This article looks at the current state of whistleblower protections for intelligence agency whistleblowers and contractors, with a focus on the latter in the wake of Edward Snowden’s disclosures. GAP Legal Director Tom Devine is quoted, challenging the perceived effectiveness of a March directive from the Office of National Intelligence that touches on a whistleblower policy.
Key Quote: That mixed opinion is echoed by Tom Devine, legal director for the nonprofit Government Accountability Project, which is evaluating the March guidelines. “That directive will informally establish Meyer’s ombudsman role as the functional equivalent to the Office of Special Counsel for civil service employees, and hopefully he will be effective at that long-needed challenge,” Devine said. But the protections offered to contractor employees address retaliation dealing with security clearances, not for retaliation that is banned under the 2012 Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act, he said.
“The disappointing thing is that the intel community guidelines do not guarantee any due process rights,” such as an employee being entitled to an oral hearing or court proceeding. “The process may consist entirely of a file review by the IC IG,” Devine said. “The most significant positive in the guidelines is a provision tucked in that makes the WEPA’s statutory provisions controlling to interpret free speech rights, as well as the WEPA legal burdens of proof, and all precedents from the Merit Systems Protection Board cases. That’s a night-and-day difference for the whistleblower having a realistic chance to win.”
A chief investigator from FIFA recently flew a key whistleblower to New York to testify about Australia’s controversial bidding strategy for the 2022 World Cup. Allegations involve country officials interacting with two allegedly corrupt former FIFA officials who are also at the center of allegations surrounding Qatar’s winning campaign for the 2022 bid. A Quatari former FIFA executive has been accused of paying $5 million in return for votes.
The story of John Howe, a public employee in Vermont, has become the centerpiece for an anti-retaliation campaign launched by the Vermont State Employees Association. The group claims management retaliation is “alive and well” across state government. Howe alleges he was retaliated against after testifying about the state’s “use of workers from a private organization who he says do work similar to what he does, yet receive less pay.”
This piece explains that the VA scandal of manipulating appointments for health care access to veterans is nothing new, but only now in the public spotlight.
Dylan Blaylock is Communications Director for the Government Accountability Project, the nation’s leading whistleblower protection and advocacy organization.