Secrecy News

Deputy AG-Nominee is “A Big Believer in Whistleblowers”

David W. Ogden, who has been nominated to be the next Deputy Attorney General, last week expressed strong support for government whistleblowers who help to expose corruption or malfeasance.

“I am a big believer in whistleblowers,” he said at his February 5 confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, “and in the need to make sure that people feel comfortable coming forward to make complaints.”

“I think what we need is a process that encourages whistleblowing in this administration and any other administration going forward. The business of making sure that we’re doing the right thing is an ongoing business,” Mr. Ogden said in response to a question from Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse.

He said he would work with the Attorney General “to fashion an appropriate process that encourages whistleblowers to raise issues that need to be addressed.”

Mr. Ogden also indicated a willingness to consider public disclosure of certain legal opinions of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.

Sen. Ron Wyden noted that “there are a lot of important rulings that go to the meaning of surveillance law, and I think that a lot of those kinds of judgments really could be redacted and declassified so that the country could be brought in in a more informed, a more complete way to these national-security debates.”

“I absolutely will commit to take a fresh look at this issue if I’m confirmed,” Mr. Ogden said.

FIS Court opinions that interpret surveillance law were one of several categories of “secret law” that were identified (pdf) in an April 30, 2008 Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the subject.