Obama Whistleblowers Are ‘Terrified To Even Speak Off The Record,’ Says Acclaimed Filmmaker

Obama whistleblowers’ frustrations with the President have been well-documented by high-profile news stories such as that of Edward Snowden via the Guardian, as well as other news outlets.

Running on a campaign of transparency and openness in government, the President has been accused by critics — many of whom voted for him in 2008 and later in 2012 — of overseeing an administration that was completely the opposite.

One of the latest critics is documentary filmmaker Alex Gibney, whose latest film Zero Days details the U.S. government’s use of a malware program to attack Iran’s nuclear facility. Ultimately, the program spread well beyond its intended target.

Gibney made an appearance on the Bret Easton Ellis Podcast this week to discuss the many obstacles to getting the movie made and, more importantly, to getting information out of Obama whistleblowers.

Lamenting that the press “is supposed to figure out secrets to keep the government honest,” Gibney told Ellis that when the press fails to attain secrets, it ensures a government that is overwhelmingly corrupt.

“But Obama, while campaigning as the most transparent President in history, ends up being the most punitive when it comes to talking about secrets,” Gibney said.

“I talk to friends of mine who were in the Obama administration who are terrified of telling me stuff even off the record for fear of prosecution. He’s going after people and going after them hard.”

What is particularly important about Gibney’s claim here is the source himself. If it were extremist conservatives like Roger Stone or Alex Jones making such a statement, then no one would be batting an eye.

But Gibney is the mind behind some of the most well-respected documentaries of the 21st Century, including Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief, Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room, and We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks.

His work has won praise from both Republicans and Democrats and his films are seen as some of the most important to modern documentary filmmaking.


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Later in the podcast, Gibney explained to Ellis that it’s the fervency with which the government is going after Obama whistleblowers that is actually putting the country at greater risk.

The reason?

“We can’t even have a debate about these cyber weapons that are destabilizing life as we know it because we live in a world that is more interconnected because of the Internet,” Gibney said, adding that the nation has “these weapons lurking on computers or controlling infrastructure like electrical grids, water filtration, transportation systems which could go off with the flick of an electronic impulse — yet we’re not allowed to speak about it.”

Obama whistleblowers, he added, and any whistleblowers from future administrations, are forbidden from speaking of these “enormous offensive cyber capabilities… so yes, the secrecy itself is putting us at risk.”

But what do you think, readers? Is America a less safe place due to the stranglehold that has been placed on Obama whistleblowers, and does it set a scary precedent for a future Trump or Clinton administration? Sound off in the comments section below.

[Image via Justin Sloan | Flickr Creative Commons | Resized and Cropped | CC BY-NC-ND 2.0]