At the 2015 Academy Awards ceremony, the Oscar for “Best Documentary” went to “Citizenfour,” Laura Poitras’ dramatic portrayal Edward Snowden’s disclosure of massive surveillance by the National Security Agency. Receiving the award were director Poitras, producer Dirk Wilutzky and editor Mathilde Bonnefoy. They were accompanied by journalist Glenn Greenwald, who won a Pulitzer for his reporting on the story, and Snowden’s girlfriend, Lindsay Mills.
Of the eleven government employees prosecuted under the Espionage Act, seven were prosecuted by the Obama administration for talking to reporters, although the law was created for use against spies, Daily Show host Jon Stewart pointed out last night.
On Democracy Now!, Peter Maass (The Intercept) described the Obama administration’s prosecution of Stephen Kim under the Espionage Act, treatment typically reserved for whistleblowers. Kim’s experiences are chronicled in a video documentary, “The Surrender,” by Steven Maing.
From DemocracyNow.org, Wednesday, Feb. 18, 2015.
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.