Target: John Boehner, Speaker of the House
Goal: Create law that actually protects whistleblowers from retaliation at the federal and military level.
Whistleblowers in America consistently have their lives ruined financially, emotionally and criminally for courageously exposing necessary truths. With all of America’s high-profile whistleblowers either in prison, seeking amnesty overseas or losing their jobs, it is clear that the whistleblower protection laws are offering no protections. Without whistleblowers, Americans wouldn’t know the truth behind President Barack Obama’s drone war or have any idea that our freedom of privacy was being impeded by the National Security Agency (NSA). We cannot push for reform against Wall Street or stop torture and other military abuses overseas if we are unaware of the crimes occurring. Whistleblowers stand for freedom and justice, yet are treated as enemy spies and criminals.
Hillary Clinton falsely stated during the Democratic debate that Edward Snowden chose to break the law instead of receiving “all of the protections of being a whistleblower.” The Whistleblower Protection Act is misleading in sounding like it ensures protection to whistleblowers, however, the law is hollow and hardly ever enacted.
The Military Whistleblower Protection Act is even weaker than the federal one. Chelsea Manning didn’t receive any protection when she was sentenced to 35 years in prison for exposing American military crimes in Iraq and a culture of “Call of Duty” type disregard for human life while shooting at civilians.
The military is notorious for covering up top officials’ misconduct and violators are rarely punished. A recent example is that of Adm. Brian Losey, who received a promotion after a Pentagon investigation found him guilty of illegally retaliating against staff members he suspected of whistleblowing. Military whistleblowers have to meet a higher burden of proof to press charges; Investigators upheld only three percent of whistleblowers’ claims in the Defense Department last year. The odds are so stacked against military whistleblowers that the protection act has been called a trap to find and discharge these perceived “traitors.”
John Kiriakou, a former CIA analyst and whistleblower, has said he wishes the American government’s treatment of whistleblowers would reflect the Greeks, whose translation for whistleblower is “guardian of the public trust.” Urge the United States government to stop persecuting our guardians of truth, and strengthen the laws to provide them with real protection.
Dear Speaker Boehner,
America’s persecution against whistleblowers must end. From employees at financial institutions to military personnel, it is now clear that you will be labeled as a traitor and lose your job, money and freedom if you become a whistleblower. For a country that proclaims values of truth and liberty, there is no excuse for reprimanding courageous citizens for exposing vital and necessary information.
The current whistleblower protection laws stop at the federal level, even though the military claims to have them. Immunities are granted to high-ranking military officials, making it nearly impossible for lower-ranking personnel to bring any claims against them. At the state and federal level, whistleblowers are harassed, demoted or fired, and left with financial burdens and emotional scars.
The American government has whistleblower protection laws in place as a safeguard to get away with persecuting whistleblowers. I am urging you to please strengthen and place credibility in federal and military level whistleblower protections laws so that these truth seekers can be celebrated, not persecuted.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Mike Herbst