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FEDERAL AGENCIES DOE posters trigger whistleblower guidance via E&E News

More than six months after posters went up at the Energy Department warning “every leak makes us weak,” federal officials have removed them and published new guidance for protecting whistleblowers.

The Office of Special Counsel earlier this month confirmed the DOE posters had been taken down. It also updated previously issued memos calling on all federal agencies to ensure their policies and practices on monitoring employee email and other communications don’t interfere or “chill” workers from lawfully disclosing wrongdoing.

The OSC, an independent federal investigative and prosecutorial agency, likewise updated guidance to ensure agencies’ nondisclosure agreements do not interfere with or discourage lawful whistleblower disclosures.

OSC took action after the nonprofit Project on Government Oversight objected to DOE’s posters last year.

POGO raised concerns about the DOE signs displaying an American flag melting into a puddle of binary code, an image first made public in an E&E News story last summer (Greenwire, Aug. 9, 2017). The posters, notably, were tied to an Obama-era program focused on protecting classified information and unrelated to the Trump administration’s focus on leaks from within the government.




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