GAP praised today's action by the U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC) to curtail illegal government surveillance of whistleblowers. In a memorandum to all Executive branch departments and agencies, Special Counsel Carolyn Lerner urged all federal agency chiefs to assess current employee monitoring practices, and to prevent any actions that would "interfere with or chill" federal employees from exercising their legally-required duty to disclose fraud, waste, abuse and corruption to appropriate authorities. The Special Counsel also warned agency leaders that such surveillance violates employees' legal rights to make confidential disclosures, and could lead to a determination that an agency has retaliated against such employees for engaging in legally-protected conduct.
"The Special Counsel's warning against illegal surveillance and subsequent retaliation against whistleblowers is politely unequivocal," commented GAP Legal Director Tom Devine. "Special Counsel Carolyn Lerner's leadership is essential to protect the merit system from illegal spying on whistleblowers. Big Brother has moved into agencies throughout the government, and illegal surveillance of whistleblowers has become the norm."
Dylan Blaylock is Communications Director for the Government Accountability Project, the nation's leading whistleblower protection and advocacy organization.