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TRAITOR: The Whistleblower and the "American Taliban" (Foreword by Glenn Greenwald) Paperback – January 30, 2012

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TRAITOR: The Whistleblower and the "American Taliban" (Foreword by Glenn Greenwald) + No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA, and the U.S. Surveillance State + With Liberty and Justice for Some: How the Law Is Used to Destroy Equality and Protect the Powerful
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 180 pages
  • Publisher: Whistleblower Press (January 30, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0983992800
  • ISBN-13: 978-0983992806
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.4 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #677,497 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


There's simply no better first-person book about whistleblowing.  It illustrates dramatically both the risks of conscientious truth-telling--fully experienced by Jesselyn, a horror story greatly to the discredit of the government--and the compelling need for indomitable whistleblowers like her.

Pentagon Papers Whistleblower

This is a riveting--and chilling--account of how far the Bush Administration's Justice Department went to destroy a critic.

New York Times Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist (retired)

This book offers a poignant illustration of the erosion of civil rights and liberties in the "war on terrorism. It questions whether we can respond effectively to the threat of terrorism without jeopardizing the very freedoms that characterize a democratic society.

Former President, American Civil Liberties Union

From the Back Cover

I will mention one truth teller and not many people know about her . . . Jesselyn Radack.  Jesselyn was the person on duty when John Walker Lindh was taken in.  With all this talk about torture you should know that the first person tortured was an American citizen and he was tortured mercilessly for the first few days of his internment and denied medical care.  She raised holy Hell.  She was tossed out of the justice Department and blacklisted.  That's the kind of guts Jesselyn had.  Jesselyn had tremendous guts and now she's written a really terrific book.

CIA Analyst (retired)

More About the Author

Jesselyn Radack is currently the director of National Security & Human Rights at the Government Accountability Project, the nation's leading whistleblower organization. Her writing has appeared in the L.A. Times, Washington Post, Salon, Legal Times, National Law Journal, and The Nation. A graduate of Brown University and Yale Law School, she lives in Washington, D.C. with her husband and three children.

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

26 of 27 people found the following review helpful By David C N Swanson on February 8, 2012
Format: Paperback
It began with that monstrous young man so evil we needed to blindfold him and strap him to a board, that confusing young man who looked like Christ but cast us in the role of crucifiers, that treasonous young man who brought dark and heathen evils across linguistic and cultural borders and brought torture onto the list of accepted government actions.

When you hear the phrase "American Taliban" you probably think of a young American who betrayed his country, aided its enemies, and - like Saddam Hussein - was behind the attacks of 9-11. John Walker Lindh was an American. That part is accurate. He converted to Islam at age 16 and traveled to Yemen to study classical Arabic and Islamic theology. In 2001 he went to Afghanistan to join an ongoing battle between a political group funded by Russia and another group funded by the United States. Lindh joined the group that was backed and funded by the Bush Administration. It was called the Taliban. Lindh trained to fight the Northern Alliance, not civilians, and not the United States. But, after 9-11, the United States attacked the Taliban, and Lindh attempted to escape and return to America.

Instead he and other soldiers were captured by the Northern Alliance and beaten senseless in the presence of two CIA officers, Johnny "Mike" Spann and Dave Tyson, who interrogated Lindh and threatened him with death on the spot. When some of the other prisoners rebelled (Lindh was not involved), Northern Alliance troops shot and killed scores of prisoners, many with their arms tied behind their backs. Lindh was shot in the leg. Spann was killed. (Though he was not involved, Lindh was later charged with conspiracy to murder Spann.)

When Lindh was finally in U.S.
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful By mwcjim on February 7, 2012
Format: Paperback
Glenn Greenwald: this book "should be required reading for all first-year law students . . ."

Jesselyn Radack's exceptionally well-written memoir about her ordeal as a Justice Department whistleblower details attacks from the George W. Bush administration on both her professional and personal life, from forcing her out of her career at the Justice Department to anonymous administration officials calling her a "traitor," "turncoat," and "terrorist sympathizer."

Glenn Greenwald says it best in his forward to Radack's first-hand account of whistleblowing: "In June 2002, Jesselyn Radack exposed one of the first cases of torture post-9/11 - being used on an American - in the case of John Walker Lindh. Her sobering book should be required reading for all first-year law students because it shows poignantly how 'national security' is being used to fundamentally bastardize constitutional law, criminal procedure, human rights, civil liberties and legal ethics."

Greenwald is right, the intersection in Radack's book of torture, national security, freedom of speech and legal ethics makes the book a unique - and invaluable - contribution to any curriculum. The book is packed full of weedy legal issues fit for wanna-be lawyers, but anyone will be mesmerized by her harrowing tale about the lengths to which our government will go to silence critics.

Radack's story is a stark example of how necessary whistleblowers are in order to ensure transparency in government and of how necessary whistleblower rights are in order to ensure that patriots like Radack are protected and not excoriated.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Oneclassylady on February 12, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is so real, so personal, and yet a message that every American who cares about the future of our Constitutional Republic and the fate of democracy must read. It is a tribute to Radack and her unyielding adherence to the deepest and most enduring values of duty, honor, and standing up for others -- unjustly tried and treated -- as an exemplar of defending liberty and justice when it is most under assault and peril.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By sharon on September 5, 2012
Format: Paperback
Ms. Radack should not have been subjected to such abuses as an attorney. It takes a courageous
person with a strong moral compass to buck the system and do the right thing when the easy thing is to do
the incorrect thing. Great story, but a ghost writer should have been employed.... the story and timeline
was a little hard to follow at times, and I was very interested.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Andrew Kreig on August 29, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
In 1995, a brilliant, newly minted Yale Law School graduate named Jesselyn Radack began work at the U.S. Justice Department to fulfill her dream of public service. Six years after becoming an ethics adviser in the headquarters of the 100,000-employee department, she found herself a pariah after suggesting that government attorneys should not provide false information to the courts in a federal terrorism prosecution.

"The Justice Department forced me out of my job" she writes, "placed me under criminal investigation, got me fired from my next job in the private sector, reported me to the state bars in which I'm licensed as an attorney, and put me on the 'no fly list.'"

Her offense? She believed, erroneously as it turned out, that the Department would not want to use illegally obtained evidence in its prosecution of John Walker Lindh, an American convert to Islam. He had been imprisoned by Afghan warlords in November 2001 soon after the U.S.-led NATO invasion of the country after 9/11.

Lindh, then 20, was a California-born convert to Islam. He had travelled to Yemen on a spiritual quest in 2000, and went to Afghanistan in June 2001 to join the Taliban army at a time when the Taliban government, a United States ally in the 1980s, was still receiving United States aid. Lindh survived a harsh POW camp in which more than three quarters of his 400 fellow Taliban POWs died in chaotic conditions along with an American interrogator.

Radack advised against further federal interrogation of Lindh without a lawyer present because his parents had retained counsel.
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