For several decades, protection of whistleblowers has been a core political value for Democrats, at least for progressives. Daniel Ellsberg has long been viewed by liberals as an American hero for his disclosure of the top secret Pentagon Papers. In 2008, candidate Obama hailed whistleblowing as “acts of courage and patriotism,” which “should be encouraged rather than stifled as they have been during the Bush administration.”
President Obama, however, has waged the most aggressive and vindictive assault on whistleblowers of any president in American history, as even political magazines generally supportive of him have recognized and condemned. One might think that, as the party’s faithful gather to celebrate the greatness of this leader, this fact would be a minor problem, a source of some tension between Obama and his hardest-core supporters, perhaps even some embarrassment. One would be wrong.
Far from shying away from this record of persecuting whistleblowers, the Obama campaign is proudly boasting of it. A so-called “Truth Team” of the Obama/Biden 2012 campaign issued a document responding to allegations that the Obama White House has leaked classified information in order to glorify the president:
Here is what they said:
Leave aside that this is a total nonsequitur: the fact that Obama has persecuted whistleblowers hardly negates, or even pertains to, the charge that he has leaked classified information when doing so benefits him politically. Indeed, that’s precisely what makes his behavior so pernicious: that his administration exploits secrecy laws to punish those who expose high-level wrongdoing while leaking at will for political gain.