Edward Loomis, Intelligence Community Contractor Whistleblower
Edward Loomis, a career NSA employee and then contractor from 1964 to 2007, is a leading voice in the Make It Safe Coalition campaign to restore IC contractor whistleblower protections. He was retaliated against by the NSA after reporting through internal channels an ineffective surveillance program that wasted taxpayer dollars and violated constitutional rights to privacy. Learn more about Loomis below or view his background as a PDF here.
A Cryptologic Computer Scientist and senior level expert, Edward Loomis worked for the National Security Agency (NSA) for almost forty years. After learning that the NSA planned to replace a terrorist surveillance program with a costly and ineffective alternative, Mr. Loomis retired in 2001 and proceeded to work as an intelligence community (IC) contractor. However, NSA retaliation crippled him from continuing to work as a contractor. Mr. Loomis’ experience demonstrates the need to enact IC contractor whistleblower protections.
Prior to 9/11, Mr. Loomis and his colleagues at the NSA, crypto-mathematician Bill Binney and analyst Kirk Wiebe, developed a revolutionary information processing system called Thinthread that they believe could have detected and prevented the 9/11 terrorist attacks. But NSA officials ignored Thinthread in favor of Trailblazer – a much more expensive program that not only ended in total failure, but cost taxpayers billions of dollars.
After 9/11, the NSA continued to reject efficient, cost-effective projects like Thinthread and increasingly engaged in wasteful, fraudulent and abusive behavior. Disgusted with the NSA’s apparent fraud and refusal to fulfill its mandate to protect Americans’ national security, Mr. Loomis accepted a retirement package in October 2001. Mr. Loomis, with his co-complainants, filed a Hotline Complaint with the Department of Defense Inspector General (DoD IG) in September 2002.
After retiring, Mr. Loomis and his colleagues sought to use their effective technology that the NSA had so steadfastly rejected. However, NSA management blacklisted them in the intelligence community and sabotaged their contracts behind the scenes. Retaliation escalated after the New York Times published an explosive story disclosing the NSA’s domestic spying program, which pushed this country deep into a constitutional crisis with few parallels in American history.
In four decades at the NSA, Mr. Loomis never received a negative performance review. His extensive accolades and accomplishments included: the Meritorious Civilian Service Award; three NSA Teamwork awards; a number of NSA senior-level expert awards; and numerous performance awards for his service as an NSA contractor between 2003 and 2006. Despite his impeccable record, Mr. Loomis initially drew the attention of investigators because the government believed that he might be a source for the Times article, which he was not. Further, he made a disclosure through designated channels at the DoD IG, which – unbeknownst to him at the time – would place a target on his back.
In 2007, while at work for an NSA private contractor, Mr. Loomis was unexpectedly interrogated by two FBI agents. Within hours, the contractor’s president informed Mr. Loomis that he was about to lose his Top Secret security clearance, which he had maintained since he began work at the NSA in 1964. Later that day, more than a dozen FBI agents proceeded to descend upon Mr. Loomis’ home, and he and his wife sat as the agents rifled slowly through their belongings.
Since he was removed from his contractor position in 2007, Mr. Loomis has been unable to find work in the intelligence community. In April 2010, Mr. Loomis tried to return to contracting, but he was unable to get his security clearance restored. The NSA had no evidence or basis to support suspension of the security clearance (held for decades) of a senior official as dedicated and decorated as Mr. Loomis.