Bea Edwards writes: When General Michael Hayden sat down to tape Fox News Sunday, he blinked quickly and acknowledged Chris Wallace’s introduction. Then, in response to Wallace’s third question, he proceeded to tell a huge whopper, without ever losing eye contact with the camera and the audience. That would be us.
General Hayden disputed the fact that Edward Snowden, the former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor who disclosed the wholesale electronic surveillance of Americans, is a whistleblower. Because Snowden did not make his disclosures through internal channels at the NSA, Hayden strongly implied – without actually saying so – he is a traitor.
Look, a whistleblower is someone who raises concerns within our government in order to affect change. There is no evidence whatsoever that this young man warned anyone, went to his supervisor, his supervisor’s boss, even to the congressmen. No evidence of that whatsoever. What he did was go to Glenn Greenwald and some other news outlets and publish information that he may, in his own conscience, believe we need to be concerned about. But what he did was not tell the appropriate authorities. He told the world, including our enemies. And he’s made it more difficult for our security services to keep America safe.
To be sure, Snowden did not go to his supervisors or to the Congress. He did not do this because four other NSA whistleblowers (only three of whom are public) had already done it, and they had been subjected to demotion, termination and FBI raids. One of them was indicted under the Espionage Act and investigated for four years before the charges imploded. The unfortunate Congressional staffer who supported their allegations was also raided at home by the FBI and is now suing the government for the return of her personal effects.
Snowden did not follow this same course because he was aware of what had happened. He has said as much.
Even more to the point, Hayden knew all about this, too. In fact, General Hayden was at the top of the internal channel that meted out such vicious reprisal against the previous NSA whistleblowers. [Continue reading…]