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How to File a Whistleblower Complaint

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Summary of Procedures for Reporting Urgent Concerns Pursuant to the ICWPA

A.    An IC employee, assignee, detailee, or contractor, who intends to report to Congress a complaint or information with respect to an urgent
       concern, may report such complaint or information to the Intelligence Community Inspector General by calling 1-855-731-3260.

B.    Not later than the end of the 14-calendar day period beginning on the date of receipt from an employee of a complaint or information under
       subparagraph (A), the IC IG shall determine whether the complaint or information appears credible. If the IC IG determines that the complaint or
       information appears credible, then the IC IG shall, before the end of such period, transmit the complaint or information to the Director of
       National Intelligence. The IC IG may also forward comments on the complaint or information to the DNI.

C.    Upon receipt of a transmittal from the IC IG under subparagraph (B), the DNI shall, within 7 calendar days of such receipt, forward such
        transmittal to the congressional intelligence committees, together with any comments the DNI considers appropriate.

i. If the IC IG does not transmit, or does not transmit in accurate form, the complaint or information described in subparagraph (B), the
  employee may submit, in accordance with subparagraph (ii), the complaint or information to Congress by contacting either or both of the   
  congressional intelligence committees directly.

ii. The employee may contact the congressional intelligence committees directly as described in clause (i) only if the employee –

 a. before making such a contact, furnishes to the DNI, through the IC IG, a statement of the employee's complaint or information and
     notice of the employee's intent to  contact the congressional intelligence committees directly; and

b. obtains and follows from the DNI, through the IC IG, direction on how to contact the congressional intelligence committees in
    accordance with necessary and appropriate security procedures.

iii. The ICWPA provides that a member or employee of one of the congressional intelligence committees who receives a complaint or
     information under clause (i) does so in that member's or employee's official capacity as a member or employee of that committee.

D.    The IC IG shall notify an employee who reports a complaint or information to the IC IG under these procedures of each action taken under
       these procedures with respect to the complaint or information. Such notice shall be provided not later than 3 days after any such action is
       taken.

E.    An action taken by the DNI or the IC IG under this paragraph shall not be subject to judicial review.

F.    In this summary:

i. The term "urgent concern" means any of the following:

a. A serious or flagrant problem, abuse, violation of law or Executive Order, or deficiency relating to the funding, administration, or
   operations of an intelligence activity involving classified information, but does not include differences of opinions concerning public
   policy matters.

b. A false statement to Congress, or a willful withholding from Congress, on an issue of material fact relating to the funding,
    administration, or operation of an intelligence activity.

c. An action, including a personnel action described in section 2302(a)(2)(A) of title 5, United States Code, constituting reprisal or threat
    of reprisal prohibited under subsection (e)(3)(B) in response to an employee's reporting an urgent concern in accordance with this
    paragraph.

ii. The term 'congressional intelligence committees' means the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence of the United States House of
    Representatives and the Select Committee on Intelligence of the United States Senate.

Additional Information

Making Lawful Disclosures

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Retaliation for Engaging in Protected Activity

A Federal agency cannot retaliate against an employee or applicant because that individual exercises his or her rights under any of the Federal antidiscrimination or whistleblower protection laws listed above. If you believe that you are the victim of retaliation for engaging in protected activity, you must follow, as appropriate, the procedures described in the Antidiscrimination Laws and Whistleblower Protection Laws sections or, if applicable, the administrative or negotiated grievance procedures in order to pursue any legal remedy.

Intelligence Community Whistleblower Protections

General Protections

The Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2014 amends the National Security Act of 1947 to provide statutory protections for Intelligence Community employees who make lawful disclosures of fraud, waste, or abuse in IC programs and activities. These statutory provisions prohibit an employee from taking a personnel action in reprisal or making security clearance access determinations in reprisal against an employee who made a lawful disclosure. Further, these provision require an inspector general to conduct fact-finding in reviewing allegations of security clearance reprisal.  

Presidential Policy Directive – 19 (PPD-19), Protecting Whistleblowers with Access to Classified Information, also provides protections for IC employees against personnel actions taken in reprisal for lawfully participating in the whistleblowing process.  In addition, employees and contractors are protected from reprisals in the security clearance adjudication process. PPD-19 requires that the agency inspector general review whistleblower reprisal allegations in violation of PPD-19.  Further, PPD-19 allows employees and contractors to seek an external review from the IC IG of their reprisal allegations once they have exhausted their own agency’s review process


Protections for Reporting to the Inspector General of the Intelligence Community  


The IC IG statutory authorities also provide whistleblower protections for IC employees and contractors who report fraud, waste, or abuse to the IC IG.  The IC IG may receive and investigate whistleblower reprisal complaints from any IC employee or contractor. 


Protections for Reporting to Congress

The Intelligence Community Whistleblower Protection Act provides IC employees the means to report to Congress complaints or information pertaining to "urgent concerns" (see below) without suffering reprisal.

In general, the ICWPA defines an "urgent concern" as:

  • A serious or flagrant problem, abuse, violation of law or Executive Order, or deficiency relating to the funding, administration, or operation of an intelligence activity involving classified information, but does not include differences of opinion concerning public policy matters.
  • A false statement to Congress, or a willful withholding from Congress, on an issue of material fact relating to the funding, administration, or operation of an intelligence activity.
  • An action constituting reprisal or threat of reprisal in response to an employee reporting an urgent concern.


