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ACLU in Defense One: Obama's Whistleblower Witchhunt Won't Work at DOD

Gabe Rottman,
Legislative Counsel,
ACLU Washington Legislative Office
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August 1, 2013

For two decades during the Cold War, an ultra-secret “mole” hunting squad at the Central Intelligence Agency, led by James Jesus Angleton, investigated hundreds of loyal government workers, primarily Eastern Europeans, in an obsessive search for Soviet spies based on tips from a questionable source. When all was said and done, many careers were ruined, no mole found and Angleton had lent his name to a new word for things conspiratorial and paranoiac: Angletonian.

The Obama administration is now on an Angletonian path, but on a meta scale throughout the government. Two years ago, the White House implemented the Insider Threat Program, an initiative created by executive order following the WikiLeaks affair. Not surprisingly, civil liberties groups fear the initiative will open the door to inappropriate and biased reporting based on racial and ethnic profiling, whistleblower retaliation and personal and political vendettas that will overload the system with bad information. These critics are joined, however, by career counter-intelligence experts, many of whom argue that non-professionals are simply ill-equipped to accurately identify potential threats.

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