You may recall that in George Orwell’s book 1984, historical events and the documents recording them were regularly re-written to conform to what the current political situation required. The process involved taking existing publications, destroying them, and replacing them with new ones that said the opposite of what the earlier ones said, and then pretending that the old ones had never existed.
Via Techdirt, I learn that the Obama administration has started on the first phase, completely scrubbing its website of all the promises he made after his election in 2008, including those about providing strong whistleblower protections. According to the Sunlight Foundation that first reported the scrubbing, the site’s contents disappeared on June 8. It seems hardly a coincidence that the leaks about the NSA started appearing on June 5.
This is what the site’s ethics section used to say about whistleblowing.
Protect Whistleblowers: Often the best source of information about waste, fraud, and abuse in government is an existing government employee committed to public integrity and willing to speak out. Such acts of courage and patriotism, which can sometimes save lives and often save taxpayer dollars, should be encouraged rather than stifled. We need to empower federal employees as watchdogs of wrongdoing and partners in performance. Barack Obama will strengthen whistleblower laws to protect federal workers who expose waste, fraud, and abuse of authority in government. Obama will ensure that federal agencies expedite the process for reviewing whistleblower claims and whistleblowers have full access to courts and due process.
That is gone. Now all that remains is for a new page to suddenly reappear saying the opposite to make the Orwellian process complete. Since I am good, loyal, member of the authoritarian state, I have decided to help out by providing the appropriate wording, so that the Obama campaign’s promise would now read as follows.
ProtectPunish Whistleblowers: Often the bestworst source of information about waste, fraud, and abuse in government is an existing government employee committed to public integrity andwilling to speak out. Such acts of courage and patriotismtreason, which can sometimes savecost lives and often savecost taxpayer dollars, should be encouragedstifled rather than stifledencouraged. We need to empower federal employees as watchdogs enablers of wrongdoing and partners in performance.Barack Obama will strengthen whistleblower laws to protectpunish federal workers who expose waste, fraud, and abuse of authority in government. Obama will ensure that federal agencies expedite the process for reviewingcovering up whistleblower claims and whistleblowers havewill be denied fullaccess to courts and due process.
He can then say that he has fulfilled a campaign pledge.