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Project on Government Oversight

Pentagon Watchdog Moves to Block Whistleblower Disclosures to Congress

The Pentagon’s internal watchdog is challenging the right of whistleblowers within the Department of Defense (DoD) to communicate directly with Congress, according to an article the Project On Government Oversight (POGO) posted today on its website.

A memo by the DoD Inspector General’s Office outlines principles that would restrain DoD employees from sharing information with Congress, which has the constitutional authority to oversee the executive branch. The memo was written in response to a DoD official giving Senate staffers a draft of an unclassified, unreleased document that detailed how then-CIA Director Leon Panetta mishandled highly classified information about the raid that killed Osama Bin Laden. At the time the unclassified document was given to Congress, Panetta was Secretary of Defense.

The IG memo maintains that the DoD official, who is now assigned to a position in the intelligence community, made an “unauthorized disclosure” when he gave the draft report to staff members of two Senate committees.

The IG’s move to obstruct congressional oversight follows the recently revealed attempts by the CIA to thwart a Senate Intelligence Committee investigation and National Intelligence Director James Clapper’s “untruthful” testimony to the same committee last year.

“Congress needs to send a strong rebuke to the DoD inspector general, as well as to any federal agency that would obstruct Congress’s constitutional oversight duties,” said POGO Executive Director Danielle Brian. “The actions of the DoD inspector general and the CIA are an affront to Congress and should not be allowed to stand.”

To read POGO’s article, go here.

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