January 31, 2014 • Volume 24, Issue 5
Is support growing for employees who expose misdeeds?
By Chuck McCutcheon


Thomas Drake and Jesselyn Radack (Getty Images/The Washington Post/Matt McClain)
Thomas Drake and Jesselyn Radack paid high prices for whistleblowing. Drake, a former National Security Agency executive, lost his job after revealing cost overruns with an NSA spying program. Radack, a former Justice Department ethics adviser, received a negative performance review after revealing FBI ethics violations involving the interrogation of “American Taliban” John Walker Lindh. She is now a director at the Government Accountability Project, a whistleblower support group. (Getty Images/The Washington Post/Matt McClain)

Whistleblowing is drawing increased attention as more workers in government and the private sector come forward to decry what they contend are waste, fraud, abuse and illegal activities in the workplace. Civil libertarians have derided President Obama for his tough approach to high-profile national security leakers, such as former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden. But Obama has won praise for his efforts in areas relating to non-national security whistleblowing, including appointing an official who has strengthened the federal agency that represents government whistleblowers. Meanwhile, whistleblower advocates and national security experts are debating whether Snowden and other such leakers qualify as whistleblowers. Congress has passed several laws relating to whistleblowing over the last 25 years, but experts question how well some are working. Advocates expect whistleblowing to become easier because of technological advances and to gain even more widespread public acceptance.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Ethics in Government
Jan. 31, 2014  Whistleblowers
Feb. 18, 2011  Lies and Politics
Apr. 30, 2010  Gridlock in Washington
Jun. 22, 2007  Prosecutors and Politics
Jun. 16, 2006  Pork Barrel Politics
May 07, 1999  Independent Counsels Re-Examined
Feb. 21, 1997  Independent Counsels
May 27, 1994  Political Scandals
Apr. 06, 1979  Assassinations Investigation
Dec. 05, 1973  Presidential Impeachment
May 16, 1973  Ethics in Government
May 10, 1961  Secret Societies and Political Action
Jun. 29, 1960  Conflicts of Interest
Oct. 26, 1955  Businessmen in Government
Apr. 07, 1954  Fair Investigations
Apr. 25, 1952  Congressional Immunity
Dec. 05, 1951  Ethics in Government
Jan. 28, 1948  Individual Rights and Congressional Investigations
Jul. 02, 1934  Political Reform and Federal Patronage
Mar. 07, 1924  Congressional Extravagance and the Budget
Nov. 12, 1923  Issues Developed in the Teapot Dome Inquiry
Domestic Issues
Labor Standards and Practices
Regional Political Affairs: Russia and the Former Soviet Union