Former top cop calls for the persecution of whistleblowers

A former top cop has decided that whistleblowers should be arrested on sight.

The Guardian reports the former Metropolitan police commissioner Lord Blair has said that there was material the state had to keep secret, and powers had to be in place to protect it.

The announcement comes after cops were patting themselves on the back that they had got their paws on copies of thousands of classified documents from David Miranda  who along with his partner, Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald, has been reporting leaks from the former US intelligence contractor Edward Snowden.

The documents were obtained when the Home Office used anti-terrorism laws to detain and question Miranda at Heathrow airport earlier this month. Of course, they only received copies, the rest of the documents were secretly stored elsewhere.

Lord Blair said the state has to have secrets as it is the only way to defend itself against terrorists.

He said that the UK needs a law that covers a situation when somebody wishes to disclose secrets, because it can be dangerous for individual citizens to make those secrets available to terrorists.

The Snowden leaks revealed an unprecedented, secret dragnet spying operation in the US and the UK.

Blair claimed that the threat from international terrorism was always changing and there was a need to review the law on whistleblowers.

Lord Blair said that it was a new threat which is not of somebody personally intending to aid terrorism, but of conduct which is capable of facilitating terrorism. Curiously this was the same line used in the prosecution of Bradley Manning to WikiLeaks – and the judge in that case did not agree.

We are not sure that Lord Blair has thought this one through.

Having laws against whistleblowers could result in problems for his former colleagues on the force. After all, who is going to want to talk to the police if they can be arrested for telling them information or exposing political corruption?