WHAT IS WHISTLEBLOWING?


Whistleblowing is the lawful disclosure of information a discloser reasonably believes evidences to an . It is the mechanism to get the right information to the right people to counter wrongdoing and promote proper, effective, and efficient operation of IC functions. Whistleblowing in the IC is extremely important as it ensures that you can "say something" if you have "seen something" while protecting sensitive national security information and activities.

Whistleblowing occurs throughout the Federal government every day. Whistleblowing can range from a simple conversation with a supervisor, to contacting an Inspector General (IG) Hotline, to providing information, through the proper channels, to Congress. In each instance of lawful whistleblowing, an individual is getting the right information to the right people.

Whistleblowing is a powerful tool to raise awareness of potential issues within IC programs and activities. The tool is designed for reporting wrongdoing and not personal grievances, policy disputes or management disagreements. Each IC agency has appropriate venues to raise such concerns.

Who is a "Whistleblower"?

A Whistleblower is any individual who provides the right information to the right people. Stated differently, lawful whistleblowing occurs when an individual provides information that they reasonably believe evidences wrongdoing to an authorized recipient. Once that right information has been given to the right people, the whistleblower has made a and is afforded whistleblower protections.

What is the "Right Information"?

The "Right Information" is any information an individual reasonably believes evidences wrongdoing. Wrongdoing is a a 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. Wrongdoing is not policy disputes, management disagreements or other de minimis or trivial issues.

Who are the "Right People"?

The "Right People" are those known as "authorized recipient(s)". Authorized recipients include: 1) a government supervisor in the employee`s chain of command, up to and including the head of the employing agency; 2) the IG of the employing agency or IC Element; 3) the Director of National Intelligence (DNI); 4) the IC IG; 5) an employee designated by any of the above officials for the purpose of receiving such disclosures. Authorized recipients are those individuals who can correct the wrongdoing that is reported to them. Inherent in that concept is that anyone without a clearance, or who is not in government, would not be an authorized recipient.

Providing classified or sensitive information to those without a security clearance and a need-to-know may constitute an unauthorized disclosure. Unauthorized disclosures can cause grave damage to national security and may subject the source of the unauthorized disclosure to administrative, civil, or criminal penalties.

Why do we have a whistleblower program?

Lawful whistleblowing:

Whistleblowing ensures critical information gets to the people who need to know about it. Getting the right information to the right people promotes effective and efficient government. It also roots out fraud, waste, and abuse while ensuring that sensitive national security information, programs, and activities are protected. Whistleblower programs provide the mechanism to lawfully transmit this critical information, along with informing and training the workforce, to promote a workplace that respects and values input from dedicated public servants who believe in "if you see something, say something."

  • Gets important, time-sensitive information to the individuals authorized to receive such information, and take appropriate action
  • Saves taxpayers millions of dollars each year
  • Serves the public interest by ensuring that the Federal Government remains an ethical and safe workplace
  • Allows human, technical, and financial resources to be targeted at fixing the problem, and protects the public's health, welfare, and safety
  • Encourages Federal employees, contractors, and military personnel to report wrongdoing to the appropriate government authorities