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The Securities and Exchange Commission recently sent letters to major U.S. companies requesting internal documents including employee contracts, non-disclosure agreements. The reasoning behind the request was to find out if these corporations are trying to suppress any internal whistleblowers. For three years now, the SEC has offered financial rewards to whistleblowers. If someone leaks a tip that leads to penalties over $1 million, that whistleblower is entitled to anywhere between 10% and 30% of the money collected. Last year alone, the SEC received over 3,500 tips-the highest number since the financial rewards began. Similar programs are being rolled out across the U.S.
However, whistleblowers in the U.S. continue to face major opposition and even threats. This realm of the American legal system has loopholes and other laws which can circumvent certain protections for whistleblowers. For example, John Kiriakou was recently released from prison after serving nearly two years for leaking information about the C.I.A.'s torture program in 2007. The FBI was able to prove, though, that Kiriakou released confidential information about federal employees in his leaks. This led to a trial in which Kiriakou was prosecuted on five felonies that fell under the Espionage Act and the Intelligence Identities Protection Act. Edward Snowden, on the other hand, who's perhaps the most famous whistleblower in recent years, continues to hold out in Russia. A lawyer for Snowden has accused U.S. officials of threatening him with bodily harm.
Congress Strengthens Whistleblower Protections for Federal Employees (American Bar Association)
"On November 27, 2012, President Obama signed into law the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act of 2012 (WPEA), which will substantially strengthen whistleblower protections for federal whistleblowers. "
CIA man defends 'water-boarding' (BBC)
"A retired CIA agent has said a top al-Qaeda suspect was interrogated using a simulated drowning technique, but that he believes it was justified."
Man behind NSA leaks says he did it to safeguard privacy, liberty (CNN)
"He's a high school dropout who worked his way into the most secretive computers in U.S. intelligence as a defense contractor -- only to blow those secrets wide open by spilling details of classified surveillance programs."