POGO – “In the swirl of the news cycle about revelations coming from an intelligence whistleblower and misguided but predictable attacks on them, we want to set some facts straight. The whistleblower’s complaint documented his urgent concern that President Trump pressured the president of Ukraine to investigate his political opponent Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden. The whistleblower’s allegations were largely corroborated with a summarized partial transcript of the phone call. Given the confusion—and perhaps deliberate disinformation—regarding whistleblower disclosures, and specifically the requirements for intelligence community whistleblowers to make disclosures to the inspector general, it’s particularly important for Congress, as well as the media covering this breaking news, to separate fact from fiction in this complicated area of the law. First, a federal government employee who blows the whistle only needs to have a “reasonable belief” of wrongdoing, as has been codified for decades in federal whistleblower law. Contrary to misinformation being spread by policymakers and pundits in the press, there is no whistleblower law that requires the whistleblower to have firsthand knowledge of the wrongdoing for them to be protected against retaliation for having made the disclosure.
In Caught Between Conscience and Career, the book we coauthored with the Government Accountability Project and Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, we explain the burden of proof for a whistleblower who wants to disclose a prohibited activity, including a violation of a law, rule or regulation, or abuse of authority…”