Freed Alabama Ex-Governor Sees Politics in His Case
By Adam Nossiter
The New York Times Saturday 29 March 2008 Montgomery, Alabama – Former Governor Don Siegelman of Alabama, released from prison today on bond in a bribery case, said he was as convinced as ever that politics played a leading role in his prosecution. In a telephone interview shortly after he walked out of a federal prison in Oakdale, La., Mr. Siegelman said there had been “abuse of power” in his case, and repeatedly cited the influence of Karl Rove, the former White House political director. ”His fingerprints are smeared all over the case,” Mr. Siegelman said, a day after a federal appeals court ordered him released on bond and said there were legitimate questions about his case. Mr. Rove has strenuously denied any involvement in the conviction of the former governor, who was sentenced to serve seven years last June after being convicted in 2006. He could not immediately be reached for comment today. Mr. Siegelman served nine months while his lawyers appealed a federal judge’s refusal to release him on bond, pending the ex-governor’s appeal of his conviction. That refusal was overturned by the United States Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit on Thursday. The former governor, a Democrat, said he would “press” to have Mr. Rove answer questions about his possible involvement in the case before Congress, which has already held a hearing on Mr. Siegelman. On Thursday, the House Judiciary Committee signaled its intention to have Mr. Siegelman testify about the nature of his prosecution. In June of 2006 he was convicted by a federal jury here of taking $500,000 from Richard M. Scrushy, the former chief executive of the HealthSouth corporation, in exchange for an appointment to the state hospital licensing board. The money was to retire a debt from Mr. Siegelman’s campaign for a state lottery to pay for schools, and the ex-governor’s lawyers have insisted that it was no more than a routine political contribution. On the telephone outside the prison today, Mr. Siegelman said he had confidence that the federal appeals court, which will now consider his larger appeal, would agree with his view of the case – that he was convicted for a transaction that regularly takes place in American politics. Otherwise, Mr. Siegelman said, “every governor and every president and every contributor might as well turn themselves in, because it’s going to be open season on them.” His case has become a flash point for Democratic contentions that politics influenced decisions by the Justice Department, fueled by testimony from an Alabama campaign operative that suggested Mr. Rove may have had some involvement. In Alabama, the Siegelman case has inflamed partisan passions, with Republicans insisting that Mr. Siegelman’s term from 1998 to 2002 was deeply corrupted, and Democrats furious over what they depict as a years-long political witch-hunt. Before his release earlier in the day, the ex-governor completed his prison chores for the day – mopping a barracks area – and waited for his wife and son to pick him up for the eight-hour drive to his home in Birmingham, Ala. ”It feels great to be out,” Mr. Siegelman said. “I wish I could say it was over. But we’re a long way from the end of this.” ——-
Archive for March, 2008
Freed Alabama Ex-Governor Sees Politics in His Case
Ex-Alabama Governor to Be Freed on Appeal
The Associated Press Friday 28 March 2008 Montgomery, Ala. – Former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman is not just getting to go home after spending nine months in federal prison. He’s also getting a chance to testify before Congress about possible political influence over his prosecution. A federal appeals court on Thursday ordered Siegelman released pending the appeal of his corruption case, just hours after the House Judiciary Committee announced that it wants to hear his views when it probes claims of selective prosecution by the Justice Department. The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, in its ruling Thursday, said the former governor had raised “substantial questions of fact and law” in challenging his conviction. The once-popular Democrat began serving a sentence of more than seven years last June on his conviction on six bribery-related counts and one obstruction count. Siegelman, 62, has been serving the sentence at a federal prison in Oakdale, La. ”It’s a sweet day. He’s an innocent man and he’s been in prison for nine months,” said Siegelman’s attorney, Vince Kilborn. Siegelman has maintained that certain Republicans targeted him after he was elected governor in 1998. The House committee has begun reviewing his case as part of a broader investigation into allegations of political meddling in federal prosecutions. The committee hopes to hear from Siegelman in May. Committee Chairman John Conyers, a Michigan Democrat, believes Siegelman “would have a lot to add to the committee’s investigation into selective prosecution,” committee spokeswoman Melanie Roussell said. Federal prosecutors accused Siegelman of appointing then-HealthSouth CEO Richard Scrushy to a hospital regulatory board in exchange for Scrushy arranging $500,000 in contributions to Siegelman’s campaign for a statewide lottery. Scrushy, who was tried along with Siegelman, also was convicted on bribery counts and is serving a sentence of nearly seven years. The 11th Circuit, based in Atlanta, has ruled that the multimillionaire Birmingham businessman is a potential flight risk, but that Siegelman is not. The court refused Thursday to reconsider an earlier ruling denying Scrushy’s request to be released on bond while his conviction is being appealed. Scrushy attorney Art Leach said he is disappointed his client will have to remain in prison for at least another six months while the case is appealed. ”I am extremely disappointed, particularly after they said in the Siegelman case that there are substantial issues on appeal,” Leach said. Siegelman also was convicted of a separate obstruction of justice charge concerning $9,200 he received from a lobbyist to help with the purchase of a motorcycle. His attorneys have said it was a legitimate transaction. Kilborn said that he and other attorneys were working to have Siegelman released from the Louisiana prison as soon as they can deliver a certified copy of the court’s order to prison officials. It was not immediately clear when that would occur. U.S. District Judge Mark Fuller had refused to allow Siegelman to remain free on appeal while challenging his conviction. But the 11th Circuit said Thursday he met the legal standard to be freed in the “complex and protracted” case. Chief prosecutor Louis Franklin said he was “very disappointed” by the ruling, but still expects the appellate court will rule against Siegelman’s appeal. ”I don’t view this as a setback. The order is very short and concise and only deals with whether he is entitled to bond pending appeal,” Franklin said. The appeals process had been delayed for months after the court reporter during the trial died and the transcript was not completed as it normally would have. ——-
