An overview of whistleblowing and whistleblower protections

This website provides a general overview of lawful whistleblowing in the Intelligence Community (IC) and explains how individuals lawfully disclose critical information to authorized recipients while protecting national security equities.

What is Whistleblowing?

In broad terms, lawful whistleblowing is the process through which an individual provides the right information to the right people while protecting national security equities and avoiding unauthorized disclosure.

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What Should I Report?

Lawful whistleblowing provides information about wrongdoing to authorized recipients. You have a responsibility to report wrongdoing which can be a violation of any Federal law, rule, or regulation; or gross mismanagement, a gross waste of funds, an abuse of authority, or a substantial and specific danger to public health or safety.

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How Do I Blow the Whistle?

Lawful whistleblowing occurs when an individual discloses information that he or she reasonably believes evidences wrongdoing to an authorized recipient.

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What Are My Whistleblower Protections?

There are specific protections for IC employees, civilians, contractors, and military personnel who make Protected Disclosures.

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From the DNI: Whistleblowing Speaks Truth to Power

My greatest honor as Director of National Intelligence is to work alongside extraordinary public servants who are dedicated to our shared mission of protecting our country from the most dangerous threats.

As intelligence professionals, we are committed to certain fundamental ethical principles, including truth, courage, and integrity. When done lawfully, whistleblowing upholds our values and ensures that our exceptional mission is not above the law. Reporting waste, fraud, abuse, or corruption to those who can correct wrongdoings is how we can deliver on speaking truth to power.

Lawful whistleblowing is a public service — it helps us fix problems while protecting national security information and promotes public confidence in the critical work that we do to keep our nation safe.

For all these reasons, whistleblowing has been encouraged and protected by law since the Second Continental Congress in 1788. Whistleblower retaliation is illegal and violates Intelligence Community (IC) policies.

The Office of the Inspector General of the IC has resources and protections in place to help you lawfully report wrongdoing without fear of reprisal. By following the outlined processes, you can help to identify problems within the IC all while protecting our country’s most sensitive information from unauthorized disclosure. Authorized recipients of protected disclosures include:

  • A government supervisor in the employee’s chain of command, up to and including the head of the employing agency;
  • The Inspector General of the employing agency or IC element;
  • The Director of National Intelligence;
  • The Intelligence Community Inspector General;
  • Or an employee designated by any of the above officials for the purpose of receiving such disclosures.

If you have information about a potential wrongdoing within the IC, I implore you to lawfully blow the whistle. After reviewing the IC IG’s resources, report your concern to your agency’s inspector general or contact the IC IG Hotline.

Together, we can strengthen our Community and safeguard our nation.

Avril D. Haines
Director of National Intelligence