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A reader sent this today. It is sad that things keep sliding downhill. Is no one in authority still left uncorrupted? Things that were fixable problems in decades past have been allowed to run downhill at a rapid rate by those that do not wish real security or government oversight to function at all. If you still care and have some personal knowledge of this mess, please by all means contact your elected politicians before they hold their hearing. GFS

G Florence:

So the Senate is going to examine the security clearance process.  And it sounds like people want to blame the Office of Personnel Management for everything that is wrong.  Seems like I remember the Defense Investigative Service, now the Defense Security Service, had this mission from the early 1970’s until just recently.  I also remember continuous problems with the security clearance process while it was under the Defense Security Service. 

So do you think that the Senate will ask the first hard question?  If the Office of Personnel Management has really taken over the personnel clearance mission, then why has the Defense Security Service halted a majority of the periodic reinvestigations for Top Secret personnel clearances?  The Defense Security Service is claiming budget issues.  Are personnel clearance budget dollars still being funneled through the Defense Security Service?  And if so, why? The Defense Security Service can’t manage their own internal budget.  Why would anyone trust them with the budget of another agency’s mission? 

If you remember, the Defense Security Service spent an average of $1 million or more dollars each year for the past five or more years on their internal All Hands junket meetings in many places to include Atlantic City, Las Vegas and Orlando.  This after the Secretary of Defense directed all Department of Defense agencies, by DoD Directive, not to hold such meetings.  The Director of the Defense Security Service ignored the Secretary of Defense’s directive, and called the junkets “trainings.”

The Old Navy Man

The Washington Post: Senate hearing will examine security clearance in wake of NSA leaks

By Josh Hicks, Published: June 19, 2013 at 6:00 am

A Senate panel on Thursday will examine federal security-clearance processes, continuing a brief round of hearings this week in response to contractor Edward Snowden leaking information about the nation’s sweeping electronic-surveillance program. The Senate subcommittee that deals with contracting and federal workforce will raise questions about a perceived lack of oversight, limited IT capabilities and insufficient information sharing between government agencies, according to an announcement from the group. A report from the national intelligence director showed that about 1 million contractors and more than 3.5 million federal government employees including military personnel hold security clearances. A recent article from Federal Diary columnist Joe Davidson explored the issue of whether contractors should do national security work. The Defense Department handled security clearance processes until 2005, when the Office of Personnel Management’s investigative services division took over the responsibility. Since then, OPM has implemented several changes to decrease clearance-request backlogs and improve the quality of its reviews, according to the subcommittee’s announcement. The hearing on Thursday will feature testimony from OPM’s inspector general and an associate director of investigations for the agency, as well as from the head of the Defense Department’s defense security service, among other officials. Senior government officials also testified Tuesday, saying the government’s electronic surveillance program has thwarted more than 50 terrorist plots in the U.S., according to a Washington Post article about the hearing.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/federal-eye/wp/2013/06/19/senate-hearing-will-examine-security-clearance-in-wake-of-nsa-leaks

Here is a story regarding more antics of Boeing that have come into the light, thanks to a reader who stays alert for such stories. GFS

G Florence:

Straight from federal Executive Order to the Secretary of Defense, one of the federal requirements for continuing participation in the National Industrial Security Program: “The company must have a reputation for integrity and lawful conduct in its business dealings.” But then we read articles like the one below, and that’s when we realize that Boeing is bigger than the federal government.  $13.7 million dollars does not even represent a slap on the wrist to Boeing. The Old Navy Man

Boeing Told to Repay After Charging $2,286 for $10 Part

By Tony Capaccio – Jun 19, 2013 8:30 AM PT The Pentagon’s purchasing agency says Boeing Co. (BA) must refund $13.7 million in excessive prices charged on spare parts, including a $10 device for which the defense contractor charged $2,286 apiece. 

The Defense Logistics Agency “is seeking a refund from Boeing,” spokeswoman Michelle McCaskill said in an e-mailed statement. “The refund will be for the full $13.7 million identified” and will be requested by July 31, she said.  

The agency overpaid about $1.3 million for 573 of the aluminum “bearing sleeves” used on an aircraft’s main landing-gear door that should have cost $10 each, the Pentagon’s inspector general said in an audit labeled “For Official Use Only.”

