Whistleblower Protections for the Intelligence Community
We left part of the work undone 25 years ago. The Civil Service
Reform Act of 1978 had exceptions for the FBI, the CIA, the NSA, and the
other parts of the intelligence community.
The Whistleblower Protection Act left employees of those agencies unprotected, and so have the laws that followed it.
Back in 2012, I championed the addition of intelligence whistleblower
protections to the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act. The
provision I authored prohibited various forms of retaliation, including
changing an employee’s access to classified information. Working
closely with the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, we got that
language into the bill that passed the Senate by unanimous consent on
May 8, 2012. However, it was not included in the bill the House passed
on September 28, 2012.
Prior to the differences being reconciled, on October 10, 2012,Who do you trust? Obama/Holder, or Snowden?
President Obama issued Presidential Policy Directive 19. It provided
certain limited protections for whistleblowers with access to classified
information. However, it was weaker than the provisions I had authored
in the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act. Unfortunately,
President Obama’s action undercut support for those provisions by
suggesting that statutory protection was now unnecessary. The final law
that passed in November left intelligence whistleblowers at the mercy
of the presidential directive.