FDL’s Gosztola on the Institutional & Political Suppression of the Free Flow of Information [boilingfrogspost]


As always Fire Dog Lake’s Kevin Gosztola is on top of the latest news, developments and implications involving government whistleblowers and transparency. Here are a few excerpts from Mr. Gosztola’s latest article:

For over a month now, members of Congress have been engaged in a bipartisan offensiveagainst “leaks.” The offensive was launched after details on Obama’s “kill list,” cyber warfare against Iran and the CIA underwear bomb plot sting operation in Yemen became public information. The offensive yielded the appointment by Attorney General Eric Holder of two US attorneys to investigate two of the “leaks” (no attorney was appointed to investigate how details on a covert drone program were released) yet this has not satisfied politicians and Congress people from both the Democratic and Republican Party in the US continue to introduce and speak out in favor of proposals to clamp down on the free flow of information.

On July 11, the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security, chaired by Rep. George Sensenbrenner, examined the “leaks” and discussed the revision of laws to make it possible to prosecute journalists . Sensenbrenner suggested in the “next session” of Congress the committee should “revamp the Espionage Act” to address “over-classification of government information and create a standard of liability for those who leak classified information to someone without a security clearance.”

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The second half of the article goes into the latest involving NRO whistleblower Mark Philips who has exposed how the agency has been abusing polygraph tests in pursuit of personal  information unrelated to counterintelligence issues:

He filed a complaint with the Pentagon Inspector General (IG) that included a chart showing his job performance in comparison to 14 other polygraph examiners. Forty percent of all admissions during polygraph tests had revealed “lifestyle” or personal information.

Phillips explains polygraph examiners are only to conduct counterintelligence-scope polygraph tests when examining employees or job applicants. They are expressly prohibited from actively pursuing what is called lifestyle information outside of the scope of the test, such as details on deviant/criminal sexual behavior, alcohol abuse, illicit drug use, serious criminal activity, unexplained wealth, financial irresponsibility, personal conduct-related behaviors that “call into question the examinee’s trustworthiness and ability to protect classified information and psychological conditions.” They are only to pursue personal information if admissions are made “spontaneously,” however, the statistics show the collection of personal information is not spontaneous.

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