First Stop to Tackle Intelligence Whistleblowing Since Snowden Disclosure

(Washington, DC) – On Monday, September 23, the Government Accountability Project (GAP) will bring its acclaimed program, the American Whistleblower Tour: Essential Voices for Accountability, to American University (AU). The stop features prominent national security whistleblowers Thomas Drake and Jesselyn Radack.

“American University, in the heart of Washington, DC, is the perfect spot for our first Tour stop looking at national security whistleblowing,” said Dana Gold, GAP Senior Fellow and American Whistleblower Tour Director. “The public can expect a rich discussion of what national security and intelligence agency whistleblowers face when weighing whether to expose wrongdoing for the public good.”

GAP’s Tour is a dynamic campaign aimed at educating the public – particularly university students – about the phenomenon and practice of whistleblowing. This event will feature a moderated discussion and is free to all. A full description of the Tour can be found at

The Tour discussion will take place on Sept. 23 from 5:00 – 6:00 pm in the School of International Service Building, Abramson Family Founders Room. Immediately following the panel discussion, there will be a screening of the documentary War on Whistleblowers that will run until 7:00 pm, followed by a Q&A with the speakers.

This Tour stop is sponsored by GAP along with two AU student groups: the Society for Ethics, Peace, & Global Affairs, and the Creative Peace Initiatives. The event is free and open to the public.

The presentation features the following participants:

• Thomas Drake is a former senior official of the National Security Agency (NSA) whom the Justice Department prosecuted under the Espionage Act. In June 2011, the case against him collapsed, but he endured four years of investigation and faced 10 felony counts after he used internal mechanisms to disclose serious wrongdoing concerning a data collection program called “Trailblazer.” That program was costly, wasteful and ineffective; it threatened Americans’ privacy rights, and was wholly undeveloped – despite the availability of a cost-effective, functional alternative that protected Americans’ privacy. Ultimately, the Department of Justice (DOJ) dropped all felony counts against him, and the judge excoriated DOJ lawyers for their conduct. Drake is the recipient of the 2011 Ridenhour Prize for Truth-Telling, regarded in the U.S. as the highest honor that a whistleblower can receive.

• Jesselyn Radack served as an Ethics Advisor in the Department of Justice. In 2001, she learned that FBI agents sought to interrogate “American Taliban” John Walker Lindh. Because Lindh was represented by counsel, she advised the agents they could not conduct the interrogation without Lindh’s attorney. They did so anyway. As a result, she correctly advised them that Lindh’s testimony was inadmissible in a legal proceeding. When Attorney General John Ashcroft falsely stated in public that the seriously injured Lindh had waived his right to legal counsel before speaking with the FBI, Radack’s advice was reported in the news media. Radack is GAP’s National Security & Human Rights Director and a recipient of the 2012 Hugh Hefner First Amendment Award (also awarded to her client, Thomas Drake).

• AU Washington College of Law Robert Vaughn will moderate the panel. He has published on a variety of topics regarding public information law, public employment law, consumer law, and whistleblower protection. He is the author of a book examining the effectiveness of whistleblower laws, and his articles on whistleblower protection address important statutes, such as the whistleblower provision of the Civil Service Reform Act, the whistleblower provision of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, state whistleblower laws, and the model law to implement the Inter-American Convention Against Corruption.

“Protecting whistleblowers has become a significant issue of our time because we have seen continued growth in government secrecy, part of an effort to shield its crimes from public view, while the privacy of American citizens is drastically eroding,” said Jeff Bachman, AU lecturer and Director of the Ethics, Peace and Global Affairs program. “This is an unsustainable relationship between the government and its citizens, one that the government can sustain only through greater government secrecy, which is why we cannot allow it to continue.”

About the Tour

The AU event is the second stop being held for the 2013-14 Tour. Since 2011, the American Whistleblower Tour has made 24 stops across the country, visiting schools such as the University of Houston, Auburn University, Indiana University, Mount Holyoke College, Rutgers University, Seattle University, Syracuse University, Tulane University, University of Texas at Austin, and the University of Nebraska. GAP secures some of the most prominent whistleblowers in American history for its Tour. Panelists have included Daniel Ellsberg (Pentagon Papers), Frank Serpico (NYPD), Sherron Watkins (Enron) and Susan Wood (“Plan B”).

Goals of the Tour include raising awareness about the vital role whistleblowing has in our democracy, preparing America’s youth for ethical decision-making, countering negative connotations associated with whistleblowing, connecting prospective whistleblowers to available resources, and encouraging academic studies of whistleblowing.

Contact: Dylan Blaylock, GAP Communications Director
Phone: 202.457.0034, ext. 137
Email: [email protected]

Government Accountability Project
The Government Accountability Project is the nation’s leading whistleblower protection organization. Through litigating whistleblower cases, publicizing concerns and developing legal reforms, GAP’s mission is to protect the public interest by promoting government and corporate accountability. Founded in 1977, GAP is a non-profit, non-partisan advocacy organization based in Washington, D.C.