When does the government consider a leaker a patriot? (When he or she is a VIP)

When does the government consider a leaker a patriot? (When he or she is a VIP)

by digby

Apparently, the hunt for the leakers of classified information only concerns itself with the little people.  Top level leakers have nothing to worry about.  It's not surprising, I suppose, but you'd think the harsh critics of whistleblowers would at least be a little bit chagrined by their obvious hypocrisy as they rail on about the sanctity of their oaths and the threat to national security by violating them:
The handling of the disclosures of protected information to the makers of “Zero Dark Thirty,” the award-winning account of the U.S. hunt for bin Laden, points up an apparent double standard in President Barack Obama’s unprecedented crackdown on unauthorized leaks.

Disclosures by lower-level officials have been vigorously pursued. For example, seven Navy SEALs were reprimanded for disclosing classified material to the makers of a military video game. Moreover, the administration has prosecuted a record number of intelligence community personnel for leaking.

Rarely, however, has the administration taken criminal action against senior officials for leaking.

A central pillar of the crackdown – labeled the Insider Threat Program by the administration – aims to use behavioral profiling and tips from co-workers to identify federal employees who someday might make unauthorized disclosures.

Under the program, the Defense Department equates leaking to the news media with spying. Many of those who’ve been targeted, however, contend that they’re compelled to leak about official malfeasance because the government’s whistle-blower protection system doesn’t work, a defense raised by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden.
You remember the Insider Threat Program, right? It should make you feel very safe:

This is a public document by the way. And yes it seriously says, "it is better to have reported overzealously than never to have reported at all."

Here's the FBI's version. Found it through a simple google search:

No those aren't parodies or the paranoid imaginings of some sci-fi writer.

If you read the original McClatchy story, you'll see that each federal department --- even the Peace Corps, has implemented this program.

The good news is that if you happen to get caught leaking classified information to a Hollywood producer who promises to make the government torture program look as if it led to evidence of Osama bin laden's whereabouts, it's all good. As we've seen with every Bob Woodward book written since the mid-1980s, you can leak all the classified information you want as long as the story you lead your stenographers to tell is one that makes all government decisions look brave and necessary.  Criticism, on the other hand, is dangerous to our liberties.

Read the McClatchy story for a full rundown on the Zero Dark Thirty leaks. At least one very important person got off scott free.