Tuesday, 28. July 2009
President Obama, We have You on Record, Fulfill Your Promise
We are approaching ‘the day’ with the Senate Committee on the whistleblower protection legislation. The mark up is scheduled for tomorrow, Wednesday, July 29, 10:00 a.m. EST. The White House seems to have backed off from their previous position. Here is what I just sent to my organization members:
- As you know in the last two years I have not been ‘optimistically’ active in the ongoing congressional related whistleblower protection debate. However, the following campaign by the National Whistleblower Center got my attention. Why? Because our new president appears to be talking from both sides of his mouth. During his campaign, as in many issues, he made a bunch of ‘on-the-record’ promises regarding needed protection for whistleblowers, including the most important ones, those in the national security related agencies. Now he may be royally backing off from those promises. I for one am not surprised; not in the least. On the other hand, I am glad to see that National Whistleblower Center is not willing to let our president off the hook. They have him on the record, and they are planning to remind him loudly and publicly.
Copy-pasted below is their letter to President Obama. They want your backing and support. I just signed it; after all, I am a national security whistleblower and I want to go on record with this ‘needed’ reminder to the president. I hope you do the same. Please send me (by e-mail) your name and title, and let me know if you support this campaign.
And here is the letter from the National Whistleblower Center:
- President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500
Dear President Obama:
On May 8, 2007, your presidential campaign promised America’s whistleblowers in writing that you stood behind their need for legal protection and fully supported support federal court access and jury trials for all federal employees. The House of Representatives enacted these protections when it overwhelmingly passed H.R. 985 in a veto-proof, bipartisan manner. In another bipartisan effort, Representatives Van Hollen (D-MD), Waxman (D-CA), Towns (D-NY), Braley (D-IA), and Platts (R-PA) have reintroduced this bill as H.R.1507.
Now we need your help. While the House version of the bill is more inclusive, the Senate version lacks many key protections. The Senate bill currently lacks coverage for the hundreds of thousands of federal employees who participate in the global war on terror and oversee a budget well over $150 billion. Please stand by your promise and ensure that all federal employees receive comprehensive whistleblower protections.
The reason typically cited for denying court access for all federal employees is that it could create a national security risk. As current or former national security whistleblowers, we know this is not true. In an objective and independent review, the General Accounting Office (GAO) saw “no justification for treating employees at [intelligence] agencies differently from employees at other federal agencies except in rare national security cases.” This finding has held since 1996, and yet misinformation about extending full due process protections to national security whistleblowers is still pervasive today.
Moreover, whistleblowers have actually been instrumental in pointing out issues that threaten our nation’s security. Even without full due process protections, courageous employees have pointed out problems including deficiencies in the counterterrorism program that contributed to the success of 9/11, the promotion of faulty intelligence that led to a war, systemic due process violations through misconduct in crime labs, and billions of dollars in waste and illegal contracting. Rather than a national security threat, whistleblowers are a central defense against misconduct.
The future of our nation depends on your support for this critical oversight and accountability issue. Taxpayers put forward billions in government spending, and they deserve accurate information and a guarantee of accountability. Please safeguard our nation against future terrorist attacks by removing the gag order from the brave men and women who are charged with ensuring our safety.
The past ten years have demonstrated the invaluable contributions of whistleblowers. We have made countless preventable mistakes, including the failure to search Moussaoui, abuses in Abu Ghraib, and lies to Congress about secret CIA programs. The need to fully protect national security whistleblowers is indisputable. They are vital to our country’s safety, and their future is in your hands.
And here is Mr. President on record during his campaign:
Come on Mr. President; be a man of your word. Show us what kind of a man you are.
Let’s watch this together, and let’s demand the deserved protection for whistleblowers…