Department of Justice Opposes Court Access for National Security Whistleblowers

For Immediate Release

Contact: 

David K. Colapinto, Michael D. Kohn and
Stephen M. Kohn (202) 342-6980
Lindsey M. Williams (202) 342-1903
Cell (570) 362-3179

Department of Justice Opposes Court Access for National Security Whistleblowers

President Obama Urged to Reject DOJ Opposition to Whistleblower Protection

WASHINGTON - May 14, 2009.  In testimony
presented today by the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Policy, the
DOJ opposed giving national security whistleblowers judicial due
process protections.  The policy presented by the DOJ was in stark
contrast to the position taken by President Obama during the
presidential campaign, when his campaign endorsed judicial protection for all federal employee whistleblowers.  

In
response to the DOJ position, David K. Colapinto, General Counsel of
the National Whistleblowers Center, and Michael D. Kohn, attorney for
Bunnatine Greenhouse, issued the following statements on behalf of the
National
Whistleblowers Center:

"Without granting national security
whistleblowers full court access, the administrative scheme proposed by
the Department of Justice is doomed to fail."  

"The Obama
administration should not bend to the pressure of the national security
bureaucracy.  That bureaucracy  retaliated against whistleblowers who
warned of the 9/11 attack and misled the American people concerning the
justifications for invading Iraq."  

"That same bureaucracy
removed Bunnatine Greenhouse from her job as the top civilian
procurement officer at the Army Corps of Engineers.  Greenhouse was the
only federal official who opposed the billion dollar no-bid contracts
for Halliburton - contracts that cost the taxpayers billions of dollars
in waste and fraud during the "reconstruction" of Iraq.  Under the DOJ
proposal, Greenhouse would remain without any effective means to
vindicate her rights."

"Over the past
twenty-five years, weak and ineffective administrative remedies for
federal employee whistleblowers have completely failed.  We cannot
afford more of the same.  Federal employees need
whistleblower reforms that will actually result in real protections."
 

"DOJ justified stripping whistleblowers from access to court under
the pretext of protecting confidentiality.  However, the Justice
Department ignored the findings of a comprehensive General Accounting Office report.
The GAO concluded that whistleblowers can have full due process rights
(including access to courts) without jeopardizing national security. 
The GAO identified specific procedures currently in place that would
prevent the improper release of classified information if national
security employees were provided full court access."
  

"The Obama administration must live up to its campaign promise to
support the House Bill which ensures court access for all federal
employees."
 

"It is more important than ever that every American contact their member of Congress
and urge them in the strongest possible terms to provide courageous
whistleblowers with the protections they need.  These courageous
employees who risk their jobs and careers to expose waste, fraud, and
corruption deserve our support." 
 

Witness testimonies and other information concerning the May 14,
2009 Hearings before the House Committee on Government Oversight may be
obtained here.

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Since 1988, the NWC and attorneys associated with it have supported whistleblowers in the courts and before Congress and achieved victories for environmental protection, government contract fraud, nuclear safety and government and corporate accountability.

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