FBI Must Prevent Retaliation Against Whistleblowers – US Senator

© AP Photo / Chairman of the Joint ChiefsUS Senate Foreign Relations Committee
US Senate Foreign Relations Committee - Sputnik International
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US Senator Patrick Leahy said that government whistleblowers need adequate protection against retaliation, especially in the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

 

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — Government whistleblowers need adequate protection against retaliation, especially in the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), US Senator Patrick Leahy said at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on whistleblower retaliation at the FBI.

“Government whistleblowers serve an essential role in providing accountability. It is important that all government employees are provided with strong and effective avenues to come forward with evidence of government waste, fraud and abuse,” Leahy said in a prepared statement on Wednesday. "To ensure that whistleblowers will come forward when they discover wrongdoing, they must be protected from retaliation."

US Federal law prohibits retaliation against whistleblowers, but the FBI was exempted from the regulations and allowed to establish its own policy and procedures. Above: FBI agents. - Sputnik International
FBI Whistleblower Policy Creates ‘Chilling Effect’ - US Government Watchdog
The US Government Accountability Office (GAO) said in a report published on Wednesday that the FBI does not have an adequate process in place to protect whistleblowers from retaliation. Department of Justice (DOJ) – under which the FBI falls – dismissed 44 of 62 complaints of whistleblower retaliation because whistleblowers reported to their supervisors instead of one of nine authorized high-ranking officials in the DOJ or FBI.

“By dismissing retaliation complaints based on a disclosure made to an employee’s supervisor or someone in that person’s chain of command, DOJ leaves some FBI whistleblowers without protection from retaliation. This DOJ policy could also permit retaliatory activity to go uninvestigated and create a chilling effect for future whistleblowers,” the GAO said.

Senator Leahy said the GAO report and another one by the Department of Justice “highlight the obstacles that remain for FBI employees to appropriately blow the whistle and seek protection from retaliation.”

US Federal law prohibits retaliation against whistleblowers.

 

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