In his latest report Kaye highlighted the harsh treatment of whistleblowers in the US and urged officials to stop demonizing them; as such people are a crucial element of a healthy democracy.
Radio Sputnik discussed the issue with the former FBI special agent who jointly held the TIME magazine’s “Person of the Year” award in 2002 — Coleen Rowley.
“Edward Snowden recently said that if you are going to be a whistleblower who just merely wants to tell the public about any illegal action that your government is committing then you have to practically understand that you will become a martyr.”
Rowley further said that in his case he had to flee to another country to seek asylum because if “you stay in the US then more likely than not you will end up in prison. The person loses his job and in some cases his family. It is a steep cost for all whistleblowers.”
She further said that recently she heard that the UN Rapporteur said that there is a double standard at play because many western based organizations do very much insist upon freedom of speech for foreign dissidents but when it is a US dissident, such as Edward Snowden, they go silent.
She further said that when you have a system that doesn’t appreciate the truth about their own illegal acts then the citizens are not safe. “A defense in the whole espionage act would show that you were acting for public safety and to get the country back on the legal ground.”
“In every crime even in murder there is an opportunity to explain your own intent and intent is everything under the law. You can be trying to save a person and he can accidentally die and in that case you can’t be trying him for first degree murder. Every crime has intent except for acts of espionage.”
It is what they call the ‘automatic intent’. So they just presume that any time you reveal something that is classified, even if it is classified to hide evidence of illegality, that you have no liability to explain it to a jury.