Go to Original Supreme Court Rules Bush Exceeded His Powers
By David G. Savage
The Los Angeles Times Wednesday 26 March 2008 Saying he does not have “unilateral authority” to force states to comply with an international treaty, justices vote 6-3 to reject presidential order to reopen cases of foreign nationals. Washington – The Supreme Court rebuffed President Bush on Tuesday for exceeding his powers under the law, ruling he does not have the “unilateral authority” to force state officials to comply with an international treaty. The Constitution gives the president the power “to execute the laws, not make them,” said Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. Unless Congress passes a law to enforce a treaty, the president usually cannot do it on his own, he said. The 6-3 decision was a rare defeat for Bush in the courts, and it came in an unusual case that combined international law, foreign treaties and the fate of foreign nationals condemned to die in Texas, California and several other states. In a surprise move three years ago, Bush intervened on the side of the Mexican government and said Texas prosecutors should reopen the cases of Jose Medellin, a Houston murderer, and several others serving death sentences. Bush cited the Vienna Convention, which obliges signing countries to notify each other when one of their citizens is arrested and charged with a serious crime. Mexico said American prosecutors failed repeatedly to give notice when Mexican natives were charged with capital crimes. In rejecting Bush’s order Tuesday, the high court, led by its conservatives, took the opportunity to make a strong statement on the limits of presidential power. Roberts cited the “first principles” of America’s Constitution. “The president’s authority to act, as with the exercise of any governmental power, must stem either from an act of Congress or from the Constitution itself,” Roberts said. “[G]iven the absence of congressional legislation . . . the non-self- executing treaties at issue here did not expressly or impliedly vest the president with the unilateral authority to make them self-executing. ”It should not be surprising,” Roberts added, “that our Constitution does not contemplate vesting such power in the Executive alone.” The decision upholds Texas prosecutors and judges who refused to reopen the cases of the Mexican nationals on death row there. By implication, it also blocks a challenge on behalf of several dozen Mexican natives who are serving death sentences in California. The three dissenters, led by Justice Stephen G. Breyer, took the view that treaties are part of American law once they are ratified by the Senate. At the White House, Press Secretary Dana Perino said the decision was a defeat, but on a narrow issue. “We’re disappointed with the decision, but we’re going to accept it, and we’re going to be reviewing it in regards to the impacts that it may have,” she said. Since 2001, Bush has claimed the power to run the war on terrorism without interference from Congress or the courts. He and his White House lawyers have said his powers as commander in chief of the armed forces allow him to act unilaterally to protect the nation’s security. Citing this authority, he ordered the military to imprison “enemy combatants” without charges or hearings, and he told the National Security Agency to intercept international phone calls from suspected terrorists without seeking judicial warrants. He also has claimed the power to order harsh interrogations of suspected terrorists without oversight from Congress or the courts. Civil libertarians have gone to court repeatedly to challenge Bush’s actions, but they have won few clear victories. Four years ago, the high court said war did not give the president a “blank check,” but the justices stopped well short of forcing major changes at the military’s prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Another challenge to that prison is pending before the court. Pepperdine law professor Douglas W. Kmiec said Tuesday’s opinion in Medellin vs. Texas may be “an epitaph for an administration that has sought to deploy all sorts of means of embellishing presidential authority.” Bush’s order was “clearly an executive overreach,” said Kmiec, a former Reagan administration lawyer, and he called Roberts’ opinion “a strong reaffirmation of the role of Congress in treaty making.” But liberal advocates faulted the court for undercutting an international treaty. ”The most disturbing aspect of this case is that Chief Justice Roberts is signaling that the United States can simply ignore its obligations under international treaties,” said Kathryn Kolbert, president of People for the American Way. “It’s a ruling that will further erode our standing in the world.” Donald Donovan, a New York lawyer who represented Medellin, said the court should have stood behind Bush’s effort to enforce U.S. legal commitments. “Having given its word, the United States should have kept its word,” he said. Mexico does not have the death penalty, and its officials said they could supply lawyers for those who were charged with capital crimes in the United States. When Mexico sued over the issue, the International Court of Justice in the Hague ruled in 2004 that the United States had violated the Vienna Convention. Its ruling named 51 Mexican nationals. It was unclear how that ruling could be enforced. Bush, a former Texas governor, told Texas officials that they had to abide by the ruling of the International Court. He said he did so “pursuant to the authority vested in me as president by the Constitution and laws of the United States.” Texas prosecutors balked and decided to fight Bush in court. In Tuesday’s opinion, Roberts concluded first that the Vienna Convention is not “binding federal law,” since Congress had not passed a law to enforce it. And in such cases, the president had no authority to force state or local officials to comply with the treaty or the ruling of the International Court. Justices Antonin Scalia, Anthony M. Kennedy, Clarence Thomas and Samuel A. Alito Jr. joined Roberts’ opinion. And Justice John Paul Stevens concurred in the result, saying the treaty at issue did not have the force of law in this country.
