel the need to pile on someone who's admitted his mistake.

Re:Bullshit (3, Insightful)

Straif (172656) | about 4 months ago | (#47155565)

Not quite or even partially true. Snowden CLAIMS he approached his superiors multiple times but the only released document was about a technical question about the legal power of executive orders.

He essentially asked if executive orders outweighed actual signed laws and the answer given him that while they have the weight of a law, if they conflict with a law then EO's are effectively void.

Of course you can claim that this was the only document released by the NSA because it proves Snowden is lying about his attempts to properly handle what he saw as a violation of the constitution, but if there were other documents don't you think Snowden would have presented them to prove his case. Or is a man who managed to copy millions of classified document not able to copy HIS OWN EMAILS from his account prior to leaving?

Re:Bullshit (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47156501)

So far when Snowden's word stood against the word of government officials, it was a rather one-sided spectacle who had to eat his word again and again and again.

So I don't get what people clamoring "he must be lying" are doing to themselves: why the moral outrage over something he has not ever proven to be doing while accepting your own government proven time and again to be liars, oathbreakers, torturers, murderers, and terrorists?

Why even waste time speculating about the nature of a single man when your whole country is proven to be run by an organized crime syndicate on your money?

Snowden is irrelevant. Your government isn't. What does it take to get you annoyed about relevant crimes rather than try smearing the one who exhibited them because you don't like how he did it?

Re:Bullshit (2)

Straif (172656) | about 4 months ago | (#47157225)

1) I'm not American so their internal spying did not violate my non-existent constitutional rights.
2) I don't have much of an issue with his disclosures about their internal spying programs since I happen to believe they are violations of the constitution.
3) It's his disclosure of external spying I disagree with. All countries spy on each other; that's nothing new or unexpected but his disclosure of specifics placed him clearly outside of the concerned citizen category into the traitor camp.
4) This part of this thread is about his supposed attempts to do the right thing before going public so discussing those actions is hardly irrelevant.
5) Discussion Snowden's specific (in)actions is important in that it can highlight the difficulties with whistle blowing in the various levels of government.

Re:Bullshit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47158145)

Actually the US Constitution details innane human rights, so at least in one point in time in human history, the idea was that even if you were not a citizen of the USA, you still have US Constitutional rights. Now those rights are so regulated and ammended by law, it is not clear to a novice like me how much of the original rights are still standing.

Re:Bullshit (4, Insightful)

NoKaOi (1415755) | about 4 months ago | (#47159441)

Because the important thing is to focus on whether Snowden followed proper procedure. Forget about what he exposed, all those gross violations of the constitution are completely irrelevant if he didn't follow procedure when exposing them.

Re:Bullshit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47154709)

He'd have had a great deal more credibility (and thus have a greater impact) had he gone through proper channels first and gotten no satisfaction. He'd be able to say "I tried to do this the right way, hoping that the system would correct itself, but it didn't, so I decided that the people should know about this by other means."

So what you are actually saying is he has total full and complete credibility - seeing as he did everything you are claiming he didn't do.

If the NSA Office of General Counsel, the NSA Office of Oversight and Compliance, and his own chain of superiors is not "proper channels", then I seriously have to question your motives and desires.

http://dissenter.firedoglake.c... [firedoglake.com]

If none of that is "proper channels" then who exactly, by name, did you want him to tell?

Do you consider the Chinese mafia proper?
Are you claiming he should have run directly to the press without telling anyone?
Or do you just wish he shot himself in the head and get all the messy technicals out of the way for them?

I can't see any other reason you would keep repetitively making false claims except A) ignorance on the subject at levels that should exclude you from all conversation on the subject, or B) gross and criminal support of the NSAs activities.

In either case you need to seriously rethink your life choices, as we are sick and tired of giving you this many chances and are no longer offering you the excuse of ignorance of the subject.

No (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47155893)

I'm the parent poster who had an IG complaint resolved legally. The IG, not the OGC is the correct approach if your supervision doesn't answer satisfactorily. By the way, only evidence that Snowden did anything was one email released by the NSA showing that he asked a question about a conflict between EO and law, and was told that the law wins.

He did not contact the IG. He did not contact the security manager. He did not contact his senator or representative. He is, at best, a publicity whore, but most likely a traitor, and it's becoming obvious that he's a well handled spy.

