Ted Lieu, a Democratic Representative from California’s Los Angeles County, just tweeted something very important: A guide for Federal Employees who may feel the need to turn whistleblower in the current climate of lies from the Trump Administration.
— Ted Lieu (@tedlieu) March 3, 2017
Speaking Truth To Power
Lieu and Congressman Don Beyer (D | Virginia) released the resource guide on February 16, 2017. “The guide explains how to safely and responsibly share information as granted by the First Amendment, while also avoiding the pitfalls of disrupting government agencies. The Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act protects employees from retaliation when they report violations such as “an abuse of authority,” or “a substantial and specific danger to public health or safety.” Classified materials aren’t covered, for those who think this would encourage illegal disclosures. It does not.
The guide suggests methods like “Snail mail to the press” with no return address, and encrypted messages. Reporting to a federal agency’s independent Inspector General is also discussed.
Though Representative Lieu has brought this back into the spotlight, protections for Whistleblowers, corporate or government, have been in place for decades. The Government Accountability Project is the nation’s leading whistleblower protection and advocacy organization. It was started in 1977 and has helped over 6,000 whistleblowers.
As The Government Accountability Project explains on Twitter, there is a difference between whistleblowing and leaking. Whistleblowers intent is to expose wrongdoing, while the intentions of leaking can be less “high-minded” or even villainous.
Ever wondered about the difference between "whistleblowing" and "leaking"? GAP's Tom Devine explains! https://t.co/sk0AsZdh8p
— Gov Acct Proj (@GovAcctProj) February 24, 2017
Donald Trump has attempted to focus attention on the legality of leaks to turn attention away from the actual information in those leaks. However, there was a totally different story when it was WikiLeaks disclosing Hillary Clinton’s emails.
You didn't say the same thing about WikiLeaks!!!
Isn't it nice when the truth unravels corruption, lies, & cover-ups?
— William LeGate (@williamlegate) March 3, 2017
In today’s political climate, Trump is attacking 1st Amendment rights, villainizing the media, and condemning leaks –but only if they work against him.
There is news today that Vice President Pence’s private emails have been hacked, despite their cries of “Lock her up” over the WikiLeaks of Hillary’s private emails. Karma is a bitch.
In a related story, the California Supreme Court ruled Thursday that texts and emails sent by public employees on their personal devices or accounts are a matter of public record if they deal with official business.
By this California ruling, private devices, like Trump’s android phone for example, would likely not be searched. Pence’s emails, on the other hand, would be public record, unless the subject of the email was primarily personal and unrelated to the public’s business. In both cases, leaking and/or hacking clearly remains a threat. The ruling sends a message to public officials that they should not try to evade public scrutiny, no matter what political party they belong to.
Featured image: The Office of the Whistleblower from Wikimedia Commons