Law and Whistleblowing

Committee calls for national security whistleblower protection

Council of Europe logoThe Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights published its draft report on Improving the Protection of Whistleblowers in light of the revelations of Edward Snowden [19 March 2015].

The Committee stressed the importance of ensuring that secrecy for reasons of national security does not act as a cover for wrongdoing or is used to stifle public debate and calls on all member States to ensure whistleblower protection covers all those working in national security and intelligence-related fields.

This Committee held two inquiries and its first report on Mass Surveillance was published only weeks ago in January 2015.

Edward Snowden testified before the Committee in Strasbourg in June 2014, along with Anna Myers of WIN. Myers commented about the resolution and report:

Like many of my WIN colleagues working around the world, I welcome the Committee’s unrelenting commitment to the protection of whistleblowers as a serious matter of democracy. How whistleblowers are treated in relation to information that may stray into areas of government secrecy – even national security – is a litmus test of the health of our systems of accountability.

Whistleblowers Have a Human Right to a Public Interest Defense, And Hacktivists Do, Too

Carey Shenkman
Huffington Post  Updated: 03/20/2015

The United States' war on transparency is making it an outlier in the international community. Just this week, a high-level European human rights body "urged" the United States to allow NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden to return home and be given a meaningful chance to defend himself.

International human rights law has been clear for decades: anyone engaged in exposing gross abuses through whistleblowing and publishing is entitled to protection. Yet, the Obama administration has waged war on transparency, prosecuting more people for disclosing information to the press than Richard Nixon and all other U.S. presidents combined.