In the past month, I have been given numerous opportunities to share the views of the National Whistleblower Center on the importance of protecting the two Ukraine whistleblowers from reprisals. In our view, this is not a partisan issue. We need to encourage whistleblowers to report wrongdoing regardless of their political affiliations or those of whom they accuse.
The motives of the Ukraine whistleblowers are irrelevant to whether they deserve protection. What counts is that they scrupulously followed the reporting procedures established by Congress and the executive branch. In passing our whistleblower laws, Congress recognized that rampant corruption will proliferate if those who witness law-breaking believe that they will suffer retaliation if they report it. To protect our democracy from bad actors of all political stripes, we must send a strong message to whistleblowers that if they report wrongdoing in compliance with the law, they will be protected.
The National Whistleblower Center is working hard to create a more favorable climate for whistleblowers. One of our exciting new initiatives on this front is a partnership with Bradley University to strengthen cybersecurity for whistleblowers. An array of laws require government agencies and corporations to help whistleblowers keep their identities confidential when they report wrongdoing, but implementation has often been lacking. Similarly, nonprofit organizations, law firms and other organizations focused on helping whistleblowers often fail to take advantage of best practices for protecting the confidentiality of whistleblower communications.
Working with Bradley University professor (and new NWC Senior Advisor) Jacob Young, our team will advocate for strengthened cybersecurity practices for whistleblowers – including stronger guidance by federal whistleblower offices on their websites and in their outreach materials. Whistleblowers deserve to be protected from reprisals and perhaps the best way to ensure their protection is to assist them with safe, confidential reporting.