Tuesday, December 20, 2016

NSA watchdog on leave in whistleblower case | The Star-Telegram

NSA watchdog on leave in whistleblower case | The Star-Telegram: Allegations of retaliation against a whistleblower at the National Security Agency have left its top watchdog fighting for his job, according to an intelligence official and another individual familiar with the case.

The case could offer some credence to Edward Snowden's claim that he could not have reported the government's domestic surveillance program without facing reprisals.

George Ellard, the NSA's inspector general, was placed on administrative leave after he refused to give the whistleblower a certain job assignment. The Project on Government Oversight, an advocacy group, first reported last week that Adm. Mike Rogers, director of NSA, had placed Ellard on leave and recommended that he be terminated. Ellard is appealing that decision.


Ellard received attention in 2014 for remarks at Georgetown University Law Center criticizing Snowden, the former NSA contractor who had leaked secret documents about the surveillance program. Snowden says he went public because he feared retaliation from his superiors if he had raised his concerns with them. Ellard said at Georgetown that Snowden could have safely come to him.

Ellard's case is the first to move completely through a process created by President Barack Obama in 2012 to ensure that intelligence employees can effectively report waste, fraud and abuse while protecting classified information. The directive prohibits agencies from retaliating against them or taking away security clearances or an employee's access to classified information.