Wasteful spending resulted from agency personnel failing to negotiate good deals or to perform adequate oversight, and from Boeing’s failure to pass on savings it won from subcontractors, according to the complete audit report. A summary of the findings was reported by Bloomberg News on June 7.

Boeing “has been working with the Defense Logistics Agency” and the inspector general “throughout the audit process,” Ellen Buhr, a spokeswoman for Boeing’s Global Services and Support unit, said in an e-mailed statement. “We are working with DLA to review the official report and to understand the issues identified.” 

Second Time 
The audit marks the second time in two years that the inspector general has cited excessive parts pricing by Chicago-based Boeing, the Pentagon’s second-biggest contractor after Lockheed Martin Corp. (LMT) A May 2011 inspector general’s audit of two Boeing contracts for an Army depot in Corpus Christi, Texas, found about $13 million in overcharges on $23 million in orders. 

The Pentagon has recovered $2.67 million in that case, according to Bridget Serchak, a spokeswoman for the inspector general’s office. The Defense Contract Audit Agency is reviewing the contract to see if more refunds are in order, another spokeswoman, Army Lieutenant Colonel Elizabeth Robbins, said in an e-mailed statement. 

In the more recent audit, the inspector general took what it described as a “nonstatistical sample” of 60 spare parts on 2,659 delivery orders valued at about $81.1 million and found issues involving prices for parts on 1,469 orders valued at $27.2 million.

The sample was part of almost 3,400 spare parts valued at about $142 million that the agency had purchased. 

Aircraft Parts 
The excessive prices were found on a sample of parts requested under a 2009 “basic ordering agreement” for components and assemblies used on B-1B and B-52 bombers, E-3 surveillance aircraft, KC-135 tankers, Minuteman nuclear missiles and AC-130U gunships. 

Boeing overcharged the Defense Logistics Agency’s aviation unit the $13.7 million on 1,469 delivery orders after government personnel failed to negotiate “fair and reasonable prices,” according to the inspector general’s audit. 

“If prices are not corrected, DLA Aviation will continue to overpay on future sole-source spare parts procured from Boeing,” it said.

Boeing “did not maintain complete cost and pricing data for 20 delivery orders valued at $3.4 million” because of inadequate agency oversight, the inspector general found. The company issued internal guidance in December emphasizing the need to maintain adequate documentation, it said. 

In addition, inspectors found cases in which Boeing failed to pass on savings it obtained. 

Negotiating Prices 
“Boeing either negotiated for lower prices from its suppliers or obtained spare parts at lower prices from different suppliers,” the audit found. The company “is not required to notify” the agency “when the subcontractor changes its prices, and Boeing did not pass on any cost savings.” 

In one example cited, Boeing in February 2008 cited a price of $8,474 each for a “control surface part kit” that attaches to an aircraft’s left elevator. 

Auditors obtained Boeing purchase orders indicating it paid about $4,080 for the kit, “resulting in an overpayment of approximately” $4,394 per kit — or about $1.2 million for 273 of them. 

Boeing charged the defense agency $17,628 apiece for a “channel” engine structural support on the AC-130U gunship that company documents showed cost about $1,354 each, or an overpayment of more than $16,000, according to the audit. 

The logistics agency overpaid about $22,600 for two metal tube assemblies that cover aircraft engine struts. The Defense Logistics Agency accepted as “fair and reasonable” Boeing’s proposed price of $12,467 each.

“Based on our review of Boeing’s purchase order,” the agency “should have paid a unit price of approximately $1,167,” according to the audit. 

To contact the reporter on this story: Tony Capaccio in Washington at acapaccio@bloomberg.net                                                         
To contact the editor responsible for this story: John Walcott at

Another Whistleblower Supporter sent this in to me recently. This is the winning of an appeal. The MSPB still has things that must be resolved. It is rather incredible how long whistleblowers must struggle before finally getting through the legal system, if they are allowed to proceed to the legal system at all Here is the material I was sent, verbatim. Enjoy! GFS

WOW!

After a decade!

