What is Whistleblowing?
Whistleblowing is the lawful disclosure of information an individual believes evidences wrongdoing to an authorized recipient (see below to learn more about who is an authorized recipient).
A whistleblower is any government employee (civilian or uniform personnel) or contractor who reports information through the Protected Disclosure process that they reasonably believe evidences:
- A violation of Law, Rule, or Regulation; or
- Gross Mismanagement,
- A Gross Waste of Funds,
- A Gross Abuse of Authority, or
- A Substantial and Specific Danger to Public Health and Safety.
There are a number of whistleblower protection laws and implementing policy. National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency civilian employees and contractors are protected by Presidential Policy Directive 19, Protecting Whistleblowers with Access to Classified Information, 10 October 2012, and Intelligence Community Directive 120, Intelligence Community Whistleblower Protection, 20 March 2014, and 50 U.S.C. §§ 3234 and 3341(j).
A supervisor may not take or fail to take, or threaten to take or fail to take, a Personnel Action with respect to any employee serving in an Intelligence Community Element as a reprisal for a Protected Disclosure. The following are personnel actions that constitute reprisal:
- An appointment;
- A promotion;
- A disciplinary or corrective action;
- A detail, transfer, or reassignment;
- A demotion, suspension, or termination;
- A reinstatement or restoration;
- A performance evaluation;
- A decision concerning pay, benefits, or awards;
- A decision concerning education or training if such education or training may reasonably be expected to lead to an appointment, promotion, or performance evaluation; or
- Any other significant change in duties, responsibilities, or working conditions.
An individual who has authority over Eligibility for Access to Classified Information shall not, with respect to such authority, take or fail to take, or threaten to take or fail to take, any action affecting an employee’s Eligibility for Access to Classified Information as a reprisal for a Protected Disclosure.
National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency employees and contractors have several options to disclose wrongdoing, including:
- Telling their supervisor or someone higher up in management;
- Contacting the NGA’s Office of Inspector General (IG@nga.mil/1-800-380-7729 (unclass) or IG@nga.ic.gov/578-4849 (secure) hotlines);
- Contacting the DoD’s Office of Inspector General (1-800-424-9098 unclass hotline);
- Contacting the Intelligence Community Inspector General or (855-731-3260 (unclass) or 933-2800 (secure)
- Contacting any of the other entities listed in 50 U.S.C. § 3234.
A disclosure that includes classified information is not a protected disclosure under the whistleblower laws unless made in accordance with the laws and rules that govern the proper handling and transmission of classified information. Whistleblowing and leaking are not the same. Providing classified or sensitive information to the media, a non-government entity, and entities not covered under 50 U.S.C. § 3234 is leaking and any such disclosure is not a protected disclosure.
Note: You can make a protected disclosure of classified information to NGA OIG; however, you cannot transmit the information via one of our unclassified hotline methods. For more information on how to provide classified or sensitive information to the OIG, please contact the OIG or stop by the OIG and ask to speak with an investigator of the Whistleblower Coordinator.