To some, the term whistleblower is synonymous with leaker. The word leaker has a negative connotation is attached to it. However, a whistleblower should not have this undertone associated with it. It is not the take-out box from dinner that drips curry sauce, the unnecessary nuisance. A whistleblower is the rubber band wrapped around a plastic container that stops the sauce from staining your jeans. Whistleblowers stop the government or corporations from staining democracy with misinformation or withholding valuable information.
A whistleblower reveals the wrongdoings that affect the public. In New York Times V. United States, Mr. Justice Black asserts that the First Amendment protects the press to serve the governed, not the governors. Above all, Americans pledge their allegiance to the flag. The government exists to serve the American people. If it is not doing that, must be held accountable by the people. A whistleblower is the messenger between the government or corporation to the people. On the other hand, a leaker may disclose information for personal gain or fueling scandals irrelevant to the polity’s performance.
In Bosnia, Kathryn Bolkovac was hired by a British security firm, DynCorp Aerospace. It was Bolkovac’s job to focus on the problems with prostitution and sexual abuse that had pervaded the Balkens. Much to her dismay, she had discovered that the UN’s own officers were involved in the situation. Interviews with the victims and evidence led to her discovery of evidence. A man walked inside of the office she worked in after class proudly boasting about where they could “find really nice 12- to 15-year-olds.” That was the beginning for Bolkovac. She was told by a US police officer that he had purchased a woman outside Sarajevo. The environment Bolkovac worked in breeded the problems she was supposed to be solving.
In any attempt to commence investigations, the effort was shut down immediately, according to her reports. International officers would be relocated by the bosses to a different post. Victims would be flown elsewhere where they could not give their personal testimony involving the UN officials and DynCorp employees. An abhorrent abuse of power became so blatantly obvious.
The coach doesn’t get to be the umpire. The rules of the game were being decided by the same people that were cheating them. Bolkovac blew the whistle. She sent an email addressed to 50 UN officials and DynCorp managers to reveal what was truly going on in Bosnia. Michael Stiers, the deputy comissioner of the mission, demoted Bolkovac. That would not stop her. She filed a second complaint to DynCorp. This time, they handed Bolkovac walking papers for falsifying time sheets, something she had not done. She brought her case to the Employment Tribunal in Southampton. She used the opportunity to discuss the real reason they had fired her, her findings of the gross misconduct and abuse of power that the UN officials and DynCorp employees were using to sexually abuse and prostitute young women in the Balkens.
Kathryn Bolkovac, the whistleblower, won the case. She had two choices when presented with this information. Tell? Or keep quiet? Telling was her moral obligation, but as she told, she became a whistleblower. Whistleblowers know information that the public should know. The press serves the governed, not the governors. The whistleblowers give the press what it needs to do that job.
I thought this post was very interesting! I like your analogies, and I think the post showed the importance of protecting whistle blowers, especially in this specific story.
Thank you, Juliet!!
I agree that whistleblowers get a bad rap, especially because often the people with the loudest voices are the ones that could be most damaged by them. I thought your use of metaphor was fantastic in this piece, particularly with the take-out boxes in the beginning. When the people breaking the rules are the people making the rules, it can be very difficult to fight against the corruption. Luckily for the girls being hurt, Bolkovac was able to. This was a great case study in whistleblowing and an excellent blog post about it!
Thank you, Emily!! I appreciate your comments.