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Project on Government Oversight

Whistleblower Protections

POGO Files 

Related Resources (government documents and letters)

POGO in the News

POGO Files

The Whistleblower Who Fell Through the Cracks
December 7, 2011

On a hot, parched day in June 2004, a convoy of Humvees was making its way across Iraq’s Sunni Triangle when a roadside bomb exploded, mangling the head vehicle and knocking lead gunman Mike Helms unconscious. The force of the impact blew 2,000 rounds of ammunition from the Humvee. The other soldiers, seeing Helms’ limp frame, thought he was dead.

Helms, an intelligence specialist deployed to the Army’s 902nd Military Intelligence (MI) Group, was alive—but he was wrongfully denied military medical care because technically, he was a civilian. When he tried to speak out about the U.S. military’s poor treatment of deployed civilians in Iraq, he plunged into a whistleblower’s worst nightmare: as he was losing his health, reprisal against him caused him to lose his livelihood.

DC Council Ahead of the Curve on Whistleblower Protections
March 10, 2010

Washington, DC, could soon have some of the strongest whistleblower protections laws in the U.S. After being introduced last year, the District's Whistleblower Protection Amendment Act of 2009 has been passed unanimously by the DC Council, signed by the Mayor, and is projected to become law this week — the only remaining hurdle is the mandated review by Congress.

Brad Birkenfeld Resource Page
August 25, 2009

Coast Guard Blogger Fired
March 19, 2008

Another Kind of Prison Torture
December 8, 2005

Whistleblower Staff Blow the Whistle on Special Counsel
March 3, 2005

OSC Staff Want Independent Investigation of Illegal Personnel Practices



Related Resources

National Security Whistleblowers Push for Passage of Whistleblower Protection Act
, A Group of Former Whistleblowers
November 22, 2010 

Whistleblower Protection: Sustained Management Attention Needed to Address Long-Standing Program Weaknesses
Government Accountability Office, (GAO) Report GAO-10-722
August 17, 2010 

Good Government Coalition and Consumer Groups Support Whistleblower Rights / Product Safety Reform
Good Government Coalition and Consumer Groups,
October 29, 2007 

Minerals Management Service: False Claims Act Allegations
Earl E. Devaney, Inspector General, United States Department of the Interior
September 17, 2007 

National Security Whistleblowers
by Louis Fisher, Congressional Research Service
December 30, 2005 

DOE denial of Ron Timm's Appeal for Whistleblower Protections
George Breznay, Department of Energy
March 15, 2002 

Senate Bill S.995
June 7, 2001 

Whistleblower Protections for Federal Employees
By L. Paige Whitaker and Michael Schmerling, Congressional Research Service (CRS)
May 18, 1998 


POGO in the News

Obama expands whistleblower protections to cover intelligence agencies, Kedar PavgiGovernment Execuitve (, October 11, 2012 

Obama grants whistle-blower protections to intel employees, Sean ReillyFederal Times, October 11, 2012 

Whistle-blower protection extended to federal security agency employees, Judy GreenwaldBusiness Insurance, October 11, 2012 

Obama Issues Directive on Intelligence Community Whistleblowers, Steven Aftergood Secrecy News, October 11, 2012 

Obama issues whistleblower directive to security agencies, Joe Davidson, ColumnistThe Washington Post, Federal Eye, October 11, 2012 

Report finds large gaps in military whistleblower protection, Hugh Lessig Stars and Stripes, May 10, 2012 

Absent protections for whistleblowers, The Virginian-Pilot, May 10, 2012 

Senate expands whistleblower protections for feds, Jack MooreFederal News Radio, May 9, 2012 

Whistleblower protection bill clears Senate, Charles S. ClarkGovernment Execuitve (, May 9, 2012 

Senators want more info on report alleging failures protecting DoD whistleblowers, Jeremy HerbDEFCON Hill; The Hill's Defense Blog, May 8, 2012 

Pentagon report says Defense Department whistleblowers have been left vulnerable to reprisals, R. Jeffrey Smith and Aaron MehtaThe Washington Post, May 6, 2012 

The whistleblowers Washington ignores, Eyal PressSalon, March 6, 2012 

Leaked GAO report reveals whistleblower program flaws, Michael O'ConnellFederal News Radio, February 23, 2012 

Pentagon delays endanger whistle-blowers, report says, Tom Vanden BrookUSA Today, February 22, 2012 

Whistleblower bill draws lobbying, Andrew Joseph with The National JournalGovernment Executive (, January 10, 2012 

Whistleblower protection bill clears House oversight panel, Charles S. ClarkGovernment Executive (, November 3, 2011 

