Whistleblower Aid is hiring to expand our legal team.

Team

Whistleblower Aid has built a world-class team to support clients.

Senior Counsel

Andrew Bakaj

Andrew P. Bakaj is a former U.S. intelligence officer and a preeminent expert on lawful whistleblowing. His unmatched first hand experience includes:

  • Writing federal regulations prohibiting retaliation at the Department of Defense and the Central Intelligence Agency;
  • Becoming a lawful whistleblower at the CIA, having personally experienced retaliation, for which he was ultimately vindicated through an investigation - an investigation that relied on the very legal authorities Mr. Bakaj drafted; and
  • Serving as lead counsel to the anonymous intelligence officer whose 2019 disclosures about Ukraine led to the first impeachment of President Trump—keeping them safe and in their job.

Mr. Bakaj is the founding and managing partner of Compass Rose Legal Group, PLLC and is the recipient of numerous professional accolades. For example: in 2012, the Department of Defense named him “Investigator of the Year” for his work on chemical weapons storage and presented him with the Department’s Career Achievement Award. He was also named 2020 “Lawyer of the Year” by the Metropolitan Washington Employment Lawyers Association, and Washingtonian magazine recognized him as one of Washington’s top attorneys and one of Washington’s 250 most influential people. Throughout the course of his career, Mr. Bakaj has advised and counseled numerous senior U.S. Government officials as well as European governments in a variety of legal and investigative areas.

Mr. Bakaj holds a bachelor’s degree from The George Washington University and a J.D. from Syracuse University College of Law.

Director of Operations & Associate Counsel

Kyle Gardiner

Mr. Gardiner graduated from Ithaca College in 2014 with degrees in Communication Studies and Politics. He received his J.D. from American University Washington College of Law. Mr. Gardiner joined Whistleblower Aid in 2017, helping to found the organization.

Mr. Gardiner is admitted to practice law in the District of Columbia.

Paralegal & Operations Manager

Red Joseph

Red Joseph graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 2018, with a B.A. in History and Philosophy. He then spent two years as an investigator at the Public Defender Service of D.C. Prior to joining Whistleblower Aid, Mr. Joseph worked on now-President Joseph R. Biden's campaign as a vetting analyst, a due diligence position to maintain campaign integrity and strategy.

Chief Executive Officer

Libby Liu

Libby Liu is an internationally renowned expert on human rights, press freedom, information operations and internet freedom who joined Whistleblower Aid as chief executive officer in April 2021. Ms. Liu directs Whistleblower Aid's work supporting public servants and courageous private employees who seek to expose government and corporate wrongdoing without breaking the law.

Ms. Liu has dedicated her career to advancing international human rights, fighting on behalf of individuals who have been denied their right to express themselves, to share ideas and to inform the public discourse. Her extensive experience supporting pro-democracy activists and independent journalists in some of the world's most repressive environments lends her unique insights into the challenges facing today's whistleblowers, particularly related to technology, misinformation campaigns and the abuse of power used to silence truth-tellers.

Prior to joining Whistleblower Aid, Ms. Liu created the Open Technology Fund (OTF), now an independent nonprofit that nurtures the technologies underpinning a free and uncensored internet. During her time as OTF's chief executive officer, Ms. Liu spearheaded efforts to support tools that circumvent censorship and surveillance and advance free speech in censored and underserved communities worldwide. Today, more than 2 billion people use OTF-supported technologies every day, including Signal, TOR and Wireguard.

Ms. Liu was compelled to create OTF to protect the digital lives of individuals while serving as president of Radio Free Asia (RFA), a non-profit media company that provides uncensored objective news and information otherwise unavailable to audiences in East Asia. In 16 years at the helm, she led RFA's vision, directed RFA's editorial strategy and shaped its administrative policies, working closely with a bipartisan board, its grantor agency, USAGM, oversight and appropriations committees of the U.S. Congress, the State Department, international public broadcasters and stakeholders in the U.S. and abroad.

Ms. Liu has also held key strategic and operational positions with national civil-rights organizations and in Silicon Valley's tech industry. She has served as assistant district attorney in the San Francisco District Attorney's office and is a former corporate labor and employment law attorney. In 2021, she was honored as a Luxembourg Peace Prize laureate for outstanding work on technology that promotes peace.

