In 1997 the case of FBI whistleblower Dr. Frederic Whitehurst prompted President Clinton to issue an executive order enforcing FBI whistleblower protections. These protections are not perfect, but they have allowed FBI employees to come forward and report civil liberties and civil rights abuses. Currently, the Senate is "hotlining" the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act (S. 372), which means it could pass without any public debate or vote. This bill eliminates the protections FBI employees have currently. S. 372 must be fixed now.
TAKE ACTION NOW! Read Fred Whitehurst's letter and urge your Senator to contact the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs to ensure S. 372 is fixed!
Why does the FBI want to get rid of protections provided under 5 U.S.C. § 2303?
Under 5 U.S.C § 2303, FBI whistleblowers have the right to independent review of their claim, either by the Office of the Inspector General or the Office of Professional Responsibility.
The following reports are examples of these independent reviews, which have resulting in findings critical of the FBI. It is no wonder they are lobbying aggressively to push S. 372 through the Senate. If S. 372 passes as is, independent IG and OPR investigations like those listed below, will cease to exist:
A Review of the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Use of Exigent Letters and Other Informal Requests for Telephone Records, January 2010
A Review of the FBI's Use of National Security Letters: Assessment of Corrective Actions and Examination of NSL Usage in 2006
A Review of the FBI's Response to John Roberts' Statements on 60 Minutes, February 2003
Double Standards Report
The FBI Laboratory: An Investigation into Laboratory Practices and Alleged Misconduct in Explosives-Related and Other Cases, April 1997
The FBI Laboratory One Year Later: A Follow-Up to the Inspector General\'s April 1997 Report on FBI Laboratory Practices and Alleged Misconduct in Explosives-Related and Other Cases, June 1998
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, D.C. March 3, 2010. Nationally recognized FBI whistleblower Dr. Frederic Whitehurst issued a letter today strongly opposing the repeal of FBI whistleblower rights contained in the current Senate version of the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act (S. 372). This bill is currently being "hotlined" for unanimous consent.
For months, we've been telling you about the dangerous provisions included in the Senate version of the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act (S. 372). We have now learned that S. 372 is being "hotlined," a process by which legislation can be passed through unanimous consent, without any debate or a roll-call vote.
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."
TAKE ACTION! Demand Congress protect all national security whistleblowers!
January 19, 2010 (Washington Post) The FBI illegally collected more than 2,000 U.S. telephone call records between 2002 and 2006 by invoking terrorism emergencies that did not exist or simply persuading phone companies to provide records, according to internal bureau memos and interviews. FBI officials issued approvals after the fact to justify their actions.
E-mails obtained by The Washington Post detail how counterterrorism officials inside FBI headquarters did not follow their own procedures that were put in place to protect civil liberties. The stream of urgent requests for phone records also overwhelmed the FBI communications analysis unit with work that ultimately was not connected to imminent threats.
As a whistleblower who was simply trying to do my job, I have endured backlash and retaliation from those who wish to hide the truth and cover up fraud. Even when the FBI told me that I had no rights, the National Whistleblowers Center (NWC) stood by me and supported my case. As a result of the NWC's help, my case secured whistleblower protections for all FBI employees. Those hard won protections are now in jeopardy of disappearing as a result of a bill pending in the Senate (S. 372). The NWC, a tireless advocate for whistleblowers like myself, is working hard to help prevent this dangerous rollback of protections and they need your help.
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.
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