Joe Biden, the Espionage Act, and My Experience

Similar to my situation, Biden also stored classified information outside a secure facility and shared it with the press to express apprehension about US policy. However, the prosecutors handled our cases in contrasting manners.

In February, I completed a 33-month sentence in federal prison for breaching the Espionage Act. My disclosure of classified information aimed to shed light on what I perceived as the ethical toll of America’s drone assassination program. Shortly after my release, news of Special Counsel Robert Hur’s report emerged, detailing why President Joe Biden wasn’t charged for alleged violations of the same law.

It’s heartening to hear when the Justice Department refrains from using the Espionage Act. Since its enactment in 1917, the law has been wielded to stifle dissenting voices nationwide. Thousands were swiftly convicted for opposing America’s involvement in the deadliest conflict of that era.

Though certain aspects of the law have been revised, the Espionage Act remains the primary statute for prosecuting government whistleblowers who rely on the press to expose governmental abuses. The decision to pursue whistleblowers under the Espionage Act sends a clear message: anyone who speaks to the media risks decades of imprisonment.

Upon reviewing Special Counsel Hur’s report, I couldn’t help but draw parallels between my case and the investigation into the president. According to the report, President Biden, like me, stored classified information outside secure facilities and later shared it with reporters to express concerns about official US policy.

Both President Biden and I voiced apprehensions about official policies: his regarding the 2009 surge in Afghanistan (during his vice presidency) and mine regarding its repercussions. Yet, why was one of us prosecuted while the other wasn’t?

Special Counsel Robert Hur said in a report released released in February that Biden would not face criminal charges for removing classified documents at the end of the Obama presidency because he had cooperated with investigators and would appear sympathetic to a jury [Leah Millis/Reuters]
Special Counsel Robert Hur said in a report released released in February that Biden would not face criminal charges for removing classified documents at the end of the Obama presidency because he had cooperated with investigators and would appear sympathetic to a jury [Leah Millis/Reuters]

Hur suggested that President Biden’s perceived goodwill would make it challenging to convince a jury of wrongdoing. Contrastingly, during my sentencing, the government painted me as a public threat, likening me to a drug dealer. They portrayed me as seeking notoriety rather than acting in the public interest.

Hur deftly sidesteps the issue of intent regarding the Espionage Act. Ironically, the law doesn’t necessitate proof of intent to harm the US; it only requires evidence that the possessor of national defense information knowingly retains and willfully communicates it to unauthorized individuals.

While Biden evades repercussions due to his purported lack of harmful intent, I, like other whistleblowers, was effectively silenced by legal technicalities. Forced to plead guilty to avoid an unwinnable trial, I couldn’t present evidence of my intentions.

The guilt I bore for disclosing national defense information paled in comparison to the shame I felt for participating in the drone program. In 2021, weeks after my sentencing, a US drone strike mistakenly killed Zemari Ahmadi and nine family members. I was the sole person held accountable, not for my role but for exposing its reality.

President Biden received the benefit of doubt denied to many Espionage Act targets. Yet, if he truly upholds the ideals that secured his presidency, he should pardon whistleblowers and end the “targeted” killing policy in the global war on terror.

Atif Wattoo
Atif Wattoohttp://globalnewsone.com
👋 Hey there! I'm Muhammad Atif Wattoo, a passionate website developer with a focus on crafting exceptional experiences using Next.js and React.js.💻 With several years of experience under my belt, I've honed my skills in building dynamic and responsive web applications that not only look great but also deliver seamless performance across various platforms and devices.🚀 Whether it's creating user-friendly interfaces, optimizing site speed, or integrating complex functionalities, I thrive on turning ideas into reality through clean and efficient code.🔧 My expertise extends to leveraging the latest tools and technologies in the React ecosystem to streamline development workflows and deliver robust solutions that meet the unique needs of each project.🌟 Beyond coding, I'm committed to staying updated with industry trends and best practices to ensure that the solutions I deliver are not just cutting-edge but also future-proof.🌐 If you're looking to elevate your online presence or bring your web application to life, I'm here to collaborate with you every step of the way, from concept to deployment.Let's build something awesome together! Feel free to reach out to me at +923058262461 to discuss your next project.

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