Sen. Rand Paul sharply criticized the “politicized” FBI and the Department of Justice, calling for more whistleblowers to expose government trampling of American liberties.
“I think anytime someone is breaking the law in government, it’s a good idea to hear about it,” the Kentucky Republican said in a Thursday interview with The Daily Signal. “And so, frankly, yes, I think it is a good idea for people to reveal when the government’s breaking the rules.”
Paul’s remarks follow news that the head of the FBI’s Criminal and Counterterrorism divisions reportedly ordered agents Oct. 20 to identify threats against school board members and teachers with a “threat tag”—although Attorney General Merrick Garland told lawmakers the next day that the FBI was not using counterintelligence tools to target parents.
Whistleblowers—and the truths they tell—far too often become the first casualties in the clash of bigger forces with other agendas. People tend to oversimplify complex stories to fit their preferred political narrative or to protect their own interests.
If the facts do not fit neatly into a convenient set of preconceptions, too often they are ignored, dismissed, or twisted to cater to well-known biases. This tactic is common among those who are the subject of whistleblower disclosures. They often attempt to change the subject to avoid accountability by pointing a finger at the whistleblower, even if they don’t know who it is.
It’s probably just a “disgruntled employee” who has “an axe to grind.” The implication is that there is no need to look into it. Nothing to see here. Move along.
Ritual humiliation of social media companies is becoming something of a tradition. Most typically, social media CEOs are hauled before Congress, harangued for a day, promise to “do better,” and then go back to business as usual.
Last week a new kind of social media witness appeared: a whistleblower. Frances Haugen emerged with a great deal of fanfare, complete with a public relations firm, a verified account on Twitter, and a fawning entourage, including members of the press and Congress. But instead of denouncing social media for its excessive power, wealth, and hostility to traditional American values, Haugen pleaded for regulations that happen to align with the peculiar values and interests of Silicon Valley.
The House of Representatives on Tuesday approved bipartisan legislation by Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa and Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont that aims to protect whistleblowers who sound the alarm about breaches of antitrust law.