Crowd sourcing can supplement whistleblowing, experts say, Joseph, July 29, 2011 

William Welch: Obama Administration’s Point Man to Stop Leaks, Shane HarrisWashingtonian, July 20, 2011 

Classified Pentagon report upholds Thomas Drake’s complaints about NSA, R. Jeffrey SmithThe Washington Post, June 22, 2011 

The Secret Sharer Is Thomas Drake an enemy of the state?, By Jane MayerThe New Yorker, May 23, 2011 

WikiLeaks furor causes defeat of rights bill with Las Vegas ties, By Alan MaimonThe Las Vegas Review-Journal, January 31, 2011 

GOP Objections Threaten Whistle-Blower Rights Bill, Associated PressNational Public Radio (NPR), December 21, 2010 

Groups face off over proposed whistle-blower rules, By Dan JamiesonInvestment News, December 21, 2010 

Obama To Nominate A Defender For Whistle-Blowers, By Ari ShapiroNational Public Radio (NPR), December 15, 2010 

POGO: DoD Whistleblower System Far From Perfect, By Siddhartha MahantaMother Jones, December 7, 2010 

Whistleblower Protection Legislation Will Help Some, but Not All, By Yana, March 25, 2010 

Whistle-blowers' rights get second look, By Peter EislerUSA Today, March 15, 2010 

Long Island Congressional Candidate Cited for Giving Up JP Morgan Whistleblower, By Michael Smallberg & Adam ZagorinPolitics Daily, January 28, 2010 

Thinking about telling on your boss? Whistle blowers face many retaliatory perils, By Kimberly DvorakDiego County Political Buzz Examiner, January 19, 2010 

Whistleblower Web Site Goes Dark, Seeks Funding, By Joshua Rhett, January 6, 2010 

'Don't wait until the bombs have fallen', By Jen DiMascio Politico Click, October 29, 2009 

Whistle-Blower Protections for All Federal Workers, By Danielle BrianSpecial to Roll Call, September 17, 2009 

UC Whistleblower Protection Bill Sent to Governor, California Political Desk California Chronicle, August 27, 2009 

FBI whistleblower shields likely to stay: White House shifts FBI plan, By Tom LoBianacoThe Washington Times, August 20, 2009 

Good News for the Whistleblowers, By Joe DavidsonThe Washington Post, July 30, 2009 

Whistleblower Bill Advances in the Senate, By Justin Grant and Yuliya TalanovaABC News with Brian Ross , July 30, 2009 

Committee okays expanded whistleblower protections, By Richard Lardner, Associated PressSan Francisco Chronicle, July 29, 2009 

Committee Approves Bill to Protect UC Whistleblowers, The California Chronicle, June 25, 2009 

Obama backs whistle-blowers but not in intell, By Alice LipowiczFederal Computer Week, May 14, 2009 

Responders without a clue, By Charlie PetersWashington Monthly/Tilting at Windmills, May 1, 2009 

Speaking Scientifically Without Fear or Favor, By Shawn ZellerCongressional Quarterly; CQ Today Online News, April 13, 2009 

Obama Finds That Washington’s Habits of Secrecy Die Hard, By Sheryl Gay StolbergNew York Times, April 4, 2009 

Obama Urged To Back New Whistleblower Act, By Ed O’KeefeThe Federal Eye, Washington Post, April 1, 2009 

Groups Challenge Obama on whistleblower policy, By Betsy KingThe Hill, April 1, 2009 

Groups criticize whistleblower policies, United Press International, April 1, 2009 

Groups Urge Obama to Strengthen Whistleblower Rights, By Joe DavidsonThe Washington Post, Federal Diary, April 1, 2009 

Obama gets mixed reviews on government ‘openness’, By Alexandra MarksChristian Science Monitor, March 19, 2009 

Collins Strips Stim Bill Of Whistleblower Protections, By Zachary Roth TPMMuckraker , February 11, 2009 

Federal Whistleblowers NOT Protected in Stimulus Bill, By Daphne EviatorThe Washington Independent, February 11, 2009 

Whistleblowers need more protection, Oped By Danielle BrianKennebec Journal, February 11, 2009 

Congress Learns Lessons From Katrina, Iraq -- But Not All, By Daphne EviatarWashington Independent, February 3, 2009 

Whistleblowers seek protection, By Audrey HudsonWashington Times, February 2, 2009 

House amendment offers more protection for whistleblowers , By Elise Castelli Federal Times, January 30, 2009 

In Stimulus, Can Lawmakers Spend Billions Without Wasting Billions?, By Amanda Ruggeri U.S. News & World Report, January 28, 2009 

