WHISTLEBLOWERS -- "Despite its pledge to better protect federal employees who expose
wrongdoing, the Obama administration privately sought to weaken
protections for national security whistleblowers under legislation
making its way through Congress, according to correspondence obtained
by The Washington Times," reports Tom LoBianco.
E-mails that documented the White House's intervention show the
White House counsel's office provided its own drafts of the proposed
legislation in late June and mid-July.
While strengthening protections for some whistleblowers, the
drafts weakened protections for FBI employees and reduced access to
jury trials for those national security workers who sue for protection
from retaliation after blowing the whistle.
Whistleblower groups said they were disappointed by the White House changes.
Tom Devine, legislative director for the Government
Accountability Project, said the White House changes created obstacles
that could stymie national security whistleblowers, such as a new
review panel to hear complaints from intelligence employees who bring
allegations of wrongdoing to light.
"In reality, it just changes the drapes and the window
dressing. All the hearings would still be conducted by the agencies,"
Mr. Devine said.
"We have grave reservations as to what's happening with FBI whistleblowers," said Steve Kohn, executive director of the National Whistleblowers Center
and a private lawyer who has successfully sued the government on behalf
of several federal whistleblowers and bureau agents over the past two
"The House got it right. Obama pledged to support it and he
should keep his promise to every whistleblower. As passed, the Senate
bill does not fulfill that promise," Mr. Kohn said.
To download a PDF analysis by the National Whistleblowers Center in Washington, D.C., click here.