Tomorrow, March 15th, in a "closed" mark-up at 2:30 pm EST, the members of the Senate Intelligence Committee plan to slip into an appropriations bill a provision that will give the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) and the heads of other intelligence agencies, such as the CIA and NSA, the power to strip whistleblowers of their pensions. The provision empowers intelligence agency bureaucrats to strip whistleblowers of their hard-earned pensions, simply by accusing them of leaking classified information.
This provision is so dangerous because intelligence agencies often retaliate against whistleblowers by accusing of them of leaking information. For example, prominent whistleblower Dr. Frederic Whitehurst, who blew the whistle on forensic fraud and misconduct at the FBI crime lab, was falsely accused of leaking information.
The government also retroactively classifies information as way of targeting whistleblowers. For example, in the case of FBI whistleblower Sibel Edmonds, who blew the whistle on national security breaches in the FBI’s translation division, the FBI retroactively marked as classified information about her allegations long after the same information had been publicly released by the FBI.
The Obama administration’s recent announcement targeting whistleblowers as part of its campaign to prevent leaks to the news media and Wikileaks makes situations such as Dr. Whitehurst and Ms. Edmonds more likely to occur.
Stripping pensions based on accusations of classified leaks will be yet another way that the government can retaliate against whistleblowers. It will also increase the existing chilling effect and deter federal employees from lawfully exposing waste, fraud and abuse. On the whim of the DNI, whistleblowers will lose their life savings and be forced into poverty.
The whistleblowers who lose their pensions will not be able to take their case to court. Instead, they will be forced to use the DNI’s Mickey Mouse administrative procedures to try to defend themselves. In other words, the DNI will be the prosecutor, the judge and the jury to strip pensions from whistleblowers.
Please take a minute to TAKE ACTION and Call Senator Dianne Feinstein, Chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, and tell her to stop threatening whistleblowers and withdraw such harmful language from the Intelligence Authorization Bill.
Senator Dianne Feinstein (202) 224-3841