Boeing Whistleblower, Gerald Eastman, went to court this week to fight for his freedom. It appears the Boeing Company is highly concerned about having this case be legitimately treated like the whistleblower case that it is. Whistleblowers have some rights; whistleblowers have laws and protections and are not to be subjected to retaliation and acts of retribution, which Mr. Eastman most clearly has had to endure.
The Boeing Company is trying to define Mr. Eastman as a common criminal rather than the whistleblower with laws and protections behind him that he has a right to expect will be respected. And Boeing has the influence to take the ridiculous and improbable and make it happen. A very cozy relationship between Boeing and the King County Prosecutor’s Office appears to be making this case quite odiferous. So far the quickly appointed judge has disallowed all of the evidence and circumstances portraying the bigger picture and true motivation behind Mr. Eastman’s case, helping Boeing to trivialize and minimize it’s importance for the good of the whole, and try to bury it (and Mr. Eastman) under a cloud of smog.It appears the lead prosecutor may owe Boeing a great deal due to donations made to his election campaign funds. If true, this should be investigated as a BIG conflict of interest. Quid Pro Quo arrangements are not on the list of approved relationships between industry and government, particularly oversight and law enforcement. The judge also ruled not to allow Sarbanes-Oxley protections as well, violating Mr. Eastman’s rights, as a whistleblower. Boeing has listed tens of charges, hoping to make some stick. Insiders say that the company is using him as their BIG example to further terrify their own employees and dissuade them from talking to anyone, even government investigators who are trying to investigate various charges of wrong doing in any of the many open investigations being conducted by a number of three and four letter acronym agencies at this time.
There are reasons why a whistleblower might end up on Boeing’s hit list. What if as a loyal employee you realize some things are going very wrong, so wrong in fact that the public’s safety is at risk. What if you go up every level in your own corporate command chain trying to get the company to fix the problems and clean up their act but are met with disdain, hostility, and are ignored at best, and attacked and set up to be destroyed at worst. What if seeing there is no hope even at the highest levels in your company for justice and responsible action? Then you go to the government oversight agencies, like Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). What if they also turn a deaf ear and are so caught up in a corrupt and cozy relationship with your employer that there is no hope for justice and a resolution there either? Then you go to the FAA’s oversight agency/watchdog, Department of Transportation Office of Inspector General. And if you also encounter cover-ups and refusal to take serious matters seriously due to political contamination of the oversight process? (Recall the whole Attorney General mess recently and perpetually in the news?) Then you may resort in desperation to going to the media. Someone who works for a different defense contractor once told me that the only way to get them (the company) to take any kind of positive action to clean up corruption in their own nest was to embarrass the heck out of them.
It seems Boeing has a lot of influence, too much influence. Some quality investigation is warranted. And this railroad ride, the retaliation against Boeing Whistleblower, Gerald Eastman, must be stopped. If there is anyone still clean and with enough integrity left, they should be thoroughly investigating this, looking deeper into the business practices of The Boeing Company, and its relationships with government oversight agencies and it’s revolving door participants. And that is scrutiny The Boeing Company most certainly does not want.
Find out what is really going on by visiting Mr. Eastman’s site: www.thelastinspector.com
And whistleblower support sites such as: http://whistleblowersupporter.typepad.com
I sent each of the following Representatives at the Texas House of Representatives these suggestions after calling them and informing them the hearings were being held next Wednesday: Chairman SC on Regulatory Agencies (of Appropriations) Fred Brown, Vice Chair Jose Menendez, Committee Member Representatives Drew Darby, Eddie Lucio, Larry Taylor; visitors Representatives Debbie Riddle and Carl Isett. I was unable to contact Representative Van Arsdale’s office so I will postpone sending him a copy. I sent copies to my own Representative Geanie Morrison and my own Senator Glenn Hegar.
Please contact your Texas representative and Texas senator. Encourage them to send a staff person to the hearings or to attend themselves. To find out who your representative is google [texas house of representatives] and go to the House website.
