by G. Florence Scott
I guess it finally had to happen, considering the current attitudes and climate within our government, particularly at the highest levels. Welcome to your federal, taxpayer funded snake pit. It seemed like it used to be just industry where this kind of corrupt environment was running so rampant, but now, you can find it at a federal office near you. This gives the phrase “I’m from the federal government and I’m here to help you right out” a more ominous meaning.

From the current state of things, it appears that ethical, responsible people are finding it harder and harder to continue to work in the federal government. Why is this? It is not because the majority of people are corrupt. It is because a minority of the workforce is corrupt, and many others are unwitting, or unwilling accomplices, and still others do not like what is going on, but remain silent, afraid to stand up as in some cases they do not qualify under current law for whistleblower protections and they don’t really have anyone in authority to go to that is not involved in the problem. And those that cross the wrongdoers, are dealt with severely by the corrupt good old boys/girls network, making sure that they will not stand up again, and for good measure, their coworkers are intimidated into not even going there.

The corrupt activities and players appear to cross multi-agencies and into certain defense contractor’s ranks and back again. Quid pro quo relationships appear to abound between corrupted oversight authority agency employees and corrupt defense contractor corporations and their employees and vice-versa. The revolving door is quite functional between these various entities, and it appears current laws and policies, which were intended to prevent improper movement from one place to another, are for the most part ignored, and sadly, not enforced.

One only has to pay moderate attention to note that the number of whistleblowers appears to be increasing exponentially. And those are the stories that break in the national or local press. There are many more people who find themselves whistleblowers, or are in situations that should make them whistleblowers, whose dilemma is hidden from view. And if the wrong doers committing the offenses that the whistleblowers are reporting have their way, that is where these cases will stay – out of site and out of the view of the public. Every method of damage control by those responsible for unethical or criminal activity is being employed to try to keep anyone, (whistleblowers, or those federal agencies who are supposed to have oversight and control), from stopping the unethical or criminal activities and from reporting the wrongdoers and holding them accountable.

An associate who is an experienced and skillful federal investigator has told me “Follow the money.” And one can see with just a little research that this is indeed true. The money is a main issue here. Those that seek to manipulate and pervert our government agencies and our system of awarding and overseeing government contracts, as well as policy and procedures put in place to assure the security of our nation, are about the money. As the late Carl Sagan said, it is about billions and billions and BILLIONS. It would appear unmitigated greed is a major motivator.

How can this have gotten so out of control? Most of us believed we had federal law and policies, including civil service regulations to help keep things in line. What we have not noticed perhaps is that there has been a progression of changes made which have derailed the checks we had in place that helped minimize problems in the past. It is an unfortunate and not accidental meeting of a number of elements:

1. An executive branch, bent on doing what is good for a few in the inner good old boy/girl circles at the expense of our country and its citizens.

2. An executive branch that has adopted an absolute scheme of secrecy to try to keep anyone from getting enough information to stop them.

3. Agencies which have received appointees who appear to either be a part of the good old boy/girl circles, or are easily duped into acting in the political best interests of the wrong-doers, not the best interests of our country.

4. Appointees in charge of various agencies in our government, who were placed there because of their willingness to comply with political mandates from above, not comply with law and the Constitution of the United States. And in some cases, the appointees have not even been qualified to competently perform their duties.

5. Appointees who have helped create a very hostile environment for Federal employees who stand up to wrongdoing and corruption they witness or encounter while doing the jobs they were hired to do. Remember, stuff really does run down hill.

6. Appointees who will help direct hiring and firing of employees based not on competence to do the job expertly and ethically, but employees who will “shut up and do as they are told” including overlooking corrupt activities and corrupt dealings of supervisors, even to the extent of purging reports and removing the very findings which make a criminal case prosecutable, there by protecting the wrongdoers, including corrupt defense contractors.

7. Federal managers, who as a part of helping dismantle oversight of contractors who hold awarded federal contracts, have worked for a protracted length of time (years) to try to weaken law, and when that does not work, change and weaken policy (in violation of the law), to disable oversight authority of those in charge of keeping the contractors in line.

8. Contractors who have sought increased profits at any cost, defying federal laws, federal security requirements, and ethical business practices, sometimes cutting the legs off of the very security and economic safeguards of the American public.

9. Federal managers and defense contractors who work through membership and involvement in other special interest organizations, such as security organizations who help with conference presentations and other lobbying activities to try to influence and change how oversight functions, twisting the system until it is incapable of actually holding these contractors accountable for their actions.

10. An executive branch which with its ability to appoint Supreme Court Judges, (and other Justice Department employees), using the same faulty and self-serving criteria for appointment, has profoundly affected the functioning (or malfunctioning) of checks and balances in our government.

This sad state of government affairs is creating chaos and leaving the Americans shaking their heads in shock, confusion, and in some cases denial. It is vitally important for these problems to be confronted and ethically resolved. This is not really about political party, though some see it that way right now. The problems cut across all political party lines, and so must the solutions. We cannot expect for our government to remain functional, when it cannot honor and stay true to our Constitution and to the expectations of the American public. If the prevailing trend toward expansion of corruption within the federal government and industry, particularly defense contractors is not stopped soon, our collective future is very much at risk.