Good Government Groups Throw Support Behind McCaskill Plan to Boost Accountability
49 organizations announce backing of Senator’s provision to protect whistleblowers in the intelligence community
WASHINGTON – Nearly 50 good government groups today announced their support for U.S. Senator Claire’s McCaskill’s proposal to strengthen accountability in government and extend federal whistleblower protections to contractors in the intelligence community.
The proposal would amend the this year’s annual defense bill to extend whistleblower protections to intelligence community contractors, who, unlike contractors for agencies such as the Department of Defense, are not afforded federal whistleblower protections. The amendment would provide intelligence community contractors the same rights as federal employees in the intelligence community who are often doing the same, or similar, jobs.
“Whistleblowers are critical to our efforts to guard against waste, fraud, and abuse in government—and to be effective in that effort, they need to be protected from retaliation,” said McCaskill, Chairman of the Subcommittee on Financial & Contracting Oversight. “When it comes to the folks working on our most sensitive national security matters, whether they’re employees or contractors, who want to come forward to report wrongdoing, we’ve got to afford them robust protections.”
The support letter comes from the Make it Safe Coalition, which is comprised of 75 diverse consumer and taxpayer protections organizations, labor unions, and media transparency groups, including the ACLU, National Taxpayers Union, and the Sunlight Foundation. The letter says, in part, “In the absence of adequate protections, [intelligence community whistleblowers] have only two alternatives to almost certain retaliation: 1) remain silent observers of wrongdoing; or 2) make anonymous leaks.”
This summer, McCaskill used a Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee hearing to call for expanded whistleblower protections for intelligence contractors—to better protect those who blow the whistle on waste, fraud and abuse in the intelligence community. She also recently introduced bipartisan legislation to bolster the independence of the National Security Agency’s Inspector General—in part by requiring the office to conduct annual reviews of whistleblower protections for agency employees and contractors, and provide recommendations to improve those mechanisms.
Visit mccaskill.senate.gov/accountability to read more about McCaskill’s fight for stronger accountability in Washington.