Skip to main content

‘Whistleblowers do incredible damage to US intelligence’



AFP Photo/Frederick Florin






When it comes to dealing with terrorism US intelligence community feels like it operates with one hand tied behind their back because of whistleblowers like Snowden and Manning, intelligence analyst Glenmore Trenear-Harvey told RT.

Benjamin Sonntag, Co-founder La-Quadrature du Net, on whistleblowing: "That is obvious [that the latest US whistleblower’s name hasn’t been released] because there is an inquiry in progress. So they would certainly not say anything until they have some kind of proof or some kind of name or arrest that person. What is true is that we have a lot of information saying that there is certainly a second whistleblower. The main problem is that Mr. Obama is continuing his policy which consists of attacking whistleblowers and not protecting them like it should be."

RT: Edward Snowden and Bradley Manning quickly became known, didn’t they? Why has this new whistleblower’s identity not been released yet?

Glenmore Trenear-Harvey: There is a double reason. First of all, the FBI has apparently raided an address in Virginia earlier today, but the interesting thing is that the Justice Department has not issued proceedings at the moment. They have got a big down on whistleblowers. They have been using the Espionage Act, which goes back to World War I, to try and get these people. What I think is far more significant, even though it is described as a “second Snowden,” it highlights the schism between the president and the intelligent services in the United States. And like in Russia - where the “Siloviki”, SVR (Foreign Intelligence Service of the Russian Federation) or FSB (Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation), are very, very close indeed to President Putin - in the US we now have a president who has only had about 30 percent of his PDB, this is his presidential daily briefing. And every other president has this every day. President Obama not- he has kept away from this. The intelligence community is very upset with the president and particularly with the Justice Department. And we know what happens next month – we are coming into the elections. This couldn't be worse timing for the American administration. And it underscores the anger that the intelligence community feels about yet another whistleblower.




AFP Photo/Mandel Ngan



RT: Just on that point about the Justice Department. Those officials say they may hesitate to invoke the Espionage Act that was used against Manning and Snowden. Is it a sign that the authorities are taking a more moderate approach to whistleblowers?

GTH: It would appear that way, the offence hasn’t changed. The watch list that apparently has been exposed by the second whistleblower is a very, very sensitive thing. It determines every person who is on an in-bound flight to the US. Originally, this was any concerns you had about terrorists. Now you have whether someone is coming from West Africa, possibly Ebola infected on the watch list. The Department of Homeland Security is apparently putting hundreds if not thousands of people on this list and none of them have any connection with terrorism. So I don’t know what the point is of the Justice Department. They are backpedaling. And I think it is purely for political reasons.


Benjamin Sonntag, Co-founder La-Quadrature du Net, on whistleblowing: "It looks like [there will be more whistleblowers in time]. Edward Snowden released his data because of Chelsea Manning, the former marine who was accused of leaking the cables and documents on Iraq and Afghan war. Basically Edward Snowden invited other people to leak and to blow the whistle on the abusing power of the NSA and the other administrations."

RT: Do you think the number of people who would like to reveal secret information and act as whistleblowers has recently increased? Have people become less fearful?

GTH: I think so. A number of people have looked at Snowden and seen that he has been coming up with an absolute huge treasure trove of information. We saw Julian Assange who at the moment is incarcerated in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. And people look at this and think: “nothing really bad has happened.” So it encourages other whistleblowers to think:“If they got away with it I can probably too.” The thing is that there is such dissatisfaction in the US with the Obama administration. He has proven to be such a disappointment in this current second year. I think yes and I am sad to say because the whistleblowers have been doing incredible damage. And the intelligence community feels that when they are dealing with particularly terrorism they are operating with one hand tied behind their back.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Why States Still Use Barrel Bombs

Smoke ascends after a Syrian military helicopter allegedly dropped a barrel bomb over the city of Daraya on Jan. 31.(FADI DIRANI/AFP/Getty Images)

Summary
Barrel bombs are not especially effective weapons. They are often poorly constructed; they fail to detonate more often than other devices constructed for a similar purpose; and their lack of precision means they can have a disproportionate effect on civilian populations.

However, combatants continue to use barrel bombs in conflicts, including in recent and ongoing conflicts in Africa and the Middle East, and they are ideally suited to the requirements of resource-poor states.

Analysis


Barrel bombs are improvised devices that contain explosive filling and shrapnel packed into a container, often in a cylindrical shape such as a barrel. The devices continue to be dropped on towns all over Syria. Indeed, there have been several documented cases of their use in Iraq over the past months, and residents of the city of Mosul, which was recently …

Russia Looks East for New Oil Markets

Click to Enlarge


In the final years of the Soviet Union, Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev began orienting his foreign policy toward Asia in response to a rising Japan. Putin has also piloted a much-touted pivot to Asia, coinciding with renewed U.S. interest in the area. A good expression of intent was Russia's hosting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in 2012 in Vladivostok, near Russia's borders with China and North Korea. Although its efforts in Asia have been limited by more direct interests in Russia's periphery and in Europe, Moscow recently has been able to look more to the east.

Part of this renewed interest involves finding new export markets for Russian hydrocarbons. Russia's economy relies on energy exports, particularly crude oil and natural gas exported via pipeline to the West. However, Western Europe is diversifying its energy sources as new supplies come online out of a desire to reduce its dependence on Russian energy supplies.

This has forced…

In Yemen, a Rebel Advance Could Topple the Regime

Shia loyal to the al-Houthi movement ride past Yemeni soldiers near Yaz, Yemen, in May. (MOHAMMED HUWAIS/AFP/Getty Images)

Summary


The success of a rebel campaign in northern Yemen is threatening to destabilize the already weak and overwhelmed government in Sanaa. After capturing the city of Amran, a mere 50 kilometers (30 miles) from the capital, in early July, the rebels from the al-Houthi tribe are in their strongest position yet. The Yemeni government is developing plans to divide the country into six federal regions, and the rebels believe this is their chance to claim territory for the future bargaining.

The central government is nearly powerless to fend off the rebels; its forces are already stretched thin. Neighboring Saudi Arabia has intervened in Yemen before and still supports Sunni tribes in the north, but the risk of inciting a Shiite backlash or creating space for jihadists to move in could deter another intervention.

Analysis


Followers of Zaidi Islam, a branch of Shiism, rul…