Archive for March 2, 2009


From the Whistleblower Protection Blog

Link to Original:  http://www.whistleblowersblog.org/2009/02/articles/news-1/in-other-whistleblower-news3-more-important-stories/print.html

 

 

Posted at 9:57 AM on February 6, 2009 by Marshall Chriswell

In Other Whistleblower News…3 More Important Stories

If you haven’t noticed, we have been really focused on passing stronger whistleblower laws in the economic stimulus bill. We had a major success when the bill passed the House of Representatives, and now we are moving on to the Senate. Although this legislation is the major whistleblower story this week, there are a few other stories on our radar, and I just wanted to share them with our readers.


First, and easily the second biggest whistleblower-related news story of the week, is the testimony of Harry Markopoulos, a financial analyst who tried to blow the whistle on Bernie Madoff’s $50 billion fraudulent Ponzi scheme for over a decade. Markopoulos offered stunning testimony before the House Financial Services Committee this week, condemning the SEC for ignoring his reports and mismanaging the investigation. Markopoulos told lawmakers that he “gave them [the SEC] a road map and a flashlight to find the fraud, and they didn’t go where I told them to go.”

Here are some articles detailing his testimony:

CBS NEWS: “Madoff Whistleblower is Finally Heard”
CNN MONEY: “Madoff Whistleblower Blasts SEC”
TIME: “A Madoff Whistleblower Tells His Story”


Now for some good news. Along with the legislative progress being made at the national level, two states are considering statutes to create and/or strengthen whistleblower protections.  This Minnesota Star-Tribune opinion piece explains the how Minnesota (and all states) can benefit from a False Claims Act. Minnesota’s legislature is considering enacting an FCA modeled on the federal law.


North Dakota is also considering strengthening its whistleblower laws after recent retaliation against state employees revealed that the laws are inadequate.


Our last bit of news comes from Texas, where Marilou Morrison, a former employee of the Texas Commission on Human Rights was awarded a jury verdict of nearly $1 million after suffering retaliation for blowing the whistle on racial discrimination in the agency’s hiring practices. The kicker is this: the Texas Commission on Human Rights is the agency that is supposed to enforce laws against discrimination. Ms. Morrison’s attorney Gary Bledsoe summed it up nicely by saying, “The agency that is supposed to enforce civil rights is being hit with basically a million dollar judgment for violating the very statutes they are required to enforce.”


Ok, now that you are up to date on whistleblower news from around the country, keep checking back for more information on the federal employee whistleblower legislation!

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Comments (2) Read through and enter the discussion with the form at the end

Axel – February 6, 2009 11:46 AM

Dear NWC, 2/6/2009

Please note that a previous reply to your Sam Dratch NWC Article that mentioned Mr. Stephen and Michael Kohn and Mr. Colapinto willingness to assist our Legislatures and presumably all other vested Entities and/or Individuals in their efforts within this Whistleblower ‘Oversight and Accountability’ Protection Restoration Enhancement Act was removed after several days from your website.

Please note that you continue to have my support even though I have become more aware of some major discrepancies as from my not previously having more fully read the intended legislation Amendment. Also I have not completely and/or more fully read many parts of this impending Legislation Amendment although I would like to re-mention my previous reply which was

‘Thank you Mr. Stephen and Michael Kohn and Mr. Colapinto and all at the NWC for your continued due diligence, proper and forthright, dedication and perseverance with exemplary Fidelity, Integrity and Bravery in your admirable efforts and endeavors on behalf of all to support our great Country, Nation and democracy within and towards the proper and forthright interpretation(s) to preserve and protect our US Constitution, Bill of Rights and our Declaration and endeavors towards Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness’.

