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Reporters Committee objects to closure of D.C. Circuit whistleblower appeal

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  1. Protecting Sources and Materials
The Reporters Committee today expressed outrage at the decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C., to conduct…

The Reporters Committee today expressed outrage at the decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C., to conduct a hearing in a whistleblower’s appeal in complete secrecy.

FBI whistleblower Sibel Edmonds, fired for reporting espionage and inefficiencies within the agency’s translation department to her superiors, filed a whistleblower retaliation lawsuit after she was fired, but the Justice Department argued that her case must be thrown out because everything about it implicated national security. A federal trial court agreed and dismissed the case. She has appealed, and her hearing is scheduled for 9:30am tomorrow, April 21, in Washington.

“It’s inconceivable that the entire hearing would need to be closed when all of the briefs were publicly filed,” according to Reporters Committee executive director Lucy Dalglish.

ACLU attorneys representing Edmonds learned today that tomorrow’s hearing would be closed, and filed a petition asking the court to reconsider. The Washington Post led a quickly assembled coalition of media organizations, including the Reporters Committee, The New York Times, and The Associated Press, in supporting the openness request through a friend-of-the-court brief. The court did not act on the request today.