Archive for May, 2008


This seems to be looking like an emerging trend.  Companies, often contractors with government contracts who are commiting acts of fraud, or other wrong doing and are outed by their more ethical employees, are seeking to press criminal charges on their whistleblowing employees.  It seems to this observer that this is an attempt deny the whistleblower their whistleblower identity, and what little protections there are for them in the law, and to paint them to be “common” criminals instead, throwing them into criminal courts, fighting for their freedom and reputations.  A reader of one of my blogs sent his article to me.  Steven Heller courageously spoke out some time ago, regarding problems with those providing services for Voting, which affect the integrity of our American voting system.  I see similaries, such as described above to the case of Boeing Whistleblower, Gerald Eastman, (who was and still continues to seek remedy to public safety risks in his former company’s aircraft manufacturing business),  in that the attempt is being made to deny they are whistleblowers at all.  (www.thelastinspector.com)  I pass this information and the article that follows along to those of you who may wish to help. 

-GFS

 

 

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Huffington Post:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/peter-soby-jr/whistleblower-charged-wit_b_16411.html 

Whistleblower Charged With Three Felonies for Exposing Diebold’s Crimes

By Peter Soby, Jr.

A whistleblower in Los Angeles is in legal trouble and needs our help. Stephen Heller is alleged to have exposed documents in Jan. & Feb. 2004 which provided smoking gun evidence that Diebold was using illegal, uncertified software in California voting machines. The docs also showed that Diebold’s California attorneys (the powerful international law firm Jones Day) had told them they were in breach of the law for using uncertified software, but Diebold continued to use the uncertified software anyway. Heller is alleged to have come across these docs while temping as a word processor at Jones Day, and he is further alleged to have taken the docs and exposed them to the bright light of day. Now, after sitting on this for 2 years, the Los Angeles District Attorney, under pressure from Jones Day, is going after this whistleblower with 3 felony charges, each of which carries the potential of time in state prison. Here is a story in the LA Times. Heller’s lawyer believes the 2 year wait to file charges was due to the then-impending 2004 election, and that Diebold and their attorneys didn’t want the information to be made public in the lead up to the election.

The documents also look bad for Diebold’s California lawyers, Jones Day. According to Bev Harris, author of the book Black Box Voting, the docs “provided evidence that the Jones Day law firm was helping Diebold to cover up the fact that they were installing uncertified software which, as it turns out, caused thousands of voters to be unable to vote just weeks later.”

Bev Harris continues, “Jim March, another investigator for Black Box Voting, and I immediately took the documents to both the California Attorney General’s office and to Kevin Shelley, who was then the California Secretary of State. Just days later, the secretary of state decertified Diebold.” At the time, Shelley called the company’s conduct “reprehensible” and said “their performance, their behavior, is despicable,” and that “if that’s the kind of deceitful behavior they’re going to engage in, they can’t do business in California.” In an interview, Shelly said “We will not tolerate the deceitful conduct of Diebold, and we must send a clear message to the rest of the industry: Don’t try to pull a fast one on the voters of California.” Shelley then requested Cal. Attorney General Bill Lockyer to investigate taking criminal and civil actions against the company based on what he called “fraudulent actions by Diebold.” Lockyer eventually dropped the criminal probe of Diebold but he sued the company on behalf of California, and Diebold settled out of court for $2.6 million.

Let’s make this clear, folks. The docs Heller is accused of exposing were important evidence. First, they show that Diebold and their attorneys, Jones Day, conspired to mislead the California secretary of state, and that the lie they told was material, and resulted directly in the disenfranchisement of voters. Second, another document demonstrates that Diebold lied to the secretary of state when it represented that certain problems with its software were “fixed.” This document, the release notes for the new software, showed that the problems were not fixed. Third, the documents showed that Diebold had been advised by Jones Day that what it had been doing with its uncertified software was illegal. Fourth, the documents show that Jones Day advised Diebold that it was subject to criminal prosecution. So in a nutshell, Diebold was defrauding the state government and taxpayers of California, and disenfranchising the voters of California. And the documents PROVE it.

And for allegedly exposing Diebold’s felonious behavior (which led directly to Diebold being de-certified in California), for allegedly helping protect the taxpayers and voters of California, for allegedly helping to keep elections clean and fair, what happens? Diebold, the true criminal in this case, and their powerful international law firm Jones Day, press the L.A. District Attorney’s office to hammer Heller, a whistleblower. Three felonies! Diebold was (and probably still is) screwing California voters, Heller is alleged to have seen the smoking gun evidence of Diebold’s crimes, and, like a true patriot and whistleblower, allegedly exposed that smoking gun evidence, and now HE’S the one facing jail time. Only in Bush’s America!

And the irony is, if Heller is convicted of a felony for exposing Diebold’s crimes against the California voters, he’ll lose his right to vote. Diebold will win. We can’t let that happen!

But we can help. Let’s flood the Los Angeles DA’s office with phone calls, letters and emails asking them not to crucify this whistleblower.

Now of course, BE POLITE. Remember you are writing, calling and emailing the office of the Los Angeles District Attorney, which is a branch of law enforcement. Being harassing, rude, or threatening will only get you in legal trouble of your own, and it won’t help Steve Heller, the whistleblower.

Talking points:

Don’t prosecute Stephen Heller. He’s a whistleblower, not a criminal, and he should not be prosecuted.

Diebold is the criminal here. Stephen Heller is alleged to have exposed Diebold’s criminal activity, and that makes him a whistleblower. He should not be prosecuted.

Diebold’s election malfeasance strikes at the very heart of our democratic republic. Without clean elections, we don’t have democracy anymore. Those who expose such crimes are whistleblowers and should not be prosecuted.

America has a long history of whistleblowers exposing criminal activity, and prosecuting them is wrong; it puts a chilling effect on others who might see criminal activity and want to expose it.