Friends of Texas Medical Board Watch, If you do not wish to receive email from TMBW, please respond with “unsubscribe” in the subject line. Below is an email from a Texas physician who emailed me asking for advice. Next is my response. If government worked like it is supposed to work, MD below would not need a lawyer. I personally did not hire a lawyer until after my informal settlement conference because I knew any lawyer would tell me to be quiet and “let me do my job”. If you tell the whole world what they are doing, they will quit doing it. I think the Texas Medical Board has laid back on its attacks on me. Their modus operandi now is to have Texas Department of Public Safety and other law enforcement officers wait for me! This morning coming to work I failed to notice I had entered a school zone (speed limit 25 mph) and was going 43 mph. Immediately before the school zone the speed limit was 40 mph. Sure enough a cop was on me. Pulled me over and gave me a ticket. Since this was in daylight and there were plenty of people around, I just smiled and signed the citation. That’s a ticket I deserved and will gladly pay, but I wonder why all the other drivers who were going 40 mph were not stopped. They don’t understand that more harassment just provides more evidence. Shirley Pigott MD *****Dear MD, I would ask your representative to send a staff member to accompany you to your settlement conference. Your representative himself should contact the Texas Medical Board to let them know in advance that someone from his office will be attending. Inform them that you will be taping the conference as well. Don’t take “no” for an answer. You have this right! Who is Andy xxxxx? Call me tonight, please, at home at 361-573-0054. Call me any time. Shirley Pigott MDOn Tue, Mar 25, 2008 at 11:24 AM, MD xxxxx wrote:
Was inspector source of leak at Boeing?Full story: http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/boeingaerospace/2004306499_leaktrial26m.html
By Natalie Singer
Seattle Times staff reporter
It has the elements of a best-selling suspense novel: hidden computer devices, anonymous tipoffs, conspiracy theories and accusations of critical safety lapses at a major corporation. But in the end, what King County jurors will have to decide in a criminal trial that began Tuesday is simple: Did a former Boeing assembly inspector access thousands of company files, download them without authorization and funnel the proprietary information to the media? Or did Gerald Eastman — a dedicated but disgruntled longtime employee who had taken his concerns about Boeing’s assembly-line inspection procedures to the Federal Aviation Administration — have permission to view those files? If convicted of 16 counts of first-degree computer trespass, Eastman, 46, faces 3-½ to 4-¾ years in prison. The trial is expected to last about two weeks. Eastman, who inspected engine mounts and tail pipes on Boeing’s assembly line in Tukwila, was investigated after an anonymous tipster alleged to Boeing in April 2006 that Eastman had leaked information about aircraft designs, financial projections and production problems to news media, including The Seattle Times. At the metal desk where Eastman sat just feet from the production floor, Boeing investigators discovered a purple cord protruding out of his company hard drive and going into a hole in the back of a locked drawer. There they found a “thumb drive” — a separate memory device — connected to the company computer, according to charging papers. Eastman spent hours every day surfing internal company Web sites and downloading more than 8,000 files police later found saved on Eastman’s home computer, according to charging documents. Eastman, who worked for Boeing for 18 years, was arrested at his desk in May 2006. During opening statements Tuesday, Senior Deputy Prosecutor Scott Peterson told the jury that Eastman had created elaborate, color-coded Excel spreadsheets in which he “mapped all the Boeing fileshares and whether he could get access to them or not.” Despite Eastman’s belief that ethical missteps and safety flaws plagued the assembly process and other aspects of the company’s operations, the 16 Seattle Times stories that Boeing claimed included information from the downloaded documents had nothing to do with that, Peterson argued. Instead, the documents had to do with Boeing’s plan for “green” planes, sales projections, new business lines and problems with 777 production — “things Airbus would like to know,” Peterson said. He also said Eastman exchanged e-mail correspondence with and suggested news stories to a Seattle Post-Intelligencer reporter. Defense attorney Ramona Brandes said in a court affidavit that Eastman admits to being the source of at least one Times article on Boeing. Suki Dardarian, a Times managing editor, said Tuesday that The Times does not comment on who may or may not be a confidential source. When Boeing began to investigate Eastman, company higher-ups already knew about his concerns. Eastman believed Boeing was encouraging and requiring inspectors to sign off on reports that inspections had been completed when they had not, a practice known as “roller-stamping,” and he had reported those concerns to the FAA and Boeing. The federal agency and the company conducted audits, but Eastman was still not satisfied, according to Peterson and defense attorney Brandes. “He starts to look for evidence … because everyone else is turning a blind eye,” Brandes said. But Eastman did not collect any data from unauthorized areas or “hack” into restricted files, she said. Boeing was upset with Eastman because “he didn’t sing the company song,” Brandes said. It’s true, she told the jury, that Eastman was moved to a different project because he worked more slowly than other inspectors, often stopping to pore over product specs while others operated from memory. He didn’t care as much about schedules. But Eastman did not trespass, she argued. “Gerald Eastman is an authorized user of the Boeing network … ,” she said. “He had consent.” Natalie Singer: 206-464-2704 or email@example.com
http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/business/356365_eastman26.htmlBoeing data theft trial begins Ex-worker accused of leaking to mediaLast updated March 25, 2008 9:06 p.m. PTBy ANDREA JAMES