Re:No (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47159249)

The NSA's claim that "he only sent this one email, to one person, one time" would be a lot more credible if they hadn't previously claimed that he had sent zero emails to anyone ever. It seems much more likely to me that this 'admission' is damage control.

Re:No (1)

jelIomizer (3670957) | about 4 months ago | (#47160291)

How does garbage like this get modded up? He should not be reporting any of this to corrupt government scumbags to begin with. If the government is violating the highest law of the land and/or conducting highly immoral activities, the people need to be informed immediately. Period. Wasting time with government thugs only decreases the chances that you'll be able to successfully leak the documents when you need to.

He is, at best, a publicity whore, but most likely a traitor

Really? Then what are all these scumbags in the government who support programs that violate the constitution and the fundamental liberties of millions of people?

It's amazing how reporting government activities that are directly opposed to the ideals to which this country is supposed to aspire makes you a "publicity whore" or a "traitor."

Re:Bullshit (1)

kilfarsnar (561956) | about 4 months ago | (#47154913)

He'd have had a great deal more credibility (and thus have a greater impact) had he gone through proper channels first and gotten no satisfaction. He'd be able to say "I tried to do this the right way, hoping that the system would correct itself, but it didn't, so I decided that the people should know about this by other means."

You mean like this?

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-switch/wp/2014/03/07/snowden-i-raised-nsa-concerns-internally-over-10-times-before-going-rogue/

Re:Bullshit (2)

BVis (267028) | about 4 months ago | (#47154973)

If you bothered to read my other response to the first person who corrected me, you'd see that this comment was unnecessary. Please satisfy your desire to be right on the internet somewhere else.

Re:Bullshit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47156671)

Do YOU have anything relevant to contribute? Since you're so happy to tell other people they shouldn't post here, perhaps you should consider doing the same, considering that you only provided lies and deception.

Re:Bullshit (1)

kilfarsnar (561956) | about 4 months ago | (#47157413)

I'm right in person too! ;-)

Look, I didn't mean to be redundant or piss you off. I see by your member number that you've been here a while. So you know how this forum is. That article was the first hit on Google when I searched for: snowden report to superiors. I often do a little research before I post here because I know I'm dealing with a bunch of know-it-all nerds, and I want to make sure my shit is legit. You seem like a good guy (I assume you're a guy, but no one knows if you're a dog on the Internet), let's be friends.

Re:Bullshit (1)

jelIomizer (3670957) | about 4 months ago | (#47160201)

That's a terrible fucking idea. If the government is violating the highest law of the land, then the people need to be the first to know. Trying to go the "right way" isn't the right way at all! Informing the people should happen first, because otherwise you jeopardize your mission.

Re:Bullshit (1)

jelIomizer (3670957) | about 4 months ago | (#47160241)

Also, I know that he did try to go through the 'right channel', but I think that was a bad idea on his part. What if they shut him out afterwards, got rid of him, or some other such thing, and he was prevented from being able to leak the documents? This is why you need to leak the activities of these government scumbags to the people; it's the only moral thing to do.

He would not lose "credibility" at all by not reporting this shit in secret to corrupt government scumbags; the documents would still expose the constitutional violations and immoral activities, and the people would know. So, how is that losing "credibility"?

Re:Bullshit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47154249)

Bullshit. I've done it. Policy was changed with appropriate congressional notification within about 3 days. Now, granted, what annoyed me was a technical violation of law that a few pilots were unaware of due to the Air Force screwing up the UAV manning, but the point is that in the spy world, IG complaints are taken seriously.

Snowden? Didn't take any of the steps he was told in his inbriefing to address concerns. None of them. Not a single fucking one. He's not a hero; he's a traitor. He should be tried and prosecuted.

Maybe you'd like to be in the firing squad as the designated kill shot?

Re:Bullshit (1)

kilfarsnar (561956) | about 4 months ago | (#47154891)

Bullshit. I've done it. Policy was changed with appropriate congressional notification within about 3 days. Now, granted, what annoyed me was a technical violation of law that a few pilots were unaware of due to the Air Force screwing up the UAV manning, but the point is that in the spy world, IG complaints are taken seriously.

Snowden? Didn't take any of the steps he was told in his inbriefing to address concerns. None of them. Not a single fucking one. He's not a hero; he's a traitor. He should be tried and prosecuted.

Really? Not a single fucking one? Do you know something he doesn't?

http://www.washingtonpost.com/... [washingtonpost.com]

Maybe try some bullshit that's not refuted by the very first Google hit.

