WASHINGTON, D.C. | September 27, 2021 — On September 22nd, National Whistleblower Center (NWC), alongside Empower Oversight, Protect the FBI, Project on Government Oversight (POGO), and Government Accountability Project(GAP), sent a letter to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, expressing concerns regarding the ambiguity and narrowness of Section 321 in the Intelligence Authorization Act for FY2022 (S.2610) and urging Congress to implement corrective amendments.
Section 321 of S.2610 would restrict whistleblowers by requiring them to bring disclosures to Executive Branch officials like Inspectors General first instead of directly to Congress, as codified in the FBI Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act of 2016, which allows employees “to furnish information to either House of Congress, or to a committee or Member thereof” under the Lloyd-La Follette Act protections. As currently written, this section would limit and disincentivize intelligence community whistleblowers from coming forward as it may “perpetuate ambiguity in the law” and “roll back the hard-won protections for FBI whistleblowers.”
Siri Nelson, NWC Executive Director, said, “Whistleblowers of all stripes must have robust disclosure options to safely divulge information to Congress, as our Founding Fathers and contemporary leaders in whistleblower protection have fought for. Narrowing the channels for disclosure can only harm whistleblowers taking on immense responsibility to report and face waste, fraud and abuse. Committee leaders must work together to amend Section 321 in a manner consistent with Congressional design and leading whistleblower protections.”
The letter emphasizes the critical need for open communication channels with Congress in order to eliminate whistleblowers’ hesitation, distrust, and fear towards coming forward, noting that statutory limits “run counter [to] the checks and balances in our constitutional system.”
For more information, please contact Nick Younger at firstname.lastname@example.org.