I find it amazing when I look over these past seventeen years of having been involved with the National Whistleblowers Center and the law firm of Kohn, Kohn and Colapinto that we have not moved so much further ahead in this nation with protections for whistleblowers. In 1992 when I first approached the law firm of Kohn, Kohn, and Colapinto to represent me in my attempts to address the problems at the FBI crime lab, we were a nation in denial. Whistleblowers had a history of being dealt with brutally. And today the same brutality is evident in every whistleblower case the law firm and the NWC handles. Today I look at the BP disaster in the Gulf of Mexico as countless lives and resources are destroyed and know that somewhere in that group of people who brought this disaster on our nation, there were potential whistleblowers who said to themselves that the risks of blowing the whistle on BP malpractices were just not worth the dangers to themselves and their families. After all, this nation cares little for the rights and protections of individuals who would proactively stop such disasters. This lack of concern is reflected in the actions of our Congressmen and Senators, some of whom have labored hard and diligently to establish whistleblower protections while most ignore obvious safeguards for our nation, our citizens and our natural resources. If we do not wake up in the face of this, the worst environmental disaster in history created by lax standards by the British Petroleum Corporation, then we deserve what we get.
In our recent attempts to strengthen whistleblower protections we have even faced almost insurmountable barriers to whistleblower protections from President Obama’s staff, in fact efforts to thoroughly gut whistleblower protections by that very staff. Present Barack Obama cannot be so blind as to believe that gutting whistleblower protections will do anything but lead to repeats in other forms of the BP environmental disaster we see going on now. And yet, as a nation, we maintain a society where individuals who would expose serious dangers to this nation are treated as criminals.
These many years later, I remain confused and saddened by this state of affairs, by the mistreatment of whistleblowers and the lack of protections for those individuals who would put the safety of this nation above the safety of themselves and their own families. In days gone by, these patriots would have been treated as heroes. Today, they are simply martyrs to lost causes. This is a shame on our nation, on our President and on our Congress.