Missing White House E Mail: A Whistleblowing Case Study

Edward Gehringer
2002 Annual Conference Proceedings   unpublished
Whistleblowing is a core topic for ethics courses taught to Computer Science and Computer Engineering majors. However, most of the prominent engineering whistleblowing cases have little if anything to do with computing (the Hughes Aircraft case being a notable exception). Another recent case is appropriate for study, especially given the increasing focus on e-mail privacy in the workplace. In early 2000, allegations surfaced that the White House was concealing e-mail that could have helped
more » ... ld have helped reveal, among other things, the extent of Vice President Gore's involvement in campaign fundraising controversies, and whether the Clinton administration had sold trade-mission seats in exchange for campaign contributions. The former chief of White House computer operations charged that Clinton administration officials were involved in an e-mail coverup. A Northrop Grumman contractor, Betty Lambuth, testified that she was threatened with loss of her job and other consequences if she disclosed the existence of the e-mail messages. This case raises several important issues, such as the responsibility of a contractor to its client vs. its responsibility to the public, and how much evidence of technical malfunctions should be needed before an organization (in this case, the White House) is obligated to inform other stakeholders.
doi:10.18260/1-2--10778 fatcat:p47cldeazfd27bcpqamhgyfpoy