New concerns whistleblowers in intelligence community may not come forward with concerns
WASHINGTON (Sinclair Broadcast Group) -- If you apply for a job at the National Security Agency, you’re told their core values are respect for the law, respect for other people, integrity and transparency.
But what if those inside are not adhering to those values?
Many in Washington are concerned the system for reporting wrongdoing is broken and that blowing the whistle can result in retaliation, or worse.
“Whistleblowers in the intelligence agencies have been referred for criminal investigation as well as criminally prosecuted,” said Louis Clark, CEO of the Government Accountability Project (GAP) - a whistleblower protection group in Washington.
Clark said reporting wrongdoing in an environment filled with secrets can be problematic.
“They need to be able to speak about what is often classified and therefore illegal to go public about,” Clark said.
On Capitol Hill, lawmakers want the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to take a closer look at whistleblower protections within the intelligence community. They’ve written a letter requesting an audit.
“Those individuals inside the federal government can feel that they come clean if they see abuse or if they see mistakes being made that they’ll be protected,” said Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) in an interview last week.
Many Republicans, including President Trump, think wrongdoing occurred at the FBI. They also believe that those with political bias helped pave the way for the government to surveil a Trump campaign volunteer. This assertion is outlined in the controversial Devin Nunes memo.
“Given the scope of what was being done for political purposes in the Obama years one would have expected more people loyal to the Constitution to stand up and try to be heard,” said former Trump administration official Sebastian Gorka in an interview Monday.
Some have called what’s going on in the intelligence community right now a crisis.
They argue without a protected path for whistleblowers to come forward, many will stay quiet which means any potential wrongdoing could continue.