Amid the Obama administration’s crackdown against whistleblowers, Change.gov, the 2008 website of the Obama transition team laying out the candidate’s promises, has disappeared from the internet.
The Sunlight Foundation notes that it last could be viewed on June 8, which was two days after the first revelations from Edward Snowden (who had then not yet revealed himself) about the NSA’s phone surveillance program. One of the promises Obama made on the website was on “whistleblower protections:”
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. We need to empower federal employees as watchdogs of wrongdoing and partners in performance. Barack Obama will strengthen whistleblower laws to protect federal workers who expose waste, fraud, and abuse of authority in government. Obama will ensure that federal agencies expedite the process for reviewing whistleblower claims and whistleblowers have full access to courts and due process.
The White House did not respond to multiple requests for comment on why the page was deleted. The site had offered a way to compare Obama’s promises and administration actions and still can be viewed on the Wayback archive.
The page has long had a link to whitehouse.gov along with a note saying that “the transition has ended and the new administration has begun;” however, the website’s pages have recently become inaccessible from the site.
Prior to the Snowden leaks but after Pfc. Bradley Manning gave classified information to WikiLeaks, the Obama administration launched the Insider Threat program to combat leaks, in part by asking coworkers to keep a close eye on their fellow employees. The program also ordered more protections for those who use proper channels, but four national security whistleblowers have said that they became targets of Justice Department investigations after bringing concerns to the Department of Defense Inspector General.