Way to go Robert!

http://www.whistleblowersblog.org/2013/04/articles/whistleblowers-government-empl/tsa-whistleblower-robert-maclean-wins-appeal/

Today the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit issued a decision in MacLean v. Department of Homeland Security. In 2003, Robert MacLean blew the whistle on the Department of Homeland Security’s Transportation Security Agency’s (TSA) plan to remove U.S. air marshals from long distance flights during a heightened terrorist alert. Mr. MacLean was concerned that the suspension of overnight missions created a danger to the flying public. He complained to his supervisor and to the Office of Inspector General; both responded that they could do nothing.
Mr. MacLean then gave information to a MSNBC reporter about the TSA’s plan. The reporter published an article criticizing the plan. The TSA withdrew its plan after criticism from the public and members of Congress. The TSA subsequently fired Mr. MacLean.
A major issue on appeal from the Merit Systems Protection Board (“MSPB”), was whether or not Mr. MacLean was covered under the Whistleblower Protection Act (“WPA”). Specifically, the WPA prohibits individuals in positions of authority from taking a “personnel action” against a government employee when the employee makes a disclosure, which the employee reasonable believes to evidence a “substantial and specific danger to public health and safety, if such disclosure is not specifically prohibited by law.” The Court of Appeals held that MacLean’s disclosure was “not specifically prohibited by law.”
The Court vacated the MSPB decision which upheld Mr. MacLean’s termination and remanded the case back to the MSPB to determine whether MacLean’s “disclosure qualifies for WPA protection.” The MSPB must determine whether Mr. MacLean “reasonable believed” his disclosure evidenced a “substantial and specific danger to public health and safety.”

This Press Release etc. is from Robin Petersen, the whistleblower who was held captive in Saudi Arabia after being injured working there for a Boeing Subsidiary. Quite an ordeal. Mr. Petersen has been struggling since to get justice and prevail against an employer who intends to take no responsibility. GFS

See materials he sent:

NINTH CIRCUIT COURT RULES IN FAVOR OF NAVY PILOT AND
AGAINST THE BOEING COMPANY

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on Friday, April 26, 2013 that Plaintiff Robin P. Petersen, a pro se litigant, will have his case heard against “The Boeing Company” and its wholly owned subsidiary “Boeing International Support Systems, Saudi Arabia.” The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed and remanded the case back to the U.S. District Court of Arizona.

Mr. Petersen a former Navy pilot with the rank of Commander was recruited in Arizona by “The Boeing Company” to work as a flight instructor for Boeing International Support Systems (“BISS”) in Saudi Arabia. Petersen alleges that the Boeing Company and BISS engaged in fraudulent recruiting practices, trafficking in persons, and in a “Bait and Switch Operation” that defrauds Veterans and the American Tax Payers. Mr. Petersen also stated that he and other U.S. Veterans (Navy, Air Force and Army) were first defrauded within the United States by Boeing and BISS representatives who were operating from St. Louis, Missouri and Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. His legal claims include (1) Common Law Fraud, (2) U.S. Passport Confiscation, (3) False Imprisonment, (4) RICO violations, (5) Breach of Contract, (6) Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress and (7) Failure to Pay Wages.

The Ninth Circuit of Court of Appeals concluded:

“We hold that the evidence submitted and the allegations made by Petersen were more than sufficient to create a triable issue of fact as to whether the forum selection clause an issue here is enforceable under Bremen. The district court therefore abused its discretion by granting BISS’s motion to dismiss without convening an evidentiary hearing. It also abused its discretion in denying Petersen leave to amend his pleadings. The district court abused its discretion by dismissing on the basis of the forum selection clause without at the very least holding an evidentiary hearing as to whether Petersen was induced to assent to the forum selection clause through fraud or overreaching.”

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals cited several Appellate cases stating :

“Petersen did precisely what we held that the employee in Spradlin needed to have done, and what the employee in Murphy did do: he provided specific evidence sufficient to demonstrate that he would be wholly foreclosed from litigating his claims against Boeing and BISS in a Saudi forum”

The Boeing Company in recent past has suffered scrutiny by Congress for unethical activity and criminal violations which can be found at http://www.c-spanarchives.org/program/193687-1.
Mr. Petersen urges that American Citizens and Veteran’s Organizations provide support by contacting local, state and federal officials asking them to further investigate this matter.

