Press Release

BREAKING: CIA IG Nominee Accused of Violating Laws He Would Need to Enforce

POGO Calls for Halt in Sharpley Nomination Until Open Whistleblower Reprisal Claims Are Fully Investigated

Today, the Project On Government Oversight released a report revealing that there are outstanding whistleblower retaliation claims against Christopher H. Sharpley, President Trump’s nominee to be the CIA’s Inspector General--the agency’s top watchdog.

“The Senate should not confirm Sharpley until all open cases of whistleblower retaliation are fully investigated. If Sharpley is found to have engaged in reprisal, that should disqualify him from serving as head of the CIA’s watchdog,” said Danielle Brian, POGO’s executive director.

“This confirmation hearing comes less than a week after Congress sent legislation to the President that creates mandatory punishment against supervisors who retaliate against whistleblowers. The Senate must demand answers regarding these troubling allegations. What kind of example would this set if Sharpley wasn’t even asked about these claims against him before Senators vote for him to permanently head the office that should be protecting whistleblowers?” said Ms. Brian.

Sharpley became the CIA’s deputy inspector general in 2012 and then acting inspector general in 2015 after David Buckley, President Obama’s CIA Inspector General retired. President Trump nominated Sharpley to become the permanent inspector general and he faces his confirmation hearing before the Senate intelligence committee on Tuesday.

Inspectors General rely upon whistleblowers to expose wrongdoing and are required by law to investigate allegations of illegal reprisal. POGO’s investigation confirmed there are at least three open cases involving Sharpley retaliating against whistleblowers, raising concerns about his judgment and ability to carry out the work of an Inspector General. If these cases are substantiated, he would have violated the laws the President would be entrusting him to follow and enforce. Sharpley has previously drawn controversy for deleting the CIA’s only copy of the Senate’s torture report.

One of the open reprisal complaints highlighted in POGO’s investigation was brought by Jonathan Kaplan, a retired 33-year veteran investigator at the CIA’s Inspector General office who alleges retaliation by Sharpley and others following his legally protected disclosures to the Senate and House Intelligence Committees.

It is unclear if the members of the Senate Intelligence Committee know about the open cases against Sharpley or if they will ask him questions on the record, but POGO strongly urges those members to get to the bottom of what may be a pattern of retaliation against whistleblowers by the person nominated to head the office charged with working with and for whistleblowers.

POGO has also obtained an unreported February 2017 government evaluation of inspector general implementation of intelligence community whistleblower protections. These protections are mandated by Presidential Policy Directive 19 (PPD-19). This evaluation, which has been provided to Congress, states that intelligence inspectors general are not following PPD-19 requirements and “these deficiencies are significantly undermining the intent of PPD-19 and strongly suggest that there has been no impact by PPD-19 to protect whistleblowers” in the intelligence community.