The Obama Administration has launched a witch hunt for leakers in the federal government. The effort, called the Insider Threat Program, encourages federal employees to psychologically profile their coworkers then turn in anybody who might be a threat.
The threat isn’t terrorism or treason; it is leaking information that might be politically damaging or embarrassing towards the Administration to the press. The program encourages federal workers to pay close attention to the lifestyles, attitudes, and behaviors of coworkers then report any odd or unusual behaviors to superiors.
The idea here is to spot potential leakers like Bradley Manning or Edward Snowden, who might tell the media about things the President or others want kept secret. Yet from documents that have been leaked to the press, it sounds like a witch hunt.
Paranoid or conformist federal workers will turn in any coworker they don’t like or anybody they consider odd; for example, anybody that voices libertarian sympathies or says that he thinks Edward Snowden didn’t do anything wrong. Or how about law-abiding citizens doing a Google search for pressure cookers, as was the case this past week. As Anthony Gucciardi has reported, laws and regulations now exist that classify 100% of the population as ‘terrorists’ according to the United States government.
I suppose busy bodies will be going through their coworkers’ cubicles at federal buildings looking for dangerous literature such as Watchmen comic books (written by British anarchist Allen Moore) or copies of the Constitution. Others might turn in people for going to websites like this one or reading articles from The Guardian.
The behaviors listed that fit the profile of a potential leaker are also very bothersome. They include being ‘stressed, being divorced, and having financial problems’. Under those criteria, 80–90% of the population of the United States would be a potential security threat.
Worse, this program seems to violate the First Amendment to the Constitution, which guarantees freedom of speech. In other words, Obama wants to deprive federal employees of the basic rights all Americans are entitled to. Freedom of speech only exists when the speech doesn’t embarrass the leader.
This whole plan sounds like something out of Stalinist Russia, where children were given medals for turning their parents in to the secret police. Or perhaps 1950s America, where leftists were effectively deprived of federal employment because of their politics. The security state is taking on the mentality and behavior of the authoritarians and totalitarians of the past. It needs to join Joseph McCarthy and the USSR in the ash heap of history.