|Truthdig article about the healthcare.gov intro and the anti-leak culture at the WH
By Bill Boyarsky
President Barack Obama’s pursuit of leakers recalls McCarthy era witch hunts, which paralyzed government with fear, turned bosses into mind-control cops and set colleagues against one another. It’s not a stretch to wonder whether the same climate, discouraging dissent and independent thinking, is partially responsible for the troubled launch of Obamacare.
The extent of the leaker hunt was revealed June 20 in a story by Marisa Taylor and Jonathan S. Landay of the McClatchy Washington Bureau. They said the effort, the Insider Threat Program, has reached far beyond national security departments into “most federal agencies nationwide, including the Peace Corps, the Social Security Administration, and the Education and Agriculture Departments.” Social Security is a major component of the Health and Human Services Department, which runs the Affordable Care Act.
Government bosses are given wide latitude to search for leakers, the journalists wrote. “Government documents reviewed by McClatchy illustrate how some agencies are using that latitude to pursue unauthorized disclosures of any information, not just classified material,” Landay and Taylor disclosed. “They also show how millions of federal employees and contractors must watch for ‘high risk persons or behaviors’ among co-workers and could face penalties including criminal charges for failing to report them.” Indications of suspicious behavior include “stress, divorce and financial problems.”
Without mentioning the infamous old senator, Ezra Klein of The Washington Post described an operation filled with workers afraid of getting in trouble, a McCarthyism symptom.
In a Wonkblog post, Klein and Evan Soltas wrote, “The problem here isn’t just technological. It’s managerial. The White House’s senior staff—up to and including the president—was blindsided. Staffers deep in the process knew that HealthCare.gov wasn’t ready for primetime. But those frustrations were hidden from top-level managers. Somewhere along the chain the information was spun, softened, or just plain buried.” In another post, they wrote, “staff was terrified to speak on the record, or even on background. ...” .....................(more)
The complete piece is at: http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/...ubles_20131028