Heller is getting pounded. He’s the victim of bullies; a huge, powerful, wealthy, politically connected corporation and their equally huge and powerful international law firm are slamming him, grinding him up in legal machinery for allegedly lifting up the pretty skirt Diebold shows to the world, exposing the dirty, stinking criminal secrets that lie beneath. For what he’s alleged to have done, there was nothing in it for him. No financial gain (in fact a serious financial loss, because he got fired from his job, and he’s had to pay 10s of thousands of dollars to his lawyers, and owes them 10s of thousands more). And he’s now at risk of over 3 years in state prison. It’s insane. His cause is a worthy one, and he needs our help. Please call, write and email today.

Email the Los Angeles District Attorney’s office at lada@co.la.ca.us.

A good old fashioned snail mail letter is very powerful tool:

District Attorney’s Office
County of Los Angeles
210 West Temple Street, Suite 18000
Los Angeles, CA 90012-3210

And of course, phone calls:

Telephone (213) 974-3512
Fax (213) 974-1484
TTY (800) 457-7778 (8:30am – 5:00pm M-F)

Let’s help defend a whistleblower from Diebold and their attorneys!

 

This was sent to Mr. Eastman as a guest editorial to his www.thelastinspector.com site.  It is a response to the posting of the story about the difficulties King County Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Scott Peterson got himself into somewhat recently.  This is the same King County Prosecutor who under direction of The Boeing Company, went after Boeing Whistleblower, Gerald Eastman, and helped convince the Judge on the case to disregard Mr. Eastman’s whistleblower status, whistleblowing activities, and whistleblower law in the case.  I found this writer’s perspective interesting and with Mr. Eastman’s permission, offer it to you…

 

From http://www.thelastinspector.com

 

Something New on This Blog–A Guest Editorial (Anonymously Contributed) 

Thursday, May 15, 2008, 01:17 AM
Posted by Administrator

Assault With Car on Woman Standing in a Parking Space, by Scott
Peterson, the same King County Prosecutor Who is Trying to Railroad Boeing Whistle-blower, Gerald Eastman, into Jail

The assault with his car on an innocent and vulnerable woman, by King County Senior Deputy Prosecutor Scott Peterson, was recently covered on Mr. Eastman’s blog. The 2004 presentation by KIRO News TV documented the fact that Peterson took possession of her parking space by intentionally driving his car into the woman who was standing in reserve of it, thus injuring her to the degree that she had to be taken to a hospital. This felony assault, using a deadly weapon, was witnessed by several persons. The woman, Danatte Griffin, was standing in the parking space to save it for someone about to arrive, an accepted custom in a city where there is often a shortage of parking spaces.

The person she was saving the parking space for arrived in time to insert himself in this confrontation in some manner, reportedly striking Peterson. Whether this was to help stop the assault, and/or because she was his girlfriend and the assaulter had injured her, is not clear. Whatever the reason, King County prosecuted this woman’s protector, but was unwilling to do the same to their insider who assaulted her. Thus, Peterson has so far gotten away with not only committing a defacto felony assault using a deadly weapon, but also subsequently helping to arrange legal retribution against the person who struck him because he was in the process of, or had already, assaulted the victim.

This ill-considered assault with his auto, by the same person who has been trying to tar and feather (words used in the KIRO TV presentation about this assault) a Boeing whistle-blower, is an almost unbelievable happening. It is so unusual and absurd that it will likely become a classic case of crazed behavior by a prominent official and subsequent attempts to downplay and cover it up. In the end it will probably not be Gerald Eastman who is tarred and feathered, even if a corrupt conviction is achieved. Actually, subjecting him to another trial may be the most counterproductive action they could take to enhance their own interests. Why? Because the people of our country are increasingly realizing that a great deal of corruption exists in the various agencies and companies in our current culture, leading to a popular onus to do what is necessary to clean house.

For example, the two FAA whistle-blowers who testified in the recent Congressional Hearings on FAA corruption, are generally viewed as brave and truthful advocates of integrity. The opposite is the status of the miscreants they outed, and the same fate has befallen certain former industry leaders, some of whom served time in prison. As a Boeing whistle-blower, Gerald Eastman is also brave and correct in his allegations, as will likely eventually be proven.

Persecuting Eastman is only resulting in helping the truth came out sooner. The
obfuscations of those trying to maintain the charades are bound to eventually fail, because the results of their actions will, in time, manifest. Thus, the attempts of such people to discredit Eastman’s safety neglect claims, while at the same time using him as an example to warn other employees that the same thing can happen to them if they disclose malfeasance to the media, are bound to fail, so long as good people do not fail to oppose their corrupt strategies.

Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Arrogantly perceiving himself to be above the law, Peterson decided to take from this woman what he felt entitled to, rather than taking the trouble to look for another parking space, because she had defacto taken the space she was standing on. Any normal person would have reacted this way even if they were a bit miffed. But Peterson did not react in a normal way, but rather he acted like a crazed narcissist in his decision to assault her with his auto, not realizing how many persons were watching his actions.

Later, he tried to justify his aberrant behavior as “having a bad day–I owe her an apology.” This is the kind of reaction a typical sociopath would have, downplaying or even denying his own guilt. In reality he had made her day terrible, considering that she ended up in a hospital, for which she has probably had to pay the bills.

Further, Peterson was no doubt already planning to wreak vengeance on the person who intervened against him, on his victim’s behalf by arranging for one of his associates to prosecute the protector. As a result, since he was the boyfriend of Peterson’s victim, he was also rendering additional grief to her. But, with any narcissist, it’s all about him–no one else matters. And, regarding the people in his organization who allowed all this–what a classic case of a justice system run amok.

Peterson has clearly demonstrated, by his deliberate commission of felony assault with a deadly weapon, as well as his relentless pursuit of his victim’s protector and of Gerald Eastman (on Boeing’s behalf), that he does not have the necessary character to practice with integrity the high position of Senior Deputy Prosecutor within in the King County justice system. But, the acceptance of him as a peer, shows that others in this system may have similar twisted ethical standards. Thus, this system is apparently corrupt, and Peterson is probably the exact type of person they want in this position. Otherwise, they would be rendering to him at least the same level of punishment that anyone outside the King County justice system would receive for such a felony, would not have gone after his victim’s boyfriend, and would not be trying to put Gerald Eastman into jail.

