By Orhan Cam shutterstock photo ID: 545314126

Whistleblower's complaint disqualified by DNI

A federal employee in mid-August filed a whistleblower complaint to the Inspector General of the Intelligence Committee, alleging that—according to a number of media reports in the Washington Post, New York Times and wire services—the President made a promise to an as-yet unidentified foreign leader that could jeopardize the security of the United States. Whether the complaint turns out to be true or not, it’s what has happened in the short-term since that should be of especially keen interest to federal employees across all agencies.

The federal employee’s move, according to the Project on Government Oversight, a non-profit good government group, should have activated certain provisions of the Intelligence Community Whistleblower Protection Act, protecting the employee’s position if there is merit to the complaint. Specifically, as outlined in research by POGO, the acting Director of National Intelligence, Joseph Maguire, should have referred the matter within a week of receiving it to congressional intelligence committees for their consideration.

Instead, by way of what might be a loophole in the law, Maguire did not move forward with providing appropriate parts of Congress with the information. The DNI’s general counsel has since claimed that, as the POGO piece summarizes, “because the complaint involves someone outside the intelligence community the Intelligence Community Whistleblower Act does not apply.”

Other defenders of federal employee rights, like POGO, are joining in expressing concern over the failure to inform the appropriate congressional authorities in full about the whistleblower complaint—as well as what looks like a purposeful failure to protect the whistleblower.

“What’s so troubling here is, one, that [the complaint] has been designated as being urgent—and urgent means it is a very serious national security risk,” Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.), said on CNN Sept. 19. “And, secondly, that this whistleblower now may not have any of the protections for a whistleblower, because the DNI chose to inform the Department of Justice, and the Attorney General then opined that, ‘No, this doesn’t come under the whistleblower statute.”

“Which means this particular individual could be subject to reprisals,” Speier continued. “So, it’s undercutting—it’s eviscerating, frankly—the whistleblower protection law, which over its course has saved taxpayers billions of dollars in monies that were the subject of fraud or abuse, and have called out people who have violated the law.”

Speier noted that the inspector general at the center of this situation—who referred the matter to the DNI, after deeming the complaint credible and urgent, was appointed by President Trump.

The White House has pushed back against allegations of wrongdoing.

Reader comments

Thu, Sep 26, 2019

The whistleblower here seems an honest person. We can see that now as the WH gets nasty.

Tue, Sep 24, 2019 Sandra Florida

The amount feds give has gone down. Charities need it. The economy has not been nice to many people, and many parts of the country. We really need to do it this year, folks!

Tue, Sep 24, 2019

Corrupt managers are awarded bonuses and perks from their superiors since they all feed from the same corrupt trough. It is ok to be age gender biased since all managers endorse such activity.

Mon, Sep 23, 2019

So what! The whistleblower System is so difficult and guarantees nothing. There has been no appointments made to the there are THOUSANDS of cases that will take years to be dealt with...I blame Congress they are holding up the justice and it Congresses fault! Do a story on that! look into some of the cases that have been waiting years to be heard.

Mon, Sep 23, 2019

Just like the no fear act which actually translates to you will be shelved, your career is now stalled, being honest has consequences since the corrupt management will cover each other to continue such activities and cover it up as a disgruntled employee. The big outfit in Bethesda, has numerous complaints that were retaliated against the employee who forwarded it.

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Edward A. Zurndorfer Certified Financial Planner
Mike Causey Columnist
Tom Fox VP for Leadership and Innovation, Partnership for Public Service
Mathew B. Tully Legal Analyst

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