Please note that in my view and opinion ‘ALL CIRCUIT REVIEW’ in our US Courts including in District, Appellate is mandated in proper and forthright interpretation of our US Constitution Bill of Rights and without a 5 year time limit and may not be excluded as in the Platts//Van Hollen revised HR985 Amendment!! As I presume you well know that this ‘ALL CIRCUIT REVIEW’ is absolutely critical and in compliance of our US Constitution Bill of Rights to hope to insure as best as possible a unfettered balance in our US Legal System and a mandated substantial and necessary reduction to conflict of interest concerns.

Also I am saddened to notice that most of these very same US Legislatures as I have previously stated on NWC, GAP and POGO websites as a blog comment reply have instituted the repeal of Glass Stegal, Gramm//Billing etcetra Act and the 2000 Commodity Futures Trading Act. Also, today I was again further saddened to hear that the new CIA Chief has somehow presumptively stated his recommendation to not prosecute for past (and possibly future??) crimes of torture!! A seemingly complete lack of respect and regard to ‘Oversight and Accountability” and our US Justice Department that has seemingly accomplished remarkable accomplishments in the recent past few weeks!! even though I continue to be saddened that the US application implementation of the Death Penalty has not been halted!! Absolutely appalling!!

Obviously there are many other concerns and acknowledgements that I would prefer to mention at this time, although in my efforts to be brief, I will close and wish you the best of good luck and good wishes.

Thank you and all for your time and considration.

Sincerely,
Axel
Axel V. Sabersky

 

Whistleblower Experts Available For Interviews On Oversight Provisions In The Stimulus Bill

 

On January 28, 2009 the U.S. House of Representatives passed a highly controversial amendment to the stimulus bill to include whistleblower protection for federal employees.  Although endorsed by Speaker Nancy Pelosi in her floor speech, this amendment faces opposition in the U.S. Senate.

 

The National Whistleblowers Center is making three experienced whistleblower advocates/attorneys, Stephen M. Kohn, David K. Colapinto, and Michael D. Kohn, are available for interviews to discuss:

 

*    Why whistleblower protections are critical to ensure oversight and accountability in stimulus spending;
*    The conclusions of a PricewaterhouseCoopers international audit of 5400 companies which found that whistleblowers were the single most important source for detecting corporate fraud;
*    Department of Justice findings that whistleblowers were responsible for 67% of all civil fraud recoveries obtained by the United States.

 

 

AVAILABLE FOR INTERVIEWS

 

Stephen M. Kohn is the President of the National Whistleblowers Center and one of the nation’s foremost experts in whistleblower law.  He has written six books on whistleblowing, including the first legal treatise ever published on the subject.  Since 1984, Mr. Kohn has successfully represented whistleblowers in numerous cases high profile cases, such as the O.J. Simpson murder case, the World Trade Center bombing cases, the Oklahoma City bombing case and the Linda Tripp Privacy Act case. For more information on Stephen M. Kohn click here .

 

David K. Colapinto is the General Counsel of the National Whistleblower Center. The co-author of Whistleblower Law: A Guide to Legal Protections for Corporate Employees, Mr. Colapinto is a highly experienced and highly successful litigator who has represented numerous whistleblowers including FBI Dr. Frederic Whitehurst,. Mr. Colapinto is responsible for the lawsuit that forced President Clinton to issue a historic directive granting whistleblower rights to FBI employees.  For information on David K. Colapinto click here.

 

Michael D. Kohn is the General Counsel for the National Whistleblower Center.  He has represented whistleblowers since 1985 in numerous high profile cases, and is currently lead counsel for Bunny Greenhouse, the former top-contracting officer of the Army Corps of Engineers who blew the whistle on an illegal no-bid contract awarded to Halliburton for the Reconstruction of Iraq. Mr. Kohn is the co-author of The Labor Lawyers Guide to the Rights and Responsibilities of Employee Whistleblowers and Whistleblower Law: A Guide to Legal Protections for Corporate Employees.   For more information on Michael D. Kohn click here.

 

 

To view the whistleblower provision in the House stimulus bill click here.

 

To view the Statement of Speaker Pelosi click here.

