Where were Democrats when Obama went after whistleblowers?

Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi recently put President Donald Trump on notice about any possible retaliation against the whistleblower who filed a complaint against Trump. Pelosi warned: “I will make sure he does not intimidate the whistleblower. I was there. I told the President, you’re in my wheelhouse when you come after the whistleblower.”

But where was this love for whistleblowers during President Barack Obama’s administration? Obama remains enormously popular among Democrats. But many in the how-dare-President-Trump-attack-a-whistleblower camp paid little attention to Obama’s unprecedented attack on whistleblowers, as well as on the reporters who reported on their whistleblowing. Liberal filmmaker Robert Greenwald released a documentary in 2013 called War on Whistleblowers: Free Press and the National Security State that examined the fate of four whistleblowers during the Obama administration. Greenwald said: “One of the things that was a common denominator with all the whistleblowers we interviewed is the terrible personal price they paid … And what is happening over and over again is the Obama administration and previous administrations are literally shooting the messengers — punishing the whistleblowers, trying to pass laws that make it harder for whistleblowers.”

In a 2011 article titled “Obama’s War on Whistle-blowers,” the center-left publication The Atlantic wrote: “The Justice Department’s subpoena of New York Times reporter James Risen … was the latest sign of how aggressive the Obama administration is being in its campaign against government whistle-blowers. The purpose of Risen’s subpoena is to force him to testify that Jeffrey Sterling, a former CIA agent, gave him confidential information about the CIA’s efforts to sabotage Iran’s nuclear program. The extent to which the administration is prosecuting leakers has troubled those who see leakers as speakers of truth to power. ‘In President Obama’s 26 months in office, civilian and military prosecutors have charged five people in cases involving leaking information, more than all previous presidents combined,’ reports the Times.”

Similarly, in 2011, left-wing magazine The New Yorker wrote: “When President Barack Obama took office, in 2009, he championed the cause of government transparency, and spoke admiringly of whistle-blowers, whom he described as ‘often the best source of information about waste, fraud, and abuse in government.’ But the Obama Administration has pursued leak prosecutions with a surprising relentlessness. … It has been using the Espionage Act to press criminal charges in five alleged instances of national-security leaks — more such prosecutions than have occurred in all previous Administrations combined.”

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