Re:Bullshit (1)

spacepimp (664856) | about 4 months ago | (#47154943)

He most certainly did claim to have made attempts and on public Television afforded the NSA the ability to to prove he hadn't. HAve you seen the NSA step up and repeat that no attempts were made and prove him wrong?

Re:What's the worse that can happen? (5, Insightful)

NotDrWho (3543773) | about 4 months ago | (#47154017)

Anyone stupid enough to believe this "we respect whistleblowers" horseshit had best read up on Thomas Drake [wikipedia.org] .

stupid enough to believe "we respect CONGRESS" BS (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47159891)

had best read up on http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Otis_Pike (or more recently http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/feinstein-cia-searched-intelligence-committee-computers/2014/03/11/982cbc2c-a923-11e3-8599-ce7295b6851c_story.html)

FTFY...

Sorry (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47153807)

Why do you guys keep bringing your constitution when you clearly don't have one. It's just a piece of paper that nobody high up cares about.

Re:Sorry (2)

jc42 (318812) | about 4 months ago | (#47153935)

Why do you guys keep bringing your constitution when you clearly don't have one. It's just a piece of paper that nobody high up cares about.

Hey, you got all your facts wrong.

First, we still do have the US Constitution. It's kept at the National Archives. To quote from their web site: "The National Archives Building is located between Seventh and Ninth Streets, NW, with entrances on Pennsylvania and Constitution Avenues. Please Note: The Rotunda entrance, which includes the Exhibit Hall, is on Constitution Avenue." You can go there and see it in its display case.

Second, it's not a piece of paper; it was written on parchment.

Next time, try to get your facts right. ;-)

(How much of it is in effect any more isn't clear. We do pretty much know that all those parts that limit what the government can do are, uh, "inoperative" at the moment. Yeah, that's the word. But it's still useful for social-control purposes, so we keep it around.)

Re:Sorry (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47154303)

Why do you guys keep bringing your constitution when you clearly don't have one. It's just a piece of paper that nobody high up cares about.

First, we still do have the US Constitution. It's kept at the National Archives. Second, it's not a piece of paper; it was written on parchment.

The point the person to whom you responded meant President George W. Bush unequivocally stated the US Constitution is a "worthless piece of paper."
[ http://www.dailykos.com/story/2005/12/14/171901/-Bush-on-the-Constitution-It-s-just-a-goddamned-piece-of-paper# ]

Re:Sorry (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47155927)

Re:Sorry (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47157995)

Then perhaps you should insist your government follow the damned thing to the letter like it's suppose to.

Re:Sorry (1)

jc42 (318812) | about 4 months ago | (#47159035)

Then perhaps you should insist your government follow the damned thing to the letter like it's suppose to.

We're eagerly awaiting your detailed instructions on how we might do this.

Excuses (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47153841)

Meyer stresses, is that it "must aid the agency mission. It is developmental and helps all stakeholders understand that we have rules in effect," he added.

OK, so if the mission is secret and criminal that means that there still is no other option than to use foreign media to blow the whistle.

Since anything the top of the organization approves of will be considered to be the agencies mission that means that this can only be used to report activities within the organization that is against the will of those in command. That has never been a problem, telling the boss that a coworker is doing something he shouldn't have always been viable.

The only thing this is good for is that it serves as yet another excuse to claim that "He should have reported it the right way instead of going to foreign media and releasing the information in the wild!" when it is clearly still not a working option.

Idiotic Management (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47153859)

This is same kind of idiot managers who send out company-wide announcements that tell employees to trust the company and talk at length about the rewards of loyalty... 2 weeks after a massive layoff.

"actively promotes federal whistleblowing"? Who are they kidding? Would anyone intelligent enough to work in intelligence agency be so stupid to believe that? If anyone did, they just disqualified themselves of their job!

Not working... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47153863)

Still a lot of major criminality going on, this directive is just paint on a turd. The whole system is rotten to the core.

Bullshit Translator (5, Insightful)

coofercat (719737) | about 4 months ago | (#47153919)

> Meyer stresses, is that it "must aid the agency mission. It is developmental and helps all stakeholders understand that we have rules in effect," he added

Aside from the poor editorial prose, here's what he really means:

"If you're a potential whistleblower, you must disclose to your immediate manager. It's the only way we'll ever know who all the people that work for us aren't really 'for' us, such that we might put them on projects 'more in keeping' with their principles and standards".

