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Intelligence Community Apparently Wants More Snowdens, Continues Ouster Of Official Whistleblower Channel

from the need-more-unauthorized-whistleblowing dept

The Intelligence Community — sixteen government agencies engaged in intelligence work under the ODNI’s direction — doesn’t have much in the way of effective oversight. It’s also not fond of whistleblowers, despite several legislative efforts to force the IC to play nice with those who report wrongdoing. Because of this, it’s been repeatedly rocked by leaks. That’s the sort of thing that happens when someone clamps down on the official whistleblowing routes: the pressure has to escape somewhere.

Things will get worse in the IC, especially for whistleblowers, before it gets any better… or if it gets any better. A few months ago, the IC began ousting its in-house oversight. Dan Meyers, the Inspector General for the IC, is slowly and steadily being stripped of his power. Not only is Meyers barred from communicating with whistleblowers, but he’s forbidden from briefing Congress or IC agencies about his office’s tasks. He’s also been stripped of his staff.

Things have gone from bad to worse, Jenna McLaughlin reports:

The chairman of the the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee is demanding to know why an employee in charge of whistleblower outreach was removed from his workplace “pending a tribunal.”

“I just learned that Dan Meyer, the Executive Director of Intelligence Community Whistleblowing and Source Protection, was placed on administrative leave and escorted out of his offices pending a tribunal before senior executives to consider his proposed termination,” wrote Sen. Chuck Grassley, a Republican from Iowa, in a letter sent November 29 to Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and Wayne Stone, the acting director of Office of the Inspector General of the Intelligence Community.

No one’s saying why Meyer is being booted from the IG’s office, but it appears to be related to the Trump administration’s war on leakers. There’s no room in the current administration for whistleblowing, and that’s going to be a problem going forward. Removing lifeboats won’t prevent a ship from being sunk.

Some inside the intelligence community remain concerned that sidelining Meyer, who helps employees field complaints legally, could inadvertently lead to the next major leaker, like former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

Meyer is out as Inspector General and no replacement has been picked to head the IC’s internal oversight. Senator Grassley, who’s generally been good on whistleblower issues, seems to feel Meyer’s ouster is retaliatory — that his office is viewed as a threat to the government for encouraging whistleblowers to come forward with evidence of misconduct or malfeasance.

Grassley argued it is important that Meyer be protected from retaliation for managing his whistleblower protection program, and demanded any records and documents relating to his case.

“For the agency to take such a drastic personnel action while there is no confirmed, permanent Inspector General in place irreparably undermines the independence of that office,” he wrote.

The lack of a successor is concerning. It shows the agencies involved in the ouster aren’t interested in any form of oversight, much less honoring laws protecting whistleblowers. IC employees with concerns will have no official outlet to bring their complaints and concerns to. This leaves only unofficial routes, which certainly can’t be the administration’s intention. Agencies with the power to violate rights en masse via unauthorized or misused surveillance can’t be left to sort out their own internal issues.

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Comments on “Intelligence Community Apparently Wants More Snowdens, Continues Ouster Of Official Whistleblower Channel”

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Anonymous Coward says:

Downside of thus is obvious!

The intelligence comunity kept blathering about how Snowden was in the wrong for not going through the official channels first back then. Now with this there are no oficial channels left to breathlessly point to when the next big leaker/whistleblowers come forward. Its not like the leaks will stop because of this its that the administration is now left without a oft used talking point in their own defense when it comes to whistleblowers.

Anonymous Coward says:

OR it could be Meyers is a Fixer PREVENTING leaks against the Deep State.

You don’t and can’t possibly know what Meyers has actually done. It’s standard procedure to put loyalists in the very offices that are supposed to serve the public good. That’s the way to bet.

You just use it to yet again attack Trump with your rabid New York Times / Washington Post / liberal weenie bias. But Trump could actually be removing a problem. It’s just cloaked — as “intelligence agencies” always do — in lies.

We don’t know, but continued exposure and stirring up of Swamp Creatures is all to the good that I see. Even at random is fine, because now and then some ugly truth comes to light. So let’s have MORE STIRRING.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: OR it could be Meyers is a Fixer PREVENTING leaks against the Deep State.

out_of_the_blue likes to complain that Techdirt supports globalism and corporatism at the expense of the average person… but as soon as Techdirt reports that the government is misbehaving he will suck, suck, suck that authoritarianism phallus and blame Masnick for challenging the status quo.

Seriously, Mike, just publish that article on advocating breathing next year.

ECA (profile) says:

Is it time??

With all the BS piling up..

When are we going to PUT THINGS BACK to where they are supposed to be?

Is it time to start CUTTING WAGES?
Firing and hiring people that are SMARTER, then us..these idiots are getting us into trouble.

It was bad enough when ALL our tinkering was under the table, and hidden..NOW they are doing it above board, and in the light and STILL WE DONT STOP PLAYING GOD..

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