President Obama Urged to Reject DOJ Opposition to Whistleblower Protection
Washington, D.C. , May 14, 2009. In testimony presented today by the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Policy, the DOJ opposed giving national security whistleblowers judicial due process protections. The policy presented by the DOJ was in stark contrast to the position taken by President Obama during the presidential campaign, when his campaign endorsed judicial protection for all federal employee whistleblowers.
In response to the DOJ position, David K. Colapinto, General Counsel of the National Whistleblowers Center, and Michael D. Kohn, attorney for Bunnatine Greenhouse, issued the following statements on behalf of the National Whistleblowers Center:
“Without granting national security whistleblowers full court access, the administrative scheme proposed by the Department of Justice is doomed to fail.”
“The Obama administration should not bend to the pressure of the national security bureaucracy. That bureaucracy retaliated against whistleblowers who warned of the 9/11 attack and misled the American people concerning the justifications for invading Iraq.”
“That same bureaucracy removed Bunnatine Greenhouse from her job as the top civilian procurement officer at the Army Corps of Engineers. Greenhouse was the only federal official who opposed the billion dollar no-bid contracts for Halliburton – contracts that cost the taxpayers billions of dollars in waste and fraud during the “reconstruction” of Iraq. Under the DOJ proposal, Greenhouse would remain without any effective means to vindicate her rights.”
“Over the past twenty-five years, weak and ineffective administrative remedies for federal employee whistleblowers have completely failed. We cannot afford more of the same. Federal employees need whistleblower reforms that will actually result in real protections.” “DOJ justified stripping whistleblowers from access to court under the pretext of protecting confidentiality. However, the Justice Department ignored the findings of a comprehensive General Accounting Office report. The GAO concluded that whistleblowers can have full due process rights (including access to courts) without jeopardizing national security. The GAO identified specific procedures currently in place that would prevent the improper release of classified information if national security employees were provided full court access.”
“The Obama administration must live up to its campaign promise to support the House Bill which ensures court access for all federal employees.” “It is more important than ever that every American contact their member of Congress and urge them in the strongest possible terms to provide courageous whistleblowers with the protections they need. These courageous employees who risk their jobs and careers to expose waste, fraud, and corruption deserve our support.” Witness testimonies and other information concerning the May 14, 2009 Hearings before the House Committee on Government Oversight may be obtained here.