WHISTLEBLOWERS -- The National Whistleblowers Center is urging Americans to take action to protect a newly prominent figure in the resistance to illegal and wholesale domestic spying without judicial safeguards.

This week’s cover story in Newsweek focuses on Thomas M. Tamm, a former Justice Department lawyer in its Office of Intelligence Policy and Review.  Tamm blew the whistle on the National Security Agency's illegal wiretapping on U.S. citizens.  As his reward for heroically exposing this illegal program, Tamm could be charged with violating national security and intelligence laws and jailed for up to 10 years.
    Tamm is currently under investigation by the FBI for reporting NSA's illegal actions to the New York Times.  Unfortunately, Tamm had no other option.  He was repeatedly silenced by his supervisors.  There was no place for him to report the criminal activities of the government's highest ranking employees, and there are no whistleblower protections for national security and intelligence employees who suffer retaliation. 
    Take Action: Tell Congress that Thomas Tamm is a Hero and to Stop the Criminal Prosecution!

Beyond the defense of this particular defender of the Bill of Rights, the center wants greater protection for whistleblowers of all kinds in all federal agencies.

President-Elect Obama and Attorney General nominee Eric Holder will be forced to decide whether to prosecute Tamm.  Although both have publicly condemned the warantless wiretapping program as outside the bounds of the law, there has been a rise in the criminal prosecution of whistleblowers in recent years.  This disturbing trend includes the Justice Department's prosecution of Richard Convertino, who blew the whistle to Congress on the failure of the Bush administration to prosecute terrorists after 9/11.  We must let Congress know this trend cannot continue!
    It is time to send a message to those who retaliate and threaten whistleblowers, and put an end to the government's use of "national security" as a justification to break the law. 
    Take
Action:
  Tell Congress to Enact Strong Laws to Protect and Encourage
Whistleblowing on Illegal Activities by Our Government!

But no action anyone could take now will spare Tamm the almost typical sacrifice and suffering experienced by even the most "successful" whistleblower.  As Newsweek reports it,

The story of Tamm's phone call is an untold chapter in the history of the secret wars inside the Bush administration. The New York Times won a Pulitzer Prize for its story. The two reporters who worked on it each published books. Congress, after extensive debate, last summer passed a major new law to govern the way such surveillance is conducted. But Tamm—who was not the Times's only source, but played the key role in tipping off the paper—has not fared so well. The FBI has pursued him relentlessly for the past two and a half years. Agents have raided his house, hauled away personal possessions and grilled his wife, a teenage daughter and a grown son. More recently, they've been questioning Tamm's friends and associates about nearly every aspect of his life. Tamm has resisted pressure to plead to a felony for divulging classified information. But he is living under a pall, never sure if or when federal agents might arrest him.
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Still, Tamm is haunted by the consequences of what he did—and what could yet happen to him. He is no longer employed at Justice and has been struggling to make a living practicing law. He does occasional work for a local public defender's office, handles a few wills and estates—and is more than $30,000 in debt. (To cover legal costs, he recently set up a defense fund.) He says he has suffered from depression.
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At times during his interviews with NEWSWEEK, Tamm would stare into space for minutes, silently wrestling with how to answer questions. One of the most difficult concerned the personal ramifications of his choice. "I didn't think through what this could do to my family," he says.