On June 29, The National Security Whistleblowers Coalition (NSWBC) announced its Whistleblowers Dirty Dozen Campaign. On July 2nd, Luke Ryland interviewed me by phone (for over two hours!). He was primarily interested in a) what the Dirty Dozen campaign intends to achieve, and b) why these particular individuals were chosen. The interview covers the importance of Congress' oversight function, the mechanics of the process of bills moving through the committees, the specific problems with particular members of Congress, and the impact of those problems.
Attached is the interview for those of you who may want to post this interview. We have posted the interview on our website: www.nswbc.org ; in order to go directly to the interview page click here:
Here are some excerpts:
"We've been doing this for 2.5 years, and all of our whistleblowers are asking 'well - what more does it take? We have been pounding on their doors, doing action-alerts, sending them letters - how can we get them to do something? How can we provide that push?' Well - one way is the media. There are two other ways - especially when in DC (and I call DC the real sin-city - it's not Vegas, its DC!) - Sticks and carrots."and
Let me give you an example that I often use: If you are a private citizen and you see some criminal conduct - you see a rape for example - what do you do? You call 911, right? But let's say you are working for these agencies - law enforcement, or intelligence - and you witness criminal conduct, or severe cases of government waste, fraud or abuse - what do you do? You don't have a 911 that you can call! You can't call the police. The only thing that you can do is contact the Inspector General, OSC, etc., but these departmental IGs aren't really independent, they are part of the agencies, they're part of the system. So the only '911' that is available to Whistleblowers is the Congress - they have these committees for OVERSIGHT."and
"Congress is the representative of the people, remember - they are supposed to be working for the public's right to know. So when they fail to pass legislation protecting Whistleblowers, or when they fail (or don't even try!) to investigate these cases, they are failing the public at large.and
They are failing the public's right to know - which means they aren't even FOR the public's right to know. They are actually ANTI the public's right to know. They also abdicate their oversight responsibilities"
"It's the people at the front-lines - the whistleblowers who come to you, be it the federal air marshals, or be it this guy Provance who witnessed torture, or be it Bunny Greenhouse at the DoD who saw that contract fraud was happening. These are the people who are doing the job - and without these people - the Congress simply won't find out what's really going on. So by not protecting whistleblowers, by not investigating the cases, by not holding hearings - apart from this being anti the public's right to know, it is abdicating their oversight responsibility, and once they do that, there will be no accountability whatsoever, and therefore these guys are anti-accountability."
Believe it or not, over 60% of our members are Republicans and people who consider themselves conservative - however many are disgusted with this administration, and with the Republican Congress. Nonetheless, a lot of these people are from military backgrounds and consider themselves conservative. And yet - three quarters of the Dirty Dozen list is Republican. We have 84 Whistleblowers at NSWBC, mostly Republicans, and we all agreed that we have to kick these Dirty Dozen out of office."
Full interview transcript here