On September 11, 2012, a heavily armed group blitzed the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya. An additional armed assault targeted a nearby CIA annex, killing four people, including U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens. U.S. government employees are blowing the whistle on how the government responded the night of the attack and in the weeks following the attack.
U.S. Whistleblowing Law
A whistleblower is a person who reports wrongdoing in an organization, company or government agency. The wrongdoing may be a violation of law, transgression of regulation, corruption, fraud, or health and safety violations. Whistleblowers often fear reprisals from the agency or company such as demotion, termination or pay reduction.
To protect federal whistleblowers, the U.S. enacted the Whistleblower Protection Act of 1989. A federal agency contravenes the Act if it retaliates against any employee or applicant because the employee or applicant disclosed information that they reasonably believed was:
· A violation of regulation, law or rule
· A grievous mismanagement
· A huge waste of money
· An abuse of authority
· A major danger to public health or safety
Gregory Hicks, top deputy to U.S ambassador to Libya, Chris Stevens, testified on what occurred the night of the attack in Benghazi. He revealed two important points:
· A second team of special-operations forces were told not to fly to Benghazi on the night of the attack
· After pleading with the embassy’s Defense attaché to send F-15 fighter jets to Benghazi, Hicks was told that the closest jets were three hours away at a base that had no refueling options
Hicks’ testimony contradicted the testimony and briefings that senior White House administration officials gave to Congress in November of 2012.
After the Benghazi attack occurred, U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice publicly said that the attack was caused by a protest over an anti-Islam film. When Hicks testified to Congress, he insisted that Rice’s mischaracterization of the attacked angered Libyan President Magariaf and caused the FBI team to be retained in Tripoli for 17–18 days.
During his testimony at Congressional hearing, Hicks detailed the retaliatory treatment he suffered because of his whistleblowing. He reported that Hillary Clinton’s chief of staff called him to say how upset she was that Hicks met with investigators looking into Benghazi after being told not to do it. Hicks also discussed that he challenged superiors on why Rice incorrectly described the attack as a reaction to an anti-Islamic video.
State department demoted Hicks from being deputy chief of mission to desk officer shortly thereafter.
The whistleblowing lasts
Mahatma Gandhi declared, “Truth stands, even if there be no public support. It is self-sustained.” With Hicks revealing accurate, eyewitness details of the misconduct during and after the Benghazi attack, the Benghazi whistleblowing will prosper. If you have questions about misconduct that you witnessed at your place of employment, it is important to discuss it with a Texas whistleblower attorney today.