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BK Blog Post
Posted by Tom Devine.
Tom Devine is legal director of the Government Accountability Project, where he has worked to assist thousands of whistleblowers to come forward and has been involved in the all of the campaigns to pass or defend major whistleblower laws over the last two decades.
“There has…been a shift in public opinion, as evidenced by a new ACLU-sponsored poll showing that almost two thirds of American voters want Congress to curtail the NSA’s mass surveillance powers. The survey showed that majorities in both parties oppose renewing the old Patriot Act.
Monumental as those congressional and public opinion shifts are, though, far fewer changes are evident in the government’s executive branch.”
Time and time again, governmental agencies have shown their contempt for whistleblowers who expose waste, fraud and illegality. A recent example is that of Jeffrey Sterling.
“CIA whistleblower Jeffrey Sterling was notified at the end of last week that he will serve his prison sentence of three and a half years at Federal Correctional Institution Englewood, a medium-security facility in Littleton, Colorado, that is around 900 miles away from where his wife and family live in St. Louis. That is at least a 12-hour drive.”
No matter the obstacles, GAP stands firm in defending those who speak truth to power.
“The Government Accountability Project told a Senate hearing that making a disclosure to Congress carries the highest potential for making a difference, since Congress can take definitive action. In contrast, investigations by IGs, the Special Counsel and the media can create a public spotlight but such probes ‘generally have a limited bureaucratic spotlight and they can only make recommendations.’
However, making disclosures to Congress also carries the highest risk of retaliation as well as the “ugliest” forms of retaliation, since there is ‘a direct linear relationship between the threat posed by a whistleblower and the severity of retaliation,’ it said.”