P-I REPORTERA key question arose in opening statements Tuesday in the trial of Gerald Eastman, a former Boeing Co. employee who faces 16 felony counts of computer trespass: Did Eastman have authorization to access the files that he is accused of downloading and then providing to The Seattle Times?Eastman worked for Boeing for 18 years. He was arrested at his desk in May 2006 after, investigators say, they found that he had been combing Boeing’s computer network for sensitive information. He had been working as a quality assurance inspector in the propulsion division.But his public defender, Ramona Brandes, told a King County Superior Court jury of 14 that Eastman had ethical concerns about Boeing and began to look for evidence to support those concerns.“He looked everywhere that he could, everywhere that the computer allowed him to have access to,” Brandes said.“In layman terms, Gerald Eastman stands accused of hacking,” she said. She defined hacking as cracking passwords, impersonating a valid user, tampering with programs, unleashing worms and viruses, jamming computer networks and manipulating data.“Gerald Eastman did not do any of those things,” she said. “What he did is, he signed on with his own login, with his own password, and he searched the Boeing network of which he was an authorized user.”“Don’t get me wrong, he’s no white knight. He’s got some flaws. He did some things that his employer did not want him to do,” she said. Among those were taking data offsite, and revealing to reporters 0.02 percent of the Boeing data that he downloaded. Boeing had discipline options and could have charged Eastman with breaching his contract, Brandes said.But senior deputy prosecutor Scott Peterson told the jury that Eastman is not a true whistle-blower, as he has claimed to be. Eastman exploited Boeing’s computer system to take documents that he was not permitted to access, Peterson said.And he asked Boeing management for money in exchange for not going public with his concerns.“Eastman mentioned an out-of-court settlement with Boeing,” Peterson said. “He wanted that money to keep quiet.”In 2002, Eastman filed a 400-page complaint with the Federal Aviation Administration alleging quality assurance problems, according to testimony.Marie Farrelly, a Boeing lawyer in Renton, oversaw the investigation related to Eastman’s allegations about airplane safety. She put together a team of auditors and experts to check out his complaint.In a separate letter, Farrelly said, Eastman “asked for an investigation and some sort of settlement from the company where we would pay him damages to resolve the issue.”Over the next two years, Boeing and FAA audits confirmed several issues raised by Eastman, and in 10 cases, Boeing took corrective action, Farrelly testified.None of the issues involved “safety of flight,” she said. Farrelly said that she believed that the results of the audits were not relayed back to Eastman.But information Eastman leaked to the media “was all stuff that Boeing wanted to keep close to the vest and stuff that Boeing’s competitors would love to have,” Peterson said.The information had little to do with safety concerns or ethics, he said. Rather, articles that appeared in The Seattle Times mentioned plans for future planes, new business lines, sales projections and “stuff that Airbus would like to know.”
‘A bit of a loner’
John Carpenter, a 28-year Boeing employee and Eastman’s former supervisor, testified that Eastman performed quality assurance inspections more slowly and methodically than other employees.Carpenter moved Eastman from inspections on the 737 line to the 747 line, because the latter plane has a slower engine flow, and thus would give Eastman more time to perform his duties, Carpenter said.Carpenter described Eastman as “a bit of a loner.”In Eastman’s downtime, he was assigned to look for redundant inspection processes, and point them out — to hasten the process. Eastman worked on this task at his desk, in the middle of a work area near the production line.To do his job, Carpenter testified, Eastman did not need to see legal documents, finance documents or anything related to the 787 Dreamliner, future aircraft designs or experimental planes.
Boeing investigated leaks
Anthony Maus, senior manager for Boeing’s investigations division, also testified Tuesday. In 2003, Maus’ manager told him to investigate company leaks to Seattle newspapers. Seattle Times aerospace reporter Dominic Gates had written several stories based on internal Boeing documents. Maus also investigated stories containing confidential information published in the Seattle P-I, written by aerospace reporter James Wallace.Maus’ team set out to find the source of the leaks, but his inquiry came up empty for three years. Then, in April 2006, a senior manager received an anonymous tip that pinpointed Eastman. Boeing tracked Eastman’s computer activities, and soon, the Seattle Police Department obtained a warrant to arrest Eastman and search his home. Seattle police found thousands of documents on Eastman’s home computer. Maus used a computer forensics tool to scan those documents to see if they corresponded with articles in The Times and the P-I. Maus said he found 16 documents that informed the Times articles, and about 10 more documents that were likely to be source material, but the forensics tool wasn’t certain. Among the leaked data were production rate numbers and information on where Boeing would build its 787, about how much labor was required to build the 787, and about assembly times and sales figures.
Opening statements began after several delays last week in jury selection. The jury is made up of nine women and five men, two of them alternates. One works for Microsoft writing network software. Two people who had been Boeing employees were eliminated from the jury pool. Eastman, who showed up about 20 minutes late Tuesday morning, was admonished by Judge Monica Benton.“You’re either on time, or you’re in jail,” she said.A Boeing lawyer has been working with the prosecutor and attending the trial. A Boeing spokesman was also present Tuesday. Benton told the jury to avoid media and Internet coverage of the trial. Eastman is keeping an online journal about his trial experiences.
P-I reporter Andrea James can be reached at 206-448-8124 or firstname.lastname@example.org.© 1998-2008 Seattle Post-Intelligencer
Trial begins for ex-Boeing workerP-I reporter Andrea James has coverage today of opening statements in the trial of Gerald Eastman, a former Boeing employee accused of computer trespassing.A key question today was whether Eastman had authorization to access the files that he’s accused of downloading and then providing to the media.Posted by P-I Business Editor Margaret SantjerPosted by document.writeln(showE2(“margaretsantjer”,”seattlepi.com”,”msantjer”)) msantjer at March 25, 2008 2:45 p.m.Comments#111614Posted by unregistered user at 3/26/08 11:07 a.m.It is ridiculous for the judge to disallow all of the evidence and circumstances in this trial, and refuse to allow the Sarbannes Oxley which is warranted to apply. Mr Eastman is a Whistleblower. There are reasons for what he may have done. When you see things that are illegal, unethical, and possibly could endanger the public, and when you have gone to every level of your command chain in your company with no success in getting the problems addressed and responsibly fixed, then you have to go above them. That means the FAA, which we all know from the many news reports, is corrupted, and then to the DOT OIG, which also has been fraught with corruption and other problems, right on up to the Attorney General’s Office, and we all know what happened to the Fed Attorney’s who tried to do the right thing and prosecute corruption there. After being stopped from obtaining help and justice at all those levels, it seems to me the only road left is to work with the press. Someone who works for a different Defense Contractor once told me that the only way to get them to take any kind of positive action is to embarrass the heck out of them.It seems Boeing has a lot of influence, too much influence. I really wonder if the judge also is associated with the Boeing company as well as the King County Prosecutor’s office, as in campaign contributions, other business relations, family members? Someone should investigate this.
