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Whistleblower Guardian for Spies Escorted Out of Intelligence Agency Building

The clashes at the Office of the Intelligence Community Inspector General continue to escalate.

A closed-circuit TV camera is mounted on a building roof in front of the Capitol in Washington, DC on Nov. 3 in Washington, DC. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)
A closed-circuit TV camera is mounted on a building roof in front of the Capitol in Washington, DC on Nov. 3 in Washington, DC. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

The chairman of the the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee is demanding to know why an employee in charge of whistleblower outreach was removed from his workplace “pending a tribunal.”

“I just learned that Dan Meyer, the Executive Director of Intelligence Community Whistleblowing and Source Protection, was placed on administrative leave and escorted out of his offices pending a tribunal before senior executives to consider his proposed termination,” wrote Sen. Chuck Grassley, a Republican from Iowa, in a letter sent November 29 to Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and Wayne Stone, the acting director of Office of the Inspector General of the Intelligence Community.

The intelligence community inspector general is tasked with conducting audits across the intelligence agencies and independently responding to whistleblower retaliation complaints.

The watchdog office has been involved in independent reviews of the Boston Marathon bombing, as well as former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server.

It has also recently been embroiled in a turf war fraught with competing personalities and visions on how to provide resources for potential whistleblowers, as reported in an investigation by Foreign PolicyDan Meyer, the man in charge of outreach to whistleblowers, had his duties and privileges revoked, and now he has been kicked out of his office pending an investigation.

Officials are still deciding whether or not to fire him, though have not provided public reason for their actions. Some inside the intelligence community remain concerned that sidelining Meyer, who helps employees field complaints legally, could inadvertently lead to the next major leaker, like former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

In the meantime, there is no confirmed intelligence community inspector general. Wayne Stone, the acting inspector general, has been studying at Harvard most weeks since Chuck McCullough, who previously held the position, retired in early March.

The chaos has drawn the attention of Congress, particularly Grassley, who is known for his commitment to whistleblower rights.

Citing media coverage of the inspector general’s current predicament, Grassley argued it is important that Meyer be protected from retaliation for managing his whistleblower protection program, and demanded any records and documents relating to his case.

“For the agency to take such a drastic personnel action while there is no confirmed, permanent Inspector General in place irreparably undermines the independence of that office,” he wrote.

“While we will not speak to any alleged cases, the ODNI unequivocally supports Intelligence Community whistleblower programs. We are committed to ensuring that all IC personnel have the means available to report wrongdoing to a variety of authorized individuals without compromising national security or retaliation,” wrote a spokesperson from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

Jenna McLaughlin is Foreign Policy's intelligence reporter. You can reach her on Signal at 203-537-3949. @JennaMC_Laugh

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