Service of Protecting a Whistleblower

November 21st, 2019

Categories: Politicians, Politics, Whistleblowers

I’ve written three previous posts about whistleblowers. The first, in October, 2010, was about a Minneapolis resident who gave up his job as a trader at a brokerage firm to become an FBI informant. His target was a suspicious Ponzi schemer. The second was about the Penn State assistant football coach Mike McQuery who was placed in protective custody and on administrative leave because of his role in the Jerry Sandusky child molestation case. In the third I covered the countless leakers in the early Trump administration. We learn the names of some and not of others.

The unnamed whistleblower at the center of the Ukraine telephone call/impeachment initiative is courageous as they all are. I also think that they are the rarest of birds and as such should be shielded from harm and at all costs left forever unidentified except to the appropriate authorities.

The USA TODAY editorial board wrote: “The fundamental promise of whistleblower protection is to create a safe space for a witness of wrongdoing to come forward and report it — and, for the sake of his or her professional reputation or even physical safety, to remain anonymous in doing so.

“Nothing chills truth-telling in the halls of power like the risk of retribution, and no risk is more harrowing than unmasking potentially impeachable offenses by a president.

“So it may come as little surprise that Donald Trump — with his legacy and potentially even his job hanging in the balance — would turn the promise of whistleblower protection on its head. He has launched a vitriolic campaign to publicly identify the person who exposed his problematic July 25 phone call with the president of Ukraine.”

In addition they wrote: “Making the whistleblower’s identity known would expose the person to the kind of character assassination from the extreme elements of the president’s supporters that other impeachment inquiry witnesses have endured.”

The word assassination is apt. One of the whistleblower’s lawyers said he feared the man or woman would be killed if identified.

Those who call for identifying this whistleblower say it’s important to know his/her motivation and political preference. Do you agree?

Have you ever worked for someone whose dicey business behavior should have been made known? Did you report him/her? Do most of us stay mum because we are taught from childhood not to be tattletales? Do you praise or condemn whistleblowers? Do you think that there should be exceptions to the rule that protects their identity and that some should be exposed?

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8 Responses to “Service of Protecting a Whistleblower”

  1. BC Said:

    Wrong whistleblower! Should be for Hilary and Biden!

  2. Jeanne Byington Said:


    I would feel the same for whistleblowers with information about Hillary or Biden. They, too, should remain unidentified.

    This also goes for those who report companies like Theranos that was supposed to be the second coming in the blood test world and turned out to be a scam potentially harming thousands if not millions.

  3. ASK Said:

    Anyone accused of a crime has the right to face his or her accuser in a court of law. This makes me uncomfortable with the whistleblowers act.

  4. Jeanne Byington Said:

    That’s true, ASK, but a congressional hearing isn’t a court of law.

    One assumes that in cases that do involve the law that what the whistleblower has told authorities has been proved true and that there are witnesses to confirm the accusation which might otherwise not ever have been discovered. Without protection, so many sleazy operations would continue unchecked with countless people harmed.

    Back to the case at hand, if there are people who corroborate what the whistleblower has uncovered, does it matter where the initial information came from?

  5. ASK Said:

    I don’t feel that whistleblowers should be allowed to hide in shadows…it encourages false allegations and chicanery, which is not to say I don’t support the current congressional investigation. We allegedly live in a civil society…although the machinations in DC seems to belie that…

  6. Jeanne Byington Said:


    The operative word in your civil society reference is allegedly. We don’t now and in many ways, at certain levels, never were either known to be civil or empathetic to one another nor honest hence the need for rules and regulations and oversight.

    Where we need to expect honesty is from the people whistleblowers report to. It is they whom we must entrust to put a lid on false allegations, nipping in the bud chicanery, jealousy and nastiness which leads to false accusations. Only carefully vetted accusations should come to light. Without whistleblowers so many terrible wrongs would go unchecked.

  7. Amanda Ripanykhazova Said:

    The “face the accusers” point is a typical Trump-apologist point. An attempt to deflect from the truth. An attempt to change the subject. it is currently known as whataboutism. It can usually be identified in its present context by the use of the word CLINTON somewhere in the sentence, where there is no relevance between the word CLINTON and the accusations being deflected. Admittedly the whole point about being a Trump-apologist is that 99.99% of them aren’t bright enough to realise this. So they can sound reasonable.

    For as long as 5-10 seconds.

    When someone is accused of a crime, it is the crime which is important and the question is whether the crime was committed or not. NOT who did the accusing!

    Trying to out the whistleblower is just a means of changing the subject in the hope of preventing further accusations on this or other crimes. Everyone knows what happens to whistleblowers who are outed in government corruption cases.

    Their lives are DESTROYED!

  8. Jeanne Byington Said:


    I should have asked you to write the post–your comments are spot on.

    I often see outreach by the police asking if anyone saw an accident or knew about a crime to please call a phone number and that they need not identify themselves. [OK OK, unless a toss-able phone the police can trace the number and know who the caller is….]

    If I’m in a restaurant and I overhear people planning a crime and I manage to take a photo and bring it to the police what does it matter who gave the heads up? It doesn’t.

    I THINK what people who object to protecting whistleblowers might have in mind is the idea that in a company or in government offices or the military, someone can give a person they are jealous of a bad report that can stop a promotion and actually end a competitor’s career. And that is terrible, but it doesn’t relate to crimes.

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