(WASHINGTON) — The House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol has made yet another unforced error by hiring a second staffer who’s been accused of retaliating against a whistleblower. Joe Maher, whose hiring as a senior staff member on the committee was announced Friday, allegedly retaliated against Department of Homeland Security whistleblower Brian Murphy.
The January 6 committee should not look past these serious allegations of whistleblower retaliation and should remove Maher from the committee staff. This removal is all the more necessary given that Maher is not the first committee hire facing allegations of whistleblower retaliation.
David Buckley, the committee’s staff director, retaliated against a whistleblower as the CIA inspector general, according to a third party investigation conducted by another inspector general. The presence of Maher and Buckley will have a chilling effect on potential whistleblowers, which will likely prevent the committee from reaching key fact witnesses.
On top of his role in whistleblower retaliation, there’s another reason Maher doesn’t belong on the committee’s staff. He led the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Intelligence and Analysis (I&A) in the lead-up to the January 6 attack on the Capitol. Maher should be a fact witness on the intelligence failures ahead of the attack, not a staffer on the committee investigating it.
“This recent hire by the select committee is utterly disgraceful. The committee has now hired two individuals accused of retaliating against whistleblowers — something that should disqualify both from serving on such an investigation,” said Danielle Brian, executive director of the Project On Government Oversight. “I cannot overstate how damaging this will be to the committee’s success and integrity. The presence of two alleged whistleblower retaliators sends the exact wrong message to potential witnesses and will prevent them from coming forward. Committee leadership must replace these staffers swiftly if it wants to right the ship.”
Founded in 1981, the Project On Government Oversight (POGO) is a nonpartisan independent watchdog that investigates and exposes waste, corruption, abuse of power, and when the government fails to serve the public or silences those who report wrongdoing.
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