ACLU Urges Congress to Adopt Stronger Whistleblower Protections, Warns Against Legislation to Penalize Workers That Bring Abuses to Light

March 14, 2006 12:00 am

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WASHINGTON – Calling current federal protections for whistleblowers insufficient, the American Civil Liberties Union today urged Congress to adopt legislation to better protect whistleblowers who protect public safety. Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) has introduced S.2285, the Whistleblower Empowerment, Security and Taxpayer Protection Act of 2005 (WESTPAct), to achieve these goals.

The following can be attributed to Lisa Graves, ACLU Senior Counsel for Legislative Strategy:

“Transparency is vital to American democracy, and whistleblowers are those brave federal employees who bring hidden truths to light. It is fitting that the WESTPAct has been introduced during Sunshine Week, a coordinated effort among journalists to promote the importance of open government in our democracy. We applaud Senator Lautenberg for his legislation, and urge lawmakers in both chambers and from both sides of the aisle to stand up for the public’s right to know and support these strong protections for whistleblowers.

“Sadly, it seems likely that a proposal from Senator Mike DeWine (R-OH) would impose extreme penalties on federal employees who blew the whistle on the warrantless spying on Americans conducted by the National Security Agency and journalists who dare to report the facts about this illegal program. If it were not for brave whistleblowers in the government and reporters at the New York Times, the American public would still be unaware of this gross violation of our Constitution and federal laws. Congress should not make it easier for any administration to hide illegal and reckless activities behind the curtain of national security. The truth must be brought to light.”

For more on the ACLU’s concerns with the warrantless NSA eavesdropping program, go to:

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