Watch out, Whistleblowers: Congress and Courts Move to Curtail Leaks

Watch out, Whistleblowers: Congress and Courts Move to Curtail Leaks

by Marian Wang ProPublica

House Republicans introduced legislation yesterday targeting the already-delayed whistleblower rule [1] in the Dodd-Frank financial reform law. The proposed change would require corporate whistleblowers to report problems internally before going to financial regulators. The move, is backed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, is just the latest in a series of setbacks for those who favor strengthening whistleblowers rules to encourage reporting of wrongdoing within government and businesses.

Whistleblowers were dealt another blow last week when a federal court of appeals ruled that corporate whistleblower protections don’t cover leaks to the media [2]. According to the Los Angeles Times, the panel of judges ruled that individuals blowing the whistle on publicly traded companies are only protected from retaliation when they report the wrongdoing to financial regulators—which could discourage future leaks to the media.

Whistleblower groups are also protesting a provision in the Intelligence Authorization Bill [3] that would allow intelligence officials to penalize employees and former employees for disclosure of classified information without needing a conviction to do so. The Government Accountability Project has said that under the proposed law, intelligence officials need only reach a “determination” [4] that a knowing violation occurred.

The Obama administration has also been cracking down on major breaches of classified government information and is working to build a case against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. NPR reports that the effort is part of a broader campaign by the Obama administration [5] to curtail leaks:

National security experts say they can’t remember a time when the Justice Department has pursued so many criminal cases based on leaks of government secrets. Steve Aftergood of the Federation of American Scientists has been following five separate prosecutions, part of what he calls a tremendous surge by the Obama administration.

And according to a rather ironic report this week by the UK’s New Statesman, Assange himself has been trying to prevent leaks within WikiLeaks [6] by making his own associates sign confidentiality agreements imposing a nearly $20 million penalty for anyone who leaks the organization’s leaked material. If it works, this type of agreement could delay the disclosure of some of the confidential documents that have proved useful in reporting on the Middle East revolutions and other international affairs. WikiLeaks, after all, has been known to tout material in its possession [7] while sitting on their release [8].

Follow on Twitter: @mariancw [9]

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Comments
12 Responses to “Watch out, Whistleblowers: Congress and Courts Move to Curtail Leaks”
  1. It will be a good start when House Republicans introduce a bill to overturn the entire Frank-Dodd bill, then and only then should they attempt to address the real issues plaguing this country like out of control energy prices, soon to be inflation and the omnipresent high unemployment.

  2. Fury says:

    George Orwell territory.

  3. enough already of this b-ll sh-t says:

    this is similar to the alien invasion. any one watch coast to coast by george nori. wistle blowers for the alien invasion always come on and say afterthey see a ufl (piolits ir military) they sign a contract that they will not give any of thie info to the public) it is the same thing. keep this under rapps is the game thats why no relief yet. did you read that one article that obama will assk for a hamp review before floreclosure. sure what happens whe you are in review and your file is moved? does that count? for being in review.. all of this friggin sheet is making me go insane

  4. AliceN.Wunderland says:

    I can’t even read this. The title alone tells me they want everyone to OBEY in order to keep their secrets secret.
    What’s to OBEY in Wonderland. They just have to realize the Truth is out now and they can’t put it back in the box.

  5. angry & NOT TAKING IT says:

    “The proposed change would require corporate whistleblowers to report problems internally before going to financial regulators”
    these people are a joke…right??
    so they want the sheep to tell the wolf “hey that other wolf is going to eat me for dinner tonite” so the wolf replies “sure i’ll help you, quick hide in my mouth!.
    the stooge crew in motion

  6. Mrs Doutfire says:

    I agree not to leak info outside the usa……or media if its classfied info BUT they should be able to report it to another agency not there own company since they can clean it up before its investagated. Maybe we need a new agencey to tell all too on the wrongs that has a over sight panel of us regular folks.

  7. l vent says:

    Proof of the rampant corruption in both parties by the outside interest. This outside foreign tyranny has hijacked America. Rampant corruption has killed both parties and they are now ALL working for them. Don’t vote for any of the Republicons or Demorats. Don’t vote for any politicians who take foreign multinational corporate donations in any way shape or form. Time for the American people to do their homework or it will be the end of democracy and we will all find ourselves living under a foreign fascist dictatorship, a TYRANNY ruled by Oligarchs and Plutocrats.

  8. Virginia says:

    Oh, the better to line our pockets with, my dear…

    I believe it was US Senator Gramm’s Battle Over Regulating Derivatives that got us into this mess in the first place. Maybe if derivatives had been regulated giving regulators some teeth – we’d be feeding more of these banksters prison food.

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