Since he is an insider in this system, Peterson’s culpability is even more serious than that of a less knowledgeable outsider. But, King County, as well as the two major Seattle newspapers who did not and have not published any information on this still newsworthy story, are apparently working in collusion with each other in giving a pass to Peterson, thus helping him to continue hounding Eastman. Don’t they realize that he has already survived a mistrial because at least two of the jurors
realized that he’ is a valid Boeing whistle-blower?

If there is a next go-around, given all that has transpired, at least some in the jury are likely to be sympathetic with Gerald Eastman’s efforts to protect the public by exposing truths about safety neglect. Regardless of how the proceedings are constrained to try to prevent this, they will simply see through all the fog and realize that Eastman is being criminally prosecuted in an evil proceeding that is not about the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. Rather, it is about railroading to jail a good man who is trying to fight an agenda which is opposed to the best interests of the general public.

At least KIRO TV seemed to have some disdain for the actions of Scott Peterson, judging by their TV presentation at the link below. KIRO TV is to be commended for its well composed disclosure of this incident. I have talked to them and they said that they are looking further into this matter. I think that this is just the opening gun in what will turn out to be a major exposure of widespread corruption.

As the Project On Government Oversight (POGO) recently stated: “The charges against Eastman are a message to all potential whistle-blowers at Boeing” said Nick Schwellenbach, an investigator at POGO. “The message is clear: We’ll try to send you to jail if you disclose information to the press.” From this it is obvious that many persons who have leverage are on to the fact that the King County justice system is biased towards acting on behalf of Boeing by helping them deliver on this threat, even to the level of persecuting a brave whistle-blower who has told the truth about safety neglect that must not be ignored.

In being complicit in such retribution against whistle-blowers, the King County justice system is also possibly assisting the violation of the First Amendment right of free speech. Lawyers have told POGO that even though a whistle-blower can often be legally terminated, it is considered extreme for a government prosecutor to attempt to jail a whistle-blower for his activities and that the Eastman case is part of a disturbing trend of whistle-blowers increasingly facing criminal prosecution. Thus, it appears that the Eastman trial was a seminal event in the inevitable overcoming of the corruption that he has been talking about. Since many involved in governmental oversight are already looking into this issue, surfacing Gerald Eastman’s callous treatment will only help reveal and address the many facets of covered-up safety and programmatic neglect.

The link:

 

 

 

Swell in Contracting Officers May Not Keep Pace With Retirements

By Stephen Barr
Tuesday, May 6, 2008; D04

The number of contracting officers in the government increased to 28,434 in 2007, up 6.8 percent since the Bush administration began, officials said yesterday.

But how many contracting officers the government actually needs has not been determined, despite efforts by federal agencies, the Office of Personnel Management and the OMB over the past two years to develop plans for hiring and training contracting officers and specialists.

“We are still working real hard with OPM and the departments to try to figure out what the right number is,” said Paul A. Denett, an Office of Management and Budget official in charge of government procurement policy.

For his part, Denett added, “I believe we need to increase the hiring even more.”

Members of Congress have been concerned that the government has not done enough planning to get a handle on staffing and training needs of employees.

Spending on contracts has surged since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and the start of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, to more than $400 billion a year.

As the numbers have increased, some agencies have found it difficult to manage their contracts to avert fraud and abuse.

For example, a 2007 independent commission on Army contracting, headed by acquisition expert Jacques S. Gansler, found that the Army’s contracting operations in the Iraq and Afghanistan war zones were not properly staffed, supported and trained.

Other studies have pointed out that statistics about the acquisition workforce have not been collected in a consistent fashion, creating some confusion about the status of the workforce. Experts have emphasized that personnel cuts, ordered by Congress in the 1990s, left many acquisition employees overworked or without necessary training.

In recent years, Congress and the Bush administration have tried to learn more about federal acquisition, with officials paying more attention to an annual demographic report on the acquisition workforce. The report is prepared by the Federal Acquisition Institute, which has published workforce data since 1977.

Yesterday, the OMB and the institute released the 2007 report, showing an increase of about 500 contracting officers in the government last year compared with the previous year. Most — 19,119 — worked for the Defense Department, with an additional 9,315 spread across the rest of the government.

According to the report, the number of contracting officers has been rising steadily since 2002, primarily in civilian agencies, where numbers increased from 7,995 in 2000 to the high of 9,315 last year.

But retirements are a concern, Denett said. The average age of contracting officers is 46, and about half of acquisition employees are eligible to retire within the next 10 years. Actual retirements are at a lower rate now, allowing agencies to stay on top of their turnover. Only 18 percent of contracting officers eligible for retirement are filing retirement claims, said Karen Pica, director of the institute.

The OMB is promoting an internship program to attract young people with business degrees into federal acquisition to help counter the loss of contracting officers and ensure that experienced hands pass along their knowledge to interns.

The government also is trying to track the careers of acquisition professionals and learn why some leave their jobs and move to related fields, such as general business and program management.

Preliminary data collected for the report showed that 444 contracting officers left their jobs in 2007 for other government posts. An additional 1,083 are no longer in the government because of retirement, death and other reasons, such as taking a job in the private sector.

And the Winners Are . . .

The National Capital Area Chapter of the American Society for Public Administration presents its annual awards Thursday to honor public service and efforts to improve government performance. This year’s winners are:

Kathryn E. Newcomer, associate director of the Trachtenberg School of Public Policy and Public Administration at George Washington University, will receive the Elmer B. Staats Award for Accountability in Government.

Timothy B. Clark, editor in chief of Government Executive magazine, will receive the David O. Cooke Award for Leadership in Public Service.

