Archive for October, 2008


 

October 28, 2008

 

Ms. Elaine Kaplan, Esq.

Senior Deputy General Counsel in, NTEU

1750 H St, NW

Washington, DC 20006

 

Mr. Tim Hannapel

Office of General Counsel, NTEU

1750 H St, NW

Washington, DC 20006

 

Subject: Critique on your recent article

“Reinvigorating OSC: Suggestions for Next

Administration” and request for your active

assistance in advancing the objectives of OSC Watch

 

Dear Ms. Kaplan and Mr. Hannapel,

 

You are the former Special Counsel and Deputy

Special Counsel.  You are licensed attorneys and

long-time employees of a government employee

union.  I have closely read your recent 15 page

issue brief  “Reinvigorating the US Office of

Special Counsel: Suggestions for the Next

Administration” which is issue brief of the

American Constitution Society for Law and

Policy.  It is available on the internet at

< http://www.acslaw.org/files/Kaplan%20FINAL.pdf&gt;.

 

I also read the recent article in “Government

Executive” that mentions the recent removal of

former Special Counsel Scott Bloch and summarizes

your suggestions for OSC.  It is available on the internet at

 < http://www.govexec.com/story_page.cfm?

articleid=41273&dcn=todaysnews >.

 

As you know, I contend OSC is, relatively

speaking, the most corrupt and corrupting agency

in our Country’s history.  It was created, along

with Merit Systems Protection Board, by the Civil

Service Reform Act of 1978.   I contend that its

now 30-year long lawbreaking failure to protect

federal employees from agency violations of the

merit system principles (i.e., “prohibited

personnel practices (PPP’s) and other agency

violations of law, rule or regulation under OSC’s

investigatory jurisdiction has resulted in many

dysfunctional and corrupt federal workplaces, a

battered federal civil service, and a much

diminished and more threatened America.

 

OSC’s lawbreaking has also created thousands of

direct victims – loyal, patriotic federal

employees who put professional duty to the public

welfare before their personal economies and who

were betrayed by OSC lawbreaking failure to

protect them from agency retribution.

 

OSC’s lawbreaking has not occurred in a vacuum,

it was enabled by 30-year long lawbreaking

failure of US Merit System Protection Board to do

the statutory required oversight of OSC’s

compliance with law in protecting the federal

employees who sought its protection.

 

Basically, OSC and MSPB nullified themselves, at

their creation in 1978, by

OSC’s  (mis)interpretations of its key duties to

protect the federal employees who sought its

protection and MSPB (mis)interpretation of one of

its primary duties to conduct “special studies”

focused on OSC’s compliance with law and performance in protecting

them.

 

These fundamental misinterpretations include

(using the law’s current numbering, which was

changed by the Whistleblower Protection Act of 1989):

 

1.      OSC’s claim that the reporting

requirements of 5 U.S.C. §1214(e) do not apply to

laws, rule, or regulation under OSC’s

investigatory jurisdiction, meaning OSC never has

an unqualified requirement to formally report its

determinations of violations of law, rule, or

regulation under its investigatory

jurisdiction.   It also means OSC has yet to make

a report per §1214(e), not in over 20,000

investigations it has conducted since 1989.

 

2.      OSC’s claim (one which is contrary to

Supreme Court precedent) that there is no such

thing as a “civil service rule.”  As a result,

OSC does not investigate or even consider if

agency directives (i.e. “civil service rules”)

such as workforce discipline procedures,

grievance procedures, performance evaluation

procedures, etc were violated as part of a

PPP.  By 5 U.S.C. §1216(a)(4), OSC has

jurisdiction over any agency “activities

prohibited by any civil service law, rule or regulation.”

3.      OSC’s policy of not considering or

investigating, as part of its investigations of

PPP’s, whether any agency “activities prohibited

by any civil service law rule or regulation” also

occurred.   When OSC is conducting an

investigation of an alleged PPP, it only

considers whether a violation of 5 U.S.C.

§2302(b) occurred, unless the PPP complaint

specifically alleges violations of laws, rules,

or regulations under OSC’s jurisdiction per

§1216(a)(4) occurred as part of the PPP or

separate complaint of “other prohibited activity” alleging them is

filed.

4.      MSPB’s claim that the “special studies”

it conducts per 5 U.S.C.§1204(a)(3) need not

focus on “whether the public interest in a civil

service free of PPP’s is being adequately

protected.”  MSPB claims to have no opinion as to

whether it is, despite its statutory requirement

to regularly report its determination on this

point to the President and Congress.  Since OSC

is, by law, the primary bulwark to protect

federal employees from PPP’s, MSPB should have,

for the past 30 years been doing what it has yet

to do – conduct reviews of OSC’s compliance with

law and performance in protecting federal

employees from PPP’s.  Had it done so, OSC

misinterpretations of law would have been exposed

and corrected almost 30 years ago – and the

federal civil service and America would be in a

much different and better place today.

 

Why Has This Gone On For 30 Years?  Follow the Money!

 

Many people and organizations benefit, directly

or indirectly, from a broken, lawbreaking OSC and

an MSPB that enables it.   This includes:

 

1)      Government employee unions benefit –

their major selling point to their dues-paying

members (who are frequently only 10-15% of the

members of the bargaining unit) is dues-paying

members get more support in a negotiated

grievance procedure.  Since by “election of

remedies” of 5 U.S.C. 7121 (added to the law in

1994), a federal employee must choose between an

OSC complaint, an MSPB appeal, or a negotiated

grievance, if OSC is not credible, the relative

attractiveness of the union negotiated grievance

process (and voluntarily paying union dues) increases.

2)      Private sector attorneys who specialize

in federal employment law benefit.  A broken,

lawbreaking OSC emboldens abusive federal

managers and results in more federal employees

seeking them out, cash in hand, to pursue remedies at EEO, MSPB, or

elsewhere.

3)      “Good government groups” benefit as

concerned federal employees go to them with their

concerns about agency wrongdoing, because they

know they will not be protected from agency

retribution if they use established

channels.  “Information is power” to these groups

and they trade their insider information with

Congress and media for access and influence,

which they need to secure you are age a person

funding from the relatively few foundations that provide much of

their funding.

