No wonder the Obama Justice Department threatened Risen with jail for years, trying to make him divulge who spilled the beans to him in one instance. No wonder that it looks as if one whistleblower, Jeffrey Sterling, who may have talked to the reporter, is going to get the book thrown at him under the Espionage Act. Those of us who have not been following Sterling's case may be surprised to learn, as I did recently on his conviction, that Sterling, who is Black, was likely disaffected because the government managed to get his employment discrimination complaint against the CIA thrown out under the "state secrets" doctrine. While working for the government, Sterling uncovered $32 million in Medicare fraud.
According to Risen, fraud has been the name of the game since 9/11 and certainly since George W. Bush invaded Iraq. After that U.S. invasion our government shipped "pallets of cash" to the Baghdad. A few U.S. military officers were caught pilfering several hundred thousands of dollars from the stash, but most of it was appropriated by some of our pet Iraqi "leaders" who promptly shipped $2 billion to a bunker in Lebanon. Our parsimonious rulers who can't find the money to help the unemployed here have done nothing to get it back.
Then there were the snake oil salesmen like David Montgomery who claimed to be able to decode secret messages from Osama bin Laden hiding in Al Jazeera broadcasts. The sellers of new technologies of death and destruction, the drone merchants, also made out like the bandits they are. No problem to them that the U.S. only multiplies its enemies while pursuing its infatuation with video game war from the skies.
There's lots more. Read it and weep.
But I am going to share a small bit from Risen's chapter on what he calls "the war on decency" -- the United State's embrace of torture in the "war on terror." In that context, he names specific authors of our crimes who seldom are fingered so explicitly.
We tortured to demonstrate that a President could torture and no restraint could stop him. In the absence of prosecutions, nothing that Obama has said or done changes that. There's no reason to hope Hillary would be any different, much less any of the Republican clowns. We are just another torture state. Al Qaeda won.
We can be glad we do still have James Risen, still kicking after the Justice Department finally let him off its hook: