John Tye, a former U.S. government whistleblower, is representing Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen, whose congressional testimony and bombshell interview on “60 Minutes” brought to light what she sees as systemic societal harms perpetuated by the trillion-dollar tech giant. Tye, the founder of Whistleblower Aid, joins Washington Post technology policy reporter Cat Zakrzewski to discuss the tens of thousands of pages of internal documents that Haugen claims show the company “chooses profits over safety.”


“She [Frances] has done everything lawfully. The comments you’re talking about from yesterday are sort of a desperate PR attempt by the company to try to throw some mud at my client.” (Washington Post Live)
“There are a lot of evidence, even real-time on the day Jan. 6, showing that Facebook knew exactly what was happening and wasn’t acting. And there were people inside the company being like ‘Why are we allowing this to happen?’” (Washington Post Live)
“One of the remarkable things is that over 50,000 Facebook employees had access to all this research, and she [Frances Haugen] was the first to identify that this was worthy of lawful disclosures.” (Washington Post Live)
“I don’t have a view on that particular question. It is remarkable that he retains 55 percent of the voting shares even though he has far fewer shares in the actual company.” (Washington Post Live)
“We’ve been in touch with members of European Parliament, French government officials, a member of the British parliament. She’ll be testifying to the British parliament later this month on a wider European trip.” (Washington Post Live)
“The politics in Europe are different, and there’s some things that the United States is very good at and there’s some things that European legislators might have an easier time doing. There’s so many issues at play, so many proposals on the table, so many different… actions by Facebook that are being examined that it’s sort of hard to predict where this might go.” (Washington Post Live)

John Tye

From 2011 - 2014, Mr. Tye worked as Internet Freedom Section Chief at the U.S. Department of State, where he held a security clearance to receive Top Secret / Sensitive Compartmented (TS/SCI) information. During a classified briefing, he learned that the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) was using Executive Order 12333 as a legal loophole to collect, store and search Americans’ emails, phone calls and online communications without a warrant or any suspicion.

Instead of contacting a reporter or Wikileaks, Mr. Tye paid two lawyers, including Mark S. Zaid, a total of $13,000 to help him navigate the lawful reporting process. With his attorneys, he met with the Inspectors General of the State Department and the NSA, the House of Representatives Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, and the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. He also gave a public statement to the U.S. Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board. With the advice of counsel, he was able to publicize his allegations in a completely legal way. Following the government’s pre-publication review process, Mr. Tye published an article for the Washington Post. His complaint was covered by the New York Times, The Guardian, Vice, Ars Technica, and Wikipedia. He also gave a TEDx talk on the issue.

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence “commend[ed]” Mr. Tye for using the legal reporting process to raise concerns while protecting classified information. Mr. Tye was named one of the “National Security Law Heroes of 2014” by Just Security Blog. Mr. Tye remains bound by his obligation to protect classified information that he learned during his government service — and also by his oath to defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.