The Partnership for Public Service will receive the National Capital Area Chapter President’s Award for Outstanding Recent Contributions to Public Service. Max Stier, president of the partnership, will accept the award on behalf of the nonprofit organization.

Stephen Barr’s e-mail address isbarrs@washpost.com.

View all comments that have been posted about this article.

For Defense, Crunching the Numbers Is Half the Battle

By Stephen Barr
Monday, May 12, 2008; D01

It has more than 3 million employees, more than 600,000 buildings and does business in 134 countries.

Those are some of the numbers that define the Defense Department, a megacorporation with lines of business and obligations that go far beyond war fighting.

“We do everything from floor waxing to repairing vehicles to accounting to logistics operations to running grocery stores,” said Tina W. Jonas, the department’s comptroller and chief financial officer.

From her Pentagon office, Jonas is responsible for the department’s financial management policies, the computer systems that track $3.4 trillion in assets and liabilities, an annual budget of more than $600 billion and efforts to modernize business practices.

There are big-ticket items, like health care, which costs $43 billion a year — “about $3 billion more than Germany spends on its entire defense budget,” Jonas said — and is likely to keep on increasing, to a projected $64 billion in 2015.

And there’s the daily grind of managing cash flow. For example, every time the price of fuel goes up by $1, it costs the department $130 million, she said.

“When you get to this level, pretty much everything that walks through your door is going to be a problem,” Jonas said during a recent interview. “So what you have to have is a mind-set to be a problem solver and figure out a corrective action plan.”

Jonas was sworn in as an undersecretary of defense in July 2004, after serving as an assistant director and chief financial officer for the FBI. She also has worked as a budget examiner at the Office of Management and Budget and as a staff member on the House Appropriations Committee.

Her job is one of the toughest in the government. The Pentagon has been widely criticized for years on Capitol Hill and by think tanks for poor management, cost overruns, improper payments and payroll problems. The Government Accountability Office designated the department’s financial management as an area of “high risk” in 1995.

Jonas, however, thinks the department is making substantial progress in financial management. She has created a “dashboard” on her desk — two flat-screen monitors that display trend data on dozens of accounts over multiyear periods.

“We look at our numbers and say, ‘We’re not doing too hot today,’ or, ‘What are we doing about this problem that is emerging?’ or, ‘The trend doesn’t look good here,’ ” she said.

One dashboard chart shows Jonas the percentage of debt more than 60 days old because of unpaid bills from “purchase cards,” a government credit card used by federal employees for official business. The delinquency rate is about 4 percent, down from nearly 7 percent in 2001.

Another chart shows that unsupported accounting entries have been reduced from $2.3 trillion in 1999 to $95.7 billion at the end of last year. The goal is to make sure all financial information is documented, putting to rest allegations that the department can’t find or track its money, Jonas said.

According to the dashboard, the Army’s account for military salaries and other expenses will run out of money by June 15. Jonas will likely have to transfer funds from other accounts if a supplemental spending act does not take effect in time.

“It drives me a bit crazy when people say the department’s books are all messed up and we don’t know what the heck is going on,” Jonas said. “We do know what is going on.”

Part of the department’s accounting woes can be attributed to outdated technology. Some computers in the field still run on old COBOL program language, operating like a checkbook register showing money in and money out, but incapable of connecting to a department-wide system that generates financial statements.

By June, Jonas hopes to have deployed new accounting codes and a software language that pulls together the department’s 2,900 accounting systems.

Next year, Jonas predicts that two-thirds of the department’s assets and liabilities will be ready for independent audits, a major step on the road to producing a department-wide financial statement that adheres to generally accepted accounting principles.

Jonas also has moved to cut operating overhead. The Defense Finance and Accounting Service, which once had 22,000 employees, is down to 13,000 and will shrink to 7,000. With the reductions and improvements in technology, the department has saved $500 million in operating costs.

Such savings “in the back office,” Jonas said, make millions of dollars available for the armed forces. “It matters to the soldiers, it matters to the Marines, it matters to the airmen, it matters to the sailors, and all their families and all our defense workers whether or not we are efficient.

“So at least we are trying to change the culture, and we think we’ve made some good progress.”

Stephen Barr’s e-mail address is barrs@washpost.com.

 

 

The strange case of Scott Bloch

By GREGG CARLSTROM

May 11, 2008

Since he took his job in January 2004 as one of the government’s top independent investigators, Special Counsel Scott Bloch has generated controversy — and enemies.

 

After last week’s unprecedented FBI raids on his office and home, many of those enemies are now calling for him to step down.

The raids, which seized computers and documents, were connected to a long-running Office of Personnel Management inspector general’s investigation into whether Bloch retaliated against employees in his office who disagreed with his management of the office.

 

Critics of Bloch say they think the FBI — along with inspector general agents — raided Bloch’s office and home because they suspect him of obstructing justice. Critics accuse him having his computer wiped clean of files that may support the claims of retaliation leveled against him. For his part, Bloch said he had his computer wiped clean because it was infected with a virus.


A grand jury looking into the allegations against Bloch, assembled by U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia Jeffrey Taylor, approved the May 6 raid and subpoenaed about 20 members of Bloch’s staff to testify.

 

Rep. Tom Davis, R-Va., the ranking member on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, called on Bloch to resign and asked committee chair Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., to call Bloch in to testify before the committee.

 

OSC investigates alleged incidents of whistleblower retaliation, politicking by state and federal employees, discrimination against employees, and adverse employment actions taken against military reservists.

 

A controversial appointment

 

Almost immediately upon taking his job, Bloch started making enemies.

 

Within months, Bloch decided the Office of Special Counsel would no longer pursue discrimination cases based on an employee’s sexual orientation. Bloch argued the law is ambiguous on the matter, but gay rights groups said he was reversing long-held and accepted policy because of his personal views.

 

Several members of his office leaked Bloch’s decision to the press. Bloch allegedly retaliated, ordering those employees to relocate from Washington to a newly created Detroit office or lose their jobs. The allegations sparked outcry from whistleblower advocacy groups and prompted an investigation by the Office of Personnel Management inspector general’s office.