 

4)      Mainstream media benefits for the same

reasons the good government groups do – concerned

federal employee go to them with their concerns,

because they cannot trust OSC to protect them if

they use established channels.

 

I created OSC Watch < http://www.oscwatch.org&gt; <

http://whsknox.blogs.com/osc&gt;, with some others

who largely perceive things as I do, with three

limited objectives: 1) expose OSC’s lawbreaking

and MSPB’s enabling lawbreaking; 2) stop it; and

3) obtain some measure of justice for the

thousands of feds directly harmed by it – feds

who did not receive the nondiscretionary protection OSC owed them.

 

To return to your article – while I agree with

much of it, your analysis of OSC goes seriously

awry on page 9.  Frazier v. MSPB, 672 F.2d (D.C.

Cir. 1982) was, in large part, legislatively

overturned by the Whistleblower Protection Act of

1989.   OSC is no longer an “ombudsman” or

advocate for the merit system principles – it is

now specifically charged to “act in the

interests” of the employees who seek its

protection.  It has a specific mandate to “that

employees should not suffer adverse consequences

as a result of PPP’s.”  The law directs OSC

that  “the protection of individuals who are the

subject to PPP’s remains the paramount

consideration.”  See 5 U.S.C. §1201 “note,”

quoting from the “findings and purpose” section of the WPA.

 

While I agree that OSC does not have an

attorney-client relationship with complainants

and that OSC has discretion as a prosecutor in

seeking corrective action and/or disciplinary

action, I contend that OSC does not have

discretion as an investigator – it must

determine, for all the complaints it receives,

“whether there are reasonable grounds to believe”

the violation occurred and, if so, formally

report them to the involved agency, via a

permanent, public record, per §1214(e).  It must

do this, unless OSC additionally makes the

discretionary determination that the violation is

one “which requires corrective action” and

formally reports both determinations per

§1214(b)(2)(B), thereby satisfying the §1214(e) reporting requirement.

 

So What?

 

While I do not consider you blameless in the

federal workplace disaster at OSC, you did

inherit OSC’s now 30 year-long misinterpretations

of its key duties, which was enabled by MSPB’s

misinterpretation of one of its key

duties.  Regardless, there should be no

reasonable question about OSC proper

interpretation and full compliance with its

nondiscretionary duties to those who seek its

protection.  There is now plenty of question and

the questions go back to OSC’s creation.

 

You can help get these questions answered and, if

OSC has been, as I contend, fundamentally remiss

in its nondiscretionary duties to the 20,000 or

more federal employees who sought its protection

since 1978, you can help obtain some measure of

justice for those directly harmed.  Or you can

ignore these claims and concerns and continue, in

the eyes of many, to defend the undefendable at

OSC, including your records there.

 

You have positive professional duties as

attorneys.  As I understand the position of OSC

attorneys, because they consider OSC to be their

client, they are prohibited from “blowing

whistles” on their and OSC’s lawbreaking by legal

ethics.  On the other hand, I contend that they

are betraying both their oaths as attorneys and

their oaths as government employees by not

implementing the laws they are responsible to

implement, to protect federal employees who try

to do their duty, ethically and competently,

without fear or favor.   I suggest you consult

with ethical experts in your profession in

deciding how to proceed in this matter.

 

I was raised Catholic and while I did not

personally experience abusive priests, I was

lucky because I was around some as a youth.  The

scandal at OSC has some similarities to the

Catholic priest scandal – vulnerable people are

betrayed by those charged to protect them and the

system tries to stonewall.  But the outrage of

those betrayed would not be deterred and the

stonewalling failed.   I suggest the sense of

betrayal many feel to you and OSC should not be minimized.

 

Respectfully,

 

Joe Carson, PE

Chair, OSC Watch Steering Committee

10953 Twin Harbour Drive

Knoxville, TN 37934;  865-300-5831; jpcarson@…

From Bloomberg.com:

 

 

By Elizabeth Amon- Oct. 29 (Bloomberg)

ICO Seeks $949 Million Punitive Damages From Boeing

 

 

ICO Global Communications Holdings Ltd., which last week won a $370.6 million verdict against Boeing Co. over a failed agreement to build a satellite network, asked a jury for an additional $949 million in punitive damages.

 

Lawyers for ICO yesterday asked jurors in Los Angeles Superior Court to award $477 million against the Boeing Satellite Systems unit and $472 million against the parent company. The jurors last week found Boeing acted with malice, oppression or fraud, allowing ICO to seek punitive damages.

 

The amount should be substantial enough to “punish Boeing and Boeing Satellite Systems and deter future misconduct,” ICO lawyer Barry Lee told the jury. “It shouldn’t be a routine cost of business that can be passed on with little or no discomfort.”

 

The jurors on Oct. 21 agreed with ICO’s arguments that Boeing unfairly demanded additional money to finish and launch the satellites, which Reston, Virginia-based ICO ordered to create mobile-phone connections to remote locations worldwide. The verdict was the fourth-largest in the U.S. this year, according to Bloomberg data.

 

 

 

McCain’s Bermuda

 

Triangle

 

 

A Navy Whistleblower is Shipped

Off to Psychiatric Ward

 

 

 

By Ross Tuttle

 

October 28, 2008

 

Just six months after being rebuked by the Senate Ethics Committee for exercising “poor judgment” when he interfered with federal regulators on behalf of a wealthy donor, Senator John McCain engaged in activities that may have constituted an abuse of his office for personal gain. 

 

In August 1991, McCain hosted a family reunion at the Bermuda Naval Air Station (BNAS) for at least seven days at taxpayer expense. McCain’s entourage of eleven included his wife, Cindy, and several of his children. The trip took place as Washington was still dealing with the fallout from the Keating Five scandal, an episode that involved other improper luxury Atlantic-island trips for McCain.

