Glenn Reynolds: Don't Fear the Leaker

Writing in USA Today, Glenn Reynolds, the Instapundit, makes some great points regarding leaking and legitimacy:

As recently reported by the McClatchy Newspapers, the Obama administration views whistleblowing and leaks as a species of terrorism. According to McClatchy: "President Obama's unprecedented initiative, known as the Insider Threat Program, is sweeping in its reach. It has received scant public attention even though it extends beyond the U.S. national security bureaucracies to most federal departments and agencies nationwide, including the Peace Corps, the Social Security Administration and the Education and Agriculture departments. It emphasizes leaks of classified material, but catchall definitions of 'insider threat' give agencies latitude to pursue and penalize a range of other conduct. ... Leaks to the media are equated with espionage."...

The freer people are to blow the whistle on wrongdoing, the more we can assume that when no whistle is blown, things aren't so bad. The more the government cracks down on whistleblowers, the more likely it is that they've got something to hide.

This system isn't perfect. Leakers can abuse their power for reasons of revenge, ego, or politics -- but then, so can congressional overseers, or attorneys general, or presidents. And the strong Democratic tilt to the career civil service means that Democratic presidents probably get less leaking than Republicans (and, when leaks happen, less coverage from the Democratic-leaning press).

Read the whole thing.

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  • AlexInCT||

    This most transparent administration ever sure has had a big boner when it comes to anyone that has leaked information that has harmed them politically. Those that have leaked secrets that have helped however, have gotten a pass. The whole incestous Hollywood & DNC lets make a movie about killing bin Laden before the election comes to mind.

  • Tonio||

    Really, Nick? That's a cheap pun of the sort the commentariat would use.

  • UnCivilServant||

    Catering to the audience I guess.

  • db||

    In his hurry to pen a headline, Nick became an agent of importune.

  • Rights-Minimalist Autocrat||

    One might say...he's punning for you.

  • ||

    THE CURTAINS FLEW THEN HE APPEARED

  • AlexInCT||

    I knew you where that dude....

  • db||

    Q: How many people does the NSA spy on?

    A: Forty thousand men and women everyday.

    Nah, too low.

  • entropy||

  • Aresen||

    "Leakers can abuse their power for reasons of revenge, ego, or politics -- but then, so can congressional overseers, or attorneys general, or presidents."

    THIS.

    I will believe that their concerns about leaks are genuine when they start impeaching Congressmen, Cabinet Secretaries, Vice-Presidents and Presidents for leaks when the leaks are used to justify government policies.

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