Guardians of the Year

In addition to naming Greta Thunberg the person of the year, Time magazine included a special section in their people of the year issue (dated December 23 to December 30 2019) titled “Guardians of the Year.” It’s devoted to the whistle blower and those public servants who agreed to testify during the impeachment hearings conducted by the House of Representatives. The article is subtitled “The Public Servants Serving Country Over Self.”

The text honors those who risked their careers as public servants when they agreed to speak openly to Congress about President Trump’s violation of law and precedent in seeking an investigation in Ukraine of his political Democratic rival.

The story reminded me of two occasions during my own career at the National Security Agency (NSA) when I bucked the top agency commanders to insist on doing what was right. Another time, on assignment to the National Intelligence Budget Staff, I refused to approve funding for an administration program I knew was illegal. On all three occasions, the powers-that-be eventually backed down but not until they had made my life miserable.

The American public owes a great debt of gratitude to career public servants who toil away, with no public recognition, to be sure that all of us are protected and cared for. Countless individuals daily work beyond all expectations for the good of our country. Some are military; most are civilian.

My sympathy extends especially to the whistle blower in the Ukraine scandal. He or she took a great risk in exposing presidential malfeasance. The president went so far as to hint that the whistle blower’s action was treasonous and deserved execution. Here’s hoping that law and order prevail and that the whistle blower’s identity is never revealed.

All of us need to honor those nameless thousands who labor away for our good year in and year out. God bless them and keep them.

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