Whistleblower Protections Seen as "Key" to "Preventing" Another Successful Terrorist Attack

For Immediate Release

Contact: 

David Colapinto  (202) 342-6980
Lindsey M. Williams  (202) 342-1903
lmw@whistleblowers.org

Whistleblower Protections Seen as "Key" to "Preventing" Another Successful Terrorist Attack

Time Magazine "Woman of the Year" Urges Congress to Honor the Anniversary of 9/11 by Enacting Protections for National Security Whistleblowers

WASHINGTON - On the 8th anniversary of the
terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, FBI
whistleblower Coleen Rowley issued a plea to the President and Congress
to immediately enact whistleblower protections for national security
employees.   In her letter Ms. Rowley stated:

"Today is the
8th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and
the Pentagon.  There are many ways that we can honor the lives lost and
one of them is preventing it from happening again.  Strong
whistleblower protections for national security whistleblowers are the
key."

"I blew the whistle on the failure of the
government to approve a search warrant for Zacarias Moussaoui, an al
Qaeda operative who was attending flight school just weeks before the
tragic attack.  The flight school instructors had numerous concerns
which matched up with intelligence from
abroad."

"Unfortunately as an FBI whistleblower, I
learned the hard way what exposing this and other post 9-11 mistakes
means to your career and your entire life."  

"Although I
was honored by Time magazine in being named a Person of the Year for
having blown the whistle on this terrible security lapse, I know of so
many other national security whistleblowers that lost their jobs and
livelihood simply by doing the right thing.  They need legal
protection!  They need it now!"

"We must make sure that
the President and every member of the House and Senate hear our voice
and know that we need strong whistleblower protections for national
security employees that include the right of court access and trial by
jury for
national security whistleblowers. Please take action now before it is
too late to prevent the next major terrorist attack."

A copy of Ms. Rowley's entire letter is attached here.

Ms.
Rowley worked as an FBI agent at the time, and blew the whistle on the
government's failure to approve a search warrant for one of the al
Qaeda operatives who was attending flight school shortly before the
attack.  In 2002 she was named one of three "Person's of the Year" by
Time Magazine due as a result of the courage she demonstrated as a
whistleblower, and the importance of her disclosures in protecting
national security and fixing long-standing problems within intelligence
agencies.

Ms. Rowley's letter urges support for the Van
Hollen-Platts Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act, which provides
protections for national security whistleblowers,
including due process rights and access to the federal courts.  The
Senate bill does not include these rights.  It is expected that
Congress will take action on federal employee
whistleblower rights this month.

Stephen M. Kohn, the
Executive Director of the National Whistleblowers Center confirmed that
"after 9/11/01 scores of highly placed national security whistleblowers
were retaliated against or fired for having the courage to disclose
threats to our nation or outright incompetence at the FBI, CIA and
other agencies.  The American people have paid the price for letting
these agencies off hook, and excluding their employees from
whistleblower protections.  Twice the House of Representatives has
passed legislation to fix this problem.  Twice the Senate failed to
act.  It's time to get the job done.   National security employees know
that they can be fired simply for reporting waste, fraud and abuse. 
They watched
as their colleagues who reported abuses after 9/11 were demoted,
harassed or fired.  When these workers are bullied into silence, the
American people are the real losers."

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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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