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Whistle-blower protection extended to federal security agency employees


President Barack Obama issued a directive Wednesday providing whistle-blower protection to federal security agency employees.

Observers note that security agency employees were not among those included in S. 743, the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act, which provides whistle-blower protection to federal employees. The bill, which passed the House of Representatives last month, is awaiting Senate action.

The White House directive states that it ensures intelligence community employees “who are eligible for access to classified information can effectively report waste, fraud and abuse while protecting classified national security information. It prohibits retaliation against employees for reporting waste, fraud and abuse.”

The directive says that within 270 days, the head of each “intelligence community element” must certify to the director of national intelligence that personnel policies “provide a process for employees to seek review of personnel actions they allege to be in violation of this directive and that the review process is consistent with the requirements of this directive.”

Commenting on the directive, Angela Canterbury, director of public policy at the Washington-based Project on Government Oversight, said in a statement it is “leveled at the endemic culture of secrecy in the intelligence community and the dearth of accountability it fosters.”

“While this directive is not a panacea, it begins to fill a large void in whistle-blower protections and lays the framework for more government accountability where it is sorely needed,” said the statement.