Last week, the House passed the Whistleblower Protection Improvement Act (WPIA), which aims to bolster protections for federal employees.
As many recall, it was a group of Title 5 Federal Civil Service (GS) employees who helped raised awareness in Congress of the abuses occurring in the Defense Intelligence Agency in the fall of 2020. Many of those GS employees reported widespread discrimination and hostility in the workplace. Their reports were summarily dismissed by DIA leadership until a year and a half later when the toxicity in the Agency was exposed by a February 2022 article in the Wall Street Journal. Since then, the Agency has been under heavy scrutiny for its failure to address widespread systemic issues in a timely manner.
In June 2021, the Foundation received an anonymous tip about the reports of discrimination and retribution from a DIA civil service employee. That employee reported that dozens of his coworkers attempted to report a wide array of abuses to the then Defense Attache Service Director who, in turn, summarily dismissed the claims and carried out no substantive action. The survey results, which WtTF obtained via the Freedom of Information Act, painted a clear and unsettling picture of the work environment within DIA:
When the DIA federal employees’ concerns of hostile workplace and discrimination were not responded to, they felt as if they could not pursue the matter due to fear of retribution within the Agency. They then reported the matter anonymously to Congress who has since continued to undertake bold action such as the passage of this WPIA as well as the passage of the Intelligence Authorization Act (IAA) earlier this year.