Monday, August 21, 2006

New York Times Editorial - Save the whistle-blower

New York Times Editorial - Save the whistle-blower
Copyright by The New York Times
Published: August 20, 2006

If ever U.S. government whistle- blowers needed protection from official retaliation it is now, in the secrecy-obsessed Bush administration. Federal employees daring to disclose fraud and abuse have been isolated as pariahs and shipped off under gag orders to lesser jobs.

Appeals to court review under the Whistle-Blower Protection Act have proved fruitless, with the Supreme Court ruling in May that workers have no right to First Amendment protection when they warn of government waste and folly. The ruling has thrown the issue back to Congress. Fortunately, there is enough anger emerging on both sides of the aisle to raise hopes for remedial legislation.

Congress should not just reaffirm the 1989 law but extend it to all the national security bureaucracy and to private contractors. America's need for timely whistle-blowers has been painfully driven home by gaffes in pre-9/11 security, the premises for the Iraq invasion, and illicit intelligence gathering at home.


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