Yesterday, the Christian Science Monitor released a story about the rewards available to corporate whistleblowers under the Dodd-Frank Act. Correspondent G. Jeffrey MacDonald writes that, "Whistle-blowing is about to get more profitable." He quotes Stephen M. Kohn, Executive Director of the National Whistleblowers Center (NWC). Kohn explains that whistleblowers need to know that compensation is waiting because they'll probably never work again in their field. A reward "moves somebody from a concern to actually taking the risk," Kohn says. Ann Buchholtz, a research director at the Institute for Ethical Leadership at Rutgers Business School in Newark, New Jersey, told MacDonald that. "if we really want these problems brought to light, we can't put obstacles in the way of whistle-blowers."
Howard Lafranchi, of the Christian Science Monitor, has written an article about the considerations faced by national security whistleblowers. The article is called, "WikiLeaks: When is it 'right' to leak national security secrets?" Lafranchi lays out how the government is likely to face a rising number of national security whistleblowers. The Washington Post series, Top Secret America last month revealed that the government has issued security clearances to 854,000 people. The national security regime is so large and diverse, and the technology for making disclosures is so prevalent, that it is hard to imagine that there will not be more leaks. FBI whistleblower Coleen Rowley told Lafranchi that, "The classifying of information has gone way up – it's doubled or tripled since these wars began – and then we have nearly nine years and counting of Afghanistan and Iraq and the controversial practices associated with them." Lafranchi also quotes me, using the introductory comments I made to explain the nature of whistleblowing. "In legal cases, we speak of the 'protected activity' of the whistle-blower, the individual who comes forth with information about something the employer is doing that is damaging to the public good." Those who want to read more about my thoughts on the WikiLeaks disclosures can see my prior blog post. Lafranchi's article goes on to consider the variety of motives that may influence a person to become a whistleblower. I am reminded of a number of my clients who had no intention of become whistleblowers, but were surprised to learn that just by doing what they thought was right, they had engaged in "protected activity."