 

Bloch has denied the charges that he retaliated against employees. Jim Mitchell, communications director at OSC, says nobody was forced to relocate. “Some people just left OSC, thinking they were going to be sent to Detroit,” he said.

 

Critics of Bloch, which include Davis and various whistleblower groups, say Bloch appears to have obstructed the investigation into his alleged retaliation by having his laptop computer wiped clean in December 2006 by an outside computer repair firm, Geeks on Call. That incident has become part of the OPM IG probe: Investigators want to know if Bloch deleted documents relating to the alleged retaliation case, although they don’t know what might have been erased.

 

Bloch also made enemies within the administration and Republican Party by investigating numerous Bush administration figures. He investigated — and subsequently cleared — then-National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice for possible Hatch Act violations in 2004. And last year, he investigated whether the chief of the General Services Administration, Lurita Doan, and top White House advisers Karl Rove and Scott Jennings violated the Hatch Act, which bars federal employees from using their positions to advance a political party or candidate.

 

A draft copy of OSC’s investigation report that found GSA chief Lurita Doan violated the Hatch Act was leaked to the news media last year. Doan accused Bloch’s office of leaking it, a charge he denied.

 

Also last year, Bloch had his office look into allegations by former New Mexico U.S. Attorney David Iglesias that he was illegally fired by top Justice Department officials in part because he spent time away from his job when he was activated as a Navy reservist. OSC is responsible for enforcing the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act, which prohibits adverse employment actions against military reservists.

 

`The Geeks incident’

 

Most observers said they think last week’s FBI raid and the ongoing grand jury investigation are linked to Bloch’s decision to hire Geeks On Call to erase the files on his laptop computer.

 

“These charges may be focused on the Geeks incident,” a source who has followed the investigation told Federal Times. “The OPM IG was doing its investigation, and Bloch was uncooperative, and it took a long time for [this raid] to come about. But because of Geeks, it looked like there were crimes.”

 

The OPM IG’s office declined to comment on the status of its investigation.

 

But officials within OSC describe the raid as “baffling,” because of the expansive scope of the subpoena, which also covered case files related to the Rove and Doan investigations.

 

“I don’t know what they’re looking for,” Mitchell said.

 

Mitchell says there are also questions about the Justice Department’s role in last week’s raid. “It’s a little strange for someone we’re investigating to come in and subpoena the investigator, ” he said in an interview, referring to OSC’s work on the Iglesias investigation. “Someone coming in from DOJ, requesting documents, that’s violating our independence. ”

 

Watchdog groups — who have been critical of Bloch for his handling of the OPM IG probe — say Mitchell has the story backward.

The nonprofit Project on Government Oversight says Bloch launched the Rove and Doan investigations to shield himself from being fired or investigated by the administration.

 

POGO is one of several watchdog groups listed as parties to the complaint filed by the OSC whistleblowers.

 

“Bloch will try to turn this investigation on its head, saying the White House is going after him,” said Avi Kumin, an attorney at Katz, Marshall and Banks, a firm that represents federal whistleblowers. “But OPM’s been investigating him for years … well before the Rove and Doan probes. Those were attempts to insulate himself politically. ”

 

OSC spokesman Mitchell disputes the charge that Bloch’s investigations into Bush administration figures were only attempts to protect himself.

 

“That’s absolute nonsense. We found Doan guilty of violating the Hatch Act,” Mitchell said. “She practically convicted herself [during testimony] on the Hill. … If we get a complaint, we investigate it.”

 

Several Bloch critics say the grand jury is probably considering obstruction of justice charges stemming from the computer incident. Bloch has admitted using more than $1,000 in public money to hire the company, but claims he had the computer cleared to erase a virus.

 

“They’ve never offered a theory about the computer files, or notified us that they were investigating the Geeks stuff,” Mitchell said, referring to the OPM IG’s office. “OPM never interviewed Scott about the computer.”

 

The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee provided more details about that incident last week: Davis, a longtime Bloch critic, released a transcript of testimony Bloch gave the committee in March.

 

Committee staff told Federal Times the testimony’s release had nothing to do with the FBI raid — although they acknowledged the possibility that the grand jury was also considering perjury charges related to Bloch’s testimony.

 

During the two-hour interview, Bloch was repeatedly asked why he contracted with an outside firm, rather than using OSC’s in-house technology staff.

 

“I don’t want to be critical of my people,” Bloch told committee staff. “But there are issues there of, you know, on a scale of … one to 10 — 10 being, you know, Bill Gates — I don’t think I’m dealing with Bill Gates.”

 

Staffers also asked Bloch about a Wall Street Journal article that claimed Geeks on Call scrubbed computers belonging to two of his aides. Bloch claimed he had no knowledge of that work.

 

“If there was a virus on his computer, why was he scrubbing the computers of two top deputies?” said Kumin. “The testimony makes no sense, and it probably plays into their investigation. ”

 

According to Mitchell, the OPM IG’s office told OSC in January that it had finished collecting documents in connection with its probe.

 

Last Inspector’s Blog – Fighting FAA & Boeing Fraud from the 737 to the 787

Alert From the Project On Government Oversight Supporting their Op-Ed in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer  

Monday, May 12, 2008, 12:14 AM
Posted by Administrator (www.thelastinspector.com)

 

 

If you thought the last blog was noteworthy, check out this alert on the Project On Government Oversight’s website, which gives facts and data backing up their op-ed in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer that showed that Boeing and the FAA knew my report on massive rollerstamping fraud by BCA inspectors was correct. Yet over the years they knew it was the status quo at BCA they did nothing about this fraud allowing defects of unknown number and severity to deliver to airline and government customers. In fact, the STA (Special Technical Audit) of BCA in 1999/2000 was actually used to further weaken an already ineffective quality system, rather than to make it more effective, as an reasonable person would deduce was what was needed.

