Panetta Wants No Reprisals Against Whistleblowers in Mortuary Case

Air Force Secretary Michael Donley has some 30 days to report back to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta on the USAF’s follow-on review of the mortuary investigation at Dover AFB, Del. Specifically, Panetta wants to ensure that the employees who complained about the improper treatment of fallen service members’ remains were not the subject of management reprisals. “As someone who voted for the whistleblower legislation, I directed Secretary Donley to report back to me … to ensure that all appropriate action has been taken,” Panetta told reporters last week. The Office of Special Counsel is investigating allegations by three whistleblowers that the Air Force later retaliated against them, including attempting to fire one of them. “The Secretary is at the top of the chain of command when it comes to the Air Force, and I want him to review it because he has that responsibility. And I trust Mike Donley,” said Panetta. “When I tell him to take a look and make sure that appropriate disciplinary action was taken here, I trust that he’ll do that.” The Air Force and OSC reviews are running in parallel. (AFPS report) (Panetta-Dempsey transcript)