I have published posts previously about Mr. Petersen’s unfortunate experiences that led to him becoming a whistleblower. Please look at the archives or use search on the Whistleblower Supporter blog to see those posts. If anyone can be of help and assistance to Robin Petersen, and/or would like to see the PDF of the Ninth Circuit Court Documentation, please contact Mr. Petersen by email: asu55rp@hotmail.com

A reader sent this in today. It is more on the changes that have been unfortunately occurring that have helped take down government services and oversight. I noted some time ago of the problem of government agencies/activities outsourcing their complaint (whistleblower and other) and grievance processes to non-governmental contractors, who have clerks who screen and “handle” complaints to hotlines or written complaints, making decisions about what will be passed upward to people who will possibly (read that only possibly) investigate the complaints. I thank the Old Navy Man for alerting me to this article, he also included for this post. GFS

G Florence:

Some of us told Clapper and the counter-to-intelligence community many years ago that bringing contractors into the process was a very bad idea. But the politicians and federal executives were more concerned with presenting the image of “downsizing” the federal government to the public. Secondarily, no one wanted to pay people for the expertise needed to keep intelligence and counterintelligence within the federal government. So now we’re all paying the price for that decision.

If the public only knew. The news media and the public need to take a close look at where the federal government has ‘hidden’ the federal government’s ramping up of intelligence and counterintelligence personnel. The feds have actually expanded the number of employees and agencies that are now in the collection business.

The Department of Defense has farmed out intelligence and counterintelligence billets to a number of government activities. Just one example, the Defense Security Service. The number of intel billets in the Defense Security Service has increased dramatically, and yet the Defense Security Service is not an intelligence or counterintelligence agency. But no one is asking why. So Stanley Sims (the director), with the blessing of James Clapper, is growing his federal business in counterintelligence and cyber collection.

But the same is true for the Defense Intelligence Agency, the National Security Agency, the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Central Intelligence Agency, etc., etc. And all these agencies have contractors and subcontractors.

So where has the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Oversight been all this time? That would be: Dianne Feinstein (California, Chair); Jay Rockefeller (West Virginia); Ron Wyden (Oregon); Barbara Mikulski (Maryland); Mark Udall (Colorado); Mark Warner (Virginia); Martin Heinrich (New Mexico); Angus King (Maine); Saxby Chambliss (Georgia, Vice Chair); Richard Burr (North Carolina); Jim Risch (Idaho); Dan Coats (Indiana); Marco Rubio (Florida); Susan Collins (Maine); and Tom Coburn (Oklahoma).

Apparently the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Oversight thinks everything is just fine.

The Old Navy Man

Growth of intel outsourcing no secret, but now Congress taking notice

By Tracy Connor, Staff Writer, NBC News / June 15, 2013

A growing chorus on Capitol Hill is questioning whether U.S. intelligence agencies are farming out too much work to private contractors like Edward Snowden, the Booz Allen Hamilton systems analyst who has claimed credit leaking classified details about surveillance programs.

“Maybe we should bring some of that more in-house — with employees of the federal government, with the oath of office that we take to protect and defend our country and that seriousness of purpose there,” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said Thursday.

In the days since Snowden professed to be the source of reports on secret surveillance programs, others in Congress have also expressed concern about the number of private employees who have access to sensitive information and suggested it will be the subject of hearings.

While the average American may have been surprised to learn a 29-year-old civilian could tap into secret government files while drawing a paycheck from a for-profit firm, there is nothing new or unusual about it.

Last year, 483,236 private contractors had top-secret security clearances, compared to 791,200 government employees, according to a report by the office of the Director of National Intelligence. Another 582,542 contractors had the less-stringent confidential security clearance, compared to 2.7 million government workers, the report said.

National Security Agency and CIA facilities have government employees with blue badges working side by side with contractors, known as green badges, performing similar work and reporting to the same boss at the site. Because intelligence contracts are classified, it’s difficult to nail down how much taxpayer money is going to firms like Booz Allen.

