October 22, 2015

Question of the Week: Should intelligence-agency whistleblowers who reveal through proper government channels classified information exposing government fraud or misconduct receive the same whistleblower protections as other government employees?

By the C|C Whistleblower Lawyer Team

In the recent Democratic presidential debate, Hillary Clinton stated that Edward Snowden “could have been a whistleblower” and “could have gotten all the protections of being a whistleblower.”  She implied that had he taken his concerns and classified information to the proper government channels rather than to the press, he might have received a “positive response” instead of government charges of violating the Espionage Act.  John Cassidy in The New Yorker points out that while the Whistleblower Protection Act of 1989 offers protections to government employees revealing government abuse and misconduct, it does not apply to intelligence agency employees or contractors such as Snowden.  See Why People Like Edward Snowden Will Keep Running to the PressCassidy further reports that a procedure in place for intelligence agency employees to report wrongdoing to Congress merely identifies the whistleblowers, thus exposing them, and does not protect them from internal reprisals or prosecutions.  See New Protections for Intelligence Whistleblowers: One Step Closer to Avoiding the Next Snowden?  Regardless of whether Clinton or Cassidy got it right, how do you think intelligence whistleblowers should be treated?

Should intelligence-agency whistleblowers who reveal through proper government channels classified information exposing government fraud or misconduct receive the same whistleblower protections as other government employees?

    Please let us know why in the comment section below.  

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