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The OIG will do everything possible to protect the confidentiality of a complainant and witnesses. As an NSA employee, your confidentiality is protected by statute, unless you elect to waive confidentiality or disclosure becomes unavoidable. For example, a court may require that a complainant's name be disclosed during litigation. You should be aware, however, that in certain situations, it may be difficult or impossible to investigate your complaint without your identity become apparent; we will discuss this with you before deciding how to proceed.
Any of the following may be the topic of a protected disclosure, provided that disclosure is made to an authorized recipient (including persons in your chain of command; the NSA OIG; the Intelligence Community or DoD OIGs; or Congress):
> Violation of law, regulation, or policy
> Mismanagement (but not merely a difference of opinion over strategy, office operations, etc.)
> Gross waste of funds (but not debatable expenditures)
> Abuse of authority
> Threat to health or safety
As long as you reasonably believed that the action you reported fell within one of the categories above, you are protected from reprisal. You do not need to be absolutely certain that a violation actually occurred, or be able to cite the specific law, regulation, or policy, as long as your allegation is made in good faith and a reasonable person would consider the allegation to be credible.
Yes. Under 50 U.S.C. § 3234(c), employees of U.S. Intelligence Community contractors are protected against "personnel actions" (listed in statute) for making a protected disclosure to specified authorized recipients. Under 50 U.S.C. § 3341 (j), contractor employees making a protected disclosure are protected from actions that affect or threaten to affect their security clearance.
Once you make a complaint to the OIG, we will conduct fact-finding and analysis to determine whether some or all of the complaint warrants further review. If you identify yourself, we will likely reach out to ask you some questions to more fully understand the nature and details of your allegation(s).
In certain situations, the OIG may determine that your allegations are more appropriately handled by other organizations in the Agency, such as the Office of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Accessibility; Office of the Anti-Harassment Coordinator; or the Office of the Ombuds. However, we will not refer a matter to the Agency without your consent.
If we determine that your complaint is appropriate for an OIG investigation, you may be interviewed in more detail by the OIG and/or asked to provide documents. The OIG may also investigate matters that arise during the course of an investigation, even if they are not the subject of the complaint. In most cases, the OIG is not able to provide updates to a complainant about the status of an ongoing investigation. However, the OIG will make every effort to notify the complainant about the results of the investigation, particularly with regard to allegations of reprisal and other situations calling for personal remedies.
Retaliating against someone for making a protected disclosure is illegal. If your complaint of retaliation is substantiated, your status or situation may be restored, as nearly as possible, to what it would have been absent the retaliatory action. You may also be entitled to back pay and/or attorney's fees.