Internal report finds Pentagon gives whistleblowers a raw deal

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Abuses of power by government officials don’t go away no matter who wins the election. Every administration needs independent watchdogs and whistleblowers to hold government accountable for wrongdoing and failures to uphold the law.  “The Defense Department has inadequately protected from reprisals whistleblowers who have reported wrongdoing, according to an internal Pentagon report,” the Washington Post reported May 6.  The Pentagon’s Office of Inspector General “has not respected the law’s mandate,” said Tom Devine, legal director at the Government Accountability Project.

From the Washington Post (excerpt – read the full article):

Pentagon report says Defense Department whistleblowers have been left vulnerable to reprisals

The Defense Department has inadequately protected from reprisals whistleblowers who have reported wrongdoing, according to an internal Pentagon report, and critics are calling for action to be taken against those who have been negligent.

The report, dated May 2011, accuses the officials, who work in the Defense Department’s Office of Inspector General, of persistent sloppiness and a systematic disregard for Pentagon rules meant to protect those who report fraud, abuses and the waste of taxpayer funds, according to a previously undisclosed copy. The report was obtained by the Project on Government Oversight, a nonprofit watchdog group …

The actions included threatened or actual discharges, demotions, firings, prosecutions and a mental health referral. At least one of the alleged reprisals was taken because the complainer had written to Congress, an act that Pentagon regulations say is a “protected communication” immune from retaliation. …

“This devastating report proves one of our worst fears — that military whistleblowers have systematically been getting a raw deal,” said Danielle Brian, executive director of the Project on Government Oversight, which obtained the report under the Freedom of Information Act. …

“This report helps to confirm what everyone knew in practice — that the IG has not respected the law’s mandate,” said Tom Devine, legal director for the Government Accountability Project, a nonprofit advocacy group that has represented Pentagon employees in lawsuits challenging alleged reprisals. …

Climate Science Watch is a sponsored project of the Government Accountability Project. As part of our mission we champion government and corporate whistleblowers who bring to light inside information that the public needs to know and that the power elite seeks to keep hidden.

Earlier posts:

Archive: Whistleblowers

The 2012 Ridenhour Prizes

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