Monday, February 02, 2009

Major DC papers present different slants on federal employee whistleblower protection; it's complicated right now!

The Washington Times this morning reported an effort by a number of groups to ask President Barack Obama to restore the jobs of a number of people who have lost federal jobs for “Whistleblowing”, particularly in Federal Air Marshall Service. Back in 2005, Don Strange had challenged air marshall dress codes (which were said to make them stand out and become potential targets), and George Taylor, who had a severe case of barotitis media from heavy duty. The story, by Audrey Hudson, titled “Whistleblowers seek protection: air marshalls who challenged procedures lost their careers”, has this link in the Feb. 2 paper. The organizations involved in pressuring the president include the Bill of Rights Foundation, the National Taxpayers Union, the National Whistleblowers Center, the Project on Government Oversight, Public Citizen, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, the Whistleblower Mentoring Project, and Open the Government. The Washington Times made this a front page story.

The Whistleblowers Center has a letter, representing 269 groups, urging the passing of a 2009 Whistleblower Protection Act (HR 985, govtrack link here; and S. 274 (look up similarly) in the 110th Congress).

The Washington Post has a lead editorial “Wrong Way to Protect: Senators should remove a flawed whistleblower provision from the stimulus package,” on p A12 today. Feb. 2, here. The Post points out that the Senate version from the 110th Congress was weakened, but considers it bad political strategy to mix this desirable end with economic stimulus.

There is a related story on my IT blog Jan. 26 about a Supreme Court decision and a school district whistleblower, blog entry here.

Update: Feb. 5

The Washington Times has an editorial on p A22, Thursday Feb. 5, "Whistle-Blowers are desirable", link here. It mentions the experience of former Minneapolis FBI agent Colleen Rowley in 2002. Then, she issued a blistering report of testimony to Congress, including this question: "If, as you have said, “the prevention of another terrorist attack remains the FBI’s top priority,” why is it that we have not attempted to interview Zacarias Moussaoui, the only suspect in U.S. custody charged with having a direct hand in the horror of 9-11?"

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