News and Tribune


July 2, 2013

BEAM: Hell hath no fury like a government scorned

Silently in a windowless office, she lurks. The light from a government-issued computer screen brightens her face as she clinks and clanks heavily on the keys. Private details of everyday Americans roll before her like pieces of driftwood churning down a river. 

You wouldn’t think this small girl with the mousy hair and not-so-perfect skin would soon be the top threat to the U.S. But just like Satan turned his back on the Almighty, so will this young gal betray the greatest country in the world; though this devil will do it through one simple act — she’ll talk.

We don’t know her name or what will make her break. Perhaps the awareness of a reporter being unfairly monitored or the random calls of a grandma in Wisconsin in a tall stack of phone records will send her over the edge. What is perceived to be a minor transgression from the powers that be can seem like a heck of a lot more to the rest of us. 

Freedom has a price, so they say. And she too will pay. With her job. With her reputation. With her life, if some would get their way.

She is a whistleblower. 

Earlier in this century, those like her would have been deemed an informer or snitch. But in 1971, political activist Ralph Nader devised the term ‘whistleblower.’ Sports’ refs blow their whistles when they witness an unruly act. And while true fans may call them many names, some even vulgar, rarely do people identify them as tattletales. Nader thought the same consideration should be extended to employees that bring illegal or immoral acts to light. 

Like with many things, there can be a fine legal line between exposing perceived government wrongs and actual all-out treason. But lately that line seems to be getting a heck of a lot finer. 

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