In an online chat this week, Edward Snowden said that while he’d like to come home to the United States,

It’s unfortunately not possible in the face of current whistle-blower protection laws. There are so many holes in the laws, the protections they afford are so weak, and the processes for reporting they provide are so ineffective that they appear to be intended to discourage reporting of even the clearest wrongdoing. My case clearly demonstrates the need for comprehensive whistle-blower protection act reform.

Attorney General Eric Holder responded,

If Mr. Snowden wanted to come back to the United States and enter a plea, we would engage with his lawyers.

I would think that Snowden’s lawyers would want to have that conversation before he set foot on American soil, but what about those whistle-blower protections? 

On my America Weekend show, I asked James Holzrichter, who also worked for a government contractor he blew the whistle on — and then paid for it with 17 years of hell, in which he was forced out of work and ended up homeless. He has bounced back and now consults others who see malfeasance being done at work and want to report it, but as he told me, while that’s the morally correct decision, the consequences can be devastating. And the worst part is that the wrong-doers aren’t punished in the end.

Holzrichter’s story is quite compelling and a good primer on what may be ahead for Snowden — and others. Listen, then click here to subscribe to these podcasts via iTunes!

To find out more about James Holzrichter’s story, read his book, “Just Cause: A True Story of Courage, Hope, and the Integrity of the American Dream.”