 

McCain’s junket to BNAS was first reported by ABC’s Primetime Live in a postscript to a December 1992 story on Senior Petty Officer George Taylorthe whistleblower who exposed the use of the Navy base by top officials for nongovernmental purposes

 

A March 1993 Navy Inspector General report, precipitated by the Primetime Live segment, as well as a BNAS log record and a new interview with Taylor corroborate and amplify the substance of ABC’s story.

 

The Navy IG report, obtained by The Nation and never before made public, redacts the name of the “one U.S. Senator” who used BNAS as a “vacation site.” But in an interview with The Nation, Taylor, who was stationed at BNAS from May to November 1992, confirms that the senator in question was John McCain. A log book from BNAS, also obtained by The Nation, lists McCain as the only senator to have stayed on the island between 1989 and 1992.

 

In his interview, Taylor now recounts a conversation he had with a military psychiatrist who examined Taylor in 1992 for a psychiatric evaluation ordered by his supervisor in the wake of the Primetime Live show, in an apparent act of retaliation for his whistleblowing. The anecdote raises the disturbing possibility that McCain’s Senate office attempted to influence the outcome of Taylor’s psychiatric evaluation.

 

In his 2002 memoir, McCain declared that he had learned from his mistakes in the Keating Five affair, writing, “I have carefully avoided situations that might even tangentially be construed as a less than proper use of my office.” But this most recent disclosure casts doubt on that claim.

 

“It was a family reunion…and the guests included grown children from a prior marriage…and minor children…a baby and a nanny,” the IG report says of the McCain family vacation–some aspects of which may have violated the law.

 

Taylor, who had been highly decorated for his service aboard the USS Antietam, was the chief of military police at BNAS, commanding a staff of about seventy MPs. Shortly after his arrival at BNAS, he came to recognize that rather than serving a strategic military purpose, the base functioned mainly as a taxpayer-subsidized vacation spot for high-ranking officials.

 

“We’re not running a military installation,” Taylor told ABC. “We’re running a Howard Johnson’s.”

 

In accordance with Taylor’s claims, the IG report counted an inordinately high number of officer and VIP visits for a base that had one plane and no ships, and that was, according to ABC, “a cold war military relic that has outlived its usefulness.”

 

“The tally for our two-year period was 80 flag/general officers [admirals and generals] and 99 0-6’s [captains or colonels],” the IG report said, in addition to a number of other VIP visitors, one of whom was McCain.

 

According to the report, McCain’s trip was likely also the largest to the installation, as it was “the only identifiable case in which a visiting VIP…and guests required accommodations over and above the quarters” normally made available to visitors.

 

The operation at “Club Fed,” as it was called by the MPs, was not cheap. The IG report estimates the cost for military flights to the island at about $6,000, but Taylor and other MPs say this doesn’t account for indirect costs like maintenance, salaries and hangar space, which they believe bring the expense closer to $40,000 per flight. Taylor also learned that funds were diverted from security operations and poured into hospitality, and the Primetime Live segment reported that $53,000 was used to redecorate one of the guest cottages on the base in 1992.

 

Both the IG report and the Primetime Live segment make clear that military officers or military retirees–like McCain–and their dependents had been entitled to stay in BNAS guest quarters on a space-available basis. But their visits crossed the line when other military resources were used for nonofficial purposes.

 

And that’s what happened on just about every trip, according to Taylor. “Once they arrive they have the government vans here, which provide the transportation. They have the drivers, maid service,” Taylor told ABC in 1992.

 

“Sailors had been assigned to be [Cindy McCain’s] driver, and they carried her bags after she went shopping at the expensive shops on the island,” says Taylor now. “It’s like they were her servants.” Taylor, who was not at the base when McCain visited but had been extensively briefed about it by subordinates, said this situation was not unique to Mrs. McCain. “That was the case for admirals and generals and other high-ranking officials that were coming into the installation for supposed military and governmental purposes.”

 

Taylor believes that this use of military resources violated the law. According to Title 31 USC 1349 Section B, it is illegal if an officer or employee of the US government “willfully uses or authorizes the use of a passenger motor vehicle or aircraft owned or leased by the United States Government (except for an official purpose…).”

 

Taylor told The Nation that he spoke up in part about the waste and abuse in Bermuda because he had seen a disturbing pattern. “They were closing all these bases stateside–like in Alabama, where I’m from, and good people were losing their jobs. And then, here’s one that everyone’s using, going to do their golfing weekends.”

 

The conclusions in the IG report are also redacted, and it is not clear what the consequences of the report were or if McCain faced any reprimands or sanctions. Calls to McCain’s campaign were not returned. But because of Taylor’s disclosure and the ABC report, BNAS was shuttered in 1995 after the Navy conducted another investigation that showed that the base was not serving any military purpose.

 

There was other fallout as well. Shortly after Taylor blew the whistle, he was removed from his duties on the island. One month before the Primetime Live episode aired, he was ordered by his commanding officer to undergo a psychiatric evaluation.

 

Taylor had been a stellar serviceman, having received multiple commendations and superior evaluations and having exhibited no symptoms of psychological distress. He believes that the psychiatric evaluation was a punitive measure. “I don’t think it’s a coincidence at all,” he told ABC. But his commanding officer, Capt. James Arnold, denied this to ABC.

 

In fact, the military had used psychiatric evaluations to discredit and stifle whistleblowers before. At the time, the Government Accountability Project (GAP) had been pushing Congress for years to address this type of abuse. According to GAP lawyer Tom Devine, “Taylor’s ordeal was the straw that broke the camel’s back”; in late 1992 Congress passed the Boxer Amendment to curb the use of mental health evaluations as retaliation against whistleblowers, though the practice still occurs.

 

In November 1992, Taylor was packed onto a jet and ordered to appear at the Naval Medical Center in Portsmouth, Virginia, to see psychiatrist Peter True and undergo a “fitness for duty examination.” Dr. True evaluated Taylor on November 13 and arrived at the following diagnosis: “No psychiatric diagnosis at this time. 

 

1) Patient is psychiatrically fit for duty. 

 

2) He is fully responsible for his actions. 

 

3) This is not a psychiatric problem. This is a problem between this member and his employer and needs to be worked out as such. There are no psychiatric contraindications to any administrative or legal action. 