Disgusted in Seattle#111734Posted by unregistered user at 3/26/08 2:04 p.m.Boeing has too much influence, if they don’t get there way they go moaning to Washington DC just like they have with the Tanker.#111812Posted by unregistered user at 3/26/08 4:12 p.m.The real story in this case is the corruption in the Boeing inspection department. It’s one of the main area’s they feel they can run under the radar screen and not get caught cutting corners to make an extra buck. Boeing is doing all they can to cover it up. If you don’t go along with Boeing’s “cost savings plan” you will pay with your job. Either they will lay you off or fire you. I know from first hand experience that this is the case. Boeing Ethics department is a complete joke. They hide behind Boeing’s lawyers. Ask anyone in the company that has had the misfortune of having to deal with them. Going to those above you is a recipe for losing your job. You are then pinpointed as one who is “dangerous” and done away with. The one’s that should be making sure Boeing is operating properly such as the FAA and Inspector General’s Office are very friendly with Boeing and do nothing. Look at Southwest Airlines and the so called oversight of the FAA. Those at the FAA that didn’t do their job were not fired or jailed but moved to another position at the FAA. By the way, that’s exactly what Boeing does with their managers that go along with their corruption. Reward them. Wouldn’t you say something is wrong with this picture? Don’t be fooled by this case. Gerald Eastman is being made the poster child by Boeing of what they have planned for any future whistleblower. Safety of the flying public is just going to get worse. If you think it’s safe to fly I suggest that you have a false sense of security.
Passport Backlog Put Data More in Hands of Contractors
By Glenn Kessler
The Washington Post Tuesday 25 March 2008
The contract employees who snooped into the passport files of two presidential candidates this year were part of a private workforce that has increasingly assumed responsibility for processing the sensitive documents, State Department and industry officials said yesterday.
The department began farming out the work to private firms nearly two decades ago, but the ratio of contractors to government employees exploded in the past year when passport applications suddenly began to overwhelm the State Department.
From 2001 to 2007, 40 to 45 percent of the workers handling passports were contractors, but now 60 percent of the 4,400 passport employees work for private firms, State Department officials said yesterday.
Three of those contract workers were discovered last week to have peeked at the private passport files of Sens. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.). A State Department trainee last summer also looked at the file of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.). The workers are a small part of an army of contractors that has helped keep the official federal workforce flat at about 1.9 million workers for years. The number topped 7.6 million in 2005 – the most recent year for which figures are available – an increase of 2.4 million over 2002, according to Paul C. Light of New York University, who compiles the most authoritative survey of government contract employees.
Light said that about two-thirds of those contract workers are service employees – people who answer phones, input data or handle customer inquiries – who work side by side with federal employees. “They sit at the same desks but do not have the same benefits,” he said.
Stanley Inc. of Arlington, one of the State Department contractors involved, said that two subcontractor employees who snooped at Obama’s file in January and February were fired the day the firm discovered what they had done. “You can’t fire a federal employee that quickly,” Light noted.
Stanley supervisors oversaw the subcontractors; State Department officials managed the Stanley supervisors.
The State Department’s policy is that only “inherently government functions” must be handled by federal employees, a senior State Department official said. Thus the clerk who accepts a passport application, the person who scans the documents into the computer and the person who prints the book are all contractors; the people who review the documentation and approve or deny the application are federal employees, as are the overall supervisors of the scanners and printers.
For Stanley, the booming business has been highly profitable, especially since the government began requiring passports for travel to Canada and Mexico. “Passport services revenue grew 61 percent from the third quarter of last fiscal year,” Chief Financial Officer Brian J. Clark told Wall Street analysts in January, accounting for 14 percent of the company’s total revenue. Stanley recently branched out into processing visas and immigration petitions for foreigners seeking to come to the United States.
A third contract employee – who looked at Obama’s and McCain’s files – worked for the Analysis Corp. of McLean. The company does not process passports but instead staffs an after-hours operations center for State, handling queries from border crossings and overseas inquiries about passports or visas that may appear suspicious. That employee has been suspended from handling such data pending an investigation.
All three were caught because they accessed files secretly flagged as belonging to a high-profile person, triggering a notice to a supervisor. The State Department declined to disclose how many such files have been flagged, saying it would undermine the detection program.
”It is not a handful, but it’s not thousands,” said the senior official, speaking on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly. He added that the criteria for inclusion on the list are being reviewed.
From: www.thelastinspector.comI Haven’t Rode on the Train in a Long, Long Time.
