David Petraeus takes oath of office as CIA Director. (Public domain/Wikipedia)
Last week’s sentencing of former Central Intelligence Agency Director and retired four-star general David Petraeus demonstrated a glaring disparity in federal leak prosecutions. At a federal courthouse in Charlotte, North Carolina, Judge David Kessler sentenced Petraeus to two years of probation and ordered him to pay a fine of $100,000 for leaking highly-classified information to his biographer and mistress. It was far different from the government’s prosecution of low-level leakers and whistleblowers who received prison terms of 13 months and more.
At an April 13 hearing, members of the House Committee on Veterans Affairs heard testimony from whistleblowers who confirmed that retaliation continues at medical facilities operated by the Department of Veterans Affairs. At a previous hearing, on July 8, 2014, whistleblowers described retaliation for reporting inadequate medical services to veterans.
OSHA wants employers and employees to know that temporary employees “are entitled to the same protections under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (the OSH Act) as all other covered workers.” That includes protection against retaliation for reporting hazardous or unhealthful working conditions to their employer, OSHA or other government agencies. The agency has issued a bulletin on Whistleblower Protection Rights (https://www.osha.gov/Publications/OSHA3781.pdf) in connection with its Temporary Worker Initiative,
The bad news is that whistleblower complaints from all workers fare poorly under OSHA. Nationwide, the agency found merit in only 2.7% of cases investigated from 2009 to 2014.
Non-profit whistleblower organizations say that the US Department of Justice has laws in place to protect FBI whistleblowers from retaliation, but the system does not work as intended.
WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — The US Department of Justice (DOJ) has laws in place to protect US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) whistleblowers from retaliation, but the system does not work as intended, non-profit whistleblower organizations told Sputnik.
“The Justice Department’s program for protecting FBI whistleblowers is broken and does not work,” National Whistleblowers Center Executive Director Steven Kohn said on Thursday.
At the 2015 Academy Awards ceremony, the Oscar for “Best Documentary” went to “Citizenfour,” Laura Poitras’ dramatic portrayal Edward Snowden’s disclosure of massive surveillance by the National Security Agency. Receiving the award were director Poitras, producer Dirk Wilutzky and editor Mathilde Bonnefoy. They were accompanied by journalist Glenn Greenwald, who won a Pulitzer for his reporting on the story, and Snowden’s girlfriend, Lindsay Mills.
Of the eleven government employees prosecuted under the Espionage Act, seven were prosecuted by the Obama administration for talking to reporters, although the law was created for use against spies, Daily Show host Jon Stewart pointed out last night.
On Democracy Now!, Peter Maass (The Intercept) described the Obama administration’s prosecution of Stephen Kim under the Espionage Act, treatment typically reserved for whistleblowers. Kim’s experiences are chronicled in a video documentary, “The Surrender,” by Steven Maing.
A week after his release from prison, CIA whistleblower John Kiriakou appeared on Democracy Now! and spoke with Amy Goodman about whistleblowing, CIA torture and US prisons. The CIA whistleblower spoke favorably of Edward Snowden, who blew the whistle on domestic surveillance by the NSA.
Of course, humans (and many other species) benefit from duplicating the actions of those around us. But what of the cases when we discover that the actions of others are wrong? If the goal is to capitalise on this information, then you should expect that we immediately update our behaviour with the correct information and that the rest of the group will follow.