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Old 02-03-2020, 11:31 AM
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Arrow Defense Department Watchdog Says Retaliation Against Whistleblowers Is The Rule, Not

Defense Department Watchdog Says Retaliation Against Whistleblowers Is The Rule, Not The Exception
By: Tim Cushing - TechDirt News - 02-03-20
Re: https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20...%28Techdirt%29

The more things change, the more whistleblowers still don't have protections worth a shit. President Trump is waging a war on whistleblowers -- about the only thing he's doing that isn't the polar opposite of his predecessor. For three straight presidencies, government employees seeking to report wrongdoing and misconduct have been shut down, ignored, and retaliated against, despite periodic protections being erected by legislators.

The Defense Department's watchdog made it clear during recent testimony that things are no better at the agencies he oversees. Eric Katz of Government Executive has more details.

Officials at the Defense Department are not taking action when the inspector general validates allegations of whistleblower reprisal, Glenn Fine, who is currently performing the duties of the Pentagon’s IG, told a panel of the House Oversight and Reform Committee. He called it critical that management take prompt remedial action and called on Congress to take action when the department fails to do so.

“Recently, we’ve seen a disturbing trend of the [Defense Department] disagreeing with the results of our investigation or not taking disciplinary action in whistleblower reprisal cases without adequate or persuasive explanations,” Fine said. “Failure to take action sends a message to agency managers that reprisal will be tolerated and also to potential whistleblowers [that they] will not be protected.”

Since no one really wants to protect whistleblowers, whistleblowers aren't being protected. Fine may want to protect whistleblowers, but his hands are tied. He can accept reports and pass them on, but he can't do anything meaningful to deter reprisal because his powers are (purposefully) limited and the protections paper-thin. He can only hope his oversight -- Congress -- takes this issue as seriously as he does.

But it seems unlikely Congress will help. The President himself has threatened the whistleblower who reported Trump's inappropriate phone call with Ukraine president Volodymyr Zelensky. Other legislators have made similar statements, expressing their displeasure with anyone who would insinuate their president is anything but an upstanding example for all Americans.

The chilling effect of these statements and actions is real.

A recent Government Executive survey found one-in-three federal employees are now less likely to report wrongdoing to the appropriate authorities due to attacks by Trump and congressional Republicans on the whistleblower whose filing kicked off the impeachment proceedings. Another 16% said they are now more likely to blow the whistle.

More than 50 Inspector Generals signed a letter condemning the White House Office of Legal Counsel's opinion that it's cool and legal to unilaterally block whistleblower reports. But this -- and Fine's statements -- are being lobbed into a highly-unreceptive atmosphere. This administration doesn't want to hear the shrill, nonstop sound of dozens of blown whistles... no more than the last one did. A threatened whistleblower is a silenced whistleblower and for far too many government agencies -- and the legislators that oversee them -- no news is the best news. Is it any wonder so many whistleblowers opt out of this corrupted system?

Comments from a few on this subject:

1. “Dissenters will be quashed for the good of the kingdom!” — a monarch’s idea on how to deal with whistleblowers.

If you needed proof that the United States has transitioned from a constitutional republic to an authoritarian state, now you have it. While I get the impulse of the government to cover up bad shit, even a elderly Republican Senator should be able to understand that a whistleblower wants to do the best thing for the country. People like Donald Trump lust for a power that would destroy the country and the principles of the Constitution. Whistleblowers are a defense against those power-hungry bastards. To attack whistleblowers is to give said bastards the power they seek. Nothing good ever comes of that.

I read some comments from the readers:

“My country, right or wrong; if right, to be kept right; and if wrong, to be set right.” — Carl Schurz, 13th United States Secretary of the Interior

2. From another: Even a elderly Republican Senator should be able to understand that a whistleblower wants to do the best thing for the country

I guess not since Lindsay Graham is saying that after the impeachment trial he will subpoena the whistleblower.

3. "When you cut out a man's tongue you are not proving him a liar, only that you fear what he might say."

These people should be lauded as heroes because they saw what their country is doing and want it to stop. They are true patriots.

My thoughts are so it goes; It seems no matter what - listen to the evidence or put the whistleblower on the axe. If its true what's been said - then it should be permissible. Moreso, if he has a copy of the actual phone conversation or the written transmittal. But here too - they may then call him a spy - and put him in prison for life? Ya never know!

Boats
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