In his book, “Spies for Hire,” author Tim Shorrock reported that a DNI official told an industry conference in 2007 that 70% of intelligence spending went to private sources. Experts say it’s part of trend that began two decades ago when an intelligence community that shrunk after the Cold War needed to ramp up and looked outside for technology and bodies without increasing the government head count.

“The only reason we have contractors is because of a government that loves selling the myth of the smaller government,” said George Washington University law professor Steven Schooner, who specializes in government procurement law.

The amount of intelligence outsourcing skyrocketed after 9/11 as the budget and the demands for data collection and analysis and other services ballooned. Giant firms like Booz, SAIC and Northrup Grumman got big slices of the pie, but smaller firms also lined up.

Richard “Hollis” Helms, who worked on counter-terrorism for the CIA for 30 years, started a company called Abraxas after retirement with $5,000. Four years after 9/11, it had 225 employees, many of them government retirees. In 2010, it was sold for $124 million.

The benefits of such outsourcing were being debated well before the time when Snowden says he copied files at his office in Hawaii, fled to Hong Kong and leaked the information to reporters.

One 2008 congressional report cautioned that the annual cost of a private employee can be double the cost of a government worker, though others note the feds can avoid pensions and other legacy costs on the back end with contracts.

Contracts are also a way to get retired agency workers with crucial experience back on the job. And using private companies allows the government to surge on manpower in times of crisis without adding permanent employees who may be not be needed in the long run.

“If I’m the government, I can hire this database administration contractor because I have the money right now…and if I don’t have the money in a couple of years, I can just cut the contract,” said Charles Faddis, a retired CIA operations officer who is now a consultant who does work for the government.

In the wake of Snowden’s actions, the financial worries are taking a back seat to security concerns.

While contractors and government workers go through the same process for security clearances, Snowden’s ability to cull and share information about secret programs raises the question of how private companies vet and monitor their hires. Faddis said the explosion in information technology that drove the hiring of Snowden and his ilk also means they have access to such a tremendous amount of data that a single breach could make Daniel Ellsberg’s Pentagon Papers look like a post-it note.

“Then you have the post-9/11 focus on sharing information and breaking down stovepipes,” he said. “I agree with that but we have gone in typical Washington fashion so much farther that you now have throughout the government all sorts of people at very junior levels who have access to intelligence of staggering quantities.”

There are vague calls for a clampdown. Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Dianne Feinstein said Thursday the public can expect “legislation which will limit or prevent contractors from handling highly classified technical data.

” The government, of course, is not leak-proof. Snowden, a onetime Army recruit, says he had worked directly for the CIA before Booz Allen and other private firms, and Bradley Manning wore an Army uniform.

“There is no empirical evidence that contractors are better or worse than people in the military or the government,” Schooner said.

But William Arkin, who has written extensively on intelligence outsourcing, told NBC “Nightly News” that some of the contractors are different from government employees.

“They’re not motivated necessarily by patriotism. They’re not motivated necessarily by a scar of 9/11. This is a job,” he said.

It’s unclear whether there will be more or fewer of those jobs when the smoke clears from the Snowden case.

Many of the big multibillion-dollar contracting corporations have lobbyists. Some of their top executives worked for the CIA or NSA and retain close ties to the intelligence agencies. The concept of a smaller government is still prized by politicians, and the demand for intelligence services is not waning.

“The train has left the station on outsourcing,” said Schooner. “Do we think Congress will appropriate to hire tens of thousands of employees for pick-your agency? It’s not going to happen.”

http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/06/15/18940842-growth-of-intel-outsourcing-no-secret-but-now-congress-taking-notice?lite&ocid=msnhp&pos=1

I hope all of you are keeping track of all that has suddenly exploded into the media. It rather is too little too late, but if someone will finally prosecute the wrongdoers, we may make some progress.  (Read that Eric Holder must go and someone who will carry out clean investigations and prosecutions must be put in his place.)  A broken Justice Department is a big part of the problem.  The dog no longer has teeth to  bite, nor a will to do so.  And, it is apparent that the amount of collusion and corruption surrounding contracting, incompetence of federal oversight management, and collusion and corruption shared between certain contractors and some federal government management and some politicians have only gotten worse and the problems deeper.  Cronyism, nepotism, and the notorious revolving doors between government and industry continue to run amock and no one is making any effort to stop any of this, or even apply the regulations and laws we currently have.  It is all broken, or as one of my sources reported, “FUBAR.” 

