According to a Senator Charles Grassley, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is potentially in violation of the anti-gag provision of the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act (WPEA). Sen. Grassley brought this issue to the attention of Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz in a February 10 letter.
In 2012, Sen. Grassley authored a provision of the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act (WPEA) to codify an “anti-gag” provision. This provision states that nondisclosure policies cannot supersede the right of federal employees to contact Congress. In addition, nondisclosure policies and forms must include the following statement:
“These provisions are consistent with and do not supersede, conflict with, or otherwise alter the employee obligations, rights, or liabilities created by existing statute or Executive order relating to (1) classified information, (2) communications to Congress, (3) the reporting to an Inspector General of a violation of any law, rule, or regulation, or mismanagement, a gross waste of funds, an abuse of authority, or a substantial and specific danger to public health or safety, or (4) any other whistleblower protection. The definitions, requirements, obligations, rights, sanctions, and liabilities created by controlling Executive orders and statutory provisions are incorporated into this agreement and are controlling.”
Sen. Grassley’s letter points out that while the DOJ’s websites outline the requirements of the WPEA, “it is alarming and disappointing to discover that your office is still using non-disclosure forms which do not comply.” He warned “The failure to include the WPEA disclaimer makes the form unenforceable.”
The February 10 letter is the third time Sen. Grassley has written to the DOJ requesting information about the agency’s implementation of this provision. He has not received a response to his previous letters.