Government Whistleblowers to Edward Snowden: Don’t Come Home

Who’d be a whistleblower? As Robert Greenwald’s documentary War On Whistleblowers all too easily showed, there is little upside other than the moral victory of doing the right thing. The men and women who have learned the hard way are telling Edward Snowden to stay away from the United States, reports Al-Jazeera:

Every day at 5:45 a.m., John Kiriakou wakes up. He pulls on green pants and a green button-down shirt with his name and number on the front. Breakfast is at 6. He watches the news from 6:30 to 7:30, then goes back to sleep. He wakes up again at 11 a.m. for lunch, after which he exercises until around 2:30 in the afternoon. Mail call is at 3:30. Dinner is at 5 p.m.

Kiriakou, a former CIA agent, is serving 30 months in prison. He emailed a freelance reporter the name of a covert CIA officer, violating the Intelligence Identities Protection Act. The name was never published, but Kiriakou became one of eight people charged by the Department of Justice since 2008 for leaking classified information under the Espionage Act.

“Boredom is the toughest thing about prison,” Kiriakou wrote Al Jazeera America in letters sent from the federal low-security penitentiary in western Pennsylvania where he is incarcerated. “I have never read so many books in my life.”

The Obama administration has charged twice as many people as all the previous administrations combined under the almost 100-year-old Espionage Act. The latest among them is Edward Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor who revealed the existence of U.S. government surveillance programs.

Snowden is in Russia, having sought asylum there as the U.S. attempts to extradite him to face a possible sentence of 30 years in jail – more if other charges are brought.

In interviews with others prosecuted under the Espionage Act, the message to Snowden is clear: Don’t come home. Once the media attention has faded, those who have been investigated for leaking classified information speak of lives irreparably altered, finances depleted and lifelong career ambitions permanently scorched…

Read more