The Need For Whistleblowers

By , September 24, 2012 5:05 am

The Catholic Church has always taught that human nature is essentially good but tragically weak. That is the major difference between Roman Catholic moral theology and the basic teachings of Martin Luther. He had a much more negative view of human nature. Nevertheless, because of that weakness, sin and corruption abounds all around us – in the corporate world, the government and sadly even the Church. Because of this, there is a need for people with integrity within these massive organizations and movements to have the courage to stand up, criticize and, if necessary, publically condemn evil, dishonesty, mismanagement, theft, etc. This is very hard to do because large organizations don’t like any criticism, much less public criticism and they will often move against the complainer with a very heavy hand.

All of this was brought to my mind when I saw the other day in a publication from the Government Accountability Project that recently six whistleblowers had been charged by our government under the espionage act. I can’t cover everything here but let me just point out that one accused person, John Kiriakou, a former CIA officer, publicly acknowledged the waterboarding problems in the Bush administration. Kiriakou did heroic work in Pakistan for many years before retiring in 2004.

Kiriakou’s “crime” is that he testified on ABC News about the prevalence of waterboarding as a policy of the US. He gave detailed information about its misuse. Ironically, he is the only individual to be prosecuted in relationship to the Bush administration’s torture programs. Kikiakou is the sixth whistleblower to be indicted by the Obama administration under the espionage act. That is more than all previous administrations combined.

Dear Lord, something is really out of balance here. Interrogators who tortured prisoners or the officials who gave the orders, the attorneys who authored the torture memos, CIA agents who destroyed the interrogation tapes have not been held professionally accountable, much less charged with crimes, but John Kiriakou is facing decades in prison for helping to expose torture.

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