Whistleblowing Down The Wind

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devittTransparency International Ireland’s John Devitt addressed the European Parliament’s civil liberties, justice and home affairs (LIBE) committee on Monday.

Mr Devitt was invited to speak to the committee as it is investigating how states conduct surveillance on their citizens and how abuses by intelligence agencies might be prevented and exposed in the wake of the Edward Snowden NSA revelations.

From his address:

“We assume rightly that intelligence agencies are responsible for protecting us from attack and upholding democratic principles. But I believe that the anti-corruption community has largely underestimated the potential for abuse by members of the intelligence and security services.”

“This may be because we have seen comparatively few well-publicised cases involving whistleblowers from the intelligence community in the EU. You are no doubt familiar with the case of Frank Grevil (who blew the whistle on Denmark’s fabricated case for the invasion of Iraq); as well as Annie Machon and David Shayler’s cases in the UK. In Ireland, we have not had a public controversy surrounding intelligence services in more than 40 years – not since allegations of support for the IRA by Irish military intelligence surfaced in 1970.”

“That said, we have seen patterns of behaviour elsewhere in the public service that might be familiar to intelligence community whistleblowers.”

“In 2010, officials of the Irish Department of Social Welfare were found to be passing on personal data of Irish citizens to insurance companies and private investigators. Earlier this year, two police whistleblowers reported that Irish police were unlawfully manipulating and cancelling police traffic records for family members of police officers and other police officers.”

“We have noted how those same police whistleblowers have fallen victim to reprisal by their colleagues and management. We have also recently seen how a journalist, Gemma O’Doherty, was recently fired after she investigated reports that the Irish Chief of Police had his own traffic offence cancelled.”

“The message this sends to whistleblowers and journalists is that the reporting of abuse is worse than the abuse itself.”

Read Mr Devitt’s full address here

Previously: Not Seeing Your Points

The Chilling Effect

Blessed Are The Whistleblowers