Former whistleblowers Radack, Wiebe, Coleman-Adebayo and Ellsberg speak out at the launch of ExposeFacts.org, a US-based independent media organization that encourages whistleblowers to expose government and corporate malfeasance
JAISAL NOOR, TRNN PRODUCER: Welcome to The Real News Network. I’m Jaisal Noor in Washington.
One year after critics say a National Security Agency whistleblower, Edward Snowden, was unfairly targeted for his revelations about the agency’s spying on U.S. citizens across the United States and the world, whistleblowers and their advocates are fighting back. The American-based ExposedFacts.org seeks to be a venue for whistleblowers to blow their whistle. It aims to shed light on concealed activities that are relevant to human rights, corporate malfeasance, the environment, civil liberties, and war and be part of the nonprofit Institute for Public Accuracy.
NORMAN SOLOMON, AUTHOR AND EXEC. DIR., INSTITUTE FOR PUBLIC ACCURACY: Well, we will triage the information. We’ll sift it out. We will vet it in terms of authenticity and public interest value. And we’ll proceed as independent journalists should, which is to assess how to best get the information out in journalistic form to the public.
JESSELYN RADACK, GOVERNMENT ACCOUNTABILITY PROJECT: I think Exposed Facts is particularly timely on the one-year anniversary of Snowden’s disclosures, because it creates a safe channel for whistleblowers to be able to expose information about wrongdoing.
NOOR: Among those speaking out in support was Edward Snowden’s attorney, Jesselyn Radack.
RADACK: For example, where I work, representing whistleblowers including Snowden, we’re not authorized to receive classified information. I can help people try to blow the whistle in a proper way. But given the way that Snowden has been treated and exiled in Russia and his only option for coming home is to face an espionage trial, to which he would not be allowed to present a defense, I think Exposed Facts is a safe harbor and a safe place for people to disclose information, including classified information that evidences government wrongdoing.
NOOR: At the event, a response was offered to John Kerry’s statement that Edward Snowden “man up” and come home.
JOHN KERRY, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: This is a man who has betrayed his country, who is sitting in Russia, an authoritarian country, where he has taken refuge. You know, he should man up and come back to the United States.
KIRK WIEBE, NSA WHISTLEBLOWER: It’s a tremendous display of abject ignorance for a senior official in the government to assert that there is some viable path that Ed Snowden has. Tom Drake, Bill Binney, myself, and others are prima facie evidence that channels don’t work, because there are none.
NOOR: EPA whistleblower Marsha Coleman-Adebayo also spoke out.
MARSHA COLEMAN-ADEBAYO, ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY WHISTLEBLOWER: The retaliation was brutal and unrelenting, and I became the target of death threats and rape threats. I took the EPA to court, and, remarkably, I won.
After congressional hearings, Congressman F. J. Sensenbrenner and Congresswoman Jackson Lee introduced the No Fear Act, and after years of excruciating struggle by federal workers, many of whom were fired and targets of incredible harassment, the No Fear Act was passed on May 26, 2002.
NOOR: She says the federal government has spent over $1 billion defending discriminating managers.
COLEMAN-ADEBAYO: Interestingly enough, we’ve received a lot of criticism about whether or not the first No Fear Act worked. And now I’m really happy to say, yes, it has worked, because now we actually have the numbers that we didn’t have before. We didn’t know how much the federal government was spending to protect itself against whistleblowers and civil rights advocates. Now we have the numbers. It’s actually $1 billion.
And we need to ask every American citizen, is that the way you want your tax dollars spent?
NOOR: Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg also spoke out in support through a recorded video message.
DANIEL ELLSBERG, PENTAGON PAPERS WHISTLEBLOWER: I’m very happy to join with other whistleblowers in supporting an organization called Exposed Facts, whose aim is to encourage whistleblowing and independent journalism and preserve democracy.
RADACK: The Obama administration has prosecuted more whistleblowers under the Espionage Act than any former president and then all former presidents combined. It speaks volumes that the first person prosecuted under the Espionage Act for allegedly mishandling classified information was Daniel Ellsberg. And the fourth person to have that dubious distinction is Thomas Drake. His case, as well as Daniel Ellsberg’s, collapsed. But we have seven other Espionage Act cases against national security and intelligence whistleblowers in this country.
NOOR: Reporting for The Real News, this is Jaisal Noor in Washington.