This effort to weaken and make “less prescriptive” Boeing’s already sievelike quality system was called the “Quality Management System,” or QMS. Why would Boeing further weaken such a compromised quality assurance department as documented in the STA? Because, of course, as noted on my website, Boeing management was always aware rollerstamping was going on on a massive scale in QA because it was Boeing management who wanted that fraud to take place for cost and production flow reasons. And they knew they could count on their counterparts in the FAA to look the other way.

In January, 2002, I began my effort to end the rollerstamping in Boeing QA after my manager of the time proved to me it was Boeing management directed fraud, by going to the FAA. After several rounds of trying to get the FAA and Boeing Headquarters management to end that fraud placing passenger and crew lives at extra risk for a few more bottom line dollars for Boeing, Boeing dared me to go public, knowing they had FAA management to cover for their continuing fraud. The FAA had reliably done so since at least the 1999 STA.

That’s where the “Dual Failures” charade came in, which began, not coincidentally, just after I last spoke with Boeing about the subject, in October, 2003. This was a cover for Both FAA and Boeing management should I go public, as they and I expected I would. However, due to aforesaid reasons, I was unable to do so in a timely manner. They thought that I had decided to not go public after all, so they dropped this “Dual Failures” cover up project. More proof of Boeing/FAA management complicity in ensuring the rollerstamping quality system at BCA can continue. What more proof does DOT OIG Inspector General Scovel need to investigate the crooks in the FAA “overseeing” Boeing Type and Production Certificates? You have to wonder at what point they will step up and do their jobs in this critical area. Corrupt FAA mmanagement are not going to out themselves. Real oversight of BCA is needed now that will not only restore Boeing’s quality system to minimum standards, but also restore Boeing’s and/or the FAA’s oversight of Boeing supplier’s compliance with minimum quality system standards, which the OIG has documented serious noncompliances with. The root causes of both are the same–corrupt BCA and FAA management.

http://www.pogo.org/p/transportation/ta-080508-faa.html

Alert

May 8, 2008

Internal Boeing Documents Support Whistleblower’s Allegations: Aircraft Quality Control Problems Cited

For Immediate Release
Contact Nick Schwellenbach (202) 347-1122

Internal Boeing documents obtained by the Project On Government Oversight show that the allegations of a former Boeing quality control inspector facing criminal charges have merit. Quality control problems at Boeing increase the likelihood that defective aircraft parts end up on planes and flaws in the manufacturing of planes remain uncorrected. This can potentially threaten public safety and drive up the cost of aircraft maintenance. These documents are linked at the bottom of this release.

Gerald Eastman, the former Boeing inspector, is facing a second trial of criminal charges for disclosing Boeing information to the press. His first trial last month resulted in a mistrial when jurors could not agree on whether Eastman committed “computer trespass.” Mr. Eastman claims that his involvement with the press stemmed from the lack of corrective actions taken by Boeing and the government in response to his disclosures of wrongdoing to them.

An internal Boeing memo sent to Boeing employees in October 2000 stated that misuse of “production stamps” or “roller-stamping” can result in negative consequences for the company and the individual misusing their stamp. Roller-stamping is the misuse of production stamps to stamp work on critical parts and assemblies as complete and fully inspected when there has only been a cursory inspection, if one at all, of the part or assembly in question. Eastman’s central claim is that he had perceived widespread “roller-stamping” and Boeing did little to curtail the practice.

“These documents show that Eastman clearly had a reasonable basis for his belief roller-stamping was occurring,” according to Nick Schwellenbach, POGO investigator. “It’s one thing to break company policy on releasing documents and getting fired, it’s another matter to file criminal charges. Who do the prosecutors work for?”

The Boeing memo came months after the Federal Aviation Agency conducted a special technical audit of Boeing that concluded that there were systemic quality control problems. The 2000 FAA special technical audit found “in some cases, manufacturing planning was not adequate, requirements were not followed, inspections were not specific, or personnel were not knowledgeable about requirements.” Thus, “parts, assemblies, and installations are released through the system that do not conform” to approved designs. Also, in 2000, the FAA proposed “a record $1.24 million in civil penalties against Boeing for inadequate supplier oversight and for failing to quickly report cracked parts on two older jetliners,” according to a news report (James Wallace, “FAA Audit Rips Boeing Over 100 Production, Design Problems Detailed; Company Plans Corrective Action,” Seattle Post-Intelligencer, August 11, 2000.).

Years later, roller-stamping was still occurring when Eastman acted on his concerns.

Boeing certainly was aware of the practice because a Boeing document dated January 2004, states that, “There appears to be a systemic issue within BCA [Boeing Commercial Aircraft] involving parallel process breakdowns of mechanics and inspectors involved in assembling and inspecting aircraft, assemblies and parts.” The 2004 document also states that the FAA examined 55 issues at Boeing between 2002 and 2003 and found that “24% of these issues have involved instances where the mechanic and inspector created and accepted nonconforming conditions”—i.e. roller-stamping.

In further support of Eastman’s claims, other Boeing employees became whistleblowers when they reported that Boeing supplier Ducommun was regularly supplying non-conforming parts to Boeing, according to the whistleblowers’ False Claims Act lawsuit obtained by POGO. Now-former Boeing employees Taylor Smith, Jeannine Prewitt and James Ailes were then retaliated against by management because Boeing allegedly did not want to deal with the repercussions of their findings.

For additional information

Boeing Commercial Airplane Group memorandum, Use of personal stamps in our production system ,” October 31, 2000.

Federal Aviation Administration, Special Technical Audit of Boeing Commercial Airplane Group ,” December 1, 1999, through February 11, 2000.

Boeing Airplane Program Systemic Issues Chartered Team 1, Investigation of ‘Dual Failures ,'” January 2004.

United States of America ex rel Taylor Smith, Jeannine Prewitt and James Ailes vs. The Boeing Company and Ducommun, Inc. , Federal District Court of Kansas. Filed on March 11, 2005.

