Interesting the reactions of the political elites, classes, and opinion-ators in the United States to two different famous whistleblowers:
- Edward Snowden was a young techie contracted by the NSA to handle secret data and information.
- Leon Panetta is a former Democrat Congressman, former White House Chief of Staff under Bill Clinton, former head of the CIA, and former Secretary of Defense. Former jack of all trades in the Democratic Party.
- Both men had access to top secret information. Panetta also had access to detailed ‘elite’ information and insight about the inner workings of the intelligence and national security apparatus.
- Edward Snowden was a mere grunt. He swore an oath to keep the information he handled secret. Being young and not glib with no access to high-powered legal counsel, he leaked the shocking information he had access to. Technically he broke the law, no doubt. Morally, many people believe he did his countrymen a great service and opened millions of eyes (he did open millions of eyes for sure). Either way, he did a version of “kiss and tell”, although unlike Panetta he did not do the kissing. So far all Snowden has gotten from his disclosure and flight is grief and exile.
- Leon Panetta, the more mature more glib man, waited until he left office, then he struck: he published a book and hit the TV trail. No doubt some of his accommodating former colleagues have approved his book. He is pushing his book all over the media, hoping to make a small fortune from it. I have not read the book, but reportedly he talks critically of American policy in Iraq and Syria. He is divulging information and insight he had heard and read during National Security sessions to make his political points. He is also doing a “kiss and tell”.
- Snowden was not involved in politics, as far as I know. Panetta is suspected by at least one person of being a Clinton partisan and of awaiting the restoration of Hillary to the White House. Someone wrote recently that he is trying to rewrite history.
- Oh, I left out that other confidante of presidents, former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and his “kiss and tell” book.
- So the moral is? If you want to blow the whistle on your employer, make sure you rise high enough within the hierarchy, then quit and do it.
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum