Following Senator Jon Tester's direction, the U.S. Department of Justice is creating a position to protect the rights of whistleblowers within the department.
Tester, a member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, has been pushing federal agencies to protect their employees who witness wrongdoing and report it to proper authorities.
The Department of Justice's whistleblower ombudsman will be responsible for alerting department officials and employees of the rights of whistleblowers and ensuring that whistleblower complaints are addressed fairly and without retaliation.
The failures associated with Operation Fast and Furious came to light only after two whistleblowers came forward to express concern about the agency's mishandling of the case.
"The mishandling of Operation Fast and Furious shows that we need to do a better job of holding federal agencies accountable and keeping our government officials honest," Tester said. "This responsible step ensures that whistleblowers aren't punished for telling the truth, and I expect other agencies to quickly follow suit."
Tester sponsored a bipartisan bill to protect whistleblowers, including the establishment of a position like the one created today at the Department of Justice. His bipartisan bill unanimously passed the U.S. Senate in May and awaits passage from the U.S. House of Representatives before it can be signed into law.