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."
I am pleased to announce here that I will be delivering the keynote address of the commemoration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Day in Tuscarawas County, Ohio. The event will begin at 7:00 p.m., this Monday, January 18, 2010, at the First Baptist Church, 140 Regent St., Dover, Ohio. The local Time Reporter newspaper has a lead story about the event in today's edition. The event will be an opportunity for me to speak about my work here at the National Whistleblowers Center, and how we draw on the message and mission of Dr. King. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., serves as a prophet for the present day. His message and life work ended apartheid in America. Yet, his call for an end to povery, discrimination and war are still unfulfilled. The national holiday in his honor is an opportunity for us to think about how every person has the capacity to change within, and to change the world.