Whistleblowers and the prosecution loophole


(Commentary) by Shanna Devine (Government Accountability Project) and Liz Hempowicz (Project on Government Oversight)

Published in The HIll, March 12, 2015

When facing the prospect of criminal prosecution for leaking highly classified material to his mistress and later lying about it to the FBI, General David Petraeus found unlikely allies on Capitol Hill. Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), and Diane Feinstein (D-Calif.) have all spoken out against criminally prosecuting the four-star general, in part because they feel he has “suffered enough.” This is not the first time that a high-ranking individual may skirt punishment for infractions that would land a subordinate in jail for years. Former Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta was also recently allegedly involved in highly classified leaks to the film producers of Zero Dark Thirty and treated with near impunity.

VA whistleblowers describe continuing reprisals


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.

Dr. Maryann Hooker, a VA neurologist, described reprisals that targeted individuals who spoke favorably about whistleblowers as well as the whistleblowers themselves.

Good news, bad news for whistleblowing temp workers


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.

FBI Whistleblower Protection Program ‘Broken’ – US NGOs


Published 3.16.2015 by Sputnik International. Republished with permission.

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.

Whistleblower film wins Best Documentary Oscar


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.

Jailed for Speaking to the Press: Stephen Kim


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.

From DemocracyNow.org, Wednesday, Feb. 18, 2015.