The House Committee on Science, Space and Technology is conducting a probe into the Inspector General of the Commerce Department, Todd Zinser. The committee released a letter earlier today sent to Zinser, asking him to remove two top deputies for allegedly trying to intimidate and silence whistleblowers, and coercing them “into signing gag orders when they had complaints about Zinser.” Zinser is accused of protecting the deputies.
Key Quote: Much of the congressional focus on Zinser began as a result of a 2012 investigation by the Office of Special Counsel, the federal agency in charge of reviewing whistleblower complaints. The office concluded last year that Zinser’s two most trusted deputies — his counsel Wade Green and longtime friend Rick Beitel, the principal assistant inspector general for whistleblower protection — set out to gag two whistleblowers who were trying to leave the office for new jobs in August 2011.
The Australian Attorney General has presented a bill to that country’s parliament which punishes whistleblowers with up to ten years in prison for disclosing special intelligence operations. The official, George Brandis, is known for calling NSA whistleblower and GAP client Edward Snowden a “traitor.”
A Swedish judge ruled Wednesday that the detention order for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange should remain in place. Assange fears that if he travels to Sweden, the country will transfer him to the United States where he may face the death penalty for his work with WikiLeaks. Assange’s attorneys plan to appeal.
Dylan Blaylock is Communications Director for the Government Accountability Project, the nation’s leading whistleblower protection and advocacy organization.