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We Won't Reveal Our Sources

Today, I sent the following email to POGO's supporters:

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If you’ve been following the news about the growing scandal at the Department of Veterans Affairs, you may have seen that the VA’s Inspector General has issued a subpoena to the Project On Government Oversight demanding we turn over the names of all VA whistleblowers who have contacted us in the last month. 

The deadline for us to comply with the subpoena passed at 10 a.m.

We’re writing this email to keep you updated on this serious threat to our mission. Under no circumstances does POGO plan to release any information that would compromise whistleblowers.

It has not happened in our 33-year history. It’s not going to happen now.

Over the years, the government has tried to force us to reveal our sources several times, including a subpoena for my home phone records. We have prevailed every time. And we will prevail this time.

We believe the IG’s attempt to get our records violates not only our constitutional rights but it also sends a chilling message to anyone who might speak out about corruption or mismanagement within the VA.

In the last few days, we’ve received encouragement and support for many of our friends and supporters. Sen. Tom Coburn sent a letter to the VA IG questioning the reasons for the subpoena.  Peter Van Buren, a former U.S. Foreign Service officer who blew the whistle on policy failures he witnessed in Iraq, summed up what’s at stake in a terrific column, which we posted here.

For now, we’re waiting for the IG to make the next move, which we hope involves a realization that its subpoena is terribly misguided. However, if that doesn’t happen, we’re going to need your support, whether it’s sending emails to the IG, signing petitions or contributing to our fight against the subpoena. I will give you another update next week.

With sincere appreciation for your support,

Danielle Brian
Executive Director

  1. POGO’s response to the IG
  2. Associated Press report
  3. Sen. Coburn’s letter to the IG
  4. Peter Van Buren’s post
  5. Washington Post story about the subpoena
  6. FOX News story about the subpoena
By: Danielle Brian
Executive Director, POGO

danielle brian Ms. Brian's areas of expertise include: National Security, Government Oversight, Wasteful Defense Spending, Ethics, Open Government, Whistleblower Issues

Topics: Whistleblower Protections

Related Content: Veterans Affairs

Authors: Danielle Brian

Submitted by Mary Serves at: June 13, 2014
Is there a way to creatively sue them back? This seems like harassment to me. Maybe the Institute for Justice or some other lawyers' group would be interested. They are doing this so widely now. It is intimidation, and they need to be called on it.

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