When President Obama originally ran for the presidency he vowed to make the government more transparent. But when it came to the issue of whistle-blowing he was opposed to protecting whistle-blowers. How can a government be transparent when it does not provide a means by which government inefficiencies or coverup of government blunders or illegal actions are hidden from the public or the rest of the government.
I am not proposing that anyone should do anything they want to reveal government improprieties. But I do think there should be a process for people to report that military plane toilet seats cost $1000 or that a department of government is spying on everyday citizen’s without just cause, etc. without the risk of loosing their jobs or otherwise being punished or being prosecuted and imprisoned. There are many government employees and contractors who witness improprieties and waste in government which could save us a lot of money or problems in the future if they could blow the whistle, but presently they cannot report these violations in trust and expenses without great risk to themselves. Only a few are willing to risk it all. We frequently hear of such waste and improprieties in the news. What is brought to the public’s attention is likely just the tip of the iceberg.
It doesn’t matter whether someone is whistle-blowing out of altruism or out of selfish motives, if an impropriety is revealed it should be corrected rather than the whistle-blower being punished and nothing done. A wrong is wrong no matter how it is revealed and should not be hidden or encouraged in our government. We are supposed to be a just and transparent government. As such how can we protect or perpetuate illegal activities, unjust actions, wasteful spending, and incompetent management?
Instead of simply condemning whistle-blowing the president should have formed an impartial committee or department which investigates the validity of whistle-blower claims and protects those whistle-blowers who have a valid case. There should be an appeals process for whistle-blowers whose claims are rejected just to be sure all efforts are taken to verify whistle-blower’s claims. Whistle-blowers who submit false claims should risk prosecution and loss of jobs as punishment for making false claims and those who do it altruistically that saves large amounts of money or great embarrassment to the government should be rewarded. I also believe that valid cases should be revealed to the public if a good case cannot be made that national security is placed at great risk. This will keep government more honest and transparent. It is blatantly obvious that there are many instances where government does not operate in the best interests of its citizens. Transparency must be increased as Obama originally promised in 2008. It is no less truer today than it was then. Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. This is no less true today than in the past.