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War on Whistleblowers Elicits International Attention

A liar will not be believed, even when he speaks the truth.


Daniel Ellsburg, Karen Silkwood, and W. Mark Felt are usually glorified as brave whistleblowers who risked everything for the truth. In 2002, Time Magazine’s person of the year was The Whistleblowers — Colleen Rowley, Sherron Watkins and Cynthia Cooper. The June 24, 2013 issue of Time is entitled The Informers.

The tide has turned and the government has pursued whistleblowers as criminals who are unpatriotic. Not surprisingly, whistleblowers are drawing considerable media attention across the world.

The U.S. Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act

Passed in November 2012, the U.S. Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act (WPEA) considerably strengthens the original 1989 federal whistleblower act. The three main components of the WPEA are

  • Widening the protection for those who expose government wrongdoing. For example, government scientists who challenge censorship and those who challenge the consequences of government policy decisions are protected.
  • Greater coverage and fair judicial processes. Formerly, only the Federal Court of Appeals had jurisdiction on appellate review of cases under the original 1989 federal whistleblower act. It had a record of three to 226 against whistleblowers for decisions on the merits since October 1994. Now, other courts have jurisdiction.
  • Broader administrative authority will now be granted to government agencies such as the Office of Special Counsel and the Government Accountability Office to file briefs in support of employees filing WPEA claims.

In spite of this new law, whistleblowers have faced a strong negative response.

Whistleblowers or Informers

Bradley Manning, Aaron Swartz and Edward Snowden are the new whistleblowers who are not enjoying the same support as whistleblowers have in the past. Pfc. Bradley Manning confessed to disclosing government information about the U.S. war in Iraq and Afghanistan to WikiLeaks and has been held in jail for three years. Aaron Swartz was an internet activist who committed suicide while the U.S. Justice Department sought him for taking data from an academic database called JStor. The newest whistleblower, Edward Snowden, released data from the National Security Agency showing that the U.S. government has been recording citizens’ emails and cell phone calls for years.

Currently, Manning is being charged with violating the Espionage Act, a law that criminalizes revealing information related to national defense. Snowden may also be charged under the Espionage Act, if the U.S. is able to extradite and arrest him.

Every day, news headlines, electronic, print or television, discuss whistleblowers. If you have information about the illegal activity of your government or employer, you should discuss it with a Texas whistleblower attorney before proceeding.

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In his new book, "Standing Up to China: How a Whistleblower Risked Everything for His Country," former client & Author, Ashley Yablon, quotes Attorney Steve Kardell about Whistelblower Law.
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  • "Reaching out to Steve Kardell was the best decision I made. His ability to provide immediate insight and direction was very powerful, and a huge relief during a very stressful time period. For anyone struggling with a whistleblower situation, I would highly recommend at least speaking with Steve. After a 10 minute call with him, I had a better understanding of what I was dealing with. Even better, he gave me some immediate hope. In the end Steve did a better job than I thought was possible. Steve was able to get in contact with people in my organization, that I didn’t have access to. Because of his years of experience, he already has contacts in many organizations in Dallas. The entire situation was handled peacefully. I was impressed by his ability to “keep the peace”–rather than creating a battle with the organization. The reason I didn’t reach out to a lawyer initially, was because I thought it would mean an immediate end to any hope of a positive relationship with the company. Steve was able to address my concerns, and in the end I was able to continue to work for them."  -KS

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