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Update on Progress and Challenges for Whistleblowers-- Interview with Tom Devine


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Broadcast 8/1/2013 at 16:45:01 (0 Listens, 0 Downloads, 0 Itunes)
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Tom Devine is Legal Director of the Government Accountability Project, at

On monday, at the Whistleblower Week annual conference, Tom Devine reported on new progress and challenges for whistleblowers. We discussed them on my show. 

My very rough notes from the interview -- a mix of my questions and his responses. 

Last year was probably a record year for victories and strengthening whistleblower rights. 

Best practice whistleblower rights

except for the intelligence community.

Obama-- promised that he would fill in any areas of the whistleblower law that congress didn't

Makes it illegal to retaliate within the intelligence community for institutional whistle blowing. 

removal of security clearance"

Make It Safe Coalition-- 50 NGOs waging wars on five fronts to strengthen whistleblower protections.

merit systems protection board. 

One of the most severe threats to whistleblower rights in govt accountability-- Obama admin is trying to push through a loophole for National security workers-- trying to define anyone who works for the federal government as a national security worker. 

Basically what you're saying is Obama gave you with one hand and is trying to take away with another hand. 

So it appears that Obama is being duplicitous" stabbing whistleblowers in the back, taking away protections and rights that they have had.

Who are the gutsy people in the house and senate challenging the military? Who are some of those people.

Rep. Jackie Spear. 

Rep Kaufman 

Senate: Warner, Carl Levin

Obama is saying we're not going to threaten your job-- we're going to threaten your freedom. 

Decriminalizing lawful whistleblowing-- just about to launch effort. Working with Movon. 

Government cannot prosecute 

Terrorizing employees into silence. 

What about Bradley Manning and Ed Snowden?

Isn't it true that most whistle blowing is about making the truth public?

And going public is not included in the progress you're talking about?

So, if someone is in the intelligence community or the military, the worst thing they can do is what Bradley Manning and Ed Snowden did, in terms of laws?

new whistleblower laws proposed keep it illegal for whistleblower to release info about illegal actions. 

And it seems that the Obama  administration is trying to make more and more of the people in the government to be considered related to national security. 

Hasn't the disastrous nature of the whistleblower situation reached a peak, so things are worse n ow than ever before. 

"The desire to retaliate is stronger than ever before"

What do you mean whistleblowers are more dangerous than ever before?

Were the people in the FDA who allowed 50,000 people to die because of Vioxx, ever held accountable?

Bureaucracy so rabid

Whistleblower McClean-- Dept of Homeland Security--- reported that DHS that govt was going to go AWOL. The govt. fired him for embarrassing the government. 

People whose abuses of power can only be protected by secrecy. 

Any idea about the role of sociopaths and psychopaths who are called out by whistleblowers?

When a whistleblower reports a problem, is there usually a specific person or group of people who are engaging in doing the wrong that the whistleblower is reporting?

it seems to me that any time a whistleblower levels charges, the higher-up should be investigated. Is there anything like that?

         False claims act. 

When it comes to intelligence or military people, what's the story there?

it seems that all three branches of power in the United states are protecting the intelligence community. 

The most severe threat to American's freedom comes from our own government. 

It seems that Obama is militarizing the police at the local levels, attempting to treat all federal employees as engaged in national security-- they're shutting down transparency and keeping more and more secret. 

Obama administration vs. Obama administration. 

The Department of Justice is usually the enemy of the whistleblower, right?

That sounds like something wrong there. If a whistleblower reports a wrong within the government, the DOJ shouldn't defend against that.

Is this the Holder Justice Department, that helped pass whistle blower protections?

Norm Eisen, White House special counsel for ethics.

So the White House dumped the good guy. 

Was it better with the Bush White House? 

The lesser of two evils?

Manning and Snowden were in the military and intelligence-- will there ever be a time when people in their line of work will be able to bring truth to the public. 

You talk about free speech rights. How does that apply to Snowden and Manning?

is there is any possibility that the manning or Snowden case will go to the Supreme court. 

Do you know about what considerations were involved in giving Senator Rand Paul the Pillar Award for Supporting Whistleblowers and 

In an ideal world, what kind of rules would there be for whistle blowers and the people they are accusing?

What do you mean no-loop-holes?

Fair rules of the game-- legal burden of proof

Access to a fair court-- that's independent of politics.

Adequate results when you win your case-- punitive damages against bullies who engage in retaliation.

What about assessing people who are accused by co-workers-- of bad acts? Consider Psychopaths and sociopaths. 

You're a lobbyist-- on the front lines getting this legislation passed. 

if there's a whistleblower reporting something wrong, is there usually a criminal involved?

it seems to me that the people who caused what the whistleblower reported get away scot free. 

Anything you want to wrap up with?

The phone was disconnected, at my end, before the interview was closed, but it was just a few moments from its end.

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Rob Kall is the host of the Rob Kall Bottom Up Radio Show, WNJC 1360, where he discusses how the bottom up mind and bottom up revolution are reaching different areas of the world, of life, of politics, business, society and anywhere else.

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