How on earth you can have a whisteblower hiding out in Russia (of all places!) in fear of the repercussions of his actions and say people should come forward is beyond me. At the very least, he should be in the US, on a (fair) public trial with known potential outcomes. Without that, no one is trustworthy.

Re:Bullshit Translator (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47158647)

Snowden was more than a whistle blower. Many of the things he leaked were about the NSA were clearly legal actions within NSA's mission. You don't get to leak stuff like that and claim whistle blower protection.

Re:Bullshit Translator (1)

jelIomizer (3670957) | about 4 months ago | (#47160127)

Legal != moral.

Is this a cliché? (1)

jbmartin6 (1232050) | about 4 months ago | (#47153967)

It smells like a trap.

Re:Is this a cliché? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47154159)

It smells like a trap.

This is not the wording you are looking for. Hint: you have 9 extra letters, 2 extra spaces, and a missing apostrophe.

Re:Is this a cliché? (1)

idontgno (624372) | about 4 months ago | (#47156379)

Aaaaaaand.... there's the inevitable guest appearance by our favorite Alliance Mon Calamari admiral.

Must aid the agency mission? (3, Insightful)

fredrated (639554) | about 4 months ago | (#47153975)

How about this: Must support the Constitution. These people think they come before the Constitution.

Slight correction (4, Insightful)

NotDrWho (3543773) | about 4 months ago | (#47153995)

The new directive, he added, "shows firm support for the IC IG Whistleblowing program that actively promotes federal whistleblowing through lawful disclosures, which will be ignored and will get you fired and maybe thrown in prison

FTFY

If only this existed before Snowden (5, Insightful)

LordKronos (470910) | about 4 months ago | (#47154005)

Yes, if only this existed before Snowden, then people would have felt compelled to blow the whistle and the problem would have been taken care of before the whole Snowden incedent. Right?

Oh yeah, that's right. There were already people trying to blow the whistle on this stuff. PBS had a pretty good couple of episodes a few weeks back called United States of Secrets. They covered the whole background of these NSA programs. And they covered the story of someone who tried to blow the whistle on one of the programs. Want to know what happened from it? Let me just repost what I posted in another forum a few days ago:

As I recall from the frontline documentary, one of the guys involved in one of the illegal programs did go to someone in congress (someone on the intelligence oversight committee). When that representative tried to pursue the matter, she was met with mostly silence, mixed with a few "requests" to stop looking into the matter. The investigations she did manage to get started went nowhere. For the report that was generated, the NSA managed to get it classified, and nearly the entire thing was withheld. When someone eventually did leak details to the press, the representative (now retired) had her house raided by the FBI (multiple times), dragged before congress, and was under investigation for years.

Also, if I'm not getting my people mixed up, I believe the person that did go to her was also a suspect in the above mentioned leak. His home was also raided (along with 4 other guys who retired because they didn't want to be associated with the illegal program). The FBI took his computer and then said that he was screwed (something like a 30+ year sentence) because they found classified documents on his computer. He spent his entire retirement fund on his legal defense, then when he ran out of money had to take a public defender. When the specific "classified" documents that he supposedly had on his computer were revealed, his lawyer was eventually able to find those documents online. They were previously unclassified, and were changed to classified after the fact in order to manufacture the evidence against him. After this came to light, the Feds just quietly dropped their case against him.

That's what happens when you try to do things the "right" way.

So do you think that sort of thing is going to encourage people to come forward? And do you think the few that do are likely to have any actual results?

Re:If only this existed before Snowden (3, Insightful)

bughunter (10093) | about 4 months ago | (#47158983)

Not only this, but two successive White House administrations went to extraordinary lengths to put domestic wiretapping in place in secrecy and keep it in place, without approval or oversight from Congress, much less public opinion.

When seeking authorization for domestic wiretapping in 2004 using convoluted legalese and twisted definitions, Bush White House lawyers Andrew Card and Alberto Gonzales couldn't get approval from the acting Attorney General, James Comey, who cited a DOJ opinion that the program lacked oversight and doubt that the Executive branch had the authority to issue such an order. He later stated (I'm paraphrasing) if the American people learned of the extent of this program they'd be appalled. And so Card and Gonzales visited John Ashcroft in the hospital to go over Comey's head, knowing he was in intensive care, under heavy sedation. Comey managed to arrive in time to make his side of the argument and delay the approval. (Cite [nytimes.com] )

We're talking about John Ashcroft here, USA Patriot Act cheerleader. Even he wouldn't approve it. And now we know why.