Founded in 1981, the Project On Government Oversight (POGO) is an independent nonprofit that investigates and exposes corruption and other misconduct in order to achieve a more accountable federal government.

 

From:  http://www.fedhallofshame.com/?p=317

Boeing Whistleblower Gerald Eastman

Posted in May 12th, 2008

by C. Yee in Accountability, Current Events, Whistleblowers

Picture not only being terminated from your job for whistleblowing, but being charged with computer trespass and arrested too.  It happened to ex-Boeing employee, Gerald Eastman.  

Here’s a link to an April 7 article from the Seattle Post-Intelligencer about Eastman’s first court ordeal, which ended in a mistrial.  The Project on Government Oversight (POGO) also blogged about Eastman’s disclosures, writing:

Internal Boeing documents obtained by the Project On Government Oversight show that the allegations of a former Boeing quality control inspector facing criminal charges have merit.  Quality control problems at Boeing increase the likelihood that defective aircraft parts end up on planes and flaws in the manufacturing of planes remain uncorrected.  This can potentially threaten public safety and drive up the cost of aircraft maintenance.

Gerald Eastman, the former Boeing inspector, is facing a second trial of criminal charges for disclosing Boeing information to the press.  His first trial last month resulted in a mistrial when jurors could not agree on whether Eastman committed “computer trespass.”  Mr. Eastman claims that his involvement with the press stemmed from the lack of corrective actions taken by Boeing and the government in response to his disclosures of wrongdoing to them.

The rest of POGO’s post can be found here.  As POGO notes, if Mr. Eastman is found guilty, it could set a terrible precedent for not just aviation safety, but public safety in general.  Mr. Eastman is set to return to King County (WA) Municipal Court again next week. 

 

2 users commented in ” Boeing Whistleblower Gerald Eastman ”

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RLK said,

in May 12th, 2008 at 7:34 pm

Boeing is a criminal enterprise;

RICCO Act–”When three or more parties conspire to carry on an on going criminal enterprise, it can fall under the “RICCO Act.

Boeing should be barred from Gov’t contracts for a year.

 

 

Jim said,

in May 12th, 2008 at 8:05 pm

It won’t happen. Once Boeing bought McDonnell Douglas, they eliminated the competition. Besides, where would all those SESers and Generals go to work after retiring from Govt. service?

 

Boeing on Broadway?

Amusing.  -GFS

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Boeing on Broadway? No, “Boeing Boeing”

PREV  of  NEXT

LONGACRE THEATER

A promotional poster for the current Broadway production of the 1960s bedroom comedy “Boeing Boeing.”

A wacky bedroom farce that opened last Sunday on Broadway puts the name of Puget Sound’s largest employer up in lights — twice over.

“Boeing Boeing” is no product-placement gimmick, though. It’s the hit revival of a 1960s French play whose improbable plot takes off when airlines shift to a new generation of faster planes.

The original show enjoyed huge success in Europe, but flopped in the U.S. after just 23 performances. A forgettable movie version with Tony Curtis and Jerry Lewis was advertised as “the big comedy of nineteen-sexty-sex.”

The last time a company name got such prominent billing on stage or screen was probably the stoner comedy flick “Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle.” And the last time the words “Boeing” and “sex” shared headlines, a CEO lost his job. But never mind that.

Some trademark watchdogs would take umbrage, or legal action, if the corporate name were hijacked by Broadway. Imagine the lawyers circling a production called “Starbucks Starbucks.”

But Boeing’s vice president of brand and market positioning, Rob Pollack, sees no downside.

“It’s kind of fun; it doesn’t talk about airplanes very much,” he says. “From a branding standpoint I don’t have any problem with it. It’s a lot better than ‘Airbus Airbus.’ “

Not that Airbus was around when Marc Camoletti concocted the premise of the piece: An American in Paris who is carefully juggling simultaneous engagements to three stewardesses.

All is well so long as each of them travels for days at a time, working on the slow-flying 707. But the playboy’s arrangements start to unravel with the debut of speedier jets from Boeing and others.

Judging by the buzz for the current production, it could be headed for a Tony nomination next week. That would help keep “Boeing Boeing” aloft a lot longer this time around.

 

Now this is interesting and not very surprising.  In fact, I was wondering when this would occur.  With all of the moving of composite materials and parts manufacturing to China and other countries outside of the U.S. and the many instances of espionage, some of which have been noticed,  challenged and the culprits arrested and prosecuted, it seemed only a matter of time before China would be moving into its desired role as competitor to Boeing and Airbus, not just a source of cheap labor and supply for the big two.  Somehow certain U.S. companies appear to just keep shooting themselves in the foot, and taking our economy and everyone else along with them.  GFS

******************************************************************

China launches homegrown jumbo jet manufacturing company

The Associated Press

China established a homegrown company Sunday to make passenger jumbo jets – a step forward in the country’s quest to become less dependent on Boeing and Airbus.

China Commercial Aircraft Co. was established in Shanghai with registered capital of 19 billion yuan (US$2.7 billion; euro1.75 billion), the official Xinhua News Agency and state broadcaster CCTV said.

Europe’s Airbus has forecast that China’s domestic aircraft market will increase fivefold by 2026. Airbus and Chicago-based rival Boeing dominate the market for commercial airplanes carrying 100 or more people.

Xinhua said China Commercial Aircraft Co. will be able to make planes with more than 150 seats.

The central government and the Shanghai government are among the major shareholders, as are China’s two main aircraft manufacturing and servicing companies, China Aviation Industry Corp. I and China Aviation Industry Corp. II, which were split off from state-owned China Aviation Industry Corp. in 1999.

The state-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission committed 6 billion yuan (US$86 million; euro55.6 million), making it the largest investor.

Given China’s limited experience with making commercial airliners, manufacturing jumbo jets would be a significant achievement. China’s first commercial jet, a 85-seater developed by China Aviation Industry Corp. I, had its maiden flight postponed last month until later in the year because of delays in the delivery of key components.

