May 9, 2005 – Without comment, the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia on Friday rejected a suit from a former FBI worker who says the Bureau fired her for reporting serious security problems following the September 2001 terrorist attacks.
In so doing, the court's three-member panel let stand a lower court ruling from last summer that agreed with the Department of Justice that information in Sibel Edmonds' case could jeopardize "national security."
The American Civil Liberties Union, which represented Edmonds in court, said it would challenge the ruling to the US Supreme Court. In a statement, the ACLU said Edmonds' case is not an isolated incident of the government firing whistleblowers to cover up its mistakes. It accused the federal government of "routinely retaliating against government employees who uncover weaknesses in Americaâ€™s ability to prevent terrorist attacks or protect public safety."
Late last month, more than 50 government officials from over a dozen federal agencies formed the National Security Whistleblowers Coalition to prevent the government from retaliating against whistleblowers that report what they see as critical problems of a security nature. Most Coalition members have either been fired from their agencies or are on administrative leave, the group said in a press release.
Edmonds, who heads up the new organization, said the Coalition is working with members of Congress to pass a measure that would allow national security whistleblowers to directly sue agency managers who retaliate against them or block investigations.