Traverse City Record-Eagle

Opinion

July 31, 2013

Taylor Armerding: Obama distrusts his employees

I’ve said it before but, sadly, it needs regular repetition: Remember when Barack Obama was running for president and promised that his would be “the most transparent administration in history”?

He was just kidding — at least about himself. His administration, minimally open from the start, gets more and more opaque every day. Meanwhile, its focus to make its “subjects” — you, the allegedly “free” citizens — more transparent to the government, continues to expand.

It has reached the point where the Dear Leader is demanding the help of federal employees, urging them to spy on one another to prevent any of the wrong kind of government transparency.

Remember, this is not about all leaks. The administration is fine with leaks that it orchestrates to favored reporters that will generate stories that reflect well on the president and his agenda. But those that are not so flattering? Those must be stopped. And the loyal servants of the administration must join in the Great Struggle to stop them.

You may not have heard about it, since the story by the McClatchy news service broke more than a week ago, and it was drowned out by more news about Edward Snowden, the self-described whistleblower on National Security Agency surveillance of U.S. citizens.

But the two are closely related. Snowden was an “insider” — even though he worked for a private contractor, he had access to highly classified government documents. And the president has been seeking to enlist federal workers to root out the personality types of insiders who might do something similar.

So far, the Insider Threat Program does not appear to be working all that well since the president launched it with an executive order nearly two years ago, in October 2011, after U.S. Army Pfc. Bradley Manning downloaded hundreds of thousands of documents from a classified computer network and gave them to WikiLeaks, the anti-government-secrecy group.

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