Harper’s reports on yet another whistleblower prosecution

Harper’s Magazine is publishing a report by Scott Horton on yet another prosecution for releasing information. Called "Obama’s War on Whistleblowers," the article focuses on the prosecution of Steven Kim, a scholar of North Korea’s nuclear program. Since Kim did consulting work for the State Department, the prosecution contends he should not have spoken to Fox News about how the North Koreans were likely to react to proposed sanctions. Former prosecutor and Johns Hopkins professor Ruth Wedgwood told Horton that the Fox News report “contains completely unremarkable observations about what a country would do if it was sanctioned for its poor behavior. These kinds of observations were well known to anyone paying attention to public sources and ought not be the basis for making someone a federal felon.” Assistant Attorney General David Kris says the charges are a “warning to anyone who is entrusted with sensitive national security information and would consider compromising it.” Those who are following the prosecutions of Thomas Drake and Bradley Manning, and the failure to grant clemency to Brad Birkenfeld, may see a pattern. Horton notes that Obama, as a lawyer, represented a whistleblower.  As a candidate, Obama pledged to “strengthen whistleblower laws to protect federal workers who expose waste, fraud, and abuse of authority in government.” Horton complains that the prosecution of Kim will effectively "censor public debate about vital facts relating to international affairs and possibly to war. *** [W]e’re supposed to be kept ignorant while the national-security state cares for us all."

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