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Thirteen national security whistleblowers on Monday, May 11, sent President Barack Obama an open letter asking that he take immediate steps to end the “second-class status” of federal employees like themselves and to criminalize bureaucratic retaliation against government workers who exercise their free speech rights in the public interest.
It asked the president to take “concrete steps in favor of national security whistleblowers that will help to restore time-honored values of openness..."
“As the federal government of necessity grows in response to the many crises that you have inherited from your predecessor, the lack of protection currently afforded to whistleblowers means that federal workers – the front line in the fight against fraud and waste, and best guarantee that taxpayer dollars are spent wisely and government works effectively – must either sit on the sidelines or, still forced to look over their shoulders for signs of reprisal, risk their careers.”
The group pointed out that the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB), charged with adjudicating federal worker claims, has found only one case of illegal retaliation in 56 decisions on the merits. And only three whistleblowers out of 212 prevailed in decisions on the merits in the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals since October 1994, when the current whistleblower “protection” law last was modified.
The letter pointed to the “special vulnerability” of people like those who signed it, who do not have any “real safeguards” against retaliation. “Instead, for protecting this nation, we and others face having our security clearances yanked, as well as a rosary of humiliation, demotions, threats, punitive polygraphs and myriad other intimidatory measures.” Meanwhile, even as independent agencies and organizations corroborate whistleblower complaints, the letter noted, “wrongdoers are
mostly allowed to retain their posts - and many even receive promotions.”
We are writing to bring your attention to and encourage swift action on the issue of whistleblower protection for federal employees. Whistleblowers are our nation's best resource against fraud and abuse of the public trust. Over the years, whistleblowers have repeatedly sounded the alarm about fiscal practices that waste tax dollars. In the national security realm, whistleblowers have effectively and responsibly called attention to security vulnerabilities that threaten the lives of U.S. citizens.
Moreover, they have worked to prevent violations of the constitutional values we all share. In these uncertain economic times, we should encourage courageous public servants to continue to report evidence of misconduct on behalf of American taxpayers and families. Unfortunately, we cannot expect government employees to continue to sacrifice their careers and risk their own families' security without signals from your Administration that they will be protected.
Whistleblowers May Have a Friend in the Oval Office
President-elect Barack Obama has supported expanded protections for whistleblowers.
While Barack Obama's election victory led millions of Americans to cheer and shout, a much smaller group of government watchers had reason to blow their whistles.
Whistleblowers in the federal government and those who work to protect them see a longtime friend in the next president.
"Attorney Obama and Senator Obama and candidate Obama and President-elect Obama have all supported whistleblower rights," said Adam Miles, the legislative representative for the Government Accountability Project, a public interest group that bills itself as the nation's leading whistleblower organization.
Obama's whistleblower trail starts before his days in public office.
When he was an associate with the Chicago firm of Miner Barnhill & Galland, Obama was among those representing Janet Chandler, a psychologist who charged Cook County Hospital with lying about the results of a federally funded program that served pregnant women on drugs.
The settlement resulted in money being returned to the government.
As a senator, Obama supported legislation that would increase whistleblower protection. Versions of that measure remain before Congress.
As a presidential candidate, he endorsed whistleblower protection legislation in the House that is stronger than the bill he voted for in the Senate.
President-elect Barack Obama has continued along this track. His transition Web site says:
"We need to empower federal employees as watchdogs of wrongdoing and partners in performance. Barack Obama will strengthen whistleblower laws to protect federal workers who expose waste, fraud, and abuse of authority in government. Obama will ensure that federal agencies expedite the process for reviewing whistleblower claims and whistleblowers have full access to courts and due process."
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Wow, so much interest that their servers are overloaded?
Over the years, whistleblowers have repeatedly sounded the alarm about fiscal practices that waste tax dollars.
Originally posted by ElectricUniverse
reply to post by TrueAmerican
I did, and BTW President Obama has broken every promise he had made before getting elected...
* Promise Kept 30
* Compromise 8
* Promise Broken 6
* Stalled 9
* In the Works 64
* No Action 397
PolitiFact has compiled more than 500 promises that Barack Obama made during the campaign and is tracking their progress on our Obameter.
We rate their status as No Action, In the Works or Stalled. Once we find action is completed, we rate them Promise Kept, Compromise or Promise Broken.
The report card at right provides an up-to-the-minute tally of all the promises.