Whistleblowers May Have a Friend in the Oval Office, By Joe DavidsonThe Washington Post, December 11, 2008 

Groups Seek Whistle-Blower Protection in Bailout Legislation, By Joe DavidsonThe Washington Post, September 24, 2008 

Reid wants to expand whistle-blowers' rights , By Alan MaimonThe Las Vegas Review-Journal, August 17, 2008 

Anthropologists At War, By Bill StametsIn These Times, June 19, 2008 

Sibel Edmonds vs the Nuclear Terrorists, Pakistan Daily, June 9, 2008 

Watchdog Group Seeks Deal on Whistleblower Protections, By Dan FriedmanGovernment Executive, June 6, 2008 

Pressing for Stronger Protections for Whistle-Blowers, By Stephen BarrWashington Post, June 6, 2008 

Watchdog Group Seeks Deal on Whistleblower Protections, By Dan FriedmanGovernment Executive, June 6, 2008 

Pressing for Stronger Protections for Whistle-Blowers, By Stephen BarrThe Washington Post, June 6, 2008 

Case implicates free speech, Op-Ed by POGO's Nick SchwellenbachSPI, May 7, 2008 

Former D.C. Workers Say Law Doesn't Prevent Retaliation, By Yolanda WoodleeWashington Post, April 28, 2008 

Human Terrain's 'Catch-22,', By Sharon WeinbergerWired Blog, April 17, 2008 

Previous Post on Whistleblower Protection Warrants Clarification, by Rep. John Dingell (D-MI)The Hill's Congress Blog, March 3, 2008 

Whistleblower cited for courage. "COURAGE: Doing the Right Thing,", By Kathleen McGowanPsychology Today - March/April 2008 Issue, February 25, 2008 

Julius Baer's court order springs a leak, By Elana, February 20, 2008 

Late addition of funds boosts Special Counsel probe of White House briefings, By Dan FriedmanCongress Daily, January 7, 2008 

NRC Strengthening Whistle Blower Protections, Power Market Today (by Intelligence Press) , November 15, 2007 

CPSC's Ethics-Review Process For Travel Criticized by Experts, by Elizabeth WilliamsonWashington Post, November 6, 2007 

Sucking the air from the whistle, with Steve HennNPR Marketplace, November 2, 2007 

Those who blow whistle on contractor fraud in Iraq face penalties, by Deborah HastingsAssociated Press, August 23, 2007 

Pentagon whistleblower still paying the price for telling the truth, by Lyndsey LaytonCharleston Daily Mail, (from Washington Post ), July 8, 2007 

Speaking up for the whistle-blowers, By Stephen BarrThe Washington Post, February 14, 2007 

Lawmakers re-introduce whistleblower, ethics measures, By Jenny, February 13, 2007 

Rep. Murphy fires aide who made accusations, By David BrownPittsburgh Tribune-Review, November 10, 2006 

Air marshal's firing prompts whistleblower suit , By Stephen LoseyFederal Times, November 7, 2006 

Air marshal's firing prompts whistleblower suit, By Stephen LoseyFederal Times, November 7, 2006 

A Published Dress Code Is Dressed Down in Furor: Office of Special Counsel Retreats From Sartorial Rules, By Elizabeth WilliamsonThe Washington Post, September 7, 2006 

Charges of Security Flaws Posted on YouTube by Michael De Kort, By Michael De KortYouTube, August 29, 2006 

Accountability Office Finds Itself Accused , By William BroadThe New York Times, April 2, 2006 

Hill mulls new whistleblower protections, By Pamela HessUnited Press International, February 14, 2006 

Groundhog Day, By Molly IvinsCNN, January 31, 2006 

NSA Whistleblowers Were Allegedly Isolated, Intimidated, By Sherrie, January 26, 2006 

Prison-Worker Transfer Sought After Threats, By Christopher LeeThe Washington Post, December 12, 2005 

In federal job: Blow whistle, get boot; workers say broken system doesn't protect them from retaliation, By Rebecca CarrAustin American Statesman and Cox News Service, December 11, 2005 

Cicero Workers Warned on Probe, By Brett McNeil and David JacksonChicago Tribune, October 11, 2005 

Whistleblowers meet to share stories, plot strategies, By Chris, October 11, 2005 

Protecting the Rights of Whistleblowers, By Lauren RobinsonSocial Education, October 1, 2005 

Uncharted Terrain , By Rachel SmolkinAmerican Journalism Review, October 1, 2005 

Panel approves bill strengthening whistleblower protections, By Chris, September 29, 2005