NSWBC ACTION ALERT
September 26, 2005
The markup session for HR1317 (Now HR3097), led by Congressman Tom Davis, is rescheduled (for the third time!!) for this coming Wednesday, September 28. Davis’ office refused to add anything with regard to protection for NS whistleblowers; they are not willing to give us a hearing before the House Government Reform Committee prior to the markup; and they will not issue an official statement stating that the upcoming bill does not apply to NS whistleblowers and does not provide protected disclosure for our whistleblowers.
We tried our best to work with Chairman Davis and his staff; we have written them many letters, e-mails, and have called them numerous times; these attempts on our part during the past 5-6 months are well-documented. However, they seem to be determined to oppose any meaningful protection for whistleblowers, and to leave us abandoned as far as legislation is concerned.
The question is: what can we do?
We can do a lot. We need to try our best to show that we are not going to sit on the sidelines and let them get away with this. First, let’s remind ourselves, and then, remind our Congress who we are:
We are a non-partisan coalition of patriotic, experienced, national security experts from the intelligence and law enforcement community. Please go to our website again and check our members’ bios. How sad is it that our agencies and our Congress have chosen to fight and/or erase us, instead of having our country and its national security benefit from the tremendous amount of insight and expertise we possess. People, the average years of experience of our members is 20 years; there are 58 of us, totaling over a THOUSAND years of experience combined. Are we going to accept defeat? Are we going to make it so very easy for them to continue to ignore us and what we have been through? Are we going to say ‘it is all futile, we keep running into this brick wall, so we may as well go away defeated’?
I don’t think so. I think the unprecedented number of national security whistleblowers who have come forward within the past four years, since 9/11, makes it much more difficult for them to deny our issues/cases, and to ignore the need for Congress to act. I believe our effort as a united front, rather than one case here and another one there over a period of time, makes them hesitate to arrogantly and belligerently push our issues to the side. I have faith in our members’ resolve and determination to fight this all the way, until our legislators enact whistleblower protection bills that actually have teeth.
So, enough said; let’s take action. This is what we are proposing for our next action alert, starting tomorrow at noon:
1- Draft a letter addressed to members of the press. Put it in your own words; carefully articulate the consequences of not having a meaningful WPA for NS whistleblowers (consequences for our national security; the issue of accountability; the importance of whistleblowers to congressional oversight ;…)
2- E-mail your letter to reporters and others you know.
4- Sign your letter with your name, former title, agency; Ex: John Doe, Former Supervisory Special Agent, Counterterrorism, FBI
5- Start sending your e-mail at 12:00 p.m. tomorrow, Tuesday, September 27, 2005.
6- Send a fax to Tom Davis at (202) 225- 3971 , and call Jim Moore afterwards if you can at (202) 225-5074
Here is a list of points to use in your letter:
The defects in HR1317 (HR3097) are quite serious, and the bill actually reduces protection for whistleblowers. This bill exempts National Security Whistleblowers (NSA, CIA, DIA, FBI…).
Also, HR1317 (HR3097) does not:
• Protect disclosure to members of Congress concerning agency waste, fraud, abuse, or actions that endanger citizens and the national security, even when the disclosure is to members of committees having primary responsibility for oversight of the agency involved in the disclosure.
• Define retaliation against national security whistleblowers through suspension or revocation of security clearances as a prohibited personnel action. A most popular method by administrators and agencies of “handling” national security whistleblowers is to revoke or suspend their clearances, which in effect is a termination of their employment.
• Contain a process of review for revocation or suspension of security clearances in retaliation for whistleblowing. The process of revocation and suspension of clearances is arcane, unaccountable, and largely carried out by a small group of security officers. Where adverse security clearance decisions are made in retaliation for the lawful reporting of malfeasance, some mechanism of accountability should be available to the whistleblower.
• Contain a provision authorizing whistleblowers to appeal their cases to any federal court of appeals of competent jurisdiction. One of the chief problems with the Whistleblower Protection Act, and one that has been recognized in Congress on numerous occasions, is the failure of the Federal Circuit, which at present has exclusive jurisdiction over whistleblower appeals, to abide by the express desires of Congress in reviewing cases involving retaliation against whistleblowers.
Here is what we demand:
Whistleblower Rights for Employees of Intelligence Agencies and Federal Contractors - The amendment would apply federal whistleblower rights to employees of intelligence agencies and to federal contractors.
Classified Disclosures to Congress - The amendment would clarify that classified information may be disclosed to a member of Congress or congressional staff as long as that person is authorized to receive such information.
Security Clearances - The amendment would authorize the MSPB to review cases charging retaliation when an employee's security clearance is revoked and if the MSPB finds retaliation, to reinstate the security clearance.
All Circuit Review - The amendment would allow the Federal Circuit or any other Federal circuit court to hear whistleblower cases, ending the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit's exclusive jurisdiction over whistleblower appeals. This provision would sunset after a period of five years.
Okay NSWBC members, let’s go get them; we are counting on every single one of you.