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Senate Judiciary Committee calls for FBI whistleblower protections

Sen. Chuck GrassleyChuck GrassleyMnuchin, Price meet with GOP senators Business groups express support for Branstad nomination 10 no-brainer ways to cut healthcare costs without hurting quality MORE (R-Iowa), chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, is calling for stronger protections for FBI whistleblowers following a Government Accountability Office report, which found that whistleblower protections at the FBI are weaker than at any other agency.

“Whistleblowers should not have to fear retaliation for speaking up, and they should not have to wait a decade for relief,” he said during a Senate Judiciary Hearing on Wednesday.  “And, they should not have to rely on Congress to see justice done.”

GAO’s report released last week found that the Department of Justice took two to more than 10 years to resolve four complaints and failed to give complainants estimates for when to expect a decision.

Besides the report, Grassley said FBI appears to be stonewalling the Inspector General—including in two investigations of FBI whistleblower complaints ­– by failing to provide timely access to records.

“The DOJ program for protecting agency whistleblowers is broken,” said Stephen Kohn, executive director of the National Whistleblowers Center.

“If you have an employee who knows about wrongdoing I think they have to have real avenues where they can come forward and tell about it and not be punished for actually letting taxpayers and everyone else know what’s going on” said Sen. Patrick LeahyPatrick LeahyThe Hill's 12:30 Report The Hill's 12:30 Report Passing US-Canada preclearance would improve security and economy MORE (D-Vt.) “They have to be protected from retaliation.”