 

4) No psychiatric follow-up indicated.”

 

According to Taylor, True also told him at the time, “You’ve really upset a lot of people.” When Taylor asked the doctor what he meant, True replied, “I’ve been contacted before, but never in advance by a fleet commander’s staff, a senator’s staff and the secretary of the Navy’s staff to try and influence my evaluation.”

 

Neither McCain’s office nor True responded to The Nation’s requests for an interview to determine whether McCain’s staff contacted True and attempted to influence the outcome of Taylor’s psychiatric evaluation. But it was McCain’s office that had reason to intervene.

 

According to the official “VIP Log Book” on the island, McCain was the only senator to have stayed on the island between 1989 and 1992.

 

McCain had also been a classmate at the Naval Academy of Adm. Henry Mauz, who was heavily implicated in the BNAS scandal. Admiral Mauz had used the excuse that he’d been conducting official business on the island, but a Pentagon official said of one of Mauz’s junkets, “It was a golfing trip. That’s why he got in trouble. It was allegedly a training trip, but they ended up golfing the whole time.”

 

Tom Devine, one of Taylor’s lawyers from the Government Accountability Project, speaking in an independent capacity, hopes for a more comprehensive and transparent inquiry into McCain’s involvement in the matter.

 

“It was Senator McCain who made character an issue for the election. He says that Senator Obama should answer questions about associations from his distant past so that we can make a fair assessment about his character. But Senator McCain has some troubling questions to answer about his own behavior,” says Devine. “It’s one thing to go on a junket. It’s another thing to have taxpayers finance a family reunion.” 

 

See related article:

 

Navy Drops Charges Against Sailor Who Complained of Base (March 29, 1994)

 

 

 

 

See Original Article Here:

http://www.thenation.com/doc/20081110/tuttle

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

March 28, 1994

Navy Drops Charges Against Sailor

Who Complained of Base

The Navy has dropped 48 misconduct charges against a sailor who had described a Bermuda air station as a vacation playground run by the American military for the Bermuda government.

Rear Adm. David J. Nash, commanding officer of Port Hueneme, said in a statement on Saturday that he had ordered the charges dropped against Master-at-Arms Senior Chief George Randall Taylor because “allegations have recently been made that question the motivation for prosecution.” The charges were to have been heard on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Chief Taylor was accused of having acted negligently and improperly when he arrested a man believed to have been a deserter and a drug dealer.

But in papers filed last week, his lawyers said the misconduct charges were a retaliation for a report that Chief Taylor filed in 1992 about the Bermuda base, which he described as a resort for politicians and senior military officers.

“The base had no military mission,” Chief Taylor has said. “We were basically running the airport for the Bermuda government pro bono.”

Chief Taylor said that when he reported his views to an internal affairs officer retaliation began.

Chief Taylor, 33, also made his criticisms publicly, on the ABC television program “Prime Time Live,” in December 1992. In January 1993, Chief Taylor, a 17-year Navy veteran who was twice named sailor of the year, was transferred to Port Hueneme as deputy director of public safety.

He said he was frequently harassed at the California base and that a superior had asked Admiral Nash to relieve Chief Taylor of his duties in September 1993. Admiral Nash declined to act on the request.

Although the Department of Defense investigated operations at the Bermuda air station, it did not acknowledge a problem. Congress voted in September to close the Bermuda base by 1995.

 

I recently, received an email from the group administrator of a
Whistleblower group I belong to chastising the group members about
only sending in posts of direct implication and interest to
whistleblowers, not notes on general corruption etc. This post is
about the problem of focus and scope of the focus and why the
patterns of corruption we see are indeed most germane to every
whistleblower, and everyone else who cares about integrity in
government and industry.
Advice from effective investigators: keep a broad focus while
digging for the details; follow the money, search for patterns and
connections. The problem may be bigger than you think.
One has to wonder about the true depth of manipulation of the various
arms of our Justice Department. It appears that there has been quite
a lot of this lately. I mean by that, finding that the FBI and
others have been turned away from certain cases, or types of cases,
and put onto selected other more convenient lines of investigation.
Another part of the pattern of operations by the current
Administration or their minions appears to be effective use of a “red
herring” as it gets investigators off chasing other demons, and helps
divert public attention from dangerous ground.
I have heard from some DoD whistleblowers that their experiences have
included, having initial response of shock and indignation over the
merits of the cases taken to law enforcement/ investigative personnel
(Justice and others) agencies. That followed by investigations
purposefully initiated with great energy and resolve by field
personnel accompanied by check backs and good communication, only to
have those law enforcement/investigative personnel inexplicably after
a few weeks become quite mute. These whistleblowers have further
explained that they have discovered the following kinds of things
have occurred:
a. Investigators were told to stop by higher ups, sometimes
quite a bit higher levels of management.

b. Investigators were loaded down with other work and told their
priorities, which did not include the whistleblower case of concern.
c. Investigators were removed from the case and another
investigator, in one case a very senior investigator are put on it
instead, one who appeared to be on marching orders to drag it out,
obstruct the investigation and make it “go away.”
d. The whistleblowers have also reported that even though well
developed cases were turned over to the appropriate three or four
letter acronym agencies for criminal investigations, including lists
of people to be interviewed, deposed, or subpoenaed, no contacts by
the investigator now in charge to interview or communicate with those
witnesses with further evidence whatsoever.
e. In one case, the investigator ignored a list of a dozen
witnesses, and spoke instead to an employee in an involved
department, who was new, and obviously had no history and no
knowledge of the case, which many other employees with more seniority
and experience did have knowledge of, and were listed in the
witness/source list that the investigator chose to ignore. The
investigator in this case was quoted, as saying the reason the case
was not going anywhere was that “No one will talk to me.” In the
mean time, the whistleblowers were informed by the witnesses on the
list waiting to tell what they knew, that no one had contacted them.
They understandably expressed frustration that the case was not being
worked.

