White House Sought to Weaken Whistleblower Law

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 7, 2009 1:08 PM CDT
FBI whistleblower Bassem Youssef, center, thanks Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, left, for his support before testifying on Capitol Hill, May 21, 2008.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
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(Newser) – The Obama administration appears to have attempted to water down the whistleblower protection law the president himself championed on the campaign trail. In an e-mail obtained by the Washington Times, a lawyer in the White House counsel's office sent a new draft of the bill to the Senate. That draft strengthened protections for some whistleblowers but weakened them for FBI employees and national security workers.

A White House spokesman says the e-mail merely contained “an early discussion draft that contained ideas advanced by various people involved in the negotiations,” including senators and “outside groups.” However, it closely resembled the Senate’s final version of the bill. The Senate bill stands in contrast with the House version, which closely resembles the legislation candidate Obama promised to advance.