- Is Jacob Wohl evading his Twitter ban with Jack Burkman’s account? Today 2:06 PM
- Biden’s most perplexing debate answers, explained Today 2:03 PM
- How to stream Colts vs. Texans on Thursday Night Football Today 12:52 PM
- Netflix drops ‘A Christmas Prince: The Royal Baby’ trailer Today 12:43 PM
- Uber says it will audio-record rides to address safety concerns Today 12:41 PM
- ‘Avengers: Endgame’ writers go in-depth on how they decided which superheroes lived and died Today 12:22 PM
- How to watch Duke vs. Cal in the 2K Empire classic Today 12:09 PM
- Trump’s impeachment notes get riffed into punk songs Today 12:01 PM
- Pete Buttigieg can’t do the Pete Buttigieg dance Today 11:55 AM
- How a woman’s cold ‘rejection form’ text message became an ’emotional labor’ meme Today 11:52 AM
- How to watch Texas vs. Georgetown in the 2K Empire classic Today 11:40 AM
- Apple cancels premiere of original film ‘The Banker’ amid sexual abuse allegations Today 11:25 AM
- Congress passes bill to safeguard Hong Kong, protesters Today 11:15 AM
- Conquer Black Friday and Cyber Monday, whether you’re shopping online or IRL Today 10:40 AM
- #DeadUploadDay: YouTubers fight new rules for monetizing kids videos Today 10:39 AM
Obama didn’t actually delete his promises of whistleblower protection
The White House says Change.gov, the president’s old website full of campaign promises, wasn’t taken down intentionally.
Change.gov was launched by the president’s transition team following his election in 2008. It laid out Obama’s plans and promises for his first term in office. Regular updates to the site ended in 2009, after Obama took office and gained access to Whitehouse.gov.
But with Edward Snowden’s revelations about National Security Agency spying programs and Bradley Manning’s trial for sharing secret documents with WikiLeaks dominating the news, Change.gov suddenly became relevant again: It’s where Obama had posted his promises about protections for whistleblowers.
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.
That passage, along with the rest of the site, disappeared sometime after June 8, according to the Internet archive. Change.gov was restored this week, but not before speculation spread that the administration had intentionally wiped the site to save Obama from embarrassment on the whistleblower issue.
The controversy apparently prompted the administration to restore Change.gov.
“This site’s content was inadvertently blocked during some routine maintenance, and has now been unblocked again. No content was deleted or modified,” a White House spokesperson told the Daily Dot.
In a followup blog post, Wonderlich questioned whether the downtime had been “a misguided attempt to remove the promises on which Obama ran … or just a sign that the original agenda doesn’t hold the same place of reverence it used to (White House staff used to frequently refer to these promises when making plans).”
Although the president’s position on whistleblowers may have changed over the past 5 years, he hasn’t made any effort to conceal his position on the NSA surveillance programs Snowden revealed.
Last week, Obama issued an emergency statement urging the House to vote against an amendment, introduced by Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.), that would have limited the agency’s ability to collect Americans’ telephone records.
The amendment narrowly failed in a 217-205 vote, allowing NSA phone spying to continue unabated.
Photo via Robert Hoge/Flickr
Jay Hathaway is a former senior writer who specialized in internet memes and weird online culture. He previously served as the Daily Dot’s news editor, was a staff writer at Gawker, and edited the classic websites Urlesque and Download Squad. His work has also appeared on nymag.com, suicidegirls.com, and the Morning News.