Washington, DC | September 30, 2019 – The National Whistleblower Center today expressed its grave concern about recent statements by President Trump and his allies threatening reprisals against the intelligence community whistleblower who alerted Congress to potential violations of laws prohibiting solicitation of foreign interference in elections.
John Kostyack, NWC Executive Director, stated:
The threats of reprisals by the President and his allies against the intelligence community whistleblower are contrary to our Nation’s core ideal of freedom of speech. We have a centuries-old bipartisan consensus that those with evidence of wrongdoing should be encouraged to step forward, not intimidated from doing so. We urge both parties in Congress to affirm that this whistleblower deserves the highest level of protection from retaliation, including the ability to maintain anonymity.
Stephen M. Kohn, Chairman of the Board of Directors at NWC and author of the Whistleblowers Handbook, stated:
This moment is a test of whether today’s members of Congress are willing to uphold the Nation’s founding principles. In the first whistleblower law, passed in 1778, the Continental Congress declared that anyone in the service of the U.S. with knowledge of serious wrongdoing has a duty to deliver that information to Congress as soon as possible. This whistleblower followed the law and upheld his patriotic duty. Now it is time for Congress to honor this individual’s bravery, reaffirm its own laws prohibiting reprisals and guarantee the whistleblower’s right to remain anonymous. If it fails do so, it will be a disastrous setback for the Nation’s whistleblowing system.
On Thursday, President Trump implied that the government should use violent methods to punish the whistleblower, stating, “You know what we used to do in the old days when we were smart? Right? With spies and treason, right? We used to handle them a little differently than we do now.” Yesterday, White House senior policy advisor Stephen Miller suggested this harsh language was justified because the whistleblower is a “deep state operative” and a “saboteur trying to undermine a democratically elected government.” Two supporters of President Trump are reportedly offering a $50,000 bounty to anyone who reveals the whistleblower’s identity.
In contrast, Acting DNI Director Joseph Maguire acknowledged in his Congressional testimony that the whistleblower has done “everything by the book” and “followed the law.”
Direct or implied threats of retaliation levied by federal officials against an individual who has come forward with information about wrongdoing violates the Intelligence Community Whistleblower Protection Act. Moreover, to further protect whistleblowers against reprisals, the Act states that they are entitled to have their anonymity protected.
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