In a posting today, POGO Executive Director Danielle Brian urged Americans to stop being “jerks” to each other, reach out to the opposition, and challenge claims and assumptions they and others make. Importantly, she noted “it is the job of whoever is elected to include and engage the minority” and that “We at POGO are going to be reaching out to you.” She finished by urging people to “reach back so we can all get on with fixing this mess. But don’t forget to check our facts!”
Sounds fair, but will Brian walk the talk?
Here are a few claims POGO made in the past year that I have publicly challenged. Will POGO engage this minority view in the whistleblower community, reach out, and respond to this particular fact-checker?
Ms. Brian, you have my email address.
Questionable claims made by POGO in 2012:
June 22: Claiming that a prior version of the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act that contained national security provisions “would provide intelligence community workers safe, legal channels for disclosures of wrongdoing,” while ignoring that such channels formally exist in the Office of Special Counsel and that the bill would not have altered the status quo appreciably.
August 10: Generally claiming to being committed to openness and free speech and helping whistleblowers do the same while excommunicating a whistleblower from an informal whistleblowing community for asking too many questions.
September 19: Claiming that “prominent whistleblowers” have “thrown their support” behind a version of the WPEA that does not include jury trials, national security protections, and retroactivity when their support went toward a markedly stronger version of the bill.
September 20: Claiming that it was instrumental, through a coalition organization, in defeating a poison pill provision when it actually attempted to dissuade the grassroots from doing so.
September 26: Claiming that they applied “strategic pressure” to try to pass the WPEA when their advocacy has been muted and excluded the grassroots. Also, claiming that an “unforeseen obstacle” in Congress prevented passage of the WPEA when the same thing happened “in years past” without planning for it.
October 10: Claiming that the Presidential Policy Directive that purports to protect intelligence community employees is a “victory” for whistleblowers when several sources have questioned the efficacy and intent of the directive.