But it was only a delay. The Bush-Cheney White House went ahead and implemented the program. There's no public information on whether or when the Ashcroft DOJ approved this, only that some oversight was added (ineffective as it was in retrospect), and by 2005 Ashcroft had been replaced by Gonzales as Attorney General, the very guy who tried to go over Comey's head. It's quite apparent now that the NSA had carte blanche from then on.

And the succeeding Administration comes in with a record of avoiding any sort of investigation or oversight of the program, granting immunity to civilian corporate participants, and goes on to aggressively prosecute ethically-motivated whistleblowers to the degree of fabricating evidence to incarcerate them.

In this kind of environment, do you think a new "you must report" order is going to improve the constitutionality of this kind of spying?

All it's going to do is weed out anyone who's not fully on board with the program, or has any ethical qualms about it, and permit even more crackdown on people who try to effect change, legally and by the books, from the inside.

Keep your nose clean, citizen.

Missing the point as usual (4, Insightful)

sirlark (1676276) | about 4 months ago | (#47154075)

actively promotes federal whistleblowing through lawful disclosures (Emphasis Mine)

It's not about disclosing illegal activities. It's about disclosing activities that shouldn't be legal, or activities the public should be made aware of because their government is doing it behind their backs, even if legally. Yes, the ballot box is supposed to be the place to sort it out, but the ballot box presumes an informed citizenry. An informed citizenry presumes a system where whistle blowers are protected if they're actions are indeed in the public interest.

There can be no lawful disclosure if revealing legally classified documents is unlawful, even if the legal system facilitating the classification of those documents doesn't enjoy the broad support of the people. The correct term, that doesn't allow legal weaselling is "the public interest".

Re:Missing the point as usual (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47154513)

I largely agree with your statement, but I just want to point out that it IS indeed about "disclosing illegal activities" in this case.

What a lot of people in this whole discussion seem to forget is that the U.S. Constitution is not just a feel-good document that describes how it sure would be nice if we ran the government this-and-such a way. It is in fact the supreme law of the land, trumping all other laws. And since anyone but an inveterate professional liar would have to admit the NSA's indiscriminate dragnet pretty obviously violates the Fourth Amendment, the anti-disclosure laws that Snowden was breaking must, legally speaking, be a secondary consideration to exposing a clear, present, and ongoing violation of the Constitution.

Is it really considered murder if the guy breaks into your house, ties up your kids, douses them in lighter fluid, and strikes a match before you shoot him?

Re:Missing the point as usual (1)

Arker (91948) | about 4 months ago | (#47156867)

There is a useful distinction between *legal* (meaning authorized by statute) and *lawful* (meaning actually in accord with all applicable laws.) So some of what they are doing appears to be legal (you can point to a statute authorizing it) but to the extent it violates the 4th amendment it's still not lawful.

Of course, a large part of the dispute concerns activities that the administration purports to consider legal under e.g. section 216 which clearly does not actually authorize it, and those activities would be both unlawful AND illegal.

But of course 'whistleblowing' to the same corrupt authority that stamped the unlawful and/or illegal activity in the first place is an obvious trap either way.

Re:Missing the point as usual (1)

sirlark (1676276) | about 4 months ago | (#47162443)

Good points, both the P and the GP. I should rephrase and re-summarize as: There can be no legal whistle blowing of legal but unlawful activities. I would consider Snowden's revelations lawful, but only some of them legal. Some of the stuff the re released describes clearly illegal activities. Whistle blowing of illegal activities is essentially reporting a crime, and there's a long tradition of reporting crimes (especially corporate ones) to the press instead of the cops.

Why the martydom? ... (1)

CaptainDork (3678879) | about 4 months ago | (#47154241)

Neither Snowden nor Manning had to go public. They knew the whistle-blower system was broken. Why in Sam Hill didn't they just leak the information and keep their names out of it? Thoughts?

Re:Why the martydom? ... (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 4 months ago | (#47154477)

Because they would have been identified eventually, anyway.

Re:Why the martydom? ... (1)

Githaron (2462596) | about 4 months ago | (#47154549)

A whistle blower's exclusion of their name is likely only going to protect them for so long. It is better to be seen as a hero than just to disappear or be cleverly murdered one night. Also, revealing themself as a source adds validity to the information leaked.

