Obama expands whistleblower protections to cover intelligence agencies

Villiers Steyn/Shutterstock.com

President Obama has extended whistleblower protections to cover employees working in the intelligence and national security fields.

According to presidential policy directive, PPD-19, signed Wednesday, employees who have access to confidential information can report waste, fraud and abuse without fear of retribution. Specifically, the directive prohibits agencies considered part of the intelligence community from retaliating against employees who make such reports to the appropriate authorities or curtailing their access to classified information.

The directive gives agency heads 270 days to modify their personnel policies to create a process for employees to report violations. It also orders them to develop an appeals process for employees who feel they have had their security clearance privileges wrongly removed.

The new policy directive adds the protections for national security employees who weren’t included in whistleblower legislation Congress passed. The House approved the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act last month. The Senate cleared similar legislation in May and will revisit the issue in November.

The Government Accountability Project, a watchdog group, praised the Obama administration’s policy directive in a statement released Thursday morning. GAP Legal Director Tom Devine said intelligence employees now have the means to combat waste and fraud within channels inside their agencies. He added, however, the policy directive was only the beginning and cautioned there are disincentives to protecting whistleblowers.

“There are only false due process teeth on the horizon,” Devine said. “Regulations to enforce whistleblower rights will be written by the same agencies that routinely are the defendants in whistleblower retaliation lawsuits.”

The nonprofit Project on Government Oversight had similar sentiments on the Obama administration’s policy directive. In a statement posted on the group’s website Wednesday, Angela Canterbury, director of public policy, said the move was a long time coming and “fills a large void” in whistleblower protections.

“We have repeatedly urged that anti-leak efforts include authentic protections for those who make lawful disclosures of wrongdoing in the intelligence community,” Canterbury wrote. “With the stroke of his pen today, President Obama did just that and took unparalleled action to protect whistleblowers, for which we are truly gratified and grateful.”

(Image via Villiers Steyn/Shutterstock.com)

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by Brocade

    Best of 2016 Federal Forum eBook

    Earlier this summer, Federal and tech industry leaders convened to talk security, machine learning, network modernization, DevOps, and much more at the 2016 Federal Forum. This eBook includes a useful summary highlighting the best content shared at the 2016 Federal Forum to help agencies modernize their network infrastructure.

    Download
  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    GBC Flash Poll Series: Merger & Acquisitions

    Download this GBC Flash Poll to learn more about federal perspectives on the impact of industry consolidation.

    Download
  • Sponsored by One Identity

    One Nation Under Guard: Securing User Identities Across State and Local Government

    In 2016, the government can expect even more sophisticated threats on the horizon, making it all the more imperative that agencies enforce proper identity and access management (IAM) practices. In order to better measure the current state of IAM at the state and local level, Government Business Council (GBC) conducted an in-depth research study of state and local employees.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    The Next Federal Evolution of Cloud

    This GBC report explains the evolution of cloud computing in federal government, and provides an outlook for the future of the cloud in government IT.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    A DevOps Roadmap for the Federal Government

    This GBC Report discusses how DevOps is steadily gaining traction among some of government's leading IT developers and agencies.

    Download
  • Sponsored by LTC Partners, administrators of the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program

    Approaching the Brink of Federal Retirement

    Approximately 10,000 baby boomers are reaching retirement age per day, and a growing number of federal employees are preparing themselves for the next chapter of their lives. Learn how to tackle the challenges that today's workforce faces in laying the groundwork for a smooth and secure retirement.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise

    Cyber Defense 101: Arming the Next Generation of Government Employees

    Read this issue brief to learn about the sector's most potent challenges in the new cyber landscape and how government organizations are building a robust, threat-aware infrastructure

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    GBC Issue Brief: Cultivating Digital Services in the Federal Landscape

    Read this GBC issue brief to learn more about the current state of digital services in the government, and how key players are pushing enhancements towards a user-centric approach.

    Download
  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    Joint Enterprise Licensing Agreements

    Read this eBook to learn how defense agencies can achieve savings and efficiencies with an Enterprise Software Agreement.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Cloudera

    Government Forum Content Library

    Get all the essential resources needed for effective technology strategies in the federal landscape.

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.