Thursday, February 23, 2012
WASHINGTON -- Senator Chuck Grassley says a new report makes clear that there's a lot of work yet to do for military whistleblowers who speak up on behalf of rank-and-file troops, national security and fiscal responsibility.
"While the situation is improving, there's a long way to go in making it work as it should for those who step up and speak out about wrongdoing and problems. Reprisal against military whistleblowers is alive and well in the Pentagon, unfortunately, so oversight efforts must continue full force," Grassley said.
In a report released this week (click here to see the report), the Government Accountability Office said that until the Inspector General for the Defense Department implements certain oversight mechanisms, it can't know that "it is effectively conducting its oversight responsibilities or implementing the whistleblower reprisal program as intended."
Grassley said he requested this report from the Government Accountability Office to see how problems he identified previously with whistleblower reprisal investigations are being addressed. "Several years ago, I did an in-depth review of how the Inspector General handled military whistleblower cases. The lack of oversight was appalling. The Inspector General was asking zero questions about the reprisal investigations being conducted by Inspectors General for the services, even though scrutiny was desperately needed," Grassley said.
Grassley's earlier review looked at an egregious case in depth, that of Navy Lieutenant Jason Hudson. The Inspector General for the Justice Department subsequently did a peer review and confirmed many of Grassley's findings.
Grassley said this worked helped to build a case for legislation that directed the Defense Department Inspector General to correct deficiencies. It was passed in 2009, as part of the annual defense authorization bill.
"Whistleblowers are in a position to identify fraud that may otherwise go undetected, and courageous whistleblowers who stick out their necks and speak up about mismanagement and abuse help keep government accountable. Our system is better off thanks to whistleblowers," Grassley said.
Grassley has a long record of advocacy for individual whistleblowers, legislative reforms to protect and empower whistleblowers both in and out of government, and oversight of whistleblower protections. His efforts began more than 20 years ago with questions raised by whistleblowers about Defense Department spending.