Lawful IC Whistleblowing

When an individual provides the right information to the right people, the individual has made a and is a Whistleblower. Once a Protected Disclosure is made, the Whistleblower is afforded protections established by various whistleblower protection laws and policies. The actual process through which a Protected Disclosure is made will vary based on the information conveyed and to whom that information is provided.

Making a Protected Disclosure may be as informal as a conversation with your direct supervisor to a formal submission to an IG Hotline. Protected disclosures are made when wrongdoing is reported to an authorized recipient while safeguarding sensitive national security information.

Please contact your agency or department's IG or Whistleblower coordinator for additional detailed guidance and/or to address specific questions.

The following is a generalized guide to whistleblowing.


1. Identify the Issue

What is occurring and how do you know it?


2. Document the Facts

Prepare a summary of the facts describing what you witnessed, leaving opinions and speculation out. Consider the following to help guide you in clearly and succinctly articulating your disclosure:

  • What are the facts?
  • Who is involved?
  • When did it occur?
  • Where did it happen?
  • What, based on the above, is the violation of law, rule, or regulation; gross mismanagement; a gross waste of funds; an abuse of authority; or a substantial and specific danger to public health or safety?
  • What is the classification level of the information involved?

3. Who Needs to Know

The nature of the IC is such that you may not have authorization or access to all the relevant information or facts. You should still report a concern if you have a reasonable belief of wrongdoing, but you should not conduct your own investigation to gather the facts. Instead, report to an appropriate authorized recipient, your government chain of command or IG, so that they may fully investigate your concern(s).


4. Make a Decision about Confidentiality

Do you want to maintain confidentiality in reporting the wrongdoing? Certain authorized recipients are better able to maintain your confidentiality. Offices of Inspectors General (OIGs) will protect the identity of complainants to the maximum extent possible by law. Confidentiality is established by law and IGs are prohibited from disclosing the identity of those who report an allegation or provide information, without their consent, unless the IG determines that disclosure is unavoidable during the course of the investigation or in a referral to the Department of Justice. In some circumstances an authorized recipient may be required to identify you in order to investigate or take action on your lawful disclosure. The IC IG takes whistleblower protections and confidentiality seriously.

Authorized Recipients Confidential

Chain of Command

Contact your government manager.

Red X Not Confidental

Inspector General (IG)

Call your IG Hotline.

Red Check Confidential

5. Make the Call or Submit Your Disclosure

End your summary with contact information for potential witnesses and the location of any relevant hard and soft copy data that may support your allegations.

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