 

It seems that many view things a bit myopically. This is somewhat
understandable due to the level of stress and pressure most
whistleblowers feel, and the lack of energy and time may have to
research and reflect while in the slowly heating pot surrounding
their own particular situation. Good communication and a broader
view are necessary. This is not about just one whistleblower.

The problems we are having are not limited only to one agency or
area. The stories that do break are symptomatic of a much bigger
problem. A problem created not in small part by the corruption and
excesses of those who have been in powerful positions of influence
and control, and position to profit from those corruptions and
excesses. Justice and law enforcement are not being allowed to
function like they are supposed to and that is affecting all of us,
particularly “whistleblowers.” -GFS

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

From Brasschecktv.com:

The FBI ties up loose ends
After seven years of destroying evidence and intimidating witnesses,
the FBI has finally “caught” the individual responsible for the 2001
anthrax attacks. Or so they say.

Bruce Ivins may or may not have been involved in the anthrax attacks.
Now that he’s dead, we’ll never know because it will be “case closed.”

What we do know for sure is that the anthrax attacks, right on the
heels of 9/11: 1) terrorized Congress and 2) gave Bush/Cheney a
reason to stop the FBI investigation of the 9/11 attacks.

That’s right…The FBI stopped the 9/11 investigation before it even
got started. Look it up.

The FBI STOPPED its 9/11 investigation just weeks after 9/11
and “focused” all of its resources on finding the source of the
anthrax attacks.

Seven years later, their heroic efforts have finally born some fruit.

A lone gunman. Dead by his own hand. With the noble G-Men hot on his
sinister trail.

Cased closed. Move along. There’s nothing to see here folks.

See related videos here: http://www.brasschecktv.com/page/392.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Boeing expects to weather economy
The Boeing Co. is well positioned to weather the current U.S.
financial crisis, the company’s chairman and chief executive
said Thursday, but there could be implications, such as having
to help customers finance airplane purchases.

* Read the full article at:
http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/business/381608_boeing03.html

October 23, 2008

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Danielle Brian, Executive Director, POGO, 202-438-8859

 

WHITE HOUSE OUSTS SPECIAL COUNSEL BLOCH:

FEDERAL WORKERS ARE VINDICATED

 

Washington, D.C. – After months of intrigue– including hidden thumb drives, computer files destroyed, staff retaliations and firings and misfires directed at his critics — Scott Bloch was finally forced to resign today in a meeting with White House officials, according to several sources. He has been placed on administrative leave, effective today, until December 12, 2008, when his term ends.

 

Bloch had announced his own plans to leave in January in a letter he released on Monday. http://www.osc.gov/documents/press/2008/Letter%20to%20the%20President%2010-20-08.pdf. But this morning, federal agents from the FBI and/or Federal Protective Service were stationed at the Office of Special Counsel (OSC) while Special Counsel Scott Bloch was called to the White House meeting.  Meanwhile, OSC employees were informed of an all hands meeting at four o’clock today. All requests for comments from the OSC are being referred to the White House.  The President has designated William E. Reukauf, long-time OSC career civil servant currently serving as Associate Special Counsel, to be Acting Special Counsel.

 

According to Debra S. Katz, an attorney for former and current OSC employees and non-profit whistleblower groups, including the Project On Government Oversight,  “after bringing Scott Bloch’s serious misconduct to the attention of the White House for almost four years, we are pleased that the Bush Administration has finally acted to remove this rogue Presidential appointee.  Unfortunately, President Bush’s action comes far too late for OSC employees and other federal workers who have been denied a safe outlet to report fraud, waste and abuse throughout his disgraceful tenure.  Bloch has allowed federal workers to be subjected to retaliation with impunity and has done great damage to the agency’s mission and the public that it was established to protect.”

 

In July, 2008, POGO wrote to Joshua Bolten, White House Chief of Staff, directly calling for the firing of Bloch. http://www.pogo.org/p/government/gl-080717-osc.html

 

Danielle Brian, Executive Director, POGO, said today, “This is a victory for federal workers.  It would have been obscene for this man to be able to walk away under his own terms. He has left the agency in shambles. It will take a lot of work to repair the damage Bloch caused. It will also be necessary to fix the systemic flaws which have long hampered its effectiveness.”  POGO has been investigating Bloch’s mismanagement of OSC since 2004.  http://www.pogo.org/p/government/OSCcompendium.html.  

 

POGO will be releasing a report soon that will point to systemic flaws that will remain at the OSC even after Bloch’s departure, as well as recommending reforms.

 

Bloch is currently under federal investigation for possible obstruction of justice for destroying computer files sought by investigators in a prior probe into whether he retaliated illegally against whistleblowers in his office. 

 

 

 

POGO is an independent non-profit that investigates and exposes corruption and other misconduct in order to achieve a more effective, accountable, open, and honest federal government. 

 

 

Whistleblower Alert: 

 

The FBI Story

 

Statement of

 

Bernardo M. Perez

 

Perez, et al. v. Federal Bureau of Investigation

 

 

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

Meeting of October 23, 2008

 

 

Good Morning. 

 

Madame Chairperson, and Members of the EEOC Commission.

 

Thank you for inviting me to speak to you today on ‘The Realities and Barriers Faced by Hispanics in the Federal Sector’.

 

September 30th marked the 20th Anniversary of the Federal Court decision in the landmark class-action civil rights case, entitled Bernardo M. Pérez, Plaintiff v. Federal Bureau of Investigation et al., Defendants.

 

Sam Martinez, a retired FBI Agent, and leader in that fight is here today — and so is my friend, Nelson Hermilla, Department of Justice Attorney, who boldly took me up to Capitol Hill, after I filed the lawsuit, to seek support for the battle.

 

Senators Joe Biden and Orin Hatch helped us — along with John Conyers and other members of Congress. Some Congressional leaders such as former Congressman Henry B. Gonzalez were afraid to get involved. And America’s two largest national Hispanic organizations – LULAC and MALDEF – refused to help.

 

Federal Judge Lucius D. Bunton, heard the case — and ruled that the FBI systemically discriminated against me and 310 other Hispanic Special Agents. He also found, separately, that the FBI retaliated against me for filing nine EEO Complaints.