As outlined in the link below, the IC IG must adhere to strict statutory timeframes in order to process whistleblower complaints of “urgent concern.” 

Summary of Procedures for Reporting Urgent Concerns

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Contact the IC IG

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

How to Report Waste, Fraud, Abuse or Misconduct

There are three ways to contact the IC IG:

Phone:   1-855-731-3260
Fax:   1-571-204-8088
Mail:   Office of the Inspector General of the Intelligence Community
  Investigations Division
  Reston 3
  Washington, D.C. 20511

What is reportable?
The IC IG is authorized to investigate complaints or information concerning allegations of a violation of law, rule, regulation, waste, fraud, abuse of authority, or a substantial or specific danger to public health and safety in connection with ODNI and/or IC intelligence programs and activities.

Can I be punished for contacting the IC IG?
Reprisal against an employee for making a complaint or disclosing information to the IC IG is prohibited. Those who believe they have been subjected to reprisal due to a complaint or disclosure, should contact the IC IG immediately. Protection from reprisal does not extend to an employee who makes a complaint or discloses information with knowledge that the complaint or information is false or with wilful disregard for its truth or falsity.

Who will handle this allegation?
The IC IG reviews and assesses each allegation and determines if it should be handled by the IC IG or referred to another appropriate office for resolution.

Can I be anonymous?
Yes you can report anonymously however, it would help our investigation if we had someone to contact if we needed additional information. The IC IG will not disclose the identity of the complainant without their consent, unless the IC IG determines such disclosure is unavoidable in the course of carrying out its responsibilities to resolve the complaint. We encourage you to identify yourself in your report to allow for the IC IG to follow up.

To report anonymously, you may call the IC IG at 1-855-731-3260.

Additional Information

 

FOIA

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Office of the Director of National Intelligence - Freedom of Information Act/Privacy Act


The goal of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence Freedom of Information Act/Privacy Act Office is to keep the public better informed about the Agency’s efforts to ensure U.S. security through the release of as much information as possible, consistent with the need to protect classified or sensitive information under the exemption provisions of these laws.

Freedom of Information Act

The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. sec. 552 (as amended by the OPEN Government Act of 2007, Pub. L. No. 110-175, 121 Stat. 2524) generally provides that any person (with the exception of another Federal agency, a fugitive from the law, or a representative of a foreign government) has the right, enforceable in court, to request access to any existing record of the Executive Branch of the U.S. Government unless the information in those records is protected from disclosure by one or more of the nine exemptions that qualify an agency’s need to withhold records from the public.  The Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) acts in accordance to all Federal laws and adheres to the policy and disclosure regulations set forth in 32 CFR Chapter XVII Part 1700 to implement the FOIA uniformly and consistently and to provide maximum allowable disclosure of agency records upon request.  

Records that, generally, may be protected from disclosure are:  (1) properly classified material; (2) limited kinds of purely internal agency personnel rules and practices; (3) matters exempt from disclosure by other statutes; (4) trade secrets or commercial or financial information obtained from a person and privileged or confidential; (5) inter- or intra- agency communications that represent the deliberative, pre-decisional process, attorney work product, or attorney-client privileged records; (6) personnel, medical, and similar files containing information that would be a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy; (7) law enforcement records to the extent that one of six specific harms could result from disclosure; (8) matters relating to the regulation or supervision of financial institutions; and (9) geological and geophysical information on oil wells.

The FOIA provides for access to “reasonably described” records.  This means a requester must describe the actual document(s) sought to provide sufficient details to permit a search with reasonable effort utilizing existing indices or search tools.  The FOIA does not require an agency to create a record, collect information, conduct research, or analyze data. 

Privacy Act

The Privacy Act of 1974 (5 U.S.C. Sec. 552a) regulates the collection, maintenance, use, and dissemination of personal information by federal executive branch agencies to balance the government's need to maintain information about individuals with the rights of individuals to be protected against unwarranted invasions of their privacy. 

The Act focuses on four basic policy objectives:

(1) To restrict disclosure of personally identifiable records maintained by agencies;
(2) To grant individuals increased rights of access to agency records maintained on themselves;
(3) To grant individuals the right to seek amendment of agency records maintained on themselves upon a showing that the records are not accurate, relevant, timely, or complete; and
(4) To establish a code of "fair information practices" which requires agencies to comply with statutory norms for collection, maintenance, and dissemination of records.

Similar to the FOIA, the Privacy Act provides individuals with the right to seek access to agency records.  However, under the Privacy Act, an individual (defined as a U.S. citizen or permanent resident alien) may only seek access to his/her own record, or to any information pertaining to him/her, if such information is maintained by an agency within a Privacy Act system of records and is not exempt from release under the provisions of the law.  In addition, any requests to amend an agency record are limited to correcting factual errors and not matters of official judgement, such as performance ratings, or subjective judgements that reflect an individual’s observation, evaluation or opinion.
 
Requests for information under the FOIA or PA

To obtain records from the ODNI, a FOIA or PA request may be submitted in writing to:

Jennifer L. Hudson
Director, Information Management Division
Office of the Director of National Intelligence
Washington, D.C. 20511

A request may also be submitted in writing via facsimile to: (703) 874-8910, or via e-mail to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

To obtain the status of a request or ask a question about the FOIA/PA process, you may call the ODNI FOIA Requester Service Center at (703) 874-8500, or you can email your inquiry to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .



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