She holds a bachelor's degree from the University of California-Berkeley, an MBA from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, and a J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania.

Programs Manager

Robin Sawyer

Robin Sawyer was a military spouse for over a decade, active as a community volunteer and organizer in both the United States and European theaters. After earning an Associates Degree from the University of Maryland, Ms. Sawyer earned certificates in campaign management, campaign finance, campaign communications, and campaign field and data analysis. In 2020, she became Campaign Manager of a high-profile, nationally-targeted campaign for the Texas State House of Representatives. In 2021, she was the Deputy Campaign Manager of a United States House of Representatives campaign in a Texas special election. Ms. Sawyer joined Whistleblower Aid in 2022.

Founder & Chief Disclosure Officer

John Napier Tye

Before he founded Whistleblower Aid, John N. Tye was a whistleblower.

From 2011 - 2014, Mr. Tye worked as Internet Freedom Section Chief at the U.S. Department of State, where he held a security clearance to receive Top Secret / Sensitive Compartmented (TS/SCI) information. During a classified briefing, he learned that the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) was using Executive Order 12333 as a legal loophole to collect, store and search Americans’ emails, phone calls and online communications without a warrant or any suspicion.

Instead of contacting a reporter or Wikileaks, Mr. Tye paid two lawyers, including Mark S. Zaid, a total of $13,000 to help him navigate the lawful reporting process. With his attorneys, he met with the Inspectors General of the State Department and the NSA, the House of Representatives Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, and the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. He also gave a public statement to the U.S. Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board.

With the advice of counsel, he was able to publicize his allegations in a completely legal way. Following the government’s pre-publication review process, Mr. Tye published an article for the Washington Post. His complaint was covered by the New York Times, The Guardian, Vice, Ars Technica, and Wikipedia. He also gave a TEDx talk on the issue.

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence “commend[ed]” Mr. Tye for using the legal reporting process to raise concerns while protecting classified information. Mr. Tye was named one of the “National Security Law Heroes of 2014” by Just Security Blog.

Mr. Tye remains bound by his obligation to protect classified information that he learned during his government service — and also by his oath to defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.

Mr. Tye graduated from Duke University Summa Cum Laude, the University of Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar, and Yale Law School. Mr. Tye has worked at the Southern Poverty Law Center, Avaaz, and also Southeast Louisiana Legal Services as a Skadden Fellow. He was on the board of directors of the American Civil Liberties Union of Louisiana.

Mr. Tye is admitted to practice law in the District of Columbia.

Founding Legal Partner

Mark S. Zaid

Mr. Zaid has worked for over 20 years representing federal workers in cases involving classified information, including whistleblowing, criminal prosecutions, and security clearance disputes. He teaches the D.C. Bar Continuing Legal Education classes on “The Basics of Filing and Litigating Freedom of Information/Privacy Act Requests” (since 2003), “Defending Security Clearances” (since 2006) and “Handling Whistleblower Cases: More Than the Basics” (since 2016).

Since 2009, Mr. Zaid has been named both a Washington, D.C. Super Lawyer every year (including being profiled) and a “Best Lawyer” in Washingtonian Magazine’s bi-annual designation for his national security work. As the National Law Journal once wrote, “if Agent Mulder ever needed a lawyer, Zaid would be his man.”

Mr. Zaid is the Executive Director and founder of the James Madison Project, a Washington, D.C.-based organization, with the primary purpose of educating the public on issues relating to intelligence gathering and operations, secrecy policies, national security and government wrongdoing. Additionally, Mr. Zaid is an adjunct professor at Johns Hopkins University in the Global Security Studies program where he teaches on national security issues.

Mr. Zaid graduated from the University of Rochester Cum Laude and Albany Law School of the Union University of New York. He served as an Associate Editor of the Albany Law Review. Mr. Zaid currently possesses TS/SCI clearance and Q level access.

Mr. Zaid is admitted to practice law in the states of Maryland, New York, Connecticut and the District of Columbia, as well as various federal courts.