Protection for Intelligence Agency Whistleblowers

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Whistleblowers in the intelligence agency locations could require additional protections after the supervisors or management have been exposed for illegal or fraudulent activity. It is important that these persons are safeguarded from retaliation, negative consequences and possible problems form others in the same field.

Persons in the intelligence field have a different set of circumstances and duties to follow. With this, when someone has broken the law, caused complications that are unlawful or unethical or similar concerns, some individuals are tasked with discovering as much about these situations as possible. This is where whistleblowers are frequently found. They reveal the dark aspects of others and secrets that harm others. These employees need protection due to the longstanding history of Congress seeking prosecution of whistleblowers for internal matters. This is partially due to the secrets exposed with members of Congress and the wrongdoings some of them commit.

Many whistleblowers seek the media to assist with revealing secrets and the lies that perpetuate throughout the intelligence community. To bypass the potential problems of prosecution with Congress, these employees find someone they trust that may report the darker aspects of the intelligence community. However, it is important that these persons are able to go to Congress and other parts of the government. This may only occur when the secrets revealed are with other agencies and not with members of the government agencies. Welcoming whistleblowers is an important first step in this process. This will help keep these individuals safe from repercussions.

What Whistleblower Do

When there is a problem within the company, agency or group, there are often certain persons that take on the responsibility of learning as much about this as possible. The individual employee becomes what is termed a whistleblower because he or she blows the whistle on a secret, illegal activity or similar concern. These persons have inside access, a perspective that is unfiltered about the situation and provide a need to separate the lies from the truth. For intelligence matters, it is crucial to remove the corrupt and dirty dealings. With someone that has taken on these responsibilities, he or she may be risking a job, friends, safety within a company or agency and, in certain situations, his or her very life.

With new laws in place, retaliation against whistleblowers is illegal. However, when these employees or agents contact an inspector general or members of Congress, it may be possible to bypass most negative consequences entirely. By revealing these illegal or unethical acts and behavior, supervisors are not permitted to retaliate which could cause a loss of employment, demotion or other impacts. With the intelligence community, there is the Intelligence Community Whistleblower Protection Act which has a requirement that whistleblowers contact their direct agency inspector general. This official determines if Congress should be communicated with on these issues. Committees may be contacted directly if the inspector general overrules or does not relay correct details.

The Problem with Protection and the Process

When the whistleblower is revealing secrets about his or her boss or direct superior, the problem with the process is significant. The employee cannot give the information over to the inspector general in this situation. Presidential directives protect employees working for the government, but intelligence contractors within the community are not given these safeguards. Classified documentation is passed back and forth and many of the details are redacted, and this causes issues communicating the secrets and illegal acts being committed. With this in place, it is harder to protect whistleblowers from retaliation and revealing the discovered data.

With noble intentions, whistleblowers are encountering problems constantly with the ineffective system in place. It has been stated by one inspector general for the Department of Justice that roughly 80 percent of all whistleblowers are revealing the details they discover to improve the system and attempt to stop it from being torn down. Unfortunately, normal protections for the standard whistleblower are not available to government employees, and when they contact media, these safeguards are often nonexistent. With classified information, this causes further complications for intelligence agents and contractors. It may require some changes to the current processes to provide a more welcoming atmosphere for these employees.

Legal Protections for Intelligence Agents

When normal protections are not possible, whistleblowers may need to contact a lawyer and communicate with others to attempt to secure safeguards from retaliation and further difficulties in the intelligence community. Through legal representation, it may be possible to discover how to safeguard a job or similar concerns.


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Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer.

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