While it changes nothing about NSA leaker Edward Snowden’s situation, the Pentagon has said that new whistleblower protections for Department of Defense (DoD) contractors will go into effect July 1. So starting Monday, many of the existing loopholes will be closed, but it isn’t clear if this will help stem the flow of information to the public form connected insiders.
The timing of the announcement would normally be suspect, but according to a published notification the Fiscal Year 2012 NDAA directed several changes be made to the existing rules governing Contractor Whistleblower Rights. For those interested, the existing rules for whistleblower protection can be found here. The sections that are due to be enhanced are at the bottom of the page.
According to the American Forced Press Service, on Monday contractors who report suspected waste, fraud, or abuse within their company rather than the DoD Inspector General, gain many of the same protections that DoD employees have.
These changes close several loopholes, and come at a time when the government is dealing with a sensitive leak from a contractor who claims to be a whistleblower himself. While Eric Snowden’s stance is hotly contested, the changes being introduced next week wouldn’t have applied to him, since he leaked what he did as an act of conscience.
In a briefing at the Pentagon, Nilgun Tolek, the director of whistleblower reprisal investigations for the Defense Department said that since internal complaints were not covered under the original statute, contractors had nowhere to turn.
“Congress has recognized that there have been some loopholes in the provisions, and that the protections didn’t expand to everyone,” added Marguerite C. Garrison, the deputy inspector general for administrative investigations, in a statement.
Existing DoD contracts will be modified to include the enhanced protections, starting July 1, all new contracts will be current within the changes.