Re:Why the martydom? ... (1)

CaptainDork (3678879) | about 4 months ago | (#47155787)

Yeah, I see your point about "cleverly murdered." The way it is now, if Snowden is fatally harmed, the conspiracies theories would never end.

Re:Why the martydom? ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47154597)

If they didn't, no one would take it seriously. No matter how plausible it sounds, or how much evidence it is supported by, no news outlet is going to publish information when they have no idea who the source is. I used to work for a newspaper, and I'd get things sent in to me anonymously all the time - some of them seemingly plausible - but without being able to talk to the source I couldn't publish any of it. This is largely a reaction to the Judith Miller WMD stories, where all of the information came from a source that was just making shit up.

Re:Why the martydom? ... (1)

spacepimp (664856) | about 4 months ago | (#47154871)

An anonymous leak can be dismissed as fake, and the US gov't could spin it into any number of threads purporting it is in fact a foreign ploy or what have you.

Re:Why the martydom? ... (1)

CaptainDork (3678879) | about 4 months ago | (#47155821)

Good point. In both cases, Snowden and Manning are spin killers. Thanks.

Re:Why the martydom? ... (1)

Arker (91948) | about 4 months ago | (#47155777)

In Snowdens case, he has said that he feared if he tried to do it secretly his own coworkers would come under suspicion for it, an outcome that was not acceptable to him.

Re:Why the martydom? ... (1)

CaptainDork (3678879) | about 4 months ago | (#47163651)

Thanks for the information. I did not see that in my readings. It does make sense that his anonymity would have launched a witch hunt, and probably provided more than one scapegoat.

Re:Why the martydom? ... (1)

Guppy06 (410832) | about 4 months ago | (#47156505)

If you stay in the dark, what they end up doing to you also stays in the dark.

Re:Why the martydom? ... (1)

CaptainDork (3678879) | about 4 months ago | (#47163659)

lol. That sums up the consensus, and I had not thought of that. Thanks.

Re:Why the martydom? ... (1)

bughunter (10093) | about 4 months ago | (#47159117)

Because then Greenwald and Poitras and the Guardian would be under threat of imprisonment to reveal their source, and would be the target of White House retaliation for revealing classified information.

Faced with these threats, no publisher would go with a single anonymous source (unless, of course, that source is "an unnamed administration official"). They would be far more easily convinced by the White House / Pentagon to keep the documents under wraps, or destroy them. That's why Wikileaks found a niche to fill.

Also because coming forward gives him some protection from retaliation -- if Snowden remained anonymous and they found out who he is, he'd probably just be assassinated or, worse, locked in a dungeon somewhere for eternity.

All in all, I think Snowden did a fairly competent job for someone faced with an ethical dilemma: break the law to reveal a greater crime, or obey the law and conceal a greater crime. But his refusal to face the consequences of his own crime undermines his ethical position; even Manning did this. He mostly did the right thing up until he accepted Russian asylum. He needed to lawyer up and agree to turn himself in on condition that he receive a fair trial in an objective court, and monitored probation until such time as such a court could be found. If ever...

How many clever Snowdens and Manninga are there? (3, Interesting)

CaptainDork (3678879) | about 4 months ago | (#47154283)

We know about these guys. How many others have access to classified information who are walking in, taking the goods, walking out and selling the stuff? The government didn't know about either of these guys. It's scary.

An idea.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47154407)

Can we give them actual whistles? Like the ones that hurt your ears if you're standing close.

Problem is... (1)

nospam007 (722110) | about 4 months ago | (#47154655)

...that lots of people still spell Whistleblower S-N-I-T-C-H.

And when they ignore you? (2)

gstoddart (321705) | about 4 months ago | (#47154919)

When you blow the whistle, and your bosses say "shut up and do your job, because this is policy" what do you do?

Do you say "oh, gee, well, if it's policy that's OK"? Or, does someone eventually do what Snowden did?

This to me sounds more like a way to say "now that you've reported it, you can't tell anybody else about it, even if we utterly fail to change anything".

This sounds like a policy designed to assist in sweeping these type things under the rug.

"agency mission" vs. best interests of America (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47154939)

The key to the campaign of openness to whistleblowers, as distinct from criminal leakers and publicity seekers, Meyer stresses, is that it "must aid the agency mission. It is developmental and helps all stakeholders understand that we have rules in effect," he added.

So what happens when "what is best for the country" does not "aid the agency mission"?