 

He then ruled that then FBI Director William Webster’s EEO Program and the FBI promotion system were “bankrupt”. Webster was not punished… and subsequently became Director of the CIA. No one was held responsible, ultimately for the FBI’s failures. And the consequences went beyond the lawsuit class members…

 

Richard Yerby, Leo Ramos and George Rodríguez, my Attorneys in the unsuccessful EEO hearing, before the trial, went unpaid. The EEO Judge found no discrimination.

 

My successful trial Attorneys Hugo Rodríguez and Antonio Silva –- after a long and intense legal effort – suffered devastating family turmoil – and went bankrupt.

 

The Bureau forced my then fiancée, Yvonne Shaffer, to submit to illegal polygraph examinations to elicit information they hoped to use against me. She quit the FBI. Director Webster ordered me not to date her. I married her and the FBI came after me in different ways as part of their campaign to force my resignation.

 

I had investigated Klan cross-burnings in Florida, police brutality cases in Texas, and other civil rights violations… But I refused to accept and admit that discrimination existed at “my” beloved FBI. I even argued with my own father and insisted that the FBI was “incapable” of discrimination: But, I finally came to understand a painful truth – He was right, I was wrong.

 

My brave wife, a former FBI stenographer was the catalyst for that fight. She made me realize that by ignoring discrimination against Hispanics at the FBI, I was sacrificing my ethics to justify continuing my career.

 

My career was dying and when I finally filed my first EEO Complaint. That was the “last straw” for the FBI who had graciously allowed this Latino into the world’s ‘premier’ investigative organization.

 

I was among the elite when I became an Agent in 1963 under J. Edgar Hoover. There were fewer than ten Latino Agents out of approximately seven thousand FBI Agents.

 

Filing an individual EEO Complaint against the Bureau was unheard of. To follow it with a class-action lawsuit from 310 of the 452 Latino Agents in the FBI outraged Bureau executives and most other Agents. Many FBI Officials demanded that Director Sessions not let this case go to trial. This demand was made in my presence. I was called disloyal because we had openly charged the FBI with discrimination. We knew our rights as American citizens were meaningless unless we stood up and demanded equal treatment under the law and the right to be promoted fairly.

 

It was not a matter of loyalty; it was a matter of justice.

 

After we prevailed in Federal Court in El Paso, Texas, I was “promoted” to the FBI Laboratory in Washington, D.C. and, reluctantly, the FBI complied with Judge Bunton’s Order to promote me to an SES 4 position. My boss had to be promoted first, because he was only an SES 3.

 

After a year and a half at Headquarters, where I was the ‘invisible man’, I threatened to sue the FBI again for continuing discrimination and retaliation against the class members. We were worse off than before the lawsuit. I was involuntarily demoted to SES 3 (can this happen?) and transferred to the field as the Special Agent in Charge of the Albuquerque Division. Other FBI Officials returned to the Field with their SES rank intact.

 

Five years later, in 1995, after 33 years of FBI service, I retired but I still feel the sting of recrimination for having filed suit against the FBI. My story is not unique, but tragically, it is representative of what happened to most class-action members and their careers.

 

Because we prevailed in the lawsuit, open retaliation accelerated with a vengeance and to this very day we are punished. Class-members were denied court-ordered rightful place seniority and subsequently we retired at lower grades than those ordered by Judge Bunton, who died in January, 2001.

 

The FBI internal affairs office, known as the Office of Professional Responsibility, conducted more than sixteen investigations against San Antonio Supervisor Gil Mireles (one of my brave EEO Counselors); but couldn’t find any wrong-doing. Gil was added to the long list of those Agents forced out of the FBI for demanding their rights as Americans. Ironically, the FBI is responsible for investigating violations of civil rights laws in the United States. Who guards the guards? Is it you, the EEOC and Congress, or does the FBI answer to anyone? Apparently, not.

 

After the trial, FBI leaders deliberately disregarded Judge Bunton’s orders to fix the ‘bankrupt’ EEO process and the Promotion System in the FBI.

 

Predictably, those Hispanic Agents who testified at trial – falsely- that the FBI did not discriminate… were among the first to be promoted after the ruling.

 

Shortly after my assignment to the FBI Lab, I made eighty-eight (88) allegations of perjury and wrong-doing by top FBI Officials during the trial. Director Sessions was unaware. The subsequent two-year investigation into these charges by Inspector Dennis Curry and John Shiman has been lost by FBI. Those FBI Officials who testified falsely and retaliated against us were promoted, given plush assignments and retired at high SES levels. Director William Sessions had been fired in part for letting Pérez v. FBI go to trial.

 

The lead members of the ‘successful’ battle against discrimination are all retired now and we loyal Americans pay every day for defending our Constitutional rights. Would we do it again? YES, we had no choice. Latinos in the FBI continue the battle that we started. Regrettably, this battle is far from over. It continues in the FBI and throughout our Federal Government and our Nation. Just listen to the news!

 

You conduct studies and wonder why more Hispanics don’t pursue careers in the Federal service. Perhaps this will give you some insight into ‘The Realities and Barriers Faced by Hispanics in the Federal Sector’. 

 

 

 

See Original Article Here:

http://www.eeoc.gov/abouteeoc/meetings/10-23-08/perez.html

 

October 23, 2008
By Gregg Carlstom
Special Counsel Scott Bloch is being forced out of office, according to sources close to the agency.
Employees say Bloch was fired by the White House earlier today, and he’s gathering staffers for an all-hands meeting this afternoon to announce his departure from the agency.
On Monday, Bloch announced plans to resign from the agency Jan. 5, 2009.
He’s under federal investigation for allegedly destroying data on a computer linked to a whistleblower retaliation case in the office. 

