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Is Telling Bureaucrats to Spy on Each Other the Best Way to Weed Out Leakers?


A new poll shows that 55 percent of the American voting public believes that Edward Snowden is a Whistleblower and not a traitor. The poll also showed that respondents say the government goes too far in restricting civil liberties as part of the war on terrorism, by 45 percent to 40 percent; a different tune from a similar poll in January 2010 where 63 percent of those surveyed said anti-terrorism efforts did not go far enough.

During his confirmation hearing Tuesday, FBI director nominee James Comey suggested that Whistleblowers and leaks were “essential” to democracy, The Daily Caller reports.

Asked by Ranking Member Chuck Grassley, an Iowa Republican, whether he would protect and work with whistleblowers within the FBI, Comey said that “whistle-blowers are also a critical element of a functioning democracy. Folks have to feel free to raise their concerns, and if they are not addressed up their chain-of-command, to take them to an appropriate place.”

Comey did not expand on what “an appropriate place” might look like, nor did he comment on the situation of NSA whistleblower and fugitive Edward Snowden. He did call retaliation against whistle-blowers “unacceptable” and said he would prioritize government transparency as a “key value.”

President Obama doesn’t seem to agree. In addition to the information we’ve learned over the past several weeks about the administration going after reporters who consort with leakers, along with massive policies to spy on citizens; we now know about the Insider Threat Program. Implemented after Bradley Manning dumped 700K pages of classified info onto Wikileaks, the program was a mandate to federal employees to report suspicious behavior; to profile people who looked stressed, or were in financial trouble. To pick out “Gen Y” employees who might have issues with authority.

The profiling raises serious questions regarding government oversight and civil liberties; which the 'Real News' panel opened up the show on Wednesday joined by Professor Stephen Fienberg.

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