It’s a Tough July 4th for Patriots This Year

Mother Jones; J. Scott Applewhite/AP

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Last night I wrote about Imran Awan, a Capitol Hill IT specialist who got caught up in a senseless “lock him up!” Twitter jihad from Donald Trump. Did this put Awan in personal danger? There’s no way to know, but it certainly might have.
Now here’s Marcy Wheeler, who has been reporting on mass surveillance and civil liberties since the Bush administration. To her own shock, last year she came across some information about Russian meddling in the 2016 election that she felt she had to pass along to the FBI:

[One] reason I’m disclosing this now is to put a human face to the danger in which the House Republicans are putting other people who, like me, provided information about the Russian attack on the US to the government.
My risk isn’t going to go away — indeed, going public like this will surely exacerbate it. That’s to be expected, given the players involved. But I’m a public figure. If something happens to me — if someone releases stolen information about me or knocks me off tomorrow — everyone will now know why and who likely did it. That affords me a small bit of protection. There are undoubtedly numerous other witnesses who have taken similar risks to share information with the government who aren’t public figures. The Republicans’ ceaseless effort to find out more details about people who’ve shared information with the government puts those people in serious jeopardy.
….This investigation is not, primarily, an investigation into Donald Trump. It’s an investigation into people who attacked the United States. It’s time Republicans started acting like that matters.

Here’s a bit of Twitter commentary:

5. Her story is more public than that of other FBI sources, but it is not unique. Sources get a terrible deal. They often give information to FBI and other agencies in ways that make them and their families financially poorer and physically less safe.
— Pwn All The Things (@pwnallthethings) July 3, 2018

6. And here’s the thing: sources don’t have to. Marcy took on real and perceived costs to herself because she thought it mattered to give FBI info. And now the administration is busy burning sources for 30 seconds of Hannity Time to undermine the Special Counsel investigation.
— Pwn All The Things (@pwnallthethings) July 3, 2018

7. And she’s pissed about it and I don’t blame her at all. FBI sources aren’t spending their cash and their safety to give the administration 30 seconds of Hannity Time talking points. They’re doing it because they believe the information matters, and FBI needs to be aware of it.
— Pwn All The Things (@pwnallthethings) July 3, 2018

8. If she got the same info today, having watched the House playing politics with sources, I don’t know if she would have eventually come to a different conclusion as to whether to share it with FBI. But I have no doubt she would have been less inclined to, and might have not.
— Pwn All The Things (@pwnallthethings) July 3, 2018

9. She’s not the only FBI source. Other FBI sources, both current and potential, who have different sets of information and who might have even bigger costs and risks to themselves are also having these conversations too, even if they do so less publicly.
— Pwn All The Things (@pwnallthethings) July 3, 2018

10. Not all of them will settle on “no” because of it. But more will. And those lost sources and lost leads will be measured in more failed investigations and fewer preventable crimes being stopped before they happen.
That is the ultimate price of playing politics with sources.
— Pwn All The Things (@pwnallthethings) July 3, 2018

This is what Devin Nunes and his merry band of Trump fanatics are doing. It’s both repugnant and insanely reckless.