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Tell Obama It's Time to Protect Whistleblowers

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Thanks in part to the strong support of President Obama, there finally has been some progress on protections for federal whistleblowers. But at the same time, secrecy in the national security state is growing and threatening whistleblowers, the media, and freedom of speech.

The President deserves credit for helping to enact the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act and issuing a directive to protect some national security and intelligence community whistleblowers for the first time. But the Obama Administration also has taken actions to undermine those same protections. There have been unprecedented prosecutions of so-called “leakers” under the Espionage Act. Also, a loophole supported by the Administration allows agencies to cancel due process and strip whistleblower rights in the name of national security without appeal or oversight.

A new film called The War on Whistleblowers: Free Speech and the National Security State tells the stories of four whistleblowers who were silenced and the journalists who were finally able to get their voices heard.

In the spirit of the film, we and our partners in the Make It Safe Coalition are asking people to stand up and demand that Obama end the war on whistleblowers and the threats to our free speech in the name of national security.

Sign our petition to President Obama urging accountability in the national security state and strong protections for whistleblowers.

Dear President Obama,

Your administration is at odds with itself on whistleblowers. You must shrink the growing secrecy in the national security state, end the prosecutions of so- called leakers, and end the pursuit of a national security loophole to whistleblower rights and the rule of law in the federal civil service.  Without these steps, your promises to have an open and accountable government will not have credibility. Your administration initially made important progress on whistleblower protections and openness, but more recent actions that enable national security abuses are undermining your accomplishments. You must end the secrecy and lack of accountability that threatens not only whistleblowers, the media, and freedom of speech—but also our security. There are only a limited amount of secrets that must be kept for our national defense and foreign relations: Illegitimate secrecy makes it harder to keep our legitimate secrets.

We the undersigned urge you to fulfill your commitment to protect those who risk their careers to legally report fraud, waste, and abuse in government—including in the national security and intelligence communities. We urge you to rein in the undue secrecy in the name of national security. We urge you to support your own appointees at good government agencies who are fighting to fulfill that commitment. In every administration there are policy conflicts, but we urge you to renew your prior leadership on government openness and accountability.