Director Of National Intelligence 'Celebrates' National Whistleblower Day... Without Mentioning Snowden Once
from the he-who-shall-not-be-named,-who-did-the-things-that-shall-not-be-mentioned dept
In accordance with the new instructions to wrap its arms gingerly around transparency, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence is following the letter of the law in its tepid celebration of National Whistleblower Day.
The admission that this is something beyond the office's control doesn't appear until the fifth paragraph of the ODNI's "National Whistleblower Celebration Day" post -- which definitely gives it the appearance of being something it wouldn't have done if it had been given the choice.
The Senate Whistleblower Protection Caucus Introduced a resolution that designated July 30, 2016 as Whistleblower Appreciation Day. The resolution “encourages federal agencies to acknowledge employees who call attention to fraud waste and abuse and remind employees of their legal rights as whistleblowers.”
The lack of proper punctuation suggests this was copy-pasted from somewhere similarly comma- and enthusiasm-free. And while there are a few nods to the new mechanisms available to whistleblowers, the complaints will all end up in the ODNI's office sooner or later. This perhaps explains why there are so few of them, despite the program's supposedly "robust outreach" and "reprisal intake functions."
Ah. Robust. Eighteen blown whistles in two-and-a-half years, with zero landing before an outside review board.
On the other hand, there may be some sincerity in the post, seeing as Daniel Meyer -- the intelligence official quoted in the press release -- is probably in need of some whistleblower protection. Not only is he the Executive Director of IC Whistleblowing and Source Protection, he's also a customer:
The Obama administration’s top official overseeing how intelligence agencies handle whistleblower retaliation claims has lodged his own complaint, alleging he was punished for disclosing “public corruption.”
Daniel Meyer, who previously oversaw the Defense Department’s decisions on whistleblowing cases, also says he was targeted for being gay, according to records obtained by McClatchy.
Meyer made the allegations in a complaint before the Merit Systems Protection Board, an administrative panel that handles employment grievances from federal employees, after another agency rejected his claims.
There's also the matter of the elephant (who was once) in the room (but now resides somewhere in Russia). Despite there being widespread acknowledgment that Edward Snowden's leaks have been responsible for the first meaningful surveillance reforms in years, Snowden's name is nowhere to be found in the ODNI's celebratory post.
Maybe that's because the Presidential Policy Directive instituting better protections for intelligence community whistleblowers was issued in October 2012, well ahead of the initial Snowden leak. Maybe that's why the ODNI is completely restrained in its celebration of its most famous whistleblower. Then again, the PPD gave agencies 270 days to comply, which means most of them were forced to put this policy into effect just one month after Snowden's first leak, at the latest. That has to sting a little.
Whatever the case is -- whether it's a lack of actual wrongdoing or a system that still doesn't do quite enough to protect whistleblowers against reprisals -- the low number of complaints currently making their way through the system are being handled "lawfully," according to ODNI. This would put policy compliance in line with its multiple bulk interception/metadata programs, which have always been referred to as "lawful" during multiple "no comments" delivered in response to multiple leaks.
For all intents and purposes, it is Snowden Day, which now comes twice a year -- and will never be officially acknowledged once.