Whistleblower Protections Moving Forward

On Oct. 10, President Obama issued a groundbreaking directive that will lead to new protections for federal employees who report misconduct in the intelligence community, which includes agencies like the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). The new policy, which has been a long-sought goal of the open government community, will guard whistleblowers against retaliation. The directive delivers on the administration's commitment under the Open Government Partnership to work to strengthen whistleblower protections, and many in the open government community applauded the new policy.

Specifically, the Presidential Policy Directive on Protecting Whistleblowers with Access to Classified Information prohibits agencies from retaliating against intelligence employees or those with access to classified information who report misconduct through proper channels. The directive also sets up a review and appeals process to enforce those rights, as well as remedies for whistleblowers who were mistreated.

Strong whistleblower protections encourage public servants to speak up when they see misconduct so that problems can be addressed. No government employee should fear losing a job because he or she exposed a problem.

The directive comes two weeks after the House passed the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act, a bill that would strengthen protections for federal whistleblowers, but which excludes the intelligence community.

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