Andrew Bakaj, ESIA BA ’03, was a member of the team recognized by the Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medals. The award is presented annually by the nonprofit, nonpartisan Partnership for Public Service to celebrate excellence in federal civil service.
The team, Civilian Reprisal Investigations, was a finalist for the 2011 National Security and International Affairs medal, which recognizes federal employees for a significant contribution to the nation in activities related to national security and international affairs (including defense, military affairs, diplomacy, foreign assistance, and trade).
Civilian Reprisal Investigations was tasked in protecting whistleblowers to new and often perilous territory—the Pentagon’s intelligence and counterintelligence communities and the murky world of top secret or “black” programs. Since January 2004, the team focused on helping federal employees in the intelligence and counterintelligence fields, especially those whose security clearances were alleged to have been revoked or changed due to their whistleblowing. The team has also handled cases of whistleblowers having their security clearance and access threatened for revealing procurement fraud.
With respect to the intelligence and counterintelligence communities, in 2010 the team conducted oversight of two Defense Intelligence Agency investigations and completed a full investigation into an alleged reprisal within the Department of the Navy. The team also opened a number of new reprisal cases involving intelligence and counterintelligence activities, and reviewed claims of alleged reprisals against sources reporting problems with avionics maintenance, emergency response planning and supply management.