Former NSA inspector general George Ellard was found by a high-level Intelligence Community panel to have retaliated in May against a whistleblower.
“The closely held but unclassified finding against Ellard is not public. It was reached by following new whistleblower protections set forth by President Obama in an executive order, Presidential Policy Directive 19. (A President Trump could, in theory, eliminate the order.) Following PPD-19 procedures, a first-ever External Review Panel (ERP) composed of three of the most experienced watchdogs in the US government was convened to examine the issue,” the Project on Government Oversight (POGO) reported. “The trio — IG’s of the Justice Department, Treasury, and CIA – overturned an earlier finding of the Department of Defense IG, which investigated Ellard but was unable to substantiate his alleged retaliation.”
“The finding against Ellard is extraordinary and unprecedented,” Stephen Aftergood, director of the secrecy program at the Federation of American Scientists, told POGO. “This is the first real test drive for a new process of protecting intelligence whistleblowers. Until now, they’ve been at the mercy of their own agencies, and dependent on the whims of their superiors. This process is supposed to provide them security and a procedural foothold.”
“The case, which is still in progress, offers hopeful signs that the new framework may be working,” Aftergood added.
In a 2014 panel discussion at Georgetown University, Ellard declared that “Snowden could have come to me.”
“We have surprising success in resolving the complaints that are brought to us,” Ellard said during the panel, adding, “Perhaps it’s the case that we could have shown, we could have explained to Mr. Snowden his misperceptions, his lack of understanding of what we do.”