The recent  reporting of alleged Chinese Hackers “stealing all of these secrets and advanced technology,”  (from the listed items in the report referenced below), appear to me to be an ever escalating attempt to cover up the real culprits and those truly responsible for the losses.  Corruption,greed-driven corruption that the guilty parties in the defense contractor(s) and within the federal government (including Pentagon) have tried so desperately to cover up at each level and every step of the whistleblower’s report.   I can only hope that if the media will keep up the pressure, talk with the whistleblowers, and continue to pressure for real investigation and prosecution of those truly responsible for lost technology, and all of you continue to stand up and demand justice, we may eventually prevail. 

I have posted information about the infamous James Clapper previously.  He is but one cog in the machine, as the corruption appears to spread far and wide both within government agencies and activities, as well as in government defense contractors.  One of the whistleblowers that I am aware of currently has a federal investigation in progress that has been stalled every step of the way by those involved in a coverup of one of the compromises of technology listed in the report below.  Consider that the culprits who actually have committed the crimes and possible treasonous activities, as well as those who compromised themselves helping to cover-up said crimes,  are desperately trying (to the detriment of all of us), to find a way to blame something or someone else for the losses and the criminal actions.  It is the last overblown act by very desperate criminals to evade identification and prosecution. 

They have continued to try to derail investigations, lie to government investigators and Congress, interfere in the legal processes related to whistleblower complaints, derail the carrying out of prosecution of wrongdoing and more.   They have savagely attacked those who have tried to stand up to them.  Careers have been destroyed,personal lives devastated, and responsible federal and in some cases corporate employees harassed, undermined and targeted.  Would that the nefarious surveillance of phone, email , and other communication work the other way, so we could all see how plots are hatched and planned.  It does appear the miscreants  reached an apparently well-coordinated new level of outrage, ingeniously blaming Chinese Hackers for loss of the tech on the list, when the true miscreants are right here in the halls of the Pentagon, the offices of DOD agencies and activities and in the CEO and manager’s enclaves within the Defense Contractors unfortunately entrusted with handling our most sensitive and advanced technologies. 

No doubt Chinese Hackers are annoying and damaging liabilities, as Hackers from anywhere (including the US) may be, but the true causes and those who bring about the losses of technology that have so badly devastated both our real National Security positioning, and our economic security, are very much closer to home.  I maintain that they walk among us, and if allowed, will continue on with their corrupt and criminal activities to the detriment of real national security, economic, and otherwise. 

Here is something that one of my readers sent today.  I have written about several whistleblowers previously.  This may well be a followup on one of them.  -GFS

G Florence:

If you haven’t already read David Sirota’s excellent article “James Clapper Must Go,” please do so.  I realize that you have posted about the problems with James Clapper before.  I believe you will be interested in this.   I have a good friend and former coworker who served as a Special Agent for the Department of Defense. My friend is a scientist and was recruited into the Department of Defense because of their expertise in Advanced Technology compartmented research and development. Some years ago now, my friend found that a large aerospace defense contractor was intentionally and illegally handling Advanced Technology in their programs throughout the company. The company’s illegal handling of Advanced Technology lead to the loss of irreplaceable compartmented technology. My friend’s federal investigation of the incident was covered up by their agency and at the highest levels inside the Pentagon. And with the consent of James Clapper, my friend was harassed and psychologically tortured by their agency’s management. My friend was frankly, forced out of federal service.

Recently it became public through the release of the Defense Science Board report “Resilient Military Systems and the Advanced Cyber Threat” that the Department of Defense is trying to blame that advanced technology loss on “the cyber threat.” The report is interesting in that it references a table (2.2) that is not present in the unclassified version of the report. One of the listings on table 2.2 is the compartmented program department and the technology that my friend investigated the loss of. That loss was not from cyber collection. The loss was from the intentional and illegal mishandling of the Advanced Technology by the aerospace defense contractor. How many more cases like this has James Clapper participated in?

