Whistleblower News

Whistleblower Law Firm Explains Confidentiality Rights for Federal Whistleblowers

13
November 2019

Today, the whistleblower attorneys at Kohn, Kohn & Colapinto published a resource for federal employees, including Intelligence Community employees, explaining their right to file whistleblower disclosures and remain confidential or anonymous.  Leading experts on whistleblower law, Stephen M. Kohn, Michael D. Kohn, and David K. Colapinto authored a list of frequently asked questions (“FAQs”) entitled, “Can Federal Employees Blow the Whistle Confidentially?

Federal employee whistleblower and confidentiality rights are frequently misunderstood.  Some confusion about whistleblower rights to confidentiality has emerged as a media frenzy intensified surrounding the Intelligence Community whistleblower who filed a complaint alleging concerns about President Trump’s conduct in August. As a result, many questions have been asked about the current laws that protect federal and intelligence community whistleblowers, in general, and whistleblower confidentiality, in particular, and what remedies or rights are available in response to efforts to reveal the identity of the intelligence community whistleblower without the whistleblower’s consent.

Both the Whistleblower Protection Act and the Inspector General Act require that the identity of all federal employees (including intelligence community employees) who make lawful whistleblower disclosures of wrongdoing be kept confidential. Whenever a federal employee files a confidential whistleblower disclosure with an Inspector General or the Office of Special Counsel, the consent of the whistleblower making the disclosure is required before their identity can be revealed.

In 2014, Congress also enacted a statute, 50 U.S.C. § 3234(d), which provides that the President shall ensure enforcement of the statute protecting Intelligence Community whistleblowers. Thus, the responsibility for the protection of Intelligence Community whistleblowers falls squarely with the President.

Mr. Colapinto recently appeared on a Fox News radio segment to speak about intelligence community whistleblowers. “Every whistleblower has a right, if you work in the federal government, every federal employee has a right to make confidential disclosures either to the Office of Special Counsel or to the Inspector General of his or her agency. That is a right that has been longstanding in law and that right to confidentiality was enacted by Congress in order to prevent loss of career, harassment, threats, all kinds of negative consequences that have been long recognized by Congress to result from whistleblowing.”

“The identity of the whistleblower cannot be released without the employee’s consent, without the whistleblowers consent. That is an iron-clad protection of confidentiality and anonymity,” he explained.

Read the FAQs: Can Federal Employees Blow the Whistle Confidentially?

Listen to Mr. Colapinto’s segment on a Fox News podcast, Starting at 14:00: https://radio.foxnews.com/podcast/fox-news-rundown/

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