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Whistleblower Protection Laws

Monday, March 26, 2012

It is the policy of the federal government to enable employees to disclose evidence of fraud, abuse, mismanagement, or illegal activities without fear of reprisal. The Inspector General Act of 1978, as amended by the Intelligence Community Whistleblower Protection Act of 1998 provides employees and contractors of intelligence agencies with a mechanism for reporting alleged wrongdoing in IC agencies and associated programs to Congress. Under the ICWPA, IC employees have the right to engage in whistleblowing activity relating to intelligence matters of "urgent concern" and to be free from retaliatory actions for such reporting. "Urgent concerns," as defined by the ICWPA, include matters an IC employee reasonably believes to evidence violations of law, rule or regulation; gross mismanagement; gross waste of funds; an abuse of authority; or a substantial and specific danger to public health or safety. In some circumstances, ODNI personnel (including employees, assignees, detailees, and contractors) may feel it necessary to report such matters to Congress when, in the view of the ODNI personnel, those matters are not being adequately addressed by the ODNI or another government agency. If ODNI personnel wish to report waste, fraud, abuse, violation of law, or gross mismanagement by IC employees to Congress, the matter should first be raised to the IC Office of Inspector General. The IC IG will advise the employee regarding the procedures for making an IC whistleblower complaint. Additionally, ODNI and IC personnel may report misconduct to the IC IG at any time. For additional information on whistleblower obligations, policies and procedures, to make a whistleblower disclosure, and/or if you believe that you have been a victim of whistleblower retaliation, ODNI and IC personnel should contact the Office of the IC IG at 703-482-1300.

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.

Online Posting of EEO Complaint Data

Monday, March 26, 2012

The Notification and Federal Employee Anti-discrimination and Retaliation (No FEAR) Act requires each federal agency to post on its public website summary statistical data relating to equal employment opportunity complaints filed against the agency. The agency must post data for the current fiscal year on a cumulative basis (year-to-date information), updated quarterly. An agency must also post year-end data for the five previous fiscal years for comparison purposes. The posting of EEO data on agency public websites is intended to help Congress, Federal agencies, and the public assess whether and the extent to which agencies are living up to their equal employment opportunity responsibilities.

Fiscal 2006 is the first available year for data related to the equal employment opportunity complaints filed against the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. The ODNI was established with enactment of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 on December 17, 2004, Public Law 108-458. The first Director of National Intelligence, Ambassador John D. Negroponte, was confirmed by the Senate and sworn in on April 21, 2005. In January 2006, the DNI appointed the agency's first Chief, Intelligence Community EEO and Diversity, Mr. John Robinson, and tasked him with establishing internal processes within the ODNI while exercising the DNI's authority in the area of EEO and diversity throughout the Intelligence Community.

Disciplinary Actions

Monday, March 26, 2012

Under the existing laws, each agency retains the right, where appropriate, to discipline a Federal employee for conduct that is inconsistent with Federal Antidiscrimination and Whistleblower Protection Laws up to and including removal. According to the statute, if OSC has initiated an investigation under 5 USC 1214, however, according to 5 USC 1214(f), agencies must seek approval from the Special Counsel to discipline employees for, among other activities, engaging in prohibited retaliation. Nothing in the No FEAR Act alters existing laws or permits an agency to take unfounded disciplinary action against a Federal employee or to violate the procedural rights of a Federal employee who has been accused of discrimination.

For further information regarding the No FEAR Act regulations, refer to 5 USC Part 724, as well as the appropriate offices within your agency (e.g., EEO/civil rights office, human resources office or legal office). Additional information regarding Federal antidiscrimination and whistleblower protection and retaliation laws can be found at the EEOC website and the OSC website.

IC Inspectors General Forum

Sunday, March 25, 2012

The Intelligence Community Inspectors General Forum's mission is to promote and further collaboration, cooperation and coordination among the Inspectors General of the Intelligence Community of the United States. The forum is led by the IC IG and includes CIA, DHS, DIA, DoD, DOE, DOJ, State, Treasury, NGA, NRO, NSA and FBI.

The IC IG forum members meet quarterly to discuss issues of common concern, and to plan how to address them collaboratively. The forum's objectives include:

  • Supporting the IC IGs in the performance of audits, inspections, evaluations and investigations within their respective departments and agencies;
  • Strengthening the collective role and effectiveness of IG's throughout the Intelligence Community and to enhance the value of IGs' activities in support of the National Intelligence Strategy; and
  • Achieving optimal utilization of resources, to increase efficiency and to avoid duplication of effort among the Inspectors General of the Intelligence Community.

Additional Information

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

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

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

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