The actions of U.S. National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden, and Washington's attempt to bring the fugitive back to the U.S. to face espionage charges, have prompted some observers to accuse President Barack Obama of hypocrisy on the issue of whistleblowers.
As a presidential candidate, Obama repeatedly pledged to make openness and transparency a top priority of his administration. Obama promised to "protect whistleblowers," saying that "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," he said.
Obama reinforced that point on his first day in office, saying that for too long, there had been too much secrecy in Washington.
"The old rules said if there was a defensible argument for not disclosing something to the American people, then it should not be disclosed. That era is now over," Obama said. "Starting today every agency and department should know that this administration stands on the side, not of those who seek to withhold information, but those who seek to make it known."
Read more: Snowden case: Has Obama broken pledge to protect whistleblowers? - World - CBC News