I woke up this morning to the following embarrassment:
The work we do at POGO isn’t easy—our efforts to protect whistleblowers are particularly hard-fought. We have spent years seeking specific protections for national security and intelligence community workers, and there has been enormous resistance. Finally, we have been heard!
Sign our petition saying thank you and urging further work on whistleblower protections.
On October 10, President Obama issued a historic directive that for the first time provides national security and intelligence community workers with protections against retaliation when they legally report waste, fraud, and abuse. Given our strong criticism of the Administration for the prosecutions of national security whistleblowers, we wanted to be sure to herald this unprecedented policy that includes even more of our recommendations than we had hoped.
Of course, the directive is not a panacea, and the strength of the policy will depend on how it works in practice. The President directs agencies to create procedures for internal review of claims by the Inspectors General, which means we need to push for the strongest procedures and rights in practice.
It’s hard to satisfy a watchdog! Still, it’s not often that we can celebrate a victory like this. We are so often demanding, pushing, and criticizing—it’s very important that we also give thanks when it is due.
This isn’t the first time POGO has resorted to flattering those they’re supposed to hold accountable. In 2011, they gave a “transparency award” to Obama, only to meet resistance and criticism by real whistleblowers and then have the administration use that award as a shield against criticism. Expect the same thing to happen now – rather than demand Obama to faithfully execute the law, POGO thanks him for it. Which is fitting for this administration’s view of justice as charity.
POGO calls itself a “watchdog.” It is not. A better term is a lapdog engaging in partisan politics before an election. Shameful.