The Old Navy Man

Here is the article that the Old Navy Man referenced:

http://billmoyers.com/2013/06/12/james-clapper-must-go/

Hello Everyone,

As most of you may feel, I am quite fascinated (and saddened) by all of the incidences reported recently of corruption by government and employers and the suffering of whistleblowers for their candid commitment, and resolve to do the right thing.  I have been hearing about some specific cases also from people like you. 

For instance, some time ago, I published a post regarding a government activity, Defense Security Service, continuing to schedule wasteful “all-hands” meetings, where employees are flown to one or two locations across the country and put up in hotels, to sit and listen to talking heads for a week.  One source quoted a cost of about a million dollars spent by the DSS each time employees were ordered to report to these meetings.  That did not include the salary requirements for these government employees, as they were still technically on duty, though sitting in meetings, they were not at their work-site, working. 

The way this was scheduled, a managers-only all-hands was held first.   Then the field employees in four regions were divided up to attend one of two all-hands meetings; one for eastern half and one for western half of the country.  There also was an all-hands meeting for counter-intelligence activity employees within DSS, and then an all-hands meeting for DSS computing security employees. 

All of this spending was going on while many agencies and activities were being cut.  I have heard of quick planning going on to spend money fast, before it could be “lost” or reappropriated to prevent critical cuts in other areas of government.  I have heard that due to the discomfort and unwanted negative attention brought to bear on DSS previously for  this gigantic wasteful annual misspending of money, the DSS Director and managers attempted to change the name of these boondoggles from “all-hands meetings” to”all-hands trainings.”  Last year, I am told, they held them,  in defiance of being told by higher up not to hold those meetings. 

What’s in a name?  It appears  DSS director, Stanley Sims and his manager cronies,  thought that since they were also being criticised for the lack of meaningful and high quality training for their field employees, they could dodge the bullet by calling the meetings, “trainings,” and then continue the same sorry events exactly as before.  So the same meetings were held under the new label of training with the same old  format and succession of talking heads. In other words, hold employees captive in front of those talking heads for a week, (with little opportunity for meaningful training, or skill development, or true collaboration time for DSS employees to work on problem solving and improvements in how they do their oversight duties).  I have been updated that this year 2013, there were no meetings, (or meetings labeled as trainings), held, due to sequestration, and the close scrutiny that all such activities were being given. 

Also, in the DSS activity,  I have heard of more incidences of harassment of DSS employees by managers, reports that the DSS Director has gone about the country threatening employees who have complained about the issue of DSS managers pressuring employees to work unreported overtime, that if the employees are not willing to work when he wants, where he wants, and however long he wants, they can leave, or he’ll “fire their ass.”  True story; my sources are very adamant about this.  So nothing has changed.  It is still a sorry mess, despite Richard Lawhorn’s (Director of Field Operations, DSS) public statements to the contrary.  So while those who have been conducting these illegal activities protest  in public, behind the scenes the abuse of civil servants continues. 

I have also been hearing about new incidences of nepotism and cronyism within DSS, in actions taken by managers, including the Director.  I’d appreciate anyone who can elaborate on any of this contacting me.  Please see the “About” section of this blog, for email contact information.  I also would like to hear from those of you with different examples from government or industry. 

There just appears to be an even more expanding wave of corruption going through the government.  I heard a whistleblower last night on a national radio program,  berating Attorney General, Eric Holder, for his lack of willingness to investigate and prosecute wrongdoing.  I appreciated hearing her interview.   This exact problem has bothered me ever since Eric Holder, in a lower position in the AG’s office, crafted and positioned the Non-Prosecution Agreement first used with Boeing in the Druyan/Sears Tanker scandal.  He appears to have continued this same philosophy to the present day, as the U.S. Attorney General, to the chagrin of a great many whistleblowers, and victims of the corrupted ones in government and industry. 

Persist!  And please, keep communicating with me.  I wish to bring your concerns to light. 

GFS

I read a post today on the POGO blog by Angela Canterbury and Suzanne Dershowitz, titled:  “Conservatives Tell Rep. Issa:  Federal Whistleblowers, and Taxpayers, Deserve Their Day in Court.”

