Newsbud Exclusive- Whistle-blowers, Bell Ringers, Leakers & Informants.

Good governance and accountability are two elements essential to democratic governments like that of the United States of America. Accountability is extremely important and linked to good governance. These two concepts are intrinsically linked. Good governance cannot occur without accountability (Stepenhurst & Obrien, 2004). Recently, there have been a series of high visibility cases where government employees have attempted to increase good governance and accountability by making public disclosures under the auspices of whistle-blowing. Despite their best attempts to achieve good governance and accountability, these individuals, often, find themselves in serious legal difficulties when making public disclosures designed to draw public attention to questionable conduct and practices by the government.

Individuals like Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning have put themselves in very precarious legal situations in making public disclosures of wrongdoing. In both cases, Snowden and Manning made individual decisions concerning the ethics of actions being conducted by the United States government. Ethically, they both held deeply ingrained beliefs concerning the concept of right and wrong and a desire that the government be held to a standard to act in a manner that did not detract from the common good of the public. Despite their intentions and the subsequent public disclosure made, some of very questionable actions by the United States government, neither qualified legally as whistle-blowers within the framework established by the United States Government.

Whistle-blowing is a phenomenon that traditionally has fallen under the umbrella of business ethics. Consequently, most academic research on whistle-blowing has been focused on examining its occurrence within the private sector. Increasingly whistle-blowing is occurring in governmental organizations within the public sector. Despite the increased occurrence, there is a very limited amount of research that has been conducted in the public sector detailing the occurrence of the phenomenon within Government. The existing literature is extremely limited. Despite high profile cases like Snowden and Manning, there is even less literature on whistle-blowing within the United States DoD. [READ MORE]

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