Friday, March 6, 2015

Rethinking Intelligence: Protecting Whistleblowers Protects National Security‏

This week, Michael German spoke with Danielle Brian, director of the Project on Government Oversight (POGO), and Babak Pasdar, a technology expert and former whistleblower, about the government’s failure to protect whistleblowers from retaliation.

“Most people who see a problem on the job naturally report it first to their own supervisor. But the regulation [for FBI agents] only protects disclosures made to a handful of high-ranking officials and not those made to direct supervisors in the employees’ chain-of-command,” said German, a former FBI whistleblower. “The regulation serves more as a trap for would-be whistleblowers rather than a shield against retaliation.”

“People come to POGO either because they’ve already gone through the internal compliance apparatus and nothing has happened or they’ve seen others that have and they’ve seen that those people have been retaliated against, and so they don’t trust it,” Brian said. “We’ve certainly seen some of the high profile cases.”

“The system does not seem to be very interested in getting feedback and getting criticism. And it seems to be overt about its desire to punish people who just don't toe the line, regardless of if it was right or wrong,” Pasdar said. “'It’s so easy for somebody that has not gone through this exercise to say, ‘Well, they should've done this or that,’ but once you make a disclosure, the machinery that is set in motion is completely outside of somebody's control.”
  • Watch the interviews here.
  • Read Michael German's testimony in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee on the need to improve Justice Department protections for FBI whistlblowers here.
  • Watch German discuss his experience as a whistleblower in the FBI on Huffington Post Live.

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