Whistleblower Protections Disappear From Obama Site

Some critics are blasting the Obama administration this week for apparently removing a list of then-candidate Obama’s promises from Change.gov. The list included a promise of protection for whistleblowers like Edward Snowden.

According to the Sunlight Foundation, the list was last available on June 8, two days after NSA whistleblower Snowden revealed the government’s controversial phone surveillance program. Snowden hadn’t outed himself at that point, and critics argue that the removal of the promise from Obama’s website precludes harsh punishment for him if he returns to this country.

Here’s what Change.gov said about whistleblowers before the page was removed:

“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.”

The White House hasn’t responded to multiple requests for comment as to why the page was removed. The site did offer a way to compare Obama’s promises and administration actions through the Wayback archive, but that seems to be down now, as well.

In addition to the mysterious removal of Obama’s whistleblower protections promise from Change.gov, Attorney General Eric Holder this week sent his Russian counterpart a letter. In it, he reassured the Russian government that Snowden would not be executed or tortured if he is returned to the U.S.

This lead to such surreal headlines as the New York Times’ “U.S. Tells Russia It Won’t Torture or Kill Snowden,” which left HuffPo’s Jack Mirkinson seemingly appalled and speechless. That such a thing even needs to be said, he implies, is incredibly disturbing.

Do you think that the Obama administration should answer for the removal of the president’s campaign promises from Change.gov?