S. 372 repeals existing FBI protections and expands state secrets privilege
Washington, D.C. March 10, 2010. Prominent national security whistleblowers and advocacy groups issued a letter today urging the Senate to vote against the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act of 2009 (S. 372) unless the dangerous national security whistleblower provisions are corrected. This bill, which is currently being “hotlined” for unanimous consent, repeals existing FBI protections and strengthens the state secrets privilege.
The letter, signed by national security whistleblowers and respected advocates for national security employees, explains in detail the deficiencies in the Senate bill that will harm national security by covering up intelligence failures and civil liberties abuses:
March 9, 2010 (Politico). In a bid to secure a much-needed bipartisan victory, the Obama administration is trying to secure passage of protections for government whistleblowers. But some advocacy groups are complaining that the legislation does not go far enough to protect government employees in the national security field and, in fact, would roll back protections that FBI whistleblowers now have.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The FBI broke the law by improperly obtaining thousands of telephone records in terrorism investigations from 2003 to 2006, the U.S. Justice Department's inspector general said on Wednesday.
FBI Whistleblower Urges Strong Corrective Action
Washington, D.C. January 20, 2010. Today the Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General released a report that confirms the allegations regarding an illegal FBI domestic surveillance program, which were reported on the front page of the Washington Post yesterday, January 19, 2010.
Attorneys for Bassem Youssef , the highly decorated Chief of the FBI's Communications Analysis Unit in the Counterterrorism Division, are requesting that Attorney General Eric Holder take strong corrective action to ensure that civil liberties are protected and that the FBI properly conduct counterterrorism investigations. According to a letter sent today by Mr. Stephen Kohn, the Executive Director of the National Whistleblower Center and one of Mr. Youssef's attorneys:
FBI Whistleblower Instrumental in Exposing Constitutional Violations That Threaten National Security
Washington, DC. January 19, 2010. In response to the front-page article appearing today in the Washington Post, the following statements were released by Stephen M. Kohn, attorney for Mr. Bassem Youssef (Chief of the FBI’s Communications Analysis Unit/Counterterrorism Division) and National Whistleblowers Center Executive Director:
“Since 2005, when he first learned of the abuses reported in today’s Washington Post, Mr. Youssef has attempted to ensure that the FBI complied with the law. Between 2006-08 he provided extensive testimony before the DOJ Office of Inspector General. In 2008 and 2009, his counsel provided three detailed letters to the Attorney General of the United States setting forth details on the misconduct committed within the FBI and urging that effective corrective actions be taken."
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Are jury trials better protection or just "window dressing"?
OhMyGov! August 24, 2009. A new whistleblower bill, the Whistleblower Enhancement Act of 2009, passed the Senate in late July to decidedly mixed reviews.
"This significantly strengthens protections of whistleblowers," said Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) of the Senate bill. But the praise is far from universal.
Washington Times. August 20, 2009. White House attorneys have backed away from an effort to weaken legal protections for FBI whistleblowers in a bill now before Congress, according to advocacy groups in negotiations with the Obama administration.
Officials from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Government Accountability Project (GAP) and Project on Government Oversight (POGO) said this week that they were given guarantees that protections for FBI whistleblowers - federal employees who uncover fraud and waste - would be restored in a Senate bill when Congress returns in September.
The shift follows a report in The Washington Times earlier this month about the uproar among civil liberties groups and past FBI whistleblowers about proposed changes in the bill, which critics said would strip existing rights for FBI whistleblowers who expose fraud or misdeeds.
Washington Times. August 18, 2009. FBI whistleblower Frederic Whitehurst spent close to a decade fighting the Clinton White House to win limited protections for his brethren in the intelligence community willing to risk their careers to expose wrongdoing.
Now critics say the Obama administration is seeking to strip away those protections, and Mr. Whitehurst predicts the effort will set national intelligence employees back decades in their efforts to expose fraud and corruption.
"It's very dangerous thing that [President Obama] has done. That he would allow that as touting himself as a president of the people is astonishing," Mr. Whitehurst said.
Washington Times. August 7, 2009. 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.
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.
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