For Immediate Release
Lindsey M. Williams
NWC Response to Article Documenting Illegal FDA Surveillance
WASHINGTON - Today, the New York Times released a groundbreaking story on the government's secret spying program on a group of whistleblowers employed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Stephen M. Kohn, the Executive Director of the National Whistleblower Center and the lead attorney for the FDA whistleblowers, issued the following statement:
We hope that the revelations in today's New York Times will mark a turning point in the battle to stop the retaliatory surveillance of whistleblowers who risk their careers to report misconduct.
The spying program revealed in today's New York Times article was illegal. The story demonstrated how government mangers used a covert spying program to interfere with the ability of federal employees to lawfully report significant threats to the public safety to Congress, law enforcement officials and the American people. We hope that these public disclosures will mark the beginning of the end of government spying on employees who report misconduct to the appropriate authorities.
It is well established that American citizens do not forgo their First or Fourth Amendment Constitutional rights when they work for the government. The opposite is true. The U.S. Supreme Court and numerous lower courts have recognized the importance of protecting government workers who expose wrongdoing. These protections are vital to a democratic society. Government whistleblowers are often the most important source of information exposing government misconduct, corruption and the waste of taxpayer money.
The conduct by FDA managers, designed to undermine a group of doctors and scientists who reported significant health and safety violations, is deplorable. Those involved must be held accountable.
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.