Grassley asks Holder to let inspector general handle whistleblower review

“There is no logical reason to empower people who have such a horrendous record on whistleblowers with the responsibility to determine whether the current process helps FBI whistleblowers,” Grassley said in a statement Thursday. “The Attorney General and his Deputy have already allowed cases to languish for far too long. One case has been sitting at the Justice Department for more than 10 years, with no end in sight. That’s unacceptable.”

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Grassley’s letter to Holder comes after a directive from President Obama last month to protect whistleblowers with national security clearances against retaliation. The directive required a review within 180 days from the attorney general in consultation with FBI employees.

“While I welcome the Directive and the effort to provide some level of whistleblower protection to government employees in the Intelligence Community, I am deeply concerned about the current state of these protections for FBI employees and the Justice Department’s role in adjudicating retaliation claims brought forward by FBI whistleblowers,” Grassley wrote.

Grassley asked Holder to delegate the review to the inspector general so that Holder could focus on other whistleblower cases that have been pending for years.

“I strongly support whistleblower protections and will continue to work hard to see that all FBI employees who reveal fraud, waste and wrongdoing receive fair and equitable treatment at the FBI and within the Department. ... However, the Department has a lot to prove to FBI employees, the Congress, and the American people that whistleblowers will be treated fairly,” the letter stated. “As a first step toward this, I encourage you to strongly consider my request to designate the OIG to conduct the review of FBI whistleblower protections as outlined in the President’s directive.”

Grassley has long worked in the Senate on the protecting whistleblowers, and co-sponsored the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act. An amended version of this bill passed the House and could be considered by the Senate when it returns after the Nov. 6 election.

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