The Obama administration's efforts to obtain Twitter-account information about key individuals connected to WikiLeaks amounts to a declaration of war on those who would reveal government wrongdoing, according to a prominent whistleblower in Alabama.
Dana Jill Simpson, an attorney who revealed wrongdoing in the Bush-era prosecution of former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman, said Obama's actions are a first step toward limiting the First Amendment rights of journalists to protect their sources.
Simpson also decried reports that Obama is considering an Internet ID system for all Americans. Said Simpson:
"Whistleblowers have known for a long time that the Obama administration doesn't respect the desire of whistleblowers to bring truth to our nation's shores. The Obama Administration would rather hide the lies our government tells our citizens and prosecute the whistleblowers. It is easier, they think, than admitting the truth. The fact is that that our government has been lying to us about wars and other foreign affairs. I guess this is Obama's way of “looking forward.” He wants to ignore the lies our government and its officials told the citizens for the last 10 years.
Simpson noted the irony that Obama's "look forward, not backwards" approach to the apparent crimes of Bush-administration officials does not apply to WikiLeaks. In fact, the government seems to be going overboard in its efforts to build a case against Julian Assange and others associated with WikiLeaks:
[Obama] won't prosecute the people who illegally tortured people and politically prosecuted folks all over our country. Now it appears his administration prefers to prosecute the truth-telling whistleblowers who show the lies of the White House and Pentagon. This says something about our current government when admitted water-boarding torturers are protected and truth tellers like Assange are prosecuted for exposing the lies of our government.
Turning whistleblowers into targets could have dire consequences for our country, Simpson says:
We are getting dangerously close to becoming a "Dictator Democracy," where even our thoughts can get us in trouble--and anything we do to bring truth to our citizens can get us thrown in jail. All whistleblowers in our country are in danger as the U.S. government starts to shut out the truth from the people by serving secret subpoenas on the WikiLeaks accounts.
Simpson especially is alarmed about reports of a possible Internet-ID system:
Just when I thought it could not get worse, now Obama and the U.S. government want to give us an Internet license, just like a driver's license. Then, it will be a privilege to be on the Internet--and if we misbehave or authorities deem our remarks are not good for the government--well they can take away our license.
Gone will be our right to free speech on the Internet; our license could be pulled if someone doesn't like the content of our speech.
It seems Obama is afraid of the Internet. I have been attacked about as much as anyone on the Internet, but I still believe people have the right to say what they think. This idea of a license is the beginning of the end for our freedom to express the truth about what our government is doing. We now live, it appears, in a nation that is moving toward being a police state.