Monday, March 24, 2008, 06:50 AM I haven’t traveled by railroad since so long ago I don’t know when it was, but last week I rode uninterrupted all week long on a train in which I was the sole occupant with a destination as predetermined as any scheduled Amtrak service—with this unstoppable train’s destination in effect set to the edge of a cliff of a deep, deep chasm by Boeing, the King County Prosecutor Boeing largely financed last November’s election of, and a compliant (thufar) King County Superior Court system.Railroaded. There is no other way to describe last week’s sequence of events in pre-trial hearings before the trial this week with its all but certain similarly predetermined ending to please corrupt Boeing management and attorneys who really should be on this train, albeit I would at least grant them a fair trial despite the vastly greater crimes they committed than I am being railroaded for supposedly committing—as opposed to the unfair trial they are ensuring for me with money funneled to the King County Prosecutor’s successful (because of it) campaign, executives conferring strategy against me in closed door meetings at Boeing’s headquarters, taking precious time away from their own continuing and complex fraudulent activities, and communication via Blackberry device from and to the courtroom to ensure the train they put me on isn’t detoured in any way.This railroading started in earnest Monday at a hearing before Superior Court Judge Carey where my attorney tried to stop the railroading before it began by asking for just a week’s continuance until we could finally get the information requested from my seized computer that was needed for my defense that we were promised by the prosecutor the previous Friday, so at least we had the weekend to review it and incorporate it in my defense before trial. The prosecution and Seattle Police Department failed to produce the information required for my defense despite almost the full week’s time to do so under the guise that the terms we wanted to search my computer for were crashing the police database of what was on my computer. They tried to search for all of the 56 search terms we requested at the same time, which “crashed” their database, they said. Both my attorney and I, not as computer savvy as them by far, wondered why they couldn’t search for each term separately, and maybe get us at least some of the requested information. The answer seemed clear—it was just an excuse to withhold the information needed for my defense from us.
The prosecution’s case is based on information they supposedly found on my computer that supposedly relates to information found in articles in the Seattle Times. While they are using such information they supposedly gleaned from my computer to prosecute me, they are not willing to let me access my own files on my computer in order to prepare a defense to those charges, yet another reason I have been in effect placed on a train with sabotaged brakes by the “working together” team of the King County Prosecutor and Boeing with the destination of my doom in order to “kill the messenger” of Boeing’s vastly greater and numerous crimes against myriad innocent commercial airplane travelers and against our nation’s security itself.
The prosecutor argued to judge Carey that, even if there was proof on my computer that Boeing was violating laws and regulations by intentionally placing airline passengers at greater risk of death for more bottom line dollars by not doing required inspections, then that would not prevent him from convicting me on the (relatively very petty) charges against me. The judge seemed to agree, and abetted the prosecutor’s “don’t give a damn” attitude about airline passenger safety and Boeing’s breaking of laws and regulations that placed them at much greater risk, and kept the train I was on running on its predetermined destination despite withholding of essential information and the time to review it in order to present our defense to the retaliatory charges making the term “malicious prosecution” inadequate to describe the situation. The judge denied our motion for continuance for a week and placed the case on the trial schedule as a priority for the next judge available for a trial to take.
I then left, as my attorney said it would likely be the next day at the earliest when a judge could be found for such a long case. However, just a few hours later my attorney called me an told me to be back at the courthouse ASAP, as a judge had already been assigned to the case! By the time I got there, the pre-trial motion part of my persecution had already begun.
The judge assigned to the case was Monica J. Benton, who I just this weekend learned was appointed by Democratic Governor Christine Gregoire, which was a shocking revelation after watching her rule against the well reasoned motions backed by numerous case law pecedents all week.
My attorney would present detailed and very relevant case law and arguments to justify our motions, then the prosecutor would give some inane interpretation of cases almost totally unrelated to the issue at hand and then present his obviously highly biased personal opinion (not reasoned legal argument based on the facts) of that case and how it should negate our motion, then the judge would rule against us (and the law) and for his personally and intentionally twisted opinions of vaguely related cases, everytime.
It was disillusioning, to say the least. First you see wholesale corruption placing lives at risk at Boeing, then you find out the enabling corruption in FAA management that intentionally rollerstamps its oversight role of Boeing as “it’s all good” without any real oversight of Boeing at all. Then you find out the enabling DOT OIG that will not act against Boeing or FAA management itself, no matter the merits of the case. Then you find out that your own county justice system is highly biased, and next to impossible to get a fair trial in.
My attorney told me, after I indicated to her my dismay at her (what I saw to be “slam dunk” legal argument based) motions all getting ruled against by the judge, that people new to the justice system there are shocked, like I was, when they find out how biased the whole court system is against the defendant. I couldn’t have agreed more with her on that point.
One of the days the prosecutor even had the gall to ask the judge to admonish (or a similar term) my attorney for stating to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer that, “Boeing is a very big presence here in this part of the country. I think that the prosecutor is under a lot of pressure from Boeing,” to which any reasoned person would say “duh” to, however the prosecutor feigned outrage at such a suggestion that he was somehow under pressure from Boeing despite having practically been living with two or three Boeing Legal attorneys and one attorney hired by Boeing from an outside law firm for the past nearly two years, and especially the past few weeks. At least the judge didn’t bite on that one. My attorney and the Deputy Prosecutor had seemed to be getting along well with each other during various hearings, probably due to my attorney’s belief that being adversarial when not before a judge is not in the client’s best interest, however this undeserved jab by him in an effort to prejudice the judge may change things.