 

Contractor-Whistleblowers Win Big

 
Victory In Stimulus Bill


Federal Employees Still Denied Coverage

 


Washington, D.C. February 13, 2009.  In the final stimulus package approved by House-Senate conference, Congress approved a critical whistleblower protection amendment introduced by Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO).  The McCaskill amendment corrected major defects in the original Senate Bill, and provides protections for private contractors and state and local government workers who blow the whistle on waste, fraud, and abuse in stimulus spending.

Under the McCaskill Amendment, state and local government workers and private contractors who expose corruption in stimulus spending are fully protected.  If fired in retaliation for exposing wrongdoing they can obtain: reinstatement, back pay and compensatory damages.  They can also present their claims in federal court and seek a jury trial.  The law protects internal whistleblowing to supervisors, and prevents companies from misusing employment agreements to stifle employee disclosures.  A copy of the McCaskill Amendment is attached here.

The House and Senate did not reach agreement to protect federal employee whistleblowers.  Federal employees obtained no protection whatsoever in the Stimulus Bill.

“Congress has started to listen.  The public must redouble its efforts and obtain universal whistleblower protection coverage for all American workers who blow the whistle on any abusive spending or corruption concerning taxpayer dollars.  The law must ensure strict oversight and accountability, starting with protecting all workers who witness fraud and report it to the proper authorities,” said Michael Kohn, General Counsel of the National Whistleblower Center and an attorney for Bunnatine (Bunny) Greenhouse.

Bunny Greenhouse is a former top Army Corps of Engineers contracts manager, and was the only high-level government official who opposed the no-bid multi-billion dollar contract awarded to Halliburton/KBR for the “Reconstruction of Iraq.”  Greenhouse’s opposition to that contract was fully vindicated.  This month Halliburton/KBR agreed to pay over $500 million dollars after admitting to bribing officials in Iraq.

Greenhouse had issued a strong public statement endorsing both the McCaskill Amendment and the Platts-Van Hollen Amendment (covering federal employees).  Today, she has issued another appeal urging Congress to act quickly to fix the loophole in coverage and enact full coverage for federal employees.

McCaskill Amendment link

Greenhouse Letter Link

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact:  Danielle Brian , 202-347-1122 or Marthena Cowart , 202-347-3958

 

 

 

 

Accountability got mugged today when congressional leaders stripped federal whistleblower protections from their compromise “stimulus” bill.

 

There were, however, a couple of bright spots with improved language for the government database which will better track the flow of stimulus funds to the state and local level.  In addition, POGO was cheered by the news that the management-challenged nuclear weapons complex lost out on the billion dollar blank check the Senate had been offering. 

 

Much work remains to be done before the big bucks go out the door.  POGO will keep fighting to get federal whistleblowers the protections they need when they disclose the inevitable waste and fraud they will be witnessing.

 

 

 

Founded in 1981, 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.

 

What a mess.  I do not know anything more about this than is stated in this article.  But I must say, it is not with out precedence that someone who speaks out finds that in retaliation their employer tries to impugn their character and destroy their reputation.   Whistleblowers  in some situations, have been set up by their employers.  Even if found innocent of those accusations, there are usually continuing damages to the employee.  -GFS

 

January 30, 2009

Editorial

Workers Who Speak Out

The Supreme Court issued a strong ruling this week in favor of employees who are retaliated against for complaining about being harassed. The justices unanimously sided with a woman who was fired after answering questions in her company’s investigation of a sexual harassment claim. The ruling should give more employees the courage to speak up when they see civil rights laws being broken in their workplaces.

Vicky Crawford, who worked for the Nashville school system, was questioned by her employer as part of an internal investigation of the system’s employee relations director. Ms. Crawford told an investigator of several instances of sexually harassing conduct.

At the end of the inquiry, the employee relations director kept his job. Ms. Crawford was fired for embezzlement, although the charges against her were not pursued. She sued, charging that her firing was retaliatory.