 

Here’s yet another one…   I hear there are more cases coming down the pike, just not public yet.  The fraud and corruption just keep getting worse.  Wish I had better news.  -GFS

 

ICO Awarded $371 Million In Fraud Case Against Boeing
By Tricia Duryee – Wed 22 Oct 2008 02:47 PM PST
ICO Global Communications, which is working on building a satellite and land-based wireless network that aims to provide interactive media services, such as navigation, roadside assistance and the mobile video, was awarded $371 million in damages in a fraud case against Boeing. A jury late yesterday found in favor of ICO. The award includes $279 million for breach of contract and fraud with regard to satellite pricing by Boeing Satellite Systems International and another $91.6 million for fraud related to satellite launches, Barron’s reports. The jury will decide on Oct. 28 whether to decide whether to award any punitive damages.

RuralVotes.Com:  http://208.76.81.148/cms/

 

 

Link to Original:  http://ruralvotes.com/cms/images/stories/pdfs/mccainfraud.pdf

 

 Hilltown View by Matt L. Barron

 

John McCain and Defense Fraud: Two Peas in a Pentagon Pod

Part 1

Rural people are by nature frugal and self-reliant. We abhor waste as much at the kitchen table or in the feedlot as we do in federal agencies.

Which brings us to Sen. John McCain’s track record regarding waste, fraud and abuse connected to the Department of Defense (DoD). McCain holds himself out as a fiscal conservative who is tight with a buck. Each year, when Congress takes up the various appropriations bills, McCain rails against the various earmarks which his fellow senators insert to direct spending to their states.

On May 23 of this year, McCain lashed out at the DoD’s deal with Boeing on aerial tankers saying “I am extremely disappointed that the Department of Defense has approved the lease of Boeing 767 aircraft for use as aerial tankers, a profligate waste of federal revenues. This is a great deal for the Boeing Company that I’m sure is the envy of corporate lobbyists from one end of K Street to the other. But it’s a lousy deal for the Air Force and for the American taxpayer.” McCain continued “In all my years in Congress, I have never seen the security and fiduciary responsibilities of the federal government quite so nakedly subordinated to the interests of one defense manufacturer.”

These statements ring hollow given the fact that between 1985-1992 McCain pocketed $8,000 in PAC money from Boeing. Since 1990 the company has had 36 instances of misconduct and alleged misconduct concerning the area of government contracts. Boeing has paid $357,973,000 in fines/penalties, restitutions and settlements as a result of their taxpayer rip-offs. In 1998 Boeing was charged with 207 violations of the Arms Export Control Act and the International Traffic in Arms Regulations. Boeing allegedly unlawfully exported defense articles to Russia, Ukraine and Norway. The company paid a $10 million civil penalty. In 2000, Boeing was charged with 110 violations regarding the Arms Export Control Act and the International Traffic in Arms Regulations. The charges pertained to munitions and defense articles (technical data) exported to Australia, Singapore, Malaysia, Turkey, Spain and Italy. Boeing paid a civil penalty of $4.2 million. In April 2006, Boeing paid a fine of $15 million to settle federal allegations that it broke the law by selling commercial airplanes equipped with a small chip that has military applications. It is among the largest fines a company has ever faced for violations of the Arms Control Export Act, which regulates the sale of defense products to overseas interests. In May 2006, Boeing agreed to pay $615 million to end a three-year Justice Department investigation into reported defense contracting scandals.

McCain’s hypocrisy is significant because as a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee (he is now the ranking minority member), he has feasted on PAC money from the defense industry. During his first term in the Senate, McCain accepted campaign cash totaling $58,200 from political action committees of corporations and prime defense contractors who were convicted of defrauding the Pentagon on weapons contracts, or have been accused of cheating the American taxpayer.

Consider the following examples from early in McCain’s Senate tenure:

GTE Corporation: In September 1985 its Government Systems Division pleaded guilty to improperly obtaining internal Pentagon planning documents, and agreed to pay $580,000 to DoD for the costs of the investigation. Total contributions to McCain: $5,000.

Litton Industries: In July 1986, the massive shipbuilder agreed to pay $15 million in penalties and restitution to DoD. It had pleaded guilty to defrauding the Pentagon of $6.3 million in its military work at that time. Total contributions to McCain: $10,300.

Unisys Corporation: In June 1991, the firm paid a $190 million fine for a wide-ranging conspiracy to use inside information to defraud the government to bid on Pentagon contracts. Total contributions to McCain: $2,300.

United Technologies Corporation: On August 28, 1992, the company pleaded guilty to four felony counts and agreed to pay $6 million in penalties for admitting to conspiring to defraud the government by using insider information to bid on two Pentagon contracts. Total contributions to McCain: $5,600.

So while McCain talks tough today about the Boeing tanker deal today, he has looked the other way early in his career when the Reagan and Bush I administrations did not aggressively prosecute military contract fraud under the False Claims Act. In fact in McCain’s first Senate term, the Department of Justice succeeded in pushing Congress to consider weakening the act by prohibiting government employees from bringing cases under it. In about half of the more than 300 False Claims lawsuits filed by citizens since the law was strengthened, the government decided to take no action at all during that timeframe.

In the Pentagon/Justice Department joint undercover sting Operation Ill Wind to crack down on Pentagon fraud, the total penalties of $420 million was less than half the cost of a single B-2 stealth bomber.

Next week in Part II: McCain’s defense fraud connections from the last decade.

 

Link to Original:  http://ruralvotes.com/cms/images/stories/pdfs/mccainfraud2.pdf

 

 

 Hilltown View by Matt L. Barron

John McCain and Defense Fraud: Two Peas in a Pentagon Pod

Part 2

It was fitting that this week; Sen. John McCain took off on the maiden voyage of his new campaign aircraft – a Boeing 737, dubbed the “Plane Talk Express.” Boeing has a lengthy record of taxpayer rip-offs, fines, penalties, restitutions and settlements concerning its misconduct in the area of government defense contracts. The Seattle-based firm has also been a big contributor to McCain over the years from its Boeing PAC. The fuselage of McCain’s plane bears the campaign motto “Reform, Prosperity, Peace.” A more accurate description might be “Status Quo, Hypocrisy, War Monger.”

Between 1998 and 2004, as McCain increased his seniority on the Senate Armed Services Committee, he continued to pocket thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from the largest defense contractors and weapons makers. Despite an occasional call for reining in the rape of the federal treasury by these multinational arms makers, McCain never felt the need to return their donations to his political committee.

