On Tuesday, a mid-level foreign service officer named Peter Van Buren leveled some serious charges against the State Department, his employer of 23 years, at the website TomDispatch. State's Bureau of Diplomatic Security, he claimed, was investigating him and threatening to fire him for disclosing classified information by linking to a publicly available WikiLeaks cable about U.S.-Libyan military trade from his personal blog back in August. The State Department, he argued, was singling him out as a scapegoat for the leaked diplomatic cables because Van Buren published a book critical about his reconstruction work in Iraq, We Meant Well: How I Helped Lose the Battle for the Hearts and Minds of the Iraqi People. The State Department has not responded to a Wired request for comment.
Van Buren asserts the State Department's action "chills free speech." But so far, perhaps emboldened by a suspicion that he'll soon be terminated, Van Buren's been lashing out at State pretty freely, exposing a rapidly deteriorating relationship with his longtime employer. In a blog post today, Van Buren publishes a scathing and satirical take on how State might issue press guidance for how to respond to his recent accusations and book on Iraq. One bullet point reads:
No comment (but leak to someone that Van Buren is a crazy man, years of bad behavior, should've been dropped a long time ago, really off the rails, Diplomatic Security has had their eye on him for years, he just made this up to get money for his meth habit, his mother poses for Crack Whore Magazine…)
Other posts include a sarcastic letter to State and a piece--with the headline "The State Department Does Not Want You to Read This" and a photo of Darth Vader--that details the case State is building against Van Buren. He's no less defiant on Twitter, refusing to honor State's request for redactions to his book.