The school system argued that Ms. Crawford was not covered by the anti-retaliation provision of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 because she did not file the complaint against the employee relations director. She simply answered questions that were put to her. Ms. Crawford insisted that her participation in the internal investigation was enough to win her protection.

The Supreme Court has taken a hard line on retaliation against workers who complain of civil rights violations. In 2006, it ruled 9-to-0 in favor of a woman who was transferred to less desirable duties after complaining of sexual harassment. The justices overturned a standard many courts had used that made it almost impossible for workers to win a retaliation case unless they were fired.

This week, the court went further, ruling that even employees who merely answer questions as part of an internal investigation are protected against retaliation. Justice David Souter, in an opinion joined by six of his colleagues, noted that Title VII protects workers who have “opposed any practice” that the act makes illegal. By answering her employer’s questions as she did, Justice Souter said, Ms. Crawford had opposed sexual harassment, and was therefore covered by the law.

If workers had to worry about retaliation, civil rights laws would lose much of their force. The Supreme Court, in its second major ruling on retaliation in three years, has made clear that if employers are going to punish anyone, it must be the employees who break the law — not the ones who speak out against them.

 

The Fight for Whistleblower Protections is Making Headlines — Thanks to All Supporters!!!

Posted on February 18, 2009 by Marshall Chriswell

Link to Original:  http://www.whistleblowersblog.org/2009/02/articles/whistleblowers-government-empl/the-fight-for-whistleblower-protections-is-making-headlines-thanks-to-all-supporters/index.html

 

As you know, we have been waging an intense campaign for new whistleblower protection laws. We have experienced recent victories and setbacks. And now, prominent whistleblowers like Bunny Greenhouse are calling us all to action. Throughout this campaign, our staff has been incredibly impressed with the level of support shown by our blog readers, facebook users, and all other online grassroots supporters. We have sent thousands of letters to Congress and we are achieving real change!!! 

This groundswell of support is driving a national conversation about whistleblower rights, which is evidenced by the fact that the national news media is paying very close attention to these recent developments. Just today, there are two stories in the Washington Post detailing the struggle for whistleblower protections for federal employees, and especially national security whistleblowers. See the links below for the articles.

 

“Advocates Determined to See Whistleblower Protections Pass”

“Obama, Gates at Odds Over New Whistleblower Protections”

Tags: Bunny Greenhouse, Government Whistleblowers, National Security, congress, national security whistleblowers, washington post, whistleblower laws, whistleblower protections

 

 

Update From Bunny Greenhouse:

Fight For Whistleblower Protection Continues!

 

 

Dear Friends,

As you may have heard, whistleblower protection for federal employees was stripped from the final version of the stimulus bill during closed-door meetings.  Like you, I was distraught that Congress missed this historic opportunity, but then I realized we have taken a giant step forward in the fight to obtain whistleblower protection for all federal employees.

The House of Representative strongly backed the whistleblower amendment. We now know where the problem lies.  We know where we need to focus our efforts.  As a nation, we must educate our friends on the Senate Committee on Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs.  We need to explain why all federal employees must have access to federal court and a jury trial.

Even though the amendment was not included in the final stimulus bill, the progress we made was worth the effort.   Strong protections for private sector and state and local officials did make it into the law.  That’s a major partial victory.   

We can’t lose this momentum!  We can achieve protection for all whistleblowers – including federal employees.  

We need to continue to use our collective voice to achieve true oversight and accountability. We know the only way to accomplish this is to reach out to Americans at the grassroots level.  Those of you from Louisiana to Maine, who have supported me, and other whistleblowers like me, must come together to spread the word.  

We need accountability and oversight!  We need to protect the taxpayers from waste, fraud and abuse!  We need to detect those who commit fraud and bring them to justice!  We need to protect every federal employee who has the courage to challenge favoritism and corruption in federal contracting!

