Because it gives us a peek behind the curtain at what POWER is really doing under the guise of secrecy and national security.
"AMY GOODMAN: According to documents obtained by Truthout under the Freedom of Information Act, senior officials at the Department of Homeland Security tried to have you remove a report you published on the Rolling Stonemagazine website in February about the agency’s role in monitoring Occupy Wall Street. In an email message on the day your piece was published, Caitlin Durkovich, chief of staff in DHS’s National Protection and Programs Directorate, wrote, quote, "I think we should consider calling Hastings and help him understand our mission," she said.
The next day, after other news outlets had picked up your story, Durkovich wrote again to say, "I think we need to pick up the phone, and call Hastings. National security is his beat, but he can be provocative so we need to have a clear sey [sic] of tps," you know, talking points. "Let’s explain our mission, to include what FPS’s" — the federal protective service’s — "role has been in OWS. And push back on the inaccuracies."
Explain what took place. Did they call you?
MICHAEL HASTINGS: Well, I just found out about this yesterday. I would have answered—
AMY GOODMAN: I guess they didn’t call.
MICHAEL HASTINGS: They did not call. I would have answered the call. I would have been happy to actually talk to them about this report, because it was quite a—what I published online was a internal Department of Homeland Security document that revealed that they had been paying very close attention to Occupy Wall Street, monitoring it, monitoring social media, and kind of just explaining what Occupy Wall Street was. So it was a fairly benign report in a lot of ways, though it raised some questions about why is Department of Homeland Security, you know, analyzing Occupy Wall Street? Now, it turns out, also in these emails, it says thatDHS want to say, "Look, we shouldn’t have even done this report." So they actually wanted to—they sort of agreed with me, while at the same time there was about, I guess, a hundred pages of emails deciding how they should respond to the Occupy—to our report in Rolling Stone about it.
AMY GOODMAN: But explain further what this report is and where you got the information that you got.
MICHAEL HASTINGS: Well, so, this came from the WikiLeaks Stratfor files dump. I don’t know if you remember that the hacking group Anonymous hacked into this private intelligence firm, Stratfor, and Assange and the crew gave me access to this stuff. This was in February. And I went through—and I went looking through this. And one of the people in Stratfor had access to this Department of Homeland Security document. So we know Stratfor was getting leaks from the Department of Homeland Security. One of them was this Occupy Wall Street analysis or report on Occupy Wall Street. I thought it was very odd to have a Department of Homeland Security report about a peaceful protest movement. That raised just normal alarm bells. And so—so that’s why we did the report.
But it was all for—but it was actually a credit to the WikiLeaks guys who put this stuff out there. I always find it—I guess, as a journalist, one is supposed to be probably somewhat flattered by the—how—you know, as my editor at Rolling Stone put it yesterday, when the government is trying to pad your file. And I think that that was certainly the case here. They also brought their concerns to the White House when they were trying to come up with a statement. But clearly, allegations that the Department of Homeland Security, that was spying or monitoring Occupy Wall Street really hit a nerve within—in Washington.
AMY GOODMAN: They say the Stratfor document wasn’t true.
MICHAEL HASTINGS: Well, I think that it was authentic. And as far as I can tell, they’re not disputing the authenticity.
AMY GOODMAN: Yes.
MICHAEL HASTINGS: What they’re disputing, as far as I can tell, is that they shouldn’t have—they shouldn’t have done it, that DHS themselves shouldn’t have done it. But they didn’t under—they couldn’t figure out how Stratfor even got the document to begin with.
NERMEEN SHAIKH: Well, before we conclude, Michael Hastings, I just wanted to ask you quickly about the three military personnel, two of whom are retired, of course, who have talked about what’s happened at Dawood Hospital, whether they’re likely to face any punitive consequences as whistleblowers?
MICHAEL HASTINGS: Well, I don’t think so, at this stage. You know, they’re colonels. Their careers, they’ve had—most of them had pretty long, storied careers already. One is a JAG lawyer anyway. So, in this case, they seem very well protected from the sort of retaliation that we’ve seen in the past. But, you know, look, it’s not easy when you’re in the Army or in the military to go in front of Congress and say, "Look, a four-star—sorry, a three-star general is lying," you know, because there’s a lot of pressure for them not to do that. So it’s quite impressive that they have. And there are current—I should point out, there are currently two ongoing investigations into General Caldwell about his retaliation against the whistleblowers and trying to get in the way of the investigation.
NERMEEN SHAIKH: That’s the Military Whistleblower Protection Act that you spoke of."