But the most damaging thing that occurred last week in the many rulings against us by a biased court system was the motion the judge granted taking away our right to argue a necessity defense for my actions. Of course, the only reason I ever contacted the press was to go public with my story after all other avenues had failed. I knew many lives would be placed at greater and greater risk as time went on if Boeing’s fraud in quality assurance management was permitted to continue unabated. However that sole reason for my actions will not be allowed to be presented in my defense due to the judge’s ruling.
Interestingly, this again hinged on what was obviously a bogus and biased argument by the Deputy Prosecutor. He cited a case about an elk that had charged a person who shot it outside of hunting season. The court found that he acted on necessity even though he broke the law, and could not be charged. The Deputy Prosecutor then (intentionally?) misquoted the case and stated the case made it clear that a necessity defense could only be presented if I was being compelled to commit a crime “by a force of nature” such as the charging elk. He again reiterated that even if my allegations of rollerstamping at Boeing are true, then that doesn’t deter him in any way from charging me with crimes they chose to charge me with. My attorney correctly quoted the case law and stated that in addition to “force of nature,” “the pressure of circumstance,” as was the case in my situation, was also permitted as a necessity defense.
The judge then said case law did support a “pressure of circumstance” necessity defense, but then she ruled against us because I wasn’t “personally endangered”! Quite unbelievable, isn’t it? I could only defend myself with the necessity defense if I was defending myself from danger. I couldn’t to so to protect the millions of lives Boeing had intentionally placed in danger in order to reap greater profit margins while Death also reaped greater returns. That’s justice for you. Or, more aptly, injustice, perhaps.
So, I guess the moral is that you had better not intervene and try to save anyone from harm by another person, lest you hurt the perpetrator while saving someone’s life and end up doing time for that, while the attacker walks free to hurt, maim, and kill again. Doesn’t sound logical to me, but that appears to be the law of this State, anyway. It’s a big disincentive for people to do the right thing, which is no doubt what Boeing and the Deputy Prosecutor are trying to ensure by my trial. Do gooders beware, as unethical companies and prosecutors have free reign, at least in King County.
Due to the current King County Prosecutor impersonating a just deceased and respected Republican King County Prosecutor, as well as donations and the running of his campaign by Boeing’s chief outside law firm, the current Republican King County Prosecutor was elected last November, a mistake by an electorate that obviously didn’t know the man at all, and who could blame them as he was doing his best to impersonate his dead boss to gain his job, running on his bosses’ accomplishments and not his own. The deceased former King County Prosecutor, Norm Maleng, was perhaps the only Republican in King County government (which are few) that was well respected. Indeed, Mr. Maleng’s death hurt the prosecutor’s office immensely, allowing the current King County Prosecutor to gain office by what was so blatant an impersonation of Mr. Maleng it could be charged, I believe, as a case of identity theft. What has resulted is a fascist prosecutors office that ignores purposely and openly crimes by corporations and white collar criminals, while holding those “little guys” not well connected to it to the law. It is no accident, perhaps, that the current King County Prosecutor touted as an accomplishment his running a organization of young Republican boys/men, the nearest thing I’ve heard to similar groups Adolph Hitler founded. Not to say that the group has the beliefs of the Nazis outside the general Republican belief that fascism is good (government controlled by and ran for corporations rather than the people) and socialism like social security is bad. So the King County Prosecutor’s office being run out of “Boeing’s pants” is no great surprise. If my predetermined conviction does any good, it will be in exposing these “working together” crooks for what they really are, and for what a justice system they promise to put in place in the future if left in power, ala George Orwell’s “1984” justice system.
We lost all the battles last week, despite having the law behind us. The prosecutor won his arguments solely by saying, “I believe,” then stating how the case law really meant the opposite of what it actually meant. Too bad the judge for the most part bought it.
We did win a few small points. While we sought substantive relief before trial in reducing the number of charges due to overlap and other legal precedents, the judge allowed us to argue that point to a jury only following my predetermined conviction. Never mind that the jury would be prejudiced by the number of charges against me during the trial itself, making a conviction more likely, as that is the destination already chosen for this “railroad” I am on.
Another interesting fact is that the prosecutor sought to further suck up to Boeing by protecting Boeing from another one of their crimes—Sarbanes Oxley violations. The prosecutor presented a motion to exclude any testimony about violations of the SOX laws by Boeing by Boeing not protecting their financial data from access and manipulation as required. My attorney is working on our response to that motion.
And yet another interesting fact is that the “star” Boeing witness against me, Mike Bair, failed former head of the 787 program and still on Boeing’s payroll for reasons unknown, stated in his interview with my attorney that the leak to the Seattle Times of Boeing Commercial Airplane’s CEO’s recommendation to Boeing’s Board of Directors of Everett as winner of the site selection contest for final assembly site of the 787 had pressured the board to go with that selection, although he also said it could have made them go the other way, I guess for spite purposes. He called the leak “a brush with death.” What isn’t known is why he testified about that leak as I am not charged with that leak to the press. Perhaps it is just because he, just as Boeing’s Corporate Security Manager said to me during my interview the day after I was released from jail after my arrest, believes I was the source of that leak, and forced Boeing’s Board to select Everett with all of its “union problems” over the Board’s preferred site for final assembly of South Carolina. I detail Boeing’s belief I forced them to site the 787 in Washington State on my website. Bair’s interview only confirms their belief that is the case, which is not the true reason they are retaliating against me via these unfounded charges.
The Last Inspector