We are so close!  We know that a majority of Senators would support strong whistleblower protections if they were allowed to vote on it.  We need to get it to a vote! This is the closest we have come to full whistleblower protections for federal employees in over 30 years and we cannot let one set back slow us down.  My faith in the power of the American people to stand united and demand that their leaders “do the right thing,” despite overwhelming pressure from special interests, is unyielding.

The hardworking people at the National Whistleblowers Center have put together a new petition addressed at the Senate committee that needs to take immediate action to protect federal employees.  I know many of you signed the earlier petition, but I ask you to sign this new petition now and then pass it on to your friends and family.  

The outpouring of love and support that I have received from all across America has given me encouragement through the tough times in my life and has made all my sacrifices worthwhile. I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for all that you have done.

Thanks again for all that you will do!

THE FIGHT FOR JUSTICE MUST GO ON!

 

 

Very truly yours,

 

 

 

Bunnatine H. Greenhouse
Former Procurement Executive
Army Corps of Engineers

 

 

 

 

Former Federal Procurement Exec Highlights Need for
Whistleblower Protection in Stimulus Bill

 

Washington, D.C. February 9, 2009.  Bunnatine (“Bunny”) H. Greenhouse, the highest ranking procurement official to oppose the no-bid, cost plus contracts to Halliburton for the  reconstruction of Iraq, weighed in on the need for Congress to include real whistlebower protections as part of the stimulus-bailout bill (read her letter).

Ms. Greenhouse explained why strong whistleblower protection is essential to the stimulus bill: “Those who should have protested [awarding the Halliburton] contract remained silent.  And their silence is not surprising because, as federal employees, we have no meaningful whistleblower protection!   We can be fired for reporting fraud.  We can lose our careers simply for doing our job and trying to protect the taxpayer.”

After blowing the whistle on the government’s failure to properly award multi-billion dollar no-bid contracts as the Iraq war was about to start, Ms. Greenhouse was removed from her position.  Under existing law, she has no right to a jury trial and is barred from bring her whistleblower claims before a federal court.   The Platts-Van Hollen amendment to the stimulus bill (Section IV of H.R. 1) corrects these legal deficiencies and would provide whistleblower rights to federal employees who object to “waste, fraud and abuse” in federal contracting.  

Ms. Greenhouse, the former top civilian contracting official for the Army Corps of Engineers, stated, “The bottom line is that without access to independent courts, real judges and juries, whistleblowers don’t stand a chance, and fairness and transparency will not see the light day.”   She is asking fellow Americans to contact their elected representatives and demand strong and effective whistleblower protections for federal workers in order to ensure that fraud in stimulus spending can be detected.

Recently the distinguished auditing firm, PricewaterhouseCoopers, concluded that strong whistleblower protection is critical to halting financial fraud.  “Respected corporate auditors have recognized that insider disclosure is critical to ferreting out fraud. The weaker the protections, the greater the fraud. Federal employees have the worst whistleblower protection imaginable and unless stronger whistleblower protections are included in the stimulus bill an awful lot of federal tax payer dollars will be flushed down the toilet,” said Michael D. Kohn, General Counsel National Whistleblowers Center and Bunny Greenhouse’s attorney.

Greenhouse’s case received widespread national and international attention because she was the first and high-ranking government official to publicly expose problems with the Bush Administration’s Iraq war-contracting practices.  When the Rumsfeld Defense Department stripped her of all contracting duties, major Congressional leaders protested, including former Congressman Rahm Emanuel and Chairman of the Democratic Policy Committee Senator Byron Dorgan.

In a 2008 book, the PBS produces for the respected TV show “NOW” described Greenhouse as a “cogent whistleblower” who “believes that good government requires a certain amount of transparency, and that corruption is best deterred by accountability.”

The Greenhouse Letter
Spotlight on Bunny Greenhouse
Washington Post Feature on Greenhouse

 

