Daniel Ellsberg: “Don’t do what I did. Don’t wait until a new war has started. Don’t wait until thousands more have died, before you tell the truth with documents that reveal lies or crimes or internal projections of costs and dangers. You might save a war’s worth of lives.”
New Organization Launches with Invitation: “Whistleblowers Welcome”
Institute for Public Accuracy. June 4, 2014. WASHINGTON. — Announcing its intention to “shed light on concealed activities that are relevant to human rights, corporate malfeasance, the environment, civil liberties and war,” the ExposeFacts organization launched on Wednesday with a news conference in Washington and the debut of its website declaring “Whistleblowers Welcome.”
A week after Secretary of State John Kerry invoked the name of Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg while denouncing NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, a billboard featuring Ellsberg calling for more whistleblowers has gone up just outside the Department of State headquarters in Washington.
The billboard serves as an implicit challenge to Kerry, who declared on May 28: “There are many a patriot — you can go back to the Pentagon Papers with Dan Ellsberg and others who stood and went to the court system of America and made their case. Edward Snowden is a coward, he is a traitor, and he has betrayed his country. And if he wants to come home tomorrow to face the music, he can do so.”
Ellsberg shot back late last week with an op-ed piece titled: “Snowden would not get a fair trial — and Kerry is wrong.”
The billboard, sponsored by the new organization ExposeFacts.org, features a photo of Ellsberg — who was the first person on the ExposeFacts advisory board — and a quote from him: “Don’t do what I did. Don’t wait until a new war has started. Don’t wait until thousands more have died, before you tell the truth with documents that reveal lies or crimes or internal projections of costs and dangers. You might save a war’s worth of lives.”
The billboard is at a bus shelter half a block south of the State Department on 23rd Street, north of Constitution Avenue.
The ExposeFacts.org site will feature the “SecureDrop” whistleblower submission system, provided by the Freedom of the Press Foundation. “At a time when key provisions of the First, Fourth and Fifth Amendments are under assault,” ExposeFacts said in a statement, “we are standing up for a free press, privacy, transparency and due process as we seek to reveal official information — whether governmental or corporate — that the public has a right to know.”
For a look at the ExposeFacts billboard next to the State Department that features Ellsberg’s call for whistleblowing, see: “New Organization Hangs Sign: ‘Whistleblowers Welcome.'”
Speakers at the Washington news conference included National Security Agency whistleblowers William Binney and J. Kirk Wiebe as well as Environmental Protection Agency whistleblower Marsha Coleman-Adebayo.
William Binney is a former high-level National Security Agency intelligence official who, after his 2001 retirement after 30 years, blew the whistle on NSA surveillance programs. His outspoken criticism of the NSA during the George W. Bush administration made him the subject of FBI investigations that included a raid on his home in 2007. Even before Edward Snowden’s NSA whistleblowing, Binney publicly revealed that NSA had access to telecommunications companies’ domestic and international billing records, and that since 9/11 the agency has intercepted some 15 to 20 trillion communications. The Snowden disclosures confirmed many of the surveillance dangers Binney — without the benefit of documents — had been warning about under both the Bush and Obama administrations. Binney has been singled out for praise by Snowden, who told the Wall Street Journal: “I have tremendous respect for Binney, who did everything he could according to the rules. We all owe him a debt of gratitude for highlighting how the Intelligence Community punishes reporting abuses within the system.”
Marsha Coleman-Adebayo is author of No Fear: A Whistleblower’s Triumph Over Corruption and Retaliation at the EPA. As senior policy analyst for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, she became a whistleblower when the EPA ignored her complaints about a U.S. company harming the environment and human health in its vanadium mining in South Africa. Denied promotion, she sued and won a jury verdict finding EPA guilty of discrimination. Coleman-Adebayo is a founder of the No FEAR Coalition and EPA Employees Against Racism. Under her leadership No FEAR organized a grassroots campaign that won passage of the “Notification of Federal Employees Anti-Discrimination and Retaliation Act.” Coleman-Adebayo serves on the board of directors of the National Whistleblower Center and was inducted into the Project on Government Oversight’s Hall of Fame. She is an editor and columnist for the Black Agenda Report.
J. Kirk Wiebe is a retired National Security Agency whistleblower who worked at the agency for 36 years. Wiebe’s colleague William Binney developed the ThinThread information processing system that, arguably, could have detected and prevented the 9/11 terrorist attacks. NSA officials, though, ignored the program in favor of Trailblazer, a program that ended in total failure with costs of billions of dollars. Wiebe and Binney blew the whistle internally on Trailblazer, but to no avail. Post 9/11, the NSA used ThinThread to illegally spy on U.S. citizens’ communications. Unable to stay at NSA any longer in good conscience, Wiebe retired in October 2001. Since retiring, Wiebe and Binney made several key public disclosures regarding NSA’s massive surveillance program.
The ExposeFacts organization is part of the nonprofit Institute for Public Accuracy, founded in 1997.