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Protecting Whistleblowers since 1977

Whistleblower Guides

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Truth Be Told: The Federal Science Employee's Guide to Whistleblowing (PDF)

Escalating censorship and aggressive efforts to silence federal scientists at federal agencies threatens Congress’s ability to engage in oversight, hampers citizens’ right to know about threats to public health, safety and the environment, and undermines policy-making that depends on science and evidence-based data. These efforts also create a chilling effect on the many federal employees committed exercising scientific and professional integrity in fulfilling their agencies’ mandates. However, federal employees have rights to report concerns about serious wrongdoing—gross mismanagement, gross waste of funds, abuse of authority, substantial and specific dangers to public health or safety, and scientific censorship that would result in any of these forms of misconduct—free from reprisal. GAP’s Federal Employee’s Guide to Whistleblowing seeks to empower and protect federal employees of conscience, particularly those working in science-based agencies, by offering guidance about the legal rights of employees to blow the whistle and offers practical advice for making disclosures about wrongdoing in the safest and most effective ways possible. 

Topics covered in the Guide include:

  • Whistleblowers: Myths vs Facts
     
  • Survival Tips: How to Report Wrongdoing Safely and Effectively
    • Pre-Disclosure Precautions & Practices
    • Avenues for Reporting
    • A Note on Anonymity
    • Best Practices for External Whistleblowing
       
  • Resources
    • Contact GAP
    • Government Resources
    • Other Organizations
    • Books/Articles on Whistleblowing
    • Information Security

Working with Whistleblowers: A Guide for Journalists (PDF)

With the government’s assault on “leaks” and whistleblowers reaching a fever pitch, there has never been a more critical time to ensure that whistleblowers and the journalists who work with them are equipped with the tools they need to safely and effectively report on waste, fraud and abuse to the public. That is why GAP has put together Working with Whistleblowers: A Guide for Journalists, to help journalists navigate the complexities of working with whistleblowers.

Topics covered in the Guide include:

  • Whistleblowing 101: A Short Primer
    • What is a Whistleblower?
    • The Majority of Whistleblowers Report Internally First
    • The Risk of Reprisal & the Complicated Legal Landscape
    • Will Lawyers Kill the Story
       
  • Whistleblowing is (Usually) Not a Crime
    • Intelligence Employees v. All the Rest
    • Risks of Criminal and Civil Liability Outside of the Context of Classified Information
    • Is it Leaking or Whistleblowing?
    • Classified Information
       
  • How You Can Help Your Source
    • It’s All About Trust
    • Advice for Whistleblowers on Best Practices
    • Does Your Source Need Anonymity?
    • Other Paths to Get the Information
    • Secure Communications & Information Security

The power of whistleblowers to hold institutions and leaders accountable often depends on the critical work of journalists, who verify whistleblowers’ disclosures and then bring them to the public. The partnership between whistleblowers and journalists is essential to a functioning democracy.

GAP works closely with media outlets and investigative journalists to promote accountability based on disclosures by whistleblowers who seek our assistance. Working with Whistleblowers: A Guide for Journalists, seeks to offer information critical to understanding the complex issues involved with an employee’s decision blow the whistle on serious wrongdoing. We hope to help journalists have whistleblowers’ backs, rather than unwittingly exposing them to further retaliation. While by no means comprehensive, we hope this guide not only generates support for the important function whistleblowers play in advancing civil society, but also awakens awareness for the special care required when utilizing whistleblowers’ information. 

If you are a journalist or media outlet interested in learning more about this Guide or working with whistleblowers, please contact Dana Gold, GAP’s Director of Education and Strategic Partnerships, at DanaG@whistleblower.org.