Brave whistleblowers still face overwhelming odds


“Alamo evening” by Steven Kennedy, Flickr CC.

In a recent article, “Democrats on Capitol Hill ask White House not to gag federal employees“, the Washington Post quotes from a Congressional letter to President Trump.

“As the new Administration seeks to better understand what problems exist in this area, this is an appropriate time to remind employees about the value of protected disclosures to Congress and inspectors general in accordance with whistleblower protection law,” their letter added.

President Obama reduces Chelsea Manning’s prison sentence


We Support Whistleblowers / Free Bradley Manning / Twin Cities Pride Parade

The White House announced Tuesday that President Obama has commuted whistleblower Chelsea Manning’s 35-year prison sentence, allowing her to be released from Fort Leavenworth on May 17, 2017.  Manning’s sentence, wrote the New York Times, was “the longest ever handed down in a case involving a leak of United States government information for the purpose of having the information reported to the public.”

Intelligence officials leak surprise decision in whistleblower case



The Project on Government Oversight reports that a three-person panel authorized by Obama’s Presidential Policy Directive 19 concluded last May that the National Security Agency’s inspector general retaliated against a whistleblower. Based on that information, Director Michael Rogers sent IG George Ellard a termination notice.  The IG, who is on administrative leave while he appeals the decision, said in 2014, “Snowden could have come to me. We have surprising success in resolving the complaints that are brought to us.”

Our Hero in Flint


Story by Tom Nugent and Laura Silverman

Published in the September 2016 issue of At Buffalo (SUNY at Buffalo). Re-published with permission

When civil engineer Marc Edwards (BS ’86) warned Michigan state officials and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that lead-contaminated drinking water was poisoning the children of Flint, he expected them to declare an emergency. Instead, the regulators insisted there was no cause for alarm. That’s when Edwards, now frequently described as “The Hero of Flint,” realized he would have to take matters into his own hands.

Oliver Stone’s “Snowden,” a bridge for the national divide


With the political campaign season over, now is a good time to see (or see again) “Snowden,” Oliver Stone’s powerful film about a whistleblower disclosure that rocked the world.  Information provided in the film is essential to understanding issues likely to be debated in the next Congress and administration.

Congress awaits TSA explanation for whistleblower’s treatment



Robert MacLean testifies to Congress. Photo by Linda Lewis

Robert MacLean testifies to Congress. Photo by Linda Lewis

The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform wants an explanation from the Transportation Security Agency for its treatment of Robert MacLean, whose disclosure foiled TSA plans to pull air marshals off long distance commercial flights after the 9/11 attacks.

A special kind of courage: publishing the Pentagon Papers



Few men are willing to brave the disapproval of their fellows, the censure of their colleagues, the wrath of their society. Moral courage is a rarer commodity than bravery in battle or great intelligence. Yet it is the one essential, vital quality of those who seek to change a world which yields most painfully to change. – Robert Kennedy

Julian Assange “arbitrarily detained” by UK and Sweden a UN panel concludes



The United Nations’ Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD) today released an opinion that Wikileaks founder Julian Assange “was arbitrarily detained by the Governments of Sweden and the United Kingdom” and is therefore”entitled to his freedom of movement and to compensation.” Assange, who aided NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden in finding asylum, told reporters by video link,”We have today a really significant victory that has brought a smile to my face.”