Consider these connections to Arizona’s senior senator for the years 1998-2004:

Employees of Northrop Grumman PAC: This giant defense contractor has a long history of fraud and abuse relating to government contracts. In 1997 the company allegedly over billed the government on a Low Rate Initial Production contract for the B-2 bomber. They reached a settlement with the government worth $34.8 million. In 2000 according to a Department of Defense inspector general press release, Northrop Grumman “intentionally overestimated the cost to purchase B-2 bomber instruction and repair manuals from subcontractors.” The company settled with the government for $1.4 million. Since 1990, Northrop Grumman has had 21 instances of misconduct and alleged misconduct and paid $87,876,581 in fines/penalties, restitution and settlements. Total contributions to McCain: $500.

General Electric: According to a 2002 study by the Project on Government Oversight of misconduct by the top 43 government contractors, GE ranked at the top of the list of “repeat offenders,” with 63 instances of actual or alleged misconduct since 1990 resulting in $982,859,555 in fines, judgments and out-of-court settlements. GE’s reported acts included environmental violations, fraud in dealing with the government and consumers, workplace safety violations and employment discrimination. Total contributions to McCain: $7,000.

Honeywell International Inc.: This firm has 25 instances of misconduct resulting in more than $595 million in fines and penalties according to the project on Government Oversight. Total contributions to McCain: $10,000.

Lockheed Martin: The world’s number one military contractor, Lockheed Martin was charged with 30 violations of the Arms Export Control Act and the International Traffic in Arms Regulations in 2000. The violations were regarding the transfer of space launch assistance technologies to China. Lockheed Martin paid a civil penalty of $13 million. Since 1990 the company has had 63 instances of misconduct and alleged misconduct and paid total fines/penalties, restitution and settlements of $231,872,404. Total contributions to McCain: $18,000.

Raytheon Co.: In January 2003, Raytheon, the former parent company of Vertex Aerospace, reached a $4 million settlement with the U.S. attorney’s office in Kansas after Raytheon had improperly billed the pentagon for product liability insurance, the Washington

Post reported. The improper billing occurred between 1988 and 1999, and the company changed its practices in 2000. In February 2003 Raytheon paid one of the largest penalties ever assessed against a US company for export violations. The defense contractor paid $25 million in civil fines to settle federal charges it tried to evade export laws in the attempted sale of sensitive radio technology to Pakistan from 1990 to 1997. The Project on Government Oversight lists Raytheon as having 24 instances of misconduct and alleged misconduct since 1990 and the company paid a total of $128,652,919 in fines/penalties, restitution and settlements. Total contributions to McCain: $5,500.

Science Applications International Corp.: Science Applications International Corp., or SAIC as it is commonly known, is owned by its 40,000 or so employees. It is the country’s largest employee-owned research and engineering company, chalking up revenue of $5.9 billion in 2002. SAIC’s largest customer by far is the U.S. government, which accounts for 69 percent of its business, according to its SEC filings. The company also derives a sizeable chunk of its revenue from state, local and foreign governments.

Since February 2003, SAIC has been in charge of the Iraqi Reconstruction and Development Council, a Pentagon-sanctioned group made up of Iraqis that is effectively functioning as the country’s temporary government. The senior members of IRDC hold positions at each of 23 Iraqi ministries, where they worked closely with U.S. and British officials, including L. Paul Bremer, head of the Coalition Provisional Authority. The Council’s official task is to rebuild the structures of a government that are expected to eventually be handed over to an independent Iraqi authority. Members of the IRDC are officially employed by SAIC. Another Pentagon contract calls for SAIC to, in effect; rebuild Iraq’s mass media, including television stations, radio stations and newspapers. SAIC runs the “Voice of the New Iraq,” the radio station established in April 2003 at Umm Qasr that is funded by the U.S. government. Just how the company is going about the task of rebuilding Iraq’s media and the overall cost remains a mystery, however. The Pentagon has steadfastly refused to release any specific information on SAIC’s media reconstruction work, which has been dubbed the Iraqi Media Network. What little information that has leaked out about the SAIC effort has come mainly from disgruntled employees and press freedom advocates, who have charged the company has bungled the job badly. One report said SAIC had ordered equipment that was incompatible with existing systems in Iraq. SAIC, which appears to have little experience in mass media, was also reported to have been caught flat-footed on programming for the reconstructed network. Its initial solution was to enlist Voice of America, the foreign language broadcasting service of the U.S. government, to patch together a short nightly news show made up entirely of dubbed stories from U.S. television network news shows. There have also been widespread complaints from press freedom organizations about the SAIC effort, including charges of military censorship and cronyism. SAIC has been awarded seven contracts by the Defense Department to provide experts and advisers on development of representative government in Iraq; restore and upgrade the country’s broadcast media; and provide a group of Iraqi expatriates to assist coalition officials working in the country. The value of the contracts, which were obtained by the Center for Public Integrity under the Freedom of Information Act, was blacked out in copies provided by the Defense Department. A Pentagon FOIA officer said keeping the information secret “was an appropriate way to avoid substantial competitive harm to the contractor” and was “due to the sensitive nature of the Iraqi contracts.” SAIC officials referred all media calls to the Pentagon.

In April 2005, SAIC paid $2.5 million to settle allegations that it made false claims and engaged in defective pricing on delivery orders with the Air Force for environmental clean-up at Kelly Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas.

In March 2004, the Pentagon’s inspector general released a report on Iraq humanitarian assistance contracts awarded for Coalitional Provisional Authority. A large portion of the contracts under review were awarded on a sole-source basis to SAIC. The inspector general found irregularities in both the award and administration of the contracts, including instances of improper or unsupported billing and weak oversight. Total contributions to McCain: $4,000.

As Richard Nixon’s Attorney General John Mitchell famously said during the Watergate scandal “Don’t watch what we say, watch what we do.” That statement is appropriate for John McCain’s posturing as a fiscal conservative while he undercuts his own rhetoric by padding his campaign account with PAC checks from those firms who embody all that is wrong with the military-industrial complex.