National security whistleblowers pay a price for doing the right thing

Joe Davidson of the Washington Post contacted three former national security whistleblowers whose stories of “official revenge are a frightful warning to the CIA staffer. Yet all three would do it again, in service to their country.”

One of them is Jane Turner, a 25-year veteran special agent with the FBI. She led the FBI’s programs for women and children on North Dakota Indian reservations. After reporting problems within the child crime program, Turner was retaliated against.

From the Post

 She fought back. A 2015 Government Accountability Report critical of FBI whistleblower procedures said the Justice Department “ultimately found in her favor in 2013 — over 10 years later.”

“Was the destruction of my career and family worth the excruciating time and money, ostracism and vilification? No,” she said Wednesday. “Was standing up and doing the ethical, legal and moral whistleblowing the right thing? Yes. Would I do it again? My moral and legal compass would not allow any different course of action.”

Her advice to the CIA whistleblower: “Carefully weigh the costs to you, your family and your career when deciding whether to blow the whistle. And document, document, document … because the hierarchy will lie.”

Turner is chair of the NWC Whistleblower Leadership Council. 


The Post story also revisited the case of Teresa Chambers, a U.S. Park Police chief.

Her on-the-record remarks for a 2003 Washington Post article led to her firing. Her comments, about the need for more officers to patrol the Baltimore-Washington Parkway and federal lands in the District, seemed innocuous. But they led to retaliation from her supervisors, she said.

Chambers was reinstated after an emotionally draining fight — “seven years, one month and 26 days after my nightmare began” — against the government she protected.

 Despite the retribution, she is “absolutely” glad she spoke out.

“Telling the truth, especially as a police official, is always the right thing to do,” she said.


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