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.”
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.
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.
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
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.”
David B. Nolan, Jr., a former Reagan White House attorney who submitted an amicus for the whistleblower in DHS v. MacLean, has written a new and controversial book, The Trial of Lee Harvey Oswald: LBJ’s Patsy. Using public domain information, Nolan builds a case that Oswald “was deliberately deprived [of] a trial to prove his innocence and to show that LBJ masterminded the JFK murder.” The author concludes that Charles Harrelson, an organized crime figure, shot JFK and died in prison after his conviction of the murder of a federal judge, John H. Wood, Jr.
Nolan also co-wrote Quest for Freedom. Both books are available on Amazon.com.
Thirty years ago today, the space shuttle Challenger exploded less than 2 minutes after lift-off, killing all seven astronauts on board. A fe months later, two engineers talked about the disaster to National Public Radio on condition of anonymity, They revealed that they and three other engineers employed by NASA contractor Morton-Thiokol had warned that critical seals would fail in the below-freezing temperatures. NASA managers rejected their pleas for a launch delay.
The whistleblowing engineers were not initially identified. The identity of Roger Boisjoly was acknowledged after his death in 2012. Today, NPR revealed the identity of the second whistleblower, Bob Ebeling, with his permission.
For the whistleblower in search of Christmas entertainment, look no further than the 1947 film classic, “Miracle on 34th Street.” The plot is a classic whistleblowing situation: A principled employee observes unethical and possibly illegal conduct and is subjected to retaliation after he attempts to disclose the wrongdoing. The wrongdoer, a company psychologist, succeeds in having Kris (played by Edmund Gwen) sent to a psychiatric institution. The principled employee, in this case, is Kris Kringle, AKA Santa Claus, a character beloved around the world. You’re in good company, whistleblowers!