Just before Barack Obama moved into the White House, his official website promised to "Protect Whistleblowers" -- praising government employees who are "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," the statement added.
But since Obama's inauguration seven years ago, his administration has prosecuted more whistleblowers than all other presidents combined -- doing huge damage to civil liberties and the public's right to know.
This campaign is co-chaired by two people with grim firsthand knowledge of the current war on whistleblowers.
NSA whistleblower Thomas Drake and CIA whistleblower John Kiriakou were relentlessly prosecutedby the Obama Justice Department, and each paid a very heavy price.
The Obama administration pursued multi-year vendettas that absurdly used the Espionage Act against those two brave whistleblowers. Thomas Drake endured years of ruthless investigation, harassment and prosecution before defeating the government in court. John Kiriakou spent two years in prison before being released last year.
The government was successful in completely wrecking the personal finances of both men and their families.
Last winter, while John Kiriakou was still in prison, a Huffington Post headline summed up: "The One Man Jailed for CIA Torture Tried to Expose It."
This week, the RootsAction Education Fund asked Thomas Drake and John Kiriakou for brief comments as we launch our 2016 campaign. Here’s what they said:
"The Fourth Amendment is the right to be left alone -- free of government interference or intrusion -- except when the government can show probable cause via affidavit for a particularized search and seizure when presented before a judge -- a very high bar to meet.
"Anything else that breaches this Amendment clearly violates both the spirit and the letter of the supreme law of the land in the U.S. -- the Constitution.
"I took an oath to support and defend that same Constitution four times in my government career -- once in the Air Force, at CIA, in the Navy and at NSA -- without any mental reservation, while showing true faith and allegiance to the same.
"Warrantless mass surveillance violates the Constitution.
"However, as the 'reward' for upholding the heart of the Constitution and disclosing mass surveillance, billions in fraud and 9/11 intel cover-up, I was turned into a criminal for exposing government conduct and activities violating that very same Constitution, and paid an extremely high price for doing so."
"The Eighth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution prohibits the federal government from imposing unduly harsh penalties on criminal defendants, either as the price for obtaining pretrial release or as punishment for crime after conviction.
"But what about the punishments that aren't in writing, like solitary confinement? The United Nations has branded the use of solitary in American prisons as 'torture.' Who will stand up for those victims? Where are their Constitutional remedies? It's up to all of us to work to protect them. It's up to us to educate the public and to keep up the fight."