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January Newsletter

Who is John Tye, Anyway?

Have you felt that our government today has gotten too big, too powerful, and too clandestine to really be by and for the people? Well, you’re not wrong. Transparency has been lacking in our government, and the founder of Whistleblower Aid, John Tye, found that out the hard way.

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Necessity is truly the grandfather of invention. While working for the U.S. State Department, John witnessed a legal loophole that the government is using to spy on American citizens. He decided to uphold his oath and report the illegal surveillance. He had to navigate the legal system, journalists, ethics of reporting, and the personal risks to his career and community. And on top of all that, he incurred thousands of dollars in fees -- just in order to do his duty “... to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic...”

John Tye took his experience, and the lack of institutional support, advice, and protection, and built something to stand in the gap - Whistleblower Aid.

To understand more about his whistleblower experience, watch John’s TedX talk.

Update - The Cases

In its three months in operation, Whistleblower Aid is already representing several clients, and holding our government accountable to the rule of law. Here’s an update on our first two cases...and there are more on the way.

CASE #1—CIA INSPECTOR GENERAL NOMINATION PUT ON INDEFINITE HOLD BECAUSE OUR CLIENTS TOLD CONGRESS THEIR STORIES

Whistleblower Aid’s first clients are two former CIA officials who had evidence that the current nominee for CIA Inspector General (IG), Christopher Sharpley, participated in covering up criminal activity with other CIA officials, retaliated against our clients and other whistleblowers who reported it, and then lied about it in sworn testimony to Congress.

Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Richard Burr first said he intended to fast-track the Sharpley nomination. But after letters from Whistleblower Aid, and our success placing stories in The Associated Press and ProPublica, Burr put the Sharpley nomination on an indefinite hold.

One Senate staffer called our work “excellent,” and a U.S. government official said that Whistleblower Aid has “already run one of the most effective campaigns in decades” against an executive branch appointment.

CASE #2—SECRETARY OF STATE REX TILLERSON VIOLATES HUMAN TRAFFICKING LAW AGAINST UNANIMOUS ADVICE FROM STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIALS

In its annual “Trafficking in Persons” report, the State Department is required by law to list every government worldwide that recruits or uses child soldiers. This year, for the first time, Secretary Rex Tillerson ordered the removal from the list of three U.S.-allied governments that were proven to have used child soldiers,—Iraq, Afghanistan, and Myanmar.

Tillerson’s order contradicted the unanimous recommendation of every bureau and embassy at the State Department, and a direct opinion from the acting Legal Adviser that such an action was illegal.

Whistleblower Aid helped our client, a State Department official, to anonymously report Tillerson’s lawbreaking to the Department’s Inspector General and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and provided the unclassified dissent memo and IG complaint to Reuters for an exclusive report, with follow up coverage from the Washington Post, New York Times, CNN, and other outlets. We also helped our client pursue creative grassroots advocacy to protect child soldiers.