The Successes and Failures of Whistleblower Laws

The Successes and Failures of Whistleblower Laws

Robert G. Vaughn

Drawing on literature from several disciplines, this enlightening book examines the history of whistleblower laws throughout the world and provides an analytical structure for the most common debates about the nature of such laws and their potential successes and failures.

Chapter 12: National security

Robert G. Vaughn

Subjects: law - academic, comparative law, criminal law and justice, labour, employment law, politics and public policy, public policy


Foreign affairs, national defense and whistleblowing have long been intertwined. National security and whistleblowing are part of a dance between secrecy and disclosure in American politics and culture. Whistleblower laws in the United States have been part of this minuet. National security demands for secrecy and agitation for whistleblower laws increase together. Several factors explain this synchronization. First, the circumstances – war, terrorism, or strained military and diplomatic relations with other countries – that fuel executive claims for control of information regarding national security also generate congressional need for that information. Employees of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), civilian employees of the Department of Defense (DOD), members of the uniformed services, members of the intelligence community, and, more recently, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) hold much of this information. They have access to information and the experience and skill to analyze its importance.

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