The NSA spies on Americans. The IRS targets political groups. President Obama orders federal employees to tattle on their co-workers or go to jail. What?
You read that correctly. Working for the federal government now requires you to spy on your co-workers and report suspicious activity. If you do not, according to President Obama’s Insider Threat Program, you risk disciplinary action up to being sentenced to jail. This is another example of how far this president is willing to go to prevent information flow to the public, discourage whistleblowing, limit the media, and restrict the public’s right to know.
In a story released last week, McClatchy Media reported on a program started by the president to crack down on possible security leaks. It not only applies to federal agencies responsible for national security but to all federal departments and programs. The report uses the Peace Corps as an example of its overreach. The responsibility (requirement) to report suspicious activities is not specifically limited to classified information. Any activity that a worker considers suspicious must be reported. Failure to report could lead to criminal charges being filed against the employee who fails to report. Leaks to the media can be considered espionage.
Agencies are in the process of implementing this program. According to McClatchy, this includes developing training on how to identify suspicious behavior and possible spies.
Another consequence of this program is its impact on employee productivity. Government workers are bound to become more cautious and more deliberate in their daily routine. Disagreement with ideas or policies will be stifled because of fear the disagreement could be interpreted as suspicious or devious. Discussions will be reduced to one word: “Yes”.
President Obama has stated he wants to strengthen protections for whistleblowers who report through proper channels. He sees this as a way to encourage those who desire to report activities they believe are illegal. However, the Insider Threat Program does just the opposite by criminalizing the very activity necessary to prepare for blowing the whistle.
Recent developments have raised serious questions into how our government, in the name of national security, wants to restrict personal freedoms. Now it appears total control of federal workers, the creation of internal spies, and putting in place a culture of fear are also part of the plan.