A week after his release from prison, CIA whistleblower John Kiriakou appeared on Democracy Now! and spoke with Amy Goodman about whistleblowing, CIA torture and US prisons. The CIA whistleblower spoke favorably of Edward Snowden, who blew the whistle on domestic surveillance by the NSA.
Whistleblowing performs a public service that is celebrated in the media, condoned by the public, and increasingly protected by the government. So why are we so reluctant to do it? Recent research we published in the Journal of Theoretical Biology suggests the opposing tendency to complicity may have roots in our evolutionary past.
Of course, humans (and many other species) benefit from duplicating the actions of those around us. But what of the cases when we discover that the actions of others are wrong? If the goal is to capitalise on this information, then you should expect that we immediately update our behaviour with the correct information and that the rest of the group will follow.
CIA torture whistleblower John Kiriakou went home yesterday after serving 24 months at a Pennsylvania prison. He announced his release via Twitter with a heartwarming photo of his youngest children happily cuddled with their father.
Free at last. Free at last. Thank God Almighty. I’m free at last. MLK Jr (and John Kiriakou). pic.twitter.com/hoPgbjFyAZ
— John Kiriakou (@JohnKiriakou) February 4, 2015
Supporters of whistleblower Robert MacLean rejoiced Wednesday upon learning of his victory at the U.S. Supreme Court. The Court decided, 7-2, that MacLean’s disclosure while a TSA air marshal was “not specifically prohibited by law.”.(Department of Homeland Security v. Robert MacLean, No. 13–894)
Sir Anthony Hooper and Mr. Andrew Smith, of the UK, have published a two-part report on “Whistleblowing in Sport” that challenges sports organizations to do a better job of protecting the integrity of sport. [Part 1] [Part 2]
The creation and maintenance of a culture and regulatory system which encourages whistleblowing is essential to the promotion of sporting integrity. Whilst there are some signs of progress, much more can and should be done to improve the situation.
Jesselyn Radack, a former Department of Justice ethics advisor and whistleblower, appeared on Politicking With Larry King to discuss the Senate report on CIA interrogations. As the National Security and Human Rights Director for the Government Accountability Project, she now represents other whistleblowers, including John Kiriakou, who publicly attributed the CIA’s interrogation techniques to White House policy.
“I think we need this kind of reckoning with torture,” she said, “so that we don’t slip into this kind of behavior again.”
Radack described her whistleblowing experience in the book, “Traitor: The Whistleblower and the “American Taliban,” about agency misconduct in the case of terrorism suspect John Walker Lindh.
Edward Snowden told attendees at an Paris conference that he was “deeply saddened and to a great extent angered” by what he read in the US Senate report on CIA interrogation of terrorism suspects. The conference, sponsored by Amnesty International, was held Wednesday, Human Rights Day.
Speaking by video link from Moscow, the NSA whistleblower said, “Individuals actually lost their lives and rather than having the officer who ordered that behavior be prosecuted he actually received a monetary bonus from the CIA of $2500.”
On Tuesday, the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI) released an unclassified summary of its classified report on the Central Intelligence Agency’s Detention and Interrogation Program. In a forward, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the committee chair, writes, “it is my personal conclusion that, under any common meaning of the term, CIA detainees were tortured. I also believe that the conditions of confinement, and the use of authorized and unauthorized interrogation and conditioning techniques were cruel, inhuman and degrading. I believe the evidence of this is overwhelming and incontrovertible.”