Washington, DC — The General Counsel for Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) begins a different job today in the newly created position as whistleblower advocate within the Department of Defense Office of Inspector General (OIG).
Daniel Meyer is the first Director of Civilian Reprisals Investigations for the Pentagon OIG. The position, informally referred to as the whistleblower ombudsman, is to review and recommend action in cases involving civilian workers within Department of Defense agencies who report waste, fraud or violations of law. Only one other OIG (for the Department of Interior) has a similar position dedicated to whistleblower cases.
Prior to practicing law at PEER and in the private sector, Meyer served in the U.S. Navy, where he was the only commissioned officer to dissent from the Pentagon’s phony explanation for the massive explosion onboard Battleship Iowa in 1989. Lt. Meyer aided Sandia National Laboratories and the Senate Armed Services Committee in establishing the true cause of what was one of our nation’s greatest single loss of military life during peacetime.
“If ever an agency needs a whistleblower ombudsman, it is the Pentagon,” commented PEER Executive Director Jeff Ruch whose organization represents environmental whistleblowers within government including civilian biologists, naturalists and archaeologists working on the 25 million acres of Defense Lands. “The whistleblower ombudsman at Interior has been a major disappointment, acting more like a ‘plumber’s unit’ to plug leaks rather than helping conscientious employees address problems. We expect better results from the Pentagon effort.”
Reportedly, Meyer will face a backlog of several hundred whistleblower cases. His tenure at the Pentagon also coincides with the repeal of civil service rights for Pentagon workers and the creation of a new, more “flexible” personnel system under the recently enacted Defense Transformation for the 21st Century Act. Under the new Defense personnel system protections, for civilians who raise concerns within their chains-of-command remain to be spelled out.
“Dan Meyer will certainly have his work cut out for him,” Ruch continued. “It remains to be seen whether this Pentagon Inspector General and his successors give this position the resources and organizational backing needed to do this Herculean job.”