In other words, what if the "agency mission" requires me or one of my co-workers to do something that is detrimental to the country? Any "internal" reporting will be seen as "what you are reporting is not a problem, no change is required" and any "external" whistle-blowing will probably still get you into Snodenesque trouble.

And nothing has changed. (1)

davydagger (2566757) | about 4 months ago | (#47154971)

>"is an affirmative statement that you have to blow the whistle" upon encountering wrongdoing

its exactly what they told me repeatedly in my time in the army, and that if I comitted a war crime "following orders" would not save my ass. I was instructed on the chain of comman, and other support channels to report attrocities and the laws of war.

that said, the systems knows if they just feed the public a line, the public will eat it up.

if you ever met people who work in politics and government, you know how they feel that lying to the public is fine if its what what *they* perceive as the greater good, which generally tends to be their own personal superstitions and political agendas.

most also beleive that people are stupid and need to be managed, and they should do the managing. Therefor they don't tell your worth the time to explain things to.

When someone in the government says something, to me at least, its prove it, or its propaganda

Snowden used those channels (4, Informative)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 4 months ago | (#47154993)

Snowden DID use those channels, and the NSA ignored him:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/... [washingtonpost.com]
http://www.theguardian.com/wor... [theguardian.com]

Not only that, but there were people speaking publicly about this for YEARS prior to Snowden and they were also ignored:
http://www.usatoday.com/story/... [usatoday.com] (warning, auto-start video)

The NSA tried to portray those people as crackpots until Snowden came along with proof. Remember, he didn't reveal anything new... he just provided details and corroborative evidence so the NSA could no longer ignore/deny it.

To this day, the NSA claims what they are doing is Legal. How on earth could Snowden have gotten anywhere without bringing this to the public's attention? It's going to take congressional action to even begin to limit what they are doing. There was no other way for that to happen than for him to go public. I'm not even sure if he went far enough.

Whistleblowing considered harmful (1)

nha (208027) | about 4 months ago | (#47155039)

AFAIK all the information released by Snowden is about official NSA programs that have been approved by legions of higher-ups. It is obviously a loser to go to one of those higher-ups to claim that such a program is illegal. Whistleblowing within the organization only makes sense when it involves actions by some rogue person(s) that goes against organization policy. Telling your boss that what he does is illegal, will just get you into trouble.

Re:Whistleblowing considered harmful (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47156295)

Telling your boss that what he does is illegal, will just get you into trouble.

Not always. That's what General Counsels do on a 9-5 basis. Now, for you and me? Managers and employees need a "see it, say it" policy to keep the management relationship healthy. If the employee thinks that his manager already knows everything, then the employee needs to spend a few months in management to realize how important feedback can be. "Sir, the company directive that came through is not legal. It's against state law 12.0.3.1b and against three of the four amendments to the constitution. You need to let your superiors know that what they're doing is a criminal offense." Is an extremely open and easy conversation to have at the end of the day, which is non-accusatory, and it has the potential to set things straight before everyone's accustomed to the new company Kool-Aid. If you don't hear back from your manager soon about the issue, put it in writing to him including documentation. If that doesn't work, then it's time to explore company "Whistleblowing" channels, and if that doesn't work, you can explore "further venues" -- but then, when the house of cards comes crashing down, you have every record you need to condemn the perpetrators and exonerate yourself.

For example, let's say you get hired in a company to find out that all the software they use is (gasp!) not-licensed through legal channels. You can express to your manager that using pirated software for business makes you uncomfortable and that you would prefer to work without the headache of finding out, one day, that the company is getting sued out of existence because Microsoft called and they want all their SQLs back. Furthermore you can suggest the IT budget be "improved" so that the company can start "going legit". Bringing a company's legality up to snuff is a delicate process, but it's not as foreign as it may seem for your average slashdotter when you read an NSA article.

whistleblowing through lawful disclosures (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about 4 months ago | (#47155157)

Watered down to the point of being meaningless.

This is Japanese logic (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47155303)

If you consider your superiors to have dishonored themselves, you have to blow the whistle in your department and in that way volunteer for Seppuku.

Whistleblowers will be slaughtered alive and locked up like they are currently, but now it is their duty to turn themselves in. The resulting spring cleaning will make sure that nobody with a conscience is left privy to the dark machinations.

do we get to find out? (1)

a2wflc (705508) | about 4 months ago | (#47155409)

Is the IG obligated to tell the people anything? Or is this an attempt for them to find out (and cover up) any wrongdoings before we find out?

