November 28, 2012
On the day before Thanksgiving with little or no media attention, President Obama wrote a memorandum, which is an unofficial directive,
While the corporate media has largely ignored this memo, there has recently been much speculation in alternative media as to why Obama felt the need to address insider threats at this time.
The subject heading of the memo is “National Insider Threat Policy and Minimum Standards for Executive Branch Insider Threat Programs.”
It is short enough to reprint in its entirety:
Much of the speculation regarding this memo is a result of the brevity and ambiguous wording.
For example, what exactly defines an “insider threat” and why are “violent acts against the Government or the Nation” mentioned? Recent events raise even more questions.
After a closer look at some of the theories regarding why Obama felt the need to write this now, readers can draw their own conclusions.
This memo obviously urges an expansion of powers granted to the Insider Threat Task Force that was created by an executive order in October 2011, ten months after Army Private Bradley Manning retrieved roughly 250,000 diplomatic cables from a government computer and turned them over to Wikileaks.
Bradley Manning is facing hearings this week that could lead to him being imprisoned for life, after already being imprisoned in solitary confinement since May 2010.
If that is not enough of a deterrent for whistleblowers in the military, what is?
Jesselyn Radack, writing for the DailyKOS, correctly points out that this memo,
Yet she once again correctly notes that,
In fact, the New York Times pointed out last year that anywhere from 50 percent to 90 percent of classified documents could safely be made public.
Kevin Gosztola, who has been following the Bradley Manning case, appeared on RT with a similar assessment (see above video):
Gosztala takes it one step further when he writes,
It is quite possible that Obama wrote the memo with Manning’s case and other whistleblowers in mind, yet many speculate that there is much more to it.
Obviously, none of these whistleblowers were plotting violent acts against the nation and it is a safe assumption that a President who is an ex-constitutional law professor can make a distinction between whistleblowing, espionage and violent acts against the nation.
Expansion of executive powers
Beginning with the Bush administration, there has been a rapid expansion of executive powers in government and the Obama administration has continued that trend with unprecedented bills such as the National Defense Authorization Act (S.1867) and the Federal Restricted Building and Grounds Improvement Act (HR 347).
It is a legitimate concern that the insider threat memo is a directive authorizing a further expansion of executive powers.
David Hagmann, writing for the Canada Free Press, makes some good points when he interprets Obama’s memo in a broader perspective. Like others, he points out the ambiguity in the wording and acknowledges that it could just be geared at stopping leaks.
Hagmann, however, takes note of a key word in the memo.
The word is “centrally,” and when it is considered in the context of Obama’s agenda seen being implemented over the last four years, it is chilling:
Hagmann’s analysis encompasses the stifling of whistleblowers and takes it a step further to the stifling of any dissent within government agencies.
Like Gosztala and Radack, he acknowledges the ambiguity in the wording. Unlike both, however, he fails to mention that the mechanisms for stifling whistleblowers and any form of dissent were already in place before this memo was written.
So, the question still remains, why would Obama feel the need to write this memo now?
Real insider threats
The words “violent acts against the government or the nation” have rang the alarm bells of several writers who have covered this memo.
Most seem to think they are out of context with the insider threats vaguely described in the memo. But that may not be the case. President Obama may be beginning to feel threatened by not only people within his administration, but also by people in this country (the U.S.).
One context to put that into is that President Obama has received more death threats than any President in U.S. history.
At least two blogs have referenced Secret Service sources that say death threats to the President have increased by over 400 percent since Obama took office in 2008 and amount to about 30 per day.
That's 43,830 death threats for his first four years alone. Of course, that is impossible to verify because the media and not even the President is made aware of all threats against him.
As the Secret Service says,
Combined with the recent shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, the spike in gun sales after the election, and many who have signed petitions for secession, the words “violent acts” and “insider threats” make more sense.
Some writers, such as Gordon Duff writing for Press TV, have gone as far as to claim that Obama’s memo may be a preemptive response to an Israeli assassination attempt or an effort by AIPAC-backed groups to overthrow the U.S. government. Whether or not real threats of violence are from domestic insiders or foreign infiltrators, they cannot sit well with any President regardless of party affiliation.
As usual, the truth probably lies somewhere in between.
The question then becomes,
Neither one seems good for Americans right now.