Summary: Members of the House and Senate intelligence committees are calling for a full investigation into the recent “cascade” of leaked classified information. The bipartisan effort is pledging legislative changes as one way to prevent further leaks. This comes after the recent New York Times report that included classified details of a US cyberattack on Iran’s nuclear centrifuge program. Some Republicans suspect the Obama administration’s involvement.
However, the same administration has used the Espionage Act to prosecute six intelligence whistleblowers, more than all previous administration’s combined. According to CNN’s Jeffrey Toobin, the Democratic administration may feel “especially obligated to prove that they can be as tough as Republicans on law enforcement,” even if they have been pursuing that “excessively.”
Passage of the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act would alleviate some of these issues. The legislation would improve whistleblower protections for intelligence workers, thereby giving them a mechanism to report internally (as opposed to “leaking”), as well as protecting them from retaliation in the process.
Summary: New evidence shows that the egg farm linked to the 2010 Salmonella outbreak was aware of serious contamination problems months before illnesses began. A spokesman from the lab hired to do Salmonella testing at the farm says a confidentiality agreement prevented sharing the results, however alarming, with the public. GAP's Food Integrity Campaign critiques such loopholes that prevent truth-telling and allow industry interests to supersede public health.
Summary: The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press published its Spring 2012 issue of The News Media and The Law with this cover story on "Ag Gag" legislation that criminalizes agricultural whistleblowers – an important source for investigative journalists. GAP's Food Integrity Campaign Director Amanda Hitt and National Security & Human Rights Director Jesselyn Radack are both quoted.
Key Quote: "… the measures criminalize the falsification of employment applications, thereby avoiding the constitutional challenge while still restricting the flow of information to reporters by “creating a chilling effect for whistleblowers who perceive wrongdoing and want to bring it to the attention” of others, Hitt said.
“Whistleblowing is a huge part of reporting and journalism,” said Radack, who, as a former U.S. Department of Justice legal ethics adviser in June 2002, revealed misconduct in the case of the so-called “American Taliban,” John Walker Lindh, the nation’s first terrorism prosecution after the Sept. 11 attacks.
Summary: The former CEO-turned-whistleblower of Olympus reached a settlement with his former employer for $15.4 million. The whistleblower had revealed that the camera-maker was hiding profit losses in large acquisition payments.
Summary: The Merit Systems Protection Board, which deals with whistleblower retaliation cases for federal employees, plans to overhaul its rules. The proposed rules would require agencies to give employees clearer notice of their rights and legal options, clarify the burden of proof needed, and give more time for requesting information during the appeals process, among other changes.
Summary: CVS will pay $975,000 to settle a whistleblower suit alleging the company fired an employee who reported fraudulent billing of California’s Medicaid program.
Hannah Johnson is Communications Associate for the Government Accountability Project, the nation's leading whistleblower protection and advocacy organization.