"Mr S found out about a part of project X. We need to tighten security on that project before the wrong workers find out about the rest of project X. Also start monitoring all of Mr S's personal communications and arrest him if anything looks suspicious and save anything that we can use to attack him publicly and destroy his credibility if he tells a reporter that we are doing something illegal and didn't stop when it was pointed out."

Thier plan makes sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47155621)

Step 1. Identify all whistle blowers by encouraging their actions and promising to listen.
Step 2. Create database of possible future Snowdens
Step 3.
Step 4. Profit.

Voltaire got it right, 260 years ago (2)

idontgno (624372) | about 4 months ago | (#47156315)

Il est dangereux d'avoir raison dans des choses où des hommes accrédités ont tort.
(It is dangerous to be right in matters where established men are wrong.)

He hasn't a clue. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47157385)

Note the quotes are from an inspector general, NOT people who are actually in charge of intelligence gathering. The latter, although admitting there has been huge violations of privacy, national security HAS BEEN SEVERELY DAMAGED BY SNOWDEN. Obviously there has to be balance, which is easier said than done, but it's obvious that people who fully support Snowden without acknowledging the risks to national security haven't a clue what it's takes to to keep them safe and to ensure that a political environment exists that ensures even the bone-headed supporters have rights and , yes, even to speak of which they haven't a clue about.

Re:He hasn't a clue. (1)

TechyImmigrant (175943) | about 4 months ago | (#47159263)

> national security HAS BEEN SEVERELY DAMAGED BY SNOWDEN.

How so?
Where are the invaders?

Re:He hasn't a clue. (1)

bughunter (10093) | about 4 months ago | (#47159465)

national security HAS BEEN SEVERELY DAMAGED BY SNOWDEN

1 - Prove it. Snowden provided proof that laws were bent, stretched and even broken and that things for which the American people would never approve were being done in secret, and that things which don't need to be classified have been given that protection just to save the people in charge from embarassment or to intimidate whistleblowers. It's now the State Department/Pentagon's burden of proof to demonstrate the claim of damage to national security.

2 - Show why it trumps the Fourth and Fifth Amendments, and possibly others, not to mention innumerable laws and statutes. No where in the Constitution does it say that "National Security" overrides the Bill of Rights. Why does the 4th Amendment get short shrift? Try pulling that shit with the 2nd amendment and see what happens.

Both are necessary for "people who fully support Snowden without acknowledging the risks to national security" to conclude he didn't act in the name of the greater good.

Snowden did break the law. Few suggest he didn't. In a perfect world, his actions could be fairly judged and his punishment determined according to the above considerations. Unfortunately, I doubt this will ever happen.

And the problem with that statement (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47160257)

"Meyer stresses, is that it "must aid the agency mission. It is developmental and helps all stakeholders understand that we have rules in effect,"

In other words, if it helps us suck up more data, and if you have disagreements with what we're doing, you'll be made to understand that you should suck it up.

                mark

Of course they want this (1)

matthewv789 (1803086) | about 4 months ago | (#47162343)

By reporting internally:

  • The secrets stay secret. Congress, the Courts, and especially the American public will never know.
  • The problem can be "addressed" without doing anything.
  • The malcontent identifies him or herself to the higher-ups, who can decide how to handle him or her from there and most especially prevent them from doing more damage.
  • If the malcontent is not satisfied with the result and later leaks for real, he or she will be first on the list of people to look at to identify the leak.
  • If there is some shady practice that's becoming too well-known within the agency, it can be quieted down so fewer employees know about it.
  • Maybe, occasionally, there really is some wrongdoing they would like to know about and stop, limit, moderate, or otherwise actually address. (Har har, I know right? lol, rofl, lmao, etc.) More likely just legalize and legitimize.

I wouldn't bet my life on such (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47165353)

Really the only effective mechanism you have short of "doing a Snowden" is simply to quit and deny the government your value and knowledge. This is what I did when I was "coerced by classification to commit felonies". I still can't even tell anyone because the nature of the security clearances I had at the time and the one that was invoked would trump any whistleblower law in practice. So instead, I quit. I went to work for industries as far from military stuff as possible and refused to get involved in any military work. And it seems to have worked because I'm told much of the area I was involved in more or less stopped progressing after I and several others in similar situations all left. This is not flashy or quickly effective but you can avoid exile in Russia this way.

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