Photo of Inspector Eric Holder Clouseau
A report by McClatchy exposes another government spy program that has had little press. It is reminiscent of Obama’s Attack Watch site which asked people to report anything they heard from Obama’s opponents that sounded “fishy.” Now McClatchy informs us that the Obama administration has a program telling government employees to spy on their colleagues. The program is called the Insider Threat Program.
The initiative stems from the Obama administration’s paranoia about leaks. Contrary to his statements in 2008, he is no friend to whistleblowers. The program is broad and it is ready to be abused if it hasn’t been already.
It encompasses not only the national security bureaus, but almost all federal departments and agencies nationwide to include the Peace Corps of all things, the Social Security Administration, and the Education and Agriculture departments. It goes beyond leaks of classified information to a range of conduct.
The government is using it to penalize unauthorized disclosures of any information, not merely classified information. Federal employees and contractors are being told to watch for “high-risk persons or behaviors” among co-workers.
If they don’t, they face penalties and even criminal charges. They are being forced into spying on other employees.
Despite the growing discontent among the public over the IRS targeting political opponents and Obama’s spying on citizens and reporters, the Obama administration is expected to double down in furthering the program in light of the Snowden affair.
Ironically, this program did NOTHING to stop Snowden.
The Snowden affair is some justification but Obama’s program is threatening and it will be abused. Mandating co-workers inform on colleagues beyond leaked classified information is one step too far. Never mind that this administration classifies virtually everything.
This program will chill free speech, it will keep whistleblowers from coming forward, and it will keep information from the public that they have the right to know.
This program is a great way to poison the workplace environments of bureaucrats who are already bogged down with paperwork and red tape. It puts innocent people at risk of being targeted by people who already are known to target others.
The policy in the Defense Department is zero tolerance. The DOD even includes working a second job as a behavior that must be reported.
McClatchy reported about the DOD’s suspect behaviors:
“It’s about people’s profiles, their approach to work, how they interact with management. Are they cheery? Are they looking at Salon.com or The Onion during their lunch break? This is about ‘The Stepford Wives,’” said a second senior Pentagon official, referring to online publications and a 1975 movie about robotically docile housewives. The official said he wanted to remain anonymous to avoid being punished for criticizing the program.
There is also no uniformity in what is considered a suspicious behavior among agencies or even departments.
Do you get the feeling that the government is hiding things from us or maybe they are very paranoid?
This administration has prosecuted more whistleblowers than any previous administration. The Obama administration’s spying on the AP and James Rosen should be a warning of what is to come. A reporter I know for the AP said that they are being menaced by the administration when they collect information.
The program has been in effect since October 2011 when Bradley Manning downloaded and shared hundreds of thousands of documents with WikiLeaks.
Is that justification to order government workers to spy on colleagues?
Full story at McClatchy