The Immigration and Customs Enforcement Service (ICE) has refused a request from GAP client and Federal Air Marshal whistleblower Robert MacLean to release documents related to retaliatory investigations conducted against him by the Federal Air Marshal Service (FAMS). MacLean’s Freedom of Information Act request was denied on the grounds that releasing the documents “would compromise ‘the privacy interests’ of those who did the investigating.” ICE did acknowledge that it found over 6,000 pages pertaining to the FAMS probes.
Key Quote: The Government Accountability Project (GAP) accused the government of misusing the FOIA to shield managers responsible for conducting “excessive and illegal investigations” of workers like MacLean. “This decision is terrible,” wrote Shanna Devine, GAP’s legislative coordinator.
“These continued witch hunts are even worse.”
Click here to read Shanna's blog.
AllAfrica.com: Rwanda - Whistleblower Law Goes to Parliament
A new law to protect whistleblowers in Rwanda who disclose information related to “unlawful or other illegal conducts or practices” has been presented to the country’s Parliament. The law would protect individuals who reveal wrongdoing from retaliation, but would not provide any financial benefits.
Officials will further discuss the bill in one of the parliamentary committees.
Sify News: China Launches Whistleblower Websites
Chinese citizens can now report information online regarding corrupt officials within China’s court system, including judges. Whistleblowers can report tips via a network of websites, and track what action the courts' discipline departments are taking.
ProPublica: EPA Wants to Look at Full Lifecycle of Fracking in New Study
The EPA has submitted a proposal for a new study on hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) -- the process of breaking up underground rock and releasing gasses trapped inside -- that will thoroughly examine each stage in the drilling process. The EPA hopes to determine the impacts of fracking on drinking water. Some communities have taken steps to ban fracking due to environmental concerns, which include the contamination of drinking water, air pollution, and potential mishandling of waste. The Oscar-nominated documentary, Gasland, focuses on sites in Pennsylvania and Colorado where explosive gasses and chemicals from fracking may have polluted drinking water.
In a related piece, a report initiated by Rep. Darrell Issa about the effects of government regulation on job losses expresses concern over the EPA’s approach to the issue of fracking. The report “highlights the benefits of hydraulic fracturing,” and concludes that the EPA’s stance "could be a precursor to full-blown EPA regulation of this job-creating domestic power resource."
The New York Times: U.S. Proposes Aquaculture Guidelines
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration issued the government's first aquaculture guidelines, in an effort to establish improved seafood production standards that do not harm wild species and have less of an impact on the ecosystem.
Lindsay Bigda is Communications Fellow for the Government Accountability Project, the nation's leading whistleblower advocacy organization.