A few words for DHS agents who have no intention of becoming immigration whistleblowers – ProWellTech
Please ignore these resources on how to do it legally and safely
In the wake of last week’s report that the United States Department of Homeland Security compiled “intelligence reports” on journalists who published leaked documents, I am concerned about all DHS agents who may now be afraid of retaliation for being an informant – perhaps one who legally loses information such as, say, unclassified information about government activities related to immigration. Not that you’re thinking of doing it, of course.
Assuming that disclosure of information to a reporter is legal (for which I would suggest that it would be prudent to consult a lawyer who is an expert in national security law, constitutional declarations of freedom of speech and government responsibility), there are several steps that someone – not you, of course, but someone – might want to take to avoid retaliation for this completely legal act.
Assuming that disclosure is legal and that there are no criminal consequences that could be addressed, you might also want to examine whether the loss could result in work-based discipline or retaliation. For this reason, seeking adequate legal advice and ensuring anonymity would probably be in the best interest of an aspiring whistleblower, who is totally, surely, not you or any of your colleagues.
For the sake of argument, however, suppose that someone was actually interested in shedding light on a great misdeed ordered by the federal government that goes against the freedoms on which the United States was founded. In that situation, someone – not me, of course, but someone – could direct them to organizations that exist for those who are considering complaints. Organizations such as Whistleblower Aid, which offers free aid and alternatives to illicit losses, and Whistleblower.org, which has been dealing with awareness, education and litigation since 1977. Not to mention that you would use these resources per se, but it might be fun to look at them in a hypothetical, “Haha, what if I have to expose serious injustices perpetrated by my department?” kind of way. Probably not on a work computer, however – it doesn’t matter, of course! (I’m sure you don’t care, but one interested in understanding how information disclosure can come to light may be interested in checking out the information that can be found here: How to organize your workplace without getting caught.)
Now I know what you are thinking: Sophie, if there is such a need to protect whistleblowers with this sensitive information, doesn’t that suggest that there are systemic issues at stake? Would anyone (other than you) also advise a DHS employee (who is not me) to take part in this historically necessary and honorable action?
Such a person, if he were to read this article, might feel proud that after the escape, DHS stopped compiling these “intelligence reports” and ordered an investigation:
UPDATE: After publishing our story about compiling DHS intelligence reports on journalists’ articles, the acting secretary, Chad Wolf, stopped the practice and ordered an investigation. DHS spokesperson statement: pic.twitter.com/RDMB90feVn
– Shane Harris (@shaneharris) July 31, 2020
In times like these, periods when children in custody at the border are again at risk of being separated from their parents during the COVID-19 pandemic; when the freedoms on which this country was built seem to be attacked from within; when a DHS employee might find themselves handling the fragile responsibility for truth at the crossroads of impotence and obligation – in times like these, sometimes drastic action must be taken to ensure that America is a country we can believe in.
This is the burden of someone – not you, of course, but someone – who has a whistle to emit and perhaps an identity to protect.