China Commercial Aircraft general manager Jin Zhuanglong said in a Xinhua interview that it was too early to say when a Chinese-developed jumbo jet would be taking off, as it would take a long time to develop talent and conduct research.

“According to the development history of Airbus and Boeing, the development and success of civil planes cannot be realized by relying on one or two generations,” he was quoted as saying.

China welcomes cooperation with foreign companies and will make full use of foreign technology in developing its aircraft, Xinhua quoted him as saying.

The company’s short-term goal is to help market the 85-seat ARJ21, he said.

Chinese carriers have already ordered 181 of the planes. A memorandum of understanding has been signed with GE Capital Aviation Services on a possible order for five jets, which would be the first sale to a major foreign company.

 

Someone who was doing some research on the Internet sent this article to me today.    The reader found it and thought it did a good job of clarifying the problem of why Boeing and perhaps some other defense contractors do not appear to be willing to clean up their acts.  I am interested in how Boeing has allegedly co-opted the FAA and others regarding safety practices.  It is an interesting and plausible scenario that if Boeing has operated this way with commercial aircraft manufacturing and business, it likely has used it’s influence through the intense lobbying efforts it uses at all levels of government, and availed itself of the very active Revolving Door between Boeing and governmental agencies, particularly DOD and agencies with oversight responsibilities, to reduce or in some cases eliminate requirements Boeing finds inconvenient, too expensive, or gets in the way of certain people’s ambitious plans.  Read and think on it.  GFS

 

 **************************************************************************************

Why Boeing will never reform itself and end the fraud noted on this site willingly:

 

After reading this site’s contents you might well be baffled as to why Boeing continues to risk another “Druyun/EELV affair” (although this fraud is many times worse than those matters) and continues to also willingly place at greater risk the lives of the public that fly on Boeing jets because of Boeing’s acceptance of greater “business risk” by the hobbling of Quality, Safety, and Reliability ensuring practices that has placed the vast majority of this extra “Boeing business” risk not on Boeing itself, but on the lives of those passengers and crew who unknowingly (unless they stumble across this site) bear such extra risk solely for Boeing’s quest for ever greater Bottom line value and for whatever part of this “value” gets deducted from Boeing airplane prices and therefore “benefits” airlines (until the inevitable hull loss accident because of this fraud).
The first sign that Boeing does not intend to end this obvious fraud willingly has been proven by Boeing’s actions in my attempts to bring this fraud to their attention in damning detail on multiple occasions. On those occasions Boeing’s actions were just “CYA” extremely limited and biased internal audits that may have made an uninformed person think Boeing had done something, when in fact those audits changed nothing noticeably to end this fraud in order to ensure the “benefits” of the noted fraud continued to add to meeting Boeing’s all-important bottom line maximization goals.
Boeing’s similar and purposeful inaction to end this endemic fraud within the company placing innocent lives at extra risk intentionally for more bottom line dollars after I “broke the story” publicly on this site and in the news media also proves Boeing’s inability to take action themselves to reverse this fraud the company has been willingly fostering for years, no matter how public these crimes ultimately become.

The most powerful motive for Boeing to resist internal reforms seemingly regardless of the consequences is not because of its (by one highly placed management source within the company) self-described status as “the most arrogant company on the face of the planet.” It instead comes to what everything is about at Boeing–the almighty dollar. Boeing is one of the most business plan driven companies in existence. Anything that does not support reaching the business plan’s “targets” is in jeopardy, even if legally and regulatory required, such as Boeing’s compliance with its Production and Type Certificates goes. This explains not only why Boeing intentionally subverted and intentionally did not comply with its minimum quality system and certification requirements as documented on this site–it also explains why Boeing will willingly do nothing to reverse the “gains” to the business plan made by this fraud. 

To reverse this fraud would be much more difficult for Boeing than the actions it had to take to put these fraudulent activities in place. Years of QA manager’s (and their manager’s) and complicit QA Lead’s (now “Team Leaders”) efforts to turn inspectors into mostly just rollerstampers of paperwork would have to be reversed–not an easy or short time span task. Most of the time “leaned out” of production line flow to enable shorter flowtimes and moving lines was time for inspectors to actually inspect the airplanes, which was not necessary in the rollerstamping quality system put in place by Boeing. However, complying with Production Certificate requirements to have inspectors actually inspect per quality system requirements would require much of that time to be added back into the production schedule and/or an unprecedented number of inspectors per mechanic ratio than that of the past. 

Boeing will not take these actions willingly due to their cost (effect on meeting the business plan) and the effect on flowtimes. Indeed, because of the above, I don’t expect Boeing to ever admit any of the corruption I have documented on this site and elsewhere, because to do so would require Boeing to take some action to stop it, which it does not want to do for the aforesaid reasons, among others (effect on their undeserved reputation, etc.).

But if Boeing does fess up to some of these past and present crimes (which will probably happen only because they would calculate greater risks to the company’s bottom line if they did not do so, such as ignoring the results of the ongoing review by the DOT OIG might ultimately bring the company), don’t even then expect Boeing to end this corruption. Just like after the Special Technical Audit of 1999/2000 where they were “caught with their pants down” “violating” many of even of the most basic requirements of the FAA, expect Boeing only to do the minimum they think they can get away with as far as reform until the “problems” (the auditors) go away and Boeing can then do business again as usual. Also expect another tactic used by Boeing during “C/A” after the STA, implementing programs (with the tacit approval of a similarly corrupt FAA) that actually made compliance with its quality system much worse than before the STA, and indeed, in some cases, eliminated unjustifiably the requirements Boeing had violated, rather than Boeing ever complying with those “burdensome” requirements that were in place to ensure quality, safety, and reliability requirements were met, but were “too prescriptive” and therefore had to go to meet Boeing’s overriding goal of enhancing efficiency over everything, including safety.

 From:  www.thelastinspector.com