Gates shouldn’t get all the credit

When whistleblowers lose their careers, it’s more than unfair. It’s unjust.

We saw an example of this last week with the NSA’s Thomas Drake, and in the new print edition of the Washington Monthly James Verini tells the story of Franz Gayl.

Here’s the editor’s summary of a story about a tech-savvy Marine who rocked the boat, saved lives, and lost his job.

As he prepares to retire, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates told USA Today this week about his efforts to push a resistant Pentagon bureaucracy to deliver more armored trucks — called Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles (MRAPs) — to frontline troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, a move Gates said saved “thousands of lives.” He should be proud of that achievement. But it was a Marine whistleblower, Franz Gayl, who made Gates aware that the Pentagon was dragging its feet on the MRAPs. And while Gates is leaving office as a hero, Gayl is being forced out.

In the new issue of the Washington Monthly, James Verini tells the remarkable, troubling, and beautifully wrought story of Gayl, a senior science advisor to the Marine Corps who in 2007 exposed a pattern of high-level mismanagement that kept life-saving protective gear from reaching American troops. Now, for his trouble, Gayl has been relieved of his responsibilities and placed on administrative leave. Like NSA whistleblower Thomas Drake, Gayl is another government worker who has, in the age of Obama, paid a steep professional price for having revealed ugly truths under the administration of George W. Bush.

Read “The Unquiet Life of Franz Gayl.”