Whistleblower Reports Integral to Accountability
Whistleblower Reports Integral to Accountability
I want to get something out of the way at once: the following post has little to do with the whistleblower who filed a report against President Trump. It has nothing to do with Democrats, Republicans, Adam Schiff, or any other garbage we have seen going during the past month or so.
What I am writing about is the effort to expose the person who filed the whistleblower complaint – even by the most “libertarian” on Capitol Hill, and the negative consequences these efforts could have on government transparency and accountability.
President Donald Trump “has great courage” and “faces down the fake media every day,” said Sen. Rand Paul (R–Ky.) on Monday. At a Trump 2020 rally in Lexington, Kentucky, Paul called upon media to out the whistleblower who first raised objections about Trump’s July call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy. Paul also asked colleagues in Congress to make both the whistleblower and Joe Biden’s son Hunter testify.
“We also now know the name of the whistleblower,” said Paul. “I say tonight to the media, ‘Do your job and print his name!’ And I say this to my fellow colleagues in Congress, to every Republican in Washington, ‘Step up and subpoena Hunter Biden and subpoena the whistleblower!'”
Rand Paul used to be a great proponent of government accountability, and was dedicated to defending those who report wrongdoing from retribution. But while traitorous piece of garbage Edward Snowden (who, instead of addressing his perception of wrongdoing on the part of the US Government to his chain of command, ran abroad and exposed our most sensitive collection methods to the media and to our adversaries), somehow inspired Paul to work to ensure that even government contractors were protected from retribution when they report wrongdoing, the whistleblower who apparently followed every legal protocol when reporting what he (and others) believed to have been wrongdoing on the part of the President in the Ukraine flap, in Rand Paul’s mind, apparently warrants exposure in the media and retribution.
What the hell happened to Rand Paul? Why is he actively calling for retaliation for political gain?
For the record, it’s not the media’s job to expose innocent people to threats, intimidation, or worse, jackass.
Whether or not you believe that the whistleblower’s complaint had merit is completely irrelevant here. Acting DNI Joe Maguire – a Trump appointee – confirmed that the whistleblower followed proper protocols when filing his report. “I believe the whistle-blower is operating in good faith,” he stated in his testimony, adding that the whistleblower “has followed the law.”
It is up to the whistleblower to report what they believe to be wrongdoing. It’s up to the government to examine those claims and determine their credibility. The public sector whistleblower must only reasonably believe that the disclosed information showed a violation of law, gross mismanagement, gross waste of funds, abuse of authority, or a substantial and specific danger to public safety or health.
And the government must react. In the military, senior officers who fail to act on information provided to them regarding crime or incompetence are subject to permanent reduction in rank or court-martial. Civilians who occupy senior pay grades have similar requirements and restrictions. Federal employees in the intelligence community are more limited than others by national security concerns and have signed non-disclosure agreements to limit exposure, but I have not seen anything that indicates the whistleblower in this case exposed classified information to anyone but the people who had the need to know and who had a duty to investigate the allegations.
Would the Office of the Inspector General have found wrongdoing? I have no idea. From everything I’ve read about the Trump-Ukraine case, there is nothing impeachable in his conduct. Icky? Yes, because of the appearance of impropriety. Impeachable? No.
But that does not and should not matter. The substance of the complaint does not determine whether or not the whistleblower warrants protection against retaliation, as long as the whistleblower acted in good faith, which in this case it appears he or she did.
But some of the erstwhile defenders of government accountability have now become proponents of retaliation against government employees who, in good faith, report what they believe to be wrongdoing!
President Trump himself just last year demanded increased whistleblower protections for UN employees who come forward to report wrongdoing at the organization.
On September 18, President Trump explicitly demanded that the United Nations adopt and enforce effective whistleblower protections as part of a reform package at the Organization. On September 19, he implicitly reiterated this demand. He specifically asserted that the US will exact from the United Nations a commitment to the outcomes of UN programs, and argued that the United States is not interested in bureaucratic foot-dragging and process.
So why is it that he and his supporters are now demanding that the name of the whistleblower be exposed in the media, which will most assuredly cost the person their livelihood, possibly their family, and definitely their reputation?
The ability to report government wrongdoing is integral to the accountability and transparency we all demand from our elected officials. Scum like Chelsea (formerlyBradley) Manning, Reality Winner, and Edward Snowden cannot and should not be considered whistleblowers. They leaked classified information to the media – and in Manning’s case, a slimy organization dedicated to perverting government accountability into a looking glass for the nosy, compromising national security in favor of a non-compromising “right to know” – without going through their chain of command, without reporting what they believed to have been wrongdoing, and leaking classified information they legally promised to protect to media organizations.
The major difference between protected whistle-blowing activity and leaking is that a whistleblower reports the information to federal officials designated by statute to receive it, whereas a leaker reports the information to someone who is not authorized to receive it (i.e. the media or an uncleared individual). Designated federal officials generally include the individual’s supervisor, agency head, Office of Inspector General, Office of Special Counsel, and Congress.
Many have wondered why – if the whistleblower believes something untoward has gone on – will he or she not step forward. The reasons are easy to suss out. When you have the President calling you “almost a spy,” essentially accusing you of treason – a crime punishable by death – would you come forward? When you have a sitting senator calling on the media to disclose your identity, and bringing the wrath of imbeciles down upon your head, as well as exposing you to possible retaliation and your family to threats, would you feel comfortable coming forward?
Regardless of whether or not this whistleblower complaint is found to be credible, the person who filed it deserves the most stringent protections. Exposing this officer’s identity will make others who would report government wrongdoing less willing to come forward. It will show that our government only pays lip service to accountability. It will make others, whose complaints may be credible, from holding their employer – the federal government – accountable.
And given the amount of corruption, fraud, waste, and abuse that exists in the federal bureaucracy, this is the last thing we want.