Saturday, May 20, 2017

Heroes or villains?

Washington has been turned inside out recently by leaks to the press telling us what's REALLY going on there behind closed doors.  Meanwhile the debate heats up....are the leakers heroes or villains?

Many see the issue in black or white terms.  The hard-core Trumpsters and Tea Party-types seem to think the leakers are all traitors, no exceptions.  "We need to find those who spilled the beans about President Trump giving away intelligence secrets and send them to prison for life + 20 years."  Ummm....what about the fact that Prez Trump GAVE AWAY INTELLIGENCE SECRETS?  That doesn't seem to bother them.

Then the crowd who has no love for Mr. Trump thinks that the leakers are all saints and deserve the Medal Of Honor.  Whether it's tidbits about whether the President's feet stink or whether he has a Russian KGB mistress on the side, it's all good.  Unless it smudges the reputation of one of their favorite mobsters politicians, then they want to lock 'em away, too.

It seems to me there is a huge gray area not being considered, namely WHAT is being leaked.  If the leaker sees what is going on behind closed doors and honestly believes a crime is being committed, or if they see a blatant misuse of power, and if they also see an active coverup in progress, then I can understand why they might want to put their career and maybe even their freedom on the line for the good of the country.  

A good example would be Mark Felt, the #2 man at the FBI during the infamous Watergate scandal back in '72.  He knew what was going on, saw the nefarious efforts being taken to protect President Nixon, and knew it was wrong.  His conscience told him to feed tips to Washington Post journalists Woodward and Bernstein, enabling them to get the truth out to the American people.  If his identity had been known he would surely have lost his job at the FBI and perhaps even been prosecuted.  (His identity was kept secret for 30 years.)

This contrasts to leakers like Wikileaks' Julian Assange.  He isn't leaking what he does out of some sort of righteous indignation of a wrong going unpunished.  He's just a prick.  He wants to pick and choose who he hurts and who he helps based on his personal likes and dislikes.  He just loves causing trouble and sticking a sharp stick in the eye of anyone who he feels slighted him or someday might slight him.  Plus he's a misogynist.

IMO, leakers can be both heroes (like Mr. Felt) or villians (like Mr. Assange), depending on their motives.  So far, the leakers who are coming out with disturbing info regarding President Trump and his associates and their actions vis a vis Russia seem to fall into the category of the former.  The copycat leakers likely to eventually show up with nothing more than embarrassing gossip looking for their 15 minutes of fame deserve the latter title.

Let's look at motives carefully before we assign either medals or prison uniforms.



  1. Recognizing that there is abuse of authority, misconduct and corruption in government, Congress passed the Whistleblower Protection Act of 1989, a law that protects federal whistleblowers who work for the government and report misconduct. The intent was to protect the whistleblower from losing their job. Even still, there is a legitimate fear of losing the job and some don't care to risk it, so they leak. There is little difference between a whistleblower and a leaker, so long as they are exposing misconduct.

  2. Assange is an asshat. Even with Sweden dropping the rape investigation I guess he's still stuck in the Ecuadorian embassy where he's taken refuge. Better than he deserves really.

  3. What's interesting to me is that virtually none, repeat none, less than 2% of the Trump voters care that their president is a crook, liar, molester of women, at best. They voted for him, and they're stickin' to he said himself "I could shoot someone on 5th avenue in NYC and my supporters would not care."
    Not much else to be said. We're well on our way out of the few democratic countries left. Russia clone, here we come. Willingly.