FOR YOUR PROTECTION, DO NOT USE A GOVERNMENT, CONTRACTOR OR GRANTEE PHONE, FAX, OR COMPUTER TO CONTACT POGO.
The Project On Government Oversight has a long history of working with individuals daring to expose corruption. Many of these individuals with whom POGO has worked choose to keep their identity hidden from the public and even from POGO itself.
POGO may be able to further research your concerns, bring public attention to any wrongdoing, and alert those who can bring about change. We've been watchdogs since 1981.
How POGO Chooses Its Investigations
POGO evaluates every lead we receive. However, because we are a small organization, we can only pursue the few tips that meet our internal guidelines and allow us to maximize our impact by performing the greatest public service. Thank you for understanding our intentions and limitations.
- Opening for positive systemic change in the federal government
- Capacity to make a unique contribution
- Ability to broaden public awareness
- Urgency for action
- Availability of inside sources and/or documents
What POGO Does Not Do
- We do not look at individual cases of fraud or waste unless they are directly representative of systemic or widespread problems in the federal government and/or its contractors. If your information does not involve the federal government then we cannot look into your allegations.
- We do not deal with local and state issues unless federal money is involved.
- We do not provide legal advice or representation. Moreover, we will not recommend a specific legal counsel.
- We do not expose cases that cannot be verified or independently corroborated by government records or other sources.
The Downside of "Whistleblowing" or Exposing Corruption
Whistleblowing is risky and not often easy. Exposed whistleblowers are almost always reprimanded, fired, and/or harassed, even if they have not "gone public" and even if their allegations are proven to be true. It takes a lot of courage and forethought to take on a powerful government agency or a private contractor or grantee. The mental, emotional, and financial hardships that a whistleblower may encounter should be fully understood before any steps are taken to disseminate information - publicly or not.
Governments and other large organizations have the power to figure out who you are and retaliate against you. There is never a guarantee you won’t get caught. POGO will work to protect your identity while trying to expose and remedy the problems you have identified. This allows the whistleblower to expose wrongdoing while lowering the risk of jeopardizing their career. Unless you have already been publicly labeled as a whistleblower, we usually do not recommend making your identity public and exposing yourself to the many risks associated with doing so.
Maximize Your Data Security
While e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org) and postal mail are generally the most convenient ways to contact us, the Project On Government Oversight offers several options to more securely send information and documents to our investigators. It is important to note that no system is 100% secure, but these tools attempt to create a safer environment than that provided by normal communication channels. Please review the fine print before using any of these tools so that you can choose the best option for your communication needs. In addition to using these tools, we recommend that you:
- Never use work computers or equipment: Always use a secure computer to communicate with us—one that does not maintain monitoring software or malware that might be used to record your activities;
- Use secure operating systems you control: Use an operating system that helps preserve your privacy and anonymity, such as Tails;
- Cover your tracks: Delete communication histories stored on your computer, such as copies of messages or your codename assigned when using SecureDrop;
- Strip metadata: Run any files you send to us through a metadata removal tool to minimize the risk of unintentionally sending us information embedded in the documents, such as an author’s name.
Contact Us Securely Via:
- Signal is a free, end-to-end encrypted messaging app for your phone that allows you to communicate directly with POGO. You can send text messages, images, and videos from your phone. It also allows you to talk securely with an investigator by contacting them via the Signal app. No metadata is retained by Signal, and it can be configured to delete messages automatically at designated intervals.
- Signal can be downloaded from your phone’s app store (iTunes | Google Play).
- POGO’s Signal phone number:1-202-656-9263
- If you use PGP encryption, below is our fingerprint and link to our public key. Our investigators also have personal PGP keys on their staff pages. If you use our public key with a mail encryption plugin, for example Mailvelope or Enigmail, the contents of your message will be encrypted, but not the subject line or the name of the sender.
- Fingerprint: D62F CFFB A855 C1CC 1419 E4D1 2F61 75E6 FF54 7E05
- Email: email@example.com
- POGO's Public Key
- SecureDrop is an open-source whistleblower submission system that some organizations use to securely accept documents from and communicate with anonymous sources. SecureDrop submissions are entirely encrypted and do not include any identifying metadata. SecureDrop is one of the most secure ways you can contact us, but it is more difficult to monitor and maintain regular communications with.
- If timely, constant contact is needed, consider using one of the other methods on this page. If anonymity and security are of the utmost importance, consider using SecureDrop.
- Learn how to use SecureDrop
- Tor link to POGO's SecureDrop
- Peerio is a free, end-to-end encrypted messaging app for your computer and phone that allows you to communicate directly with POGO. It provides fully encrypted cloud storage for files. You can transfer files to POGO as large as 400 megabytes.
- Our Peerio username: REPORTTOPOGO
- You can also mail letters or packages to investigators at POGO. To maintain anonymity, it is recommended that you use a mailbox rather than going into a post office. Additionally, never use work computers or other equipment to copy, print, scan, or otherwise handle information before sending it to us. Do not send us original documents when possible. Aside from potentially being lost or destroyed in transit, we do not have the resources or the capacity to return all documents sent to us.
- Please send to:
Project On Government Oversight
1100 G St NW
Washington, DC 20005
Resources for Whistleblowers
Click here to view our resources for whistleblowers, including law firms, legal resources, advocacy organizations, watchdog organizations, government agencies, and reading materials.