Federal laws offer only limited protection for those in the intelligence community who report wrongdoing — even when they follow all the rules for doing so. Trump and his allies, analysts said, might face few, if any consequences, for outing the whistleblower or otherwise upending the person’s career… Notably, analysts said, the law puts the president in charge of enforcement — which is particularly ironic in this case, given Trump is the subject of the complaint.
“So, what kind of protection is this whistleblower going to get through this system?” said David K. Colapinto, the co-founder of the National Whistleblower Center. “But you got to understand that prior to 2014, there was nothing on the books. This is considered an advancement.”
If whistleblowers are fired, demoted or otherwise punished, they can now at least pursue internal remedies, though they cannot go to court, Colapinto said. Such cases, he said, “usually end poorly for the whistleblower.”
Over at The Conversation, Jennifer M. Pacella, an Indiana University law professor, writes about the limits on protections for national security whistleblowers.
The new whistleblower report that alleges wrongdoing by the president is a reminder of the vital importance of holding wrongdoers accountable, regardless of their level of power. When those acts affect national security, whistleblowing is even more important. But as I’ve found in my whistleblowing research, whistleblowers in this arena have far fewer legal protections from retaliation than those in corporate settings or elsewhere in government.
On MSNBC, Crisis of Conscience author Tom Mueller called the president’s attack on the IC whistleblower “the first rule of the whistleblower destruction playbook.” Mueller, who interviewed more than 200 whistleblowers for his book, said it is common to shift from the message to messenger… to play the treason card to shift attention from the real treason.
IOG responds to claims that the rules were changed to allow IC whistleblower to report second hand information. From Axios:
Context:Trump incorrectly stated that rules for whistleblowers had recently changed to not require firsthand information.
- The president and his loyal defenders on Capitol Hill claimed incorrectly that the whistleblower lacked firsthand knowledge of Trump’s phone call with Ukraine’s president on July 25. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) accused the whistleblower of using “hearsay.”
- The claims seem to have been based on a since debunkedreport by the conservative site The Federalist about the whistleblower complaint form being updated.
Key takeaways: The inspector general makes clear that these claims are inaccurate and that by law the complainant “need not possess first-hand information in order to file a complaint or information with respect to an urgent concern.”
- The inspector general also notes that the whistleblower “stated on the form that he or she possessed both first-hand and other information” and that they had “direct knowledge of certain alleged conduct.”