Miles Taylor Honors Whistleblowers in Compelling New Podcast, The Whistleblowers: Inside The Trump Administration
By: Sydney Johnson
On July 17, 2023 at the E Street Cinema in Washington, DC, Best Case Studios and iHeart Podcasts premiered the seventh episode of Miles Taylor’s new podcast “The Whistleblowers: Inside The Trump Administration.” The event, a benefit for co-sponsors Government Accountability Project and Whistleblower Aid, featured a live screening of an episode that features Government Accountability Project Of Counsel David Seide and his client, Grant Turner from Voice of America (VOA), a branch of U.S. Agency for Global Media (USAGM). The episode goes into detail about the horrific abuses committed by USAGM then CEO Michael Pack.
Voice of America broadcasts around the world in 48 languages and provides unbiased and nonpolitical news coverage about truth and democracy in countries where citizens’ rights are compromised. “Voice of America was supposed to be firewalled from politics,” explains Taylor in the podcast, offering background information on the organization and its efforts to create a safe way to communicate news coverage to media restricted nations. However, Pack was appointed to his position with the seeming intention to shut down independent voices around the world, targeting Radio Free Asia, Iran, and other countries by limiting the content that could be broadcast. Many people believed the Pack’s reign at USAGM was a threat to democracy and freedom of press.
Grant Turner, the Chief Financial Officer of VOA, approached Pack with concerns about the misspending of agency funds. After repeatedly expressing his concerns and being ignored by the CEO, Turner was fired. USAGM and Pack would spend $1.6 million in attorney’s fees to have a law firm review thousands of emails and correspondences from Grant to “dig up dirt on him” as a form of retaliation.
Grant was not the only whistleblower to face retaliation from Pack. Other whistleblowers were stripped of their security clearances, not granted extended visas, and terminated from their position.
Mere hours after Biden’s inauguration, Pack was removed from his position as CEO of USAGM and his reign of abuse and fraud ended.
The audience was captivated by the stories and heroic actions taken by Turner and two dozen other whistleblowers from VOA represented by Government Accountability Project and Whistleblower Aid—there was an audible celebration from the crowd upon hearing Turner was reinstated. Throughout the evening, the audience showed their support for the whistleblower and the courageous actions he took.
After the screening, a panel discussion was moderated by Taylor, and featured three whistleblowers and guests from the podcast: Grant Turner, Former Congressman Denver Riggleman, and Former White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham. The three truth tellers shared their experiences about life before, during, and after whistleblowing, including death threats they received for speaking out. Now, Turner stated his life is “simpler and very ordinary” after being reinstated as the Chief Financial Officer at U.S. Agency for Global Media.
When Taylor asked the panel how we get people to come forward to expose wrongdoings, especially in the government, the panelists succinctly offered their thoughts and ideas.
“I think this podcast will do just that,” Turner suggested.
“Seeing other people who succeed and speak out makes other people want to,” said Grisham.
“I think that [this podcast] will make people think ‘I can get through this too,’” concluded Riggleman.
In his closing words, Louis Clark, CEO of Government Accountability Project advocated for whistleblowers to come forward after hearing the stories of Miles Taylor, Dawn Wooten, Grant Turner, and more. “We should ask ourselves what we are doing to honor the courageous truth-tellers who have challenged the corruption that has infested our government,” explained Clark. As Government Accountability Project and Whistleblower Aid continue the fight to protect and honor whistleblowers, we want to acknowledge the corruption they have exposed at the risk of their careers. “Take action to see that whistleblowers don’t drown in the wave they created,” concluded Clark.
In my recent one-on-one conversation with Miles Taylor, he reflected on the meaning of the event and podcast, “This podcast is the biggest point of pride to me, to shine a light on amazing people.” During the conversation, it was clear Taylor continued his enthusiasm from Monday night’s premier and the recent release of his book, Blowback: A Warning to Save Democracy from the Next Trump. His goal of the event was to raise awareness for the importance of whistleblowers and the importance of organizations, such as Government Accountability Project and Whistleblower Aid. Taylor wanted the podcast to encourage more people to speak up and let them know there is a community there to support them. He noted, “I want to give whistleblowers the attention they deserve after sacrificing their careers, finances, families, and livelihoods for exposing wrongdoing.” In closing, he offered some advice to future whistleblowers, “Be very thoughtful. Exhaust every resource first. Get legal counsel for advice and to learn your options. If you get legal advice, your disclosure could have a greater impact on society.”
Listen to The Whistleblowers: Inside The Trump Administration, hosted by Former Department of Homeland Security Official and Whistleblower Miles Taylor today. The podcast is available wherever you listen to your podcasts or on the iHeart Radio page.