JULY 30 — US National Whistleblower Appreciation Day

“Recognizing our Founding Fathers’ strong support for whistleblower is an essential first step in changing the workplace culture that holds whistleblowers in disdain and subjects them to illegal retaliation.”

Stephen M. Kohn — Executive Director of the National Whistleblower Center

“It’s sadly telling that last month National Whistleblower Appreciation Day came and went with little notice let alone the fanfare it deserved. Obviously, we still have a long way to go in showing our appreciation for this undervalued group.”

Gordon Schnell — The Hill

National Whistleblower Appreciation Day is an annual recognition of whistleblowers whose actions have protected the American people from fraud or malfeasance. In 2014, the U.S. Senate unanimously passed a resolution to mark July 30 as the commemorative day, being the 236th anniversary of the first American law to protect whistleblowers. Follow us on Twitter: @INTEL_TODAY

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The first US whistleblower protection law was enacted by the Continental Congress on July 30, 1778.

“That it is the duty of all persons in the service of the United States, as well as all other inhabitants thereof, to give the earliest information to Congress or any other proper authority of any misconduct, frauds or misdemeanors committed by any persons in the service of these states, which may come to their knowledge.”

Misused Espionage Act Targets Government Whistleblowers

The Electronic Frontier Foundation has taken this opportunity to speak out against the U.S. government’s continued use of the Espionage Act to prosecute whistleblowers.

As we wrote on the 100th anniversary of the Act’s passage, the Espionage Act was designed to prosecute spies who disclosed military secrets to foreign nations, not sources who disclose newsworthy information to the press. Unfortunately, the Espionage Act has been misused throughout its existence, from silencing left-wing speech during the Red Scare days of its origin to the indictments of whistleblowers such as Daniel Ellsberg, Chelsea Manning, and Edward Snowden.

As the ACLU’s Jay Stanley sets out, the Espionage Act is particularly ill-suited and perhaps unconstitutional when used against government whistleblowers who share information with the press. Among other defects, the Espionage Act provides no public interest defense to a leaker, and contains no requirement that the government prove the information as properly and appropriately classified in the first place. Moreover, because a great number of leaks are either encouraged or at least tolerated by the U.S. government when they serve the government’s purpose, the Espionage Act provides a mechanism for the selective punishment of government critics rather than furthering the general interests of preserving classified information. [Electronic Frontier Foundation]

The whistleblowers continue to play a critical role in the fight against fraud and misconduct.  Mark Felt (Deep Throat), Daniel Elsberg (Pentagon Papers), Frank Serpico (NYPD), Jeffrey Wigand (tobacco), Sherron Watkins (Enron), Harry Markopolos (Madoff),and Cheryl Eckard (GSK) — to name just a few — are there to remind us that whistleblowers should be admired for their courage and honesty, not persecuted as it is sadly too often the case.

Whistleblowers punished for serving their country – US senator

REFERENCES

Misused Espionage Act Targets Government Whistleblowers

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JULY 30 — US National Whistleblower Appreciation Day

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