The issue is the concept that federal whistleblowers are entitled to protections and should have the right to use the courts and our legal system to hold the federal government accountable for waste, fraud, abuse, and illegal and unethical acts.  And they should have recourse for the government or agents of the government exacting reprisal on federal whistleblowers for being…. well whistleblowers.    

Representative Darrell Issa (R-California) is being pressured by press in his own district to “fulfill his promise of protections for federal whistleblowers.” 

The Senate Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act was passed in May.  The House version is said to ignore the need for federal whistleblowers to have access to the legal system and the courts.  Issa is criticized for not seeing to it that federal whistleblowers have the same standard in federal whistleblower law that already exists for private sector whistleblowers.  Further criticism of the current system is that federal whistleblowers take very large risks and rarely prevail in an iffy system where the government “always wins.” 

Federal whistleblowers must have access to the courts and our legal system.  The process should not be rigged against them, assuring they will endure massive reprisal and career destruction, and take on massive legal costs to try to prevail against what looms as a monolith of self-protection in the case of corruption and cover-ups at the expense of federal whistleblowers and their families.  GFS 

Link to original POGO blog post:

http://pogoblog.typepad.com/pogo/2012/08/conservatives-tell-rep-issa-federal-whistleblowers-and-taxpayers-deserve-their-day-in-court.html#more

Seriously, does the current Administration think that a voluntary process is going to make functionally any difference at all? 

Those agencies with the most to hide, particularly those who may have employees or directors with inappropriate conflict of interest relationships with corporations or other organizations will be the last to ever consent to the transparency of making responses (truthful and illuminating responses) to FOIA requests more easily accessed. 

Perhaps in issues, which do not involve corruption and direct involvement of federal managers in confederate relationships to defense contractors, who profit mightily from such relationships, there may be some easier access to some information.  But the situations that are causing the worst of the mass of incidents being covered up and kept from the public will not be helped by any of this. 

And those federal employees who are trying to report such violations will continue to be shredded by the system of corruption and the influence pressured by conflict of interest relationships as they are today.

GFS 

Requesting public documents about to get easier

Link to original article: 

http://www.nextgov.com/cio-briefing/2012/06/requesting-public-documents-about-get-easier/56044/?oref=ng-relatedstories

I read an interesting article recently regarding how federal agencies have been trying to deal with their overly backlogged Freedom of Information Act requests for information that have apparently been piling up since the 2009 change in Federal direction about granting such requests. 

According to the article by Joseph Marks, in Nextgov, August 31, 2012, about half the agencies have actually reduced the number of FOIA exemptions (information they refused to release formerly, under the premise that such information is exempt to FOIA requests). 

The article also talks about agencies using technology to improve processing time for FOIA requests and the use of the FOIA libraries to post information that might commonly be requested via FOIA requests. 

It seems to this observer that if the Obama administration truly wishes to increase transparency, that more transparent action taken toward prosecuting the many cases of wrongdoing and criminal activity in the realm of federal defense contracting needs to take center stage.  Corruption, influence pedaling, cronyism, fraud, technology theft, use of the “revolving door” by people between industry and the federal government (and vice versa) in order to better serve the needs of the corporations they serve, must be stopped cold in order to allow the oversight that supposedly is in place now to be able to actually function and prevent such atrocities.  The Administration must see that a general clean up is put swiftly into action, and mean it so that these issues are handled first for any genuine transparency in FOIA request handling to be a reality. 

As long as intensive efforts within corporations and their government confederates go into covering up corruption, theft, and fraud within the federal defense contracting world, and wrongdoers that are occasionally exposed, usually by federal employees trying to do their oversight jobs, the status quo, cover-ups and sudden retirements of culpable individuals and use by such of convenient revolving doors will continue to provide sufficient threat of exposure to thwart any serious transparency granted to a FOIA request hopeful, preventing s/he from every getting an honest and “transparent” accounting of what is really going on in federal agencies, particularly in relationship to defense contractors and other corporate interests. 

This article describes a tempest in a teapot, and does not address the real problems related to FOIA requests not being honored by those trying to get to the truth of wrongdoing in the federal government. 

GFS

Link to article:  http://www.nextgov.com/big-data/2012/08/agencies-continue-struggle-foia-requests/57819/

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