National Whistleblower Center
3238 P Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20007
(202) 342-1904 (fax)
URGENT MATTER – PERSONAL AND IMMEDIATE ATTENTION REQUIRED
September 25, 2006
Honorable Duncan Hunter, Chairman
House Committee on Armed Services
U.S. House of Representatives
2120 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515
Honorable Tom Davis, Chairman
Committee on Government Reform
2157 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
Re: Support House Substitute for Ineffective Senate Amendment Which Will Not Protect National Security
Dear Chairman Hunter and Chairman Davis:
We are writing to strongly endorse the efforts of the House of Representatives to enact meaningful federal whistleblower legislation as part of the Defense Authorization Act (DAA), and to request that the language of H.R. 1317 (as reported in House Report No. 109-544) and H.R. 5112 is included in the passed version of the DAA.
The House Government Reform Committee overwhelmingly passed these two bills, which would provide effective whistleblower protections. The relevant parts of these laws need to be incorporated into the DAA. Upon review of the Senate language already being presented to the Conference Committee, it is clear that only the House committee-approved versions of federal whistleblower protections, H.R. 1317 and H.R. 5112, would provide effective and meaningful reform.
Only H.R. 1317 and H.R. 5112 will ensure that all federal employees who have the courage to expose weaknesses in America’s war against terrorism are protected. After carefully reviewing the text of the House proposals, along with the version of S.494 currently pending before the conference, the House can enact a law this term that will, for the first time, adequately protect all federal employees and, at the same time, provide protection for those courageous Americans who stepped forward – at substantial risk to their own careers – and provided information necessary to identify the weaknesses in America’s national security which contributed to the breakdown of America’s defenses shortly before the 9/11 attacks.
In order to provide proper protection for federal employees, the following should be done in conference: H.R. 1317 should be substituted for S. 494, with the following changes which incorporate the most important provisions of the existing S.494 and H.R. 5112:
1. Section 6 of H.R. 1317 should be amended in a manner consistent with the language approved by the House Government Reform Committee in H.R. 5112. Specifically, Section 2302(a)(2)(C)(ii) should be struck in its entirety. All federal employees should have whistleblower protections, including national security related whistleblowers.
2. The last sentence of Section 9 of H.R. 1317 should be made to conform to the intent behind the appellate review provision contained in S. 494. In this regard, the phrase “U.S. Court of Appeals for the circuit in which the violation arose” should be substituted for “Federal Circuit.”
3. Finally, the “effective date” set forth in Section 12 of H.R. 1317 should be changed to September 11, 2001. We strongly believe that every federal employee who courageously “blew the whistle” on problems related to America’s readiness to confront the international terrorist threat should be fully protected under any meaningful federal whistleblower law.
Representatives from the undersigned organizations would also like to personally meet with you before the Conference Committee closes in order to answer any questions you may have regarding the importance of insuring that the Conference on the DAA enacts effective and meaningful reform. Please contact Sibel Edmonds, the Executive Director of the National Security Whistleblowers Coalition or Stephen M. Kohn, the President of the National Whistleblower Center if you have any questions whatsoever.
Sibel D. Edmonds
Chairperson-National Whistleblower Center
Dr. Jeffrey Fudin
Executive Director-Congress against Racism & Corruption in Law Enforcement
Dane Von Breichenruchardt- President
US Bill of Rights Foundation