The latest in a wave of scandals for the Obama administration has broken as investigative reporters for McClatchy have uncovered The Insider Threat Program, a secret anti-whistleblower initiative created by the Obama administration.
The program specifically targets whistle-blowers wishing to expose corruption and illegal practices by government agencies, equates media leaks with espionage, and like a page out of George Orwell’s 1984, mandates that government employees spy and snitch on each other or risk being criminally charged!
As McClatchy reports, the Insider Threat Program initiative turns government employees into snitches as they must report co-workers or face penalties including criminal charges:
President Barack 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.
Government documents reviewed by McClatchy illustrate how some agencies are using that latitude to pursue unauthorized disclosures of any information, not just classified material. They also show how millions of federal employees and contractors must watch for “high-risk persons or behaviors” among co-workers and could face penalties, including criminal charges, for failing to report them. Leaks to the media are equated with espionage.
“Hammer this fact home . . . leaking is tantamount to aiding the enemies of the United States,”
The program is now on the fast track in the wake of the Snowden leak:
The Obama administration is expected to hasten the program’s implementation as the government grapples with the fallout from the leaks of top secret documents by Edward Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor who revealed the agency’s secret telephone data collection program. The case is only the latest in a series of what the government condemns as betrayals by “trusted insiders” who have harmed national security.
The only thing missing from the Orwellian initiative is a cash rewards program for snitches:
The program could make it easier for the government to stifle the flow of unclassified and potentially vital information to the public, while creating toxic work environments poisoned by unfounded suspicions and spurious investigations of loyal Americans, according to these current and former officials and experts. Some non-intelligence agencies already are urging employees to watch their co-workers for “indicators” that include stress, divorce and financial problems.
“It was just a matter of time before the Department of Agriculture or the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) started implementing, ‘Hey, let’s get people to snitch on their friends.’ The only thing they haven’t done here is reward it,” said Kel McClanahan, a Washington lawyer who specializes in national security law. “I’m waiting for the time when you turn in a friend and you get a $50 reward.”
Employees must turn themselves as well as others in for failing to report breaches:
The Defense Department anti-leak strategy obtained by McClatchy spells out a zero-tolerance policy. Security managers, it says, “must” reprimand or revoke the security clearances – a career-killing penalty – of workers who commit a single severe infraction or multiple lesser breaches “as an unavoidable negative personnel action.”
Employees must turn themselves and others in for failing to report breaches. “Penalize clearly identifiable failures to report security infractions and violations, including any lack of self-reporting,” the strategic plan says.
The Obama administration already was pursuing an unprecedented number of leak prosecutions, and some in Congress – long one of the most prolific spillers of secrets – favor tightening restrictions on reporters’ access to federal agencies, making many U.S. officials reluctant to even disclose unclassified matters to the public.
The Insider Threat program is not limited to the DOD and the NSA, no, government employees at the Department of Education, Department of Agriculture, and even the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration are being trained to snitch on their fellow employees who exhibit signs they may expose government corruption/secrets:
The Department of Education, meanwhile, informs employees that co-workers going through “certain life experiences . . . might turn a trusted user into an insider threat.” Those experiences, the department says in a computer training manual, include “stress, divorce, financial problems” or “frustrations with co-workers or the organization.”
An online tutorial titled “Treason 101” teaches Department of Agriculture and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration employees to recognize the psychological profile of spies.
A Defense Security Service online pamphlet lists a wide range of “reportable” suspicious behaviors, including working outside of normal duty hours. While conceding that not every behavior “represents a spy in our midst,” the pamphlet adds that “every situation needs to be examined to determine whether our nation’s secrets are at risk.”
As a blogger famously noted in the wake of the Snowden revelations: 1984 was not supposed to be a how-to manual.
The only thing left is to take the Insider Threat program public and turn 300+ million Americans into official snitches against their follow non-sheople citizens.