Gaps confirmed in protections for national security whistleblowers

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Washington, D.C. — According to a new report, workers in national security positions remain vulnerable to reprisal under current federal laws. The PEN America report, Secret Sources: Whistleblowers, National Security, and Free Expression, refutes allegations by current and former government officials that Edward Snowden had a protected alternative for making his disclosures of government surveillance programs.

NYPD whistleblower settles claim against hospital

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A New York City police officer has settled his complaint against a hospital that held him against his will in a psychiatric ward. The officer, Adrian Schoolcraft, claimed bosses ordered him arrested on and hospitalized in retaliation for his whistleblowing disclosure of arrest quotas and manipulation of crime statistics.

Schoolcraft previously settled claims against the New York Police Department for $600.000 plus back pay and benefits from 2009 until the end of this year. Quoting “a source,” the New York Daily News reported that Schoolcraft’s total settlement with the city exceeds $1 million dollars and that “it’s highly likely he will retire from the force.

North Carolinians welcome truth-tellers

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North Carolinians gave truth-tellers a good reception last week in Asheville, Raleigh, Fayetteville, Chapel Hill, Greensboro and Durham. John Kiriakou, the former CIA operative who exposed torture of terrorism suspects at Guantanamo prison, spoke to a standing-room-only crowd at North Carolina State University and also made appearances at N.C. Central University, Guilford College, UNC-Chapel Hill, and Quaker House.  (You can hear his interview at WUNC.)

OSHA fires investigator who stood up for whistleblowers

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In February, an investigator with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s Whistleblower Protection Program publicly disclosed through NBC Bay Area News that managers were pressuring investigators to dismiss whistleblower complaints without adequate review. The investigator, Darrell Whitman, took his concerns to senior agency officials. This week, Bay Area News reported that Whitman has been fired.

“Ag-gag” law violates free speech rights of whistle-blowers, rules federal judge

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A federal judge declared unconstitutional Monday an anti-whistleblower law in Idaho that criminalized audiovisual recordings of agricultural production facilities. In the decision, Chief District Judge B. Lynn Winmill wrote that Idaho Code § 18-7042 “not only restricts more speech than necessary, it poses a particularly serious threat to whistleblowers’ free speech rights” under the First Amendment.

[T}he statute circumvents long-established defamation law and whistleblowing statutes by punishing employees for publishing true and accurate recordings on matters of public concern. The expansive reach of this statute is hard to reconcile with basic speech, whistleblower, and press rights.

Judge blocks Justice Department effort to shortchange whistleblower

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“Graffiti” derived from a work by John Taylor (CC) at Flickr.com

When the U.S. Department of Justice accepted a $192.7 million settlement from Endo Pharmaceuticals for “a decade’s worth of fraud that ripped off Medicare and Medicaid for over $700 million dollars,” it left Endo with a generous profit from the alleged wrongdoing. But, when it came to rewarding the whistleblower who built the government’s case, Justice put on its Ebeneezer Scrooge spectacles and offered her “barely more than the minimum 15% required by law.”

Bomb threat interrupts TSA whistleblower hearing testimony

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A Senate hearing in the Dirksen Office Building ended abruptly after someone called in a bomb threat to U.S. Capitol Police. Reportedly, a bomb had been placed in the room next to the hearing room. When word came to evacuate the hearing room, members of the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs were listening to testimony from whistleblower Robert MacLean about TSA management failures that threatened aviation security. Sen. Ron Johnson, who chaired the hearing, later said the threat was determined to be false.