From FAS, this link to a new CRS report, National Security Whistleblowers, December 30, 2005 (47 pages, PDF):
“To discharge its constitutional duties, Congress depends on information obtained from the executive branch. Domestic and national security information is provided through agency reports and direct communications from department heads, but lawmakers also receive information directly from employees within the agencies. They take the initiative in notifying Congress, its committees, and Members of
Congress about alleged agency illegalities, corruption, and waste within the agency. This type of information comes from a group known as whistleblowers. Through such techniques as “gag orders” and nondisclosure agreements, Presidents have attempted to block agency employees from coming directly to Congress. In response, Congress has enacted legislation in an effort to assure the uninterrupted flow of domestic and national security information to lawmakers and their staffs. Members of Congress have made it clear they do not want to depend solely on information provided by agency heads.”
New York Times editorial, January 5, 2005: On the Subject of Leaks – “A democratic society cannot long survive if whistle-blowers are criminally punished for revealing what those in power don’t want the public to know – especially if it’s unethical, illegal or unconstitutional behavior by top officials.”
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