As a former government employee, I know that presidential transition periods can be stressful and filled with uncertainty. I’ve been trying to imagine what it’s like for federal employees who find themselves now part of the Trump Administration.
Some of what I remember experiencing was simple frustration. We’d ask each other and our bosses, “Should I still work on this? Are we still doing that?”
Often the answer was “just hold off on it for now.”
But some of what you witness may have you saywonder “this seems like a really bad idea.” Or it may make you question whether its legal or contrary to your agency’s mission.
If that’s your situation and you want to share what you know with a trustworthy reporter, here’s an option: National Public Radio’s Investigations Correspondent Howard Berkes has setup two secure and encrypted means of communication for anyone inside federal or state agencies (or private companies) who want to contact a reporter. They are:
(1) Signal – https://whispersystems.org/
Private text messaging for iPhones and Android. Encrypted end-to-end. User needs to download free App at link above. Text Berkes at 8015989372. Also works for encrypted phone calls.
(2) ProtonMail – https://protonmail.com/
Encrypted email. Establish a ProtonMail account at the link above. Email Berkes at firstname.lastname@example.org
If you use either of these methods, Howard Berkes suggests that you use a personal cell phone or computer.
Berkes’ investigations have involved the Department of Labor, the Mine Safety and Health Administration, the Employee Benefits Security Administration, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the Office of Workers Compensation Programs, the Health Resources and Services Administration, the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, the Justice Department, NASA and the Environmental Protection Agency, as well as other federal and state agencies.
When I worked at OSHA and MSHA, some of my personal mentors were colleagues who at one time or another confidentially shared information with reporters or staff on Capitol Hill.
Sometimes it is the right thing to do.