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Whistleblowers 'Hung Out to Dry'


The National Security Agency

As most followers of the Project On Government Oversight blog surely already know, Edward Snowden is far from the first intelligence community whistleblower to suffer severe consequences for his truth-telling. In fact, he only one in a long line of government workers who were retaliated against after speaking up about the wrongdoing they witnessed.

NPR reporter David Welna profiled two of those whistleblowers, Bill Binney and Thomas Drake, for Morning Edition this week. He also spoke to POGO’s executive director about the complicated politics of whistleblower protections.

From the article:

"At the moment, they are absolutely hung out to dry," says Danielle Brian, whistleblower advocate and executive director of the Project on Government Oversight.

"And what's extraordinary is the intelligence community has been increasingly privatizing its activities," Brian says. "You're having more and more people who are private contractors with the highest level of clearances who find out about some of the most potentially troubling misconduct, but they are without any serious protections."

She's pleased that [former federal whistleblower Dan] Meyer has been put in charge of implementing the new whistleblower guidelines. But she says there are other problems with the new rules — they still don't get whistleblowers' complaints out of the intelligence community and into the courts, where she says whistleblowers want them to be.

Recently, POGO celebrated Congress’s passing of the Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2014, which includes many provisions to protect whistleblowers. However, the legislation does not go as far as necessary, since the improvements do not extend to intelligence community contractors.

Read or listen to the story at NPR.

By: Avery Kleinman
Beth Daley Impact Fellow, POGO

Avery Kleinman At the time of publication Avery Kleinman was the Beth Daley Impact Fellow for the Project On Government Oversight.

Topics: Whistleblower Protections

Related Content: Intelligence

Authors: Avery Kleinman

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