RT America: ‘Sensitive Jobs’ Loophole – The Latest Threat to Whistleblowers
GAP Legal Director Tom Devine appeared in this broadcast covering last week’s congressional hearing about the treatment of federal whistleblowers. Devine discussed the new method of retribution against whistleblowers that involves the use of criminal investigations and prosecutions, as well as the “sensitive jobs” loophole that could allow the government to fire any civil servant accused of whistleblowing. He highlighted the case of former air marshal and GAP client Robert MacLean, who was fired after he exposed a TSA plan to remove air marshals from long commercial flights during a planned repeat of the 9/11 hijackings in 2003.
The site Whistleblowing Today also provided good coverage of the hearing, with images of Devine testifying, along with MacLean and Veterans’ Affairs (VA) whistleblower Dr. Robert Van Boven.
In a House committee hearing on Wednesday, the VA inspector general conceded that long wait times at VA health care facilities in Phoenix may have contributed to a number of veterans’ deaths, a reversal of his previous claims. His testimony confirmed the original allegations of a retired Phoenix VA doctor who reported that “as many as 40 American veterans had died in Phoenix, waiting for care at the VA.” Several other whistleblowers testified with similar accounts and charged the inspector general of downplaying evidence of harm to veterans and stalling the investigation.
Director of GAP’s Food Integrity Campaign, Amanda Hitt, details the recent firing of a Walmart employee in China after he raised food safety concerns. Hitt illustrates how the fight to speak up for the integrity of food without fear of whistleblower retaliation is a battle “waged across continents.”
Attorney General Eric Holder announced this week that he wants to increase the potential reward amounts to whistleblowers who expose corporate misconduct on Wall Street.
Key Quote: Increasing the size of whistleblower rewards “could significantly improve the Justice Department’s ability to gather evidence of wrongdoing while complex financial crimes are still in progress—making it easier to complete investigations and to stop misconduct before it becomes so widespread that it foments the next crisis,” Mr. Holder said.
A former employee of a company that produces backup batteries for armored Humvees was fired after he alerted the Army to a design change that he feared could have fatal consequences for soldiers in Iraq. David McIntosh was awarded nearly $1 million as part of a $5.5 million settlement in his whistleblower retaliation case.