June 30, 2005
The National Security Whistleblowers Coalition Demands Congressional Action
Congressman Waxman Pledges Support for National Security Whistleblowers
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Sibel Edmonds (703) 519-3640, firstname.lastname@example.org
In a letter addressed to the National Security Whistleblowers Coalition (NSWBC), Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA), the ranking minority member of the House Government Reform Committee, praised the coalition for its efforts in bringing about real protection for national security whistleblowers, and pledged his support for creation of legislation that would provide meaningful protection for national security whistleblowers.
Since the September 11th terrorist attacks, whistleblowers have felt compelled to come forward in greater numbers to address our nation’s security weaknesses – in fact almost 50% more have sought protection annually under the Whistleblower Protection Act since that terrible event. However, patriotic truth-tellers across a variety of federal agencies have no protection against retaliation when they blow the whistle.
Congress has failed to act to protect federal whistleblowers from the agencies most directly responsible for protecting the national security of the United States, according to spokespeople for the National Security Whistleblowers Coalition at a press conference on Capitol Hill on Tuesday, June 28. Federal employees from the FBI, CIA, NSA, DIA and other intelligence agencies who report deficiencies in national security programs are exempted from protection under the Whistleblower Protection Act. Without whistleblower protections, agencies will continue to quash truth tellers and national security weaknesses will be allowed to fester underneath the growing cloak of secrecy.
“Employees of our intelligence agencies should never be forced to choose between career and conscience when faced with agency wrongdoing,” said Sibel Edmonds, Director of the NSWBC. “And without the free flow of information from all government employees to Congress, Congress cannot exercise its Constitutionally-required oversight of the Executive Branch.”
Edmonds read from a letter to the NSWBC from Rep. Henry Waxman (To read Rep. Waxman’s letter click here: http://nswbc.org/waxman_letter.2005.06.28.pdf ). Congressman Waxman’s letter reads:
“Let me state unequivocally that all federal government workers deserve whistleblower protection, none more so than national security whistleblowers. These are federal government workers and contractors who have undergone extensive background investigations, obtained security clearances, and handled classified information on a routine basis. Our own government has concluded that they can be trusted to work on the most important law enforcement and intelligence projects in today’s post-9/11 environment. These officials are critical to our national defense. ...For these reasons, I favor expanding the Whistleblower Protection Act to cover these employees and contractors as fully as possible, as well as making the retaliatory revocation of a security clearance a prohibited personnel practice.”
Edmonds said she was hopeful that House Government Reform Committee Chairman Tom Davis (R-VA) would schedule hearings to address the serious national security concerns of the NSWBC members.
About National Security Whistleblowers Coalition
National Security Whistleblowers Coalition (NSWBC), founded in August 2004, is an independent and nonpartisan alliance of whistleblowers who have come forward to address our nation’s security weaknesses; to inform authorities of security vulnerabilities in our intelligence agencies, at nuclear power plants and weapon facilities, in airports, and at our nation’s borders and ports; to uncover government waste, fraud, abuse, and in some cases criminal conduct. The NSWBC is dedicated to aiding national security whistleblowers through a variety of methods, including advocacy of governmental and legal reform, educating the public concerning whistleblowing activity, provision of comfort and fellowship to national security whistleblowers suffering retaliation and other harms, and working with other public interest organizations to affect goals defined in the NSWBC mission statement.
For more on NSWBC visit www.nswbc.org