Security clearances are crucial for protecting sensitive information. However, the secrecy and cachet of these clearances can also contribute to coverups or exacerbate certain violations. When someone with a job that requires security clearance reports wrongdoing, employers on occasion have retaliated by revoking the whistleblower’s clearance. However, a new bill introduced in Congress seeks to prevent and penalize this retaliation.
The Adam S. Lovinger Whistleblower Reprisal Act of 2018
The Adam S. Lovinger Whistleblower Reprisal Act of 2018 is meant to penalize federal employers who revoke whistleblowers’ security clearances in retaliation. Should the bill becomes law, perpetrators would face consequences ranging from a 14-day suspension to a 10-year ban from federal employment.
The bill is in response to the treatment of Adam S. Lovinger, a Pentagon analyst who reported the misuse of at least one million dollars in contract payments. Upon reporting his discovery, Lovinger’s supervisors took him off an important assignment, despite his strong performance. Later, his Top Secret security clearance was revoked, and he was placed on administrative leave.
Upholding whistleblowers’ rights
The bill has little chance of passing this year–the House of Representatives is now in recess and will return to a lame-duck session before the next Congress convenes. However, if the bill is reintroduced next year, it has a strong chance of passing. The bill is crucial for discouraging employers from retaliating and punishing those who do.
Retaliation against whistleblowers has no place in the federal government, or anywhere else. It is important for all employees who blow the whistle on their employers to protect their rights and have adequate legal counsel. Whistleblowers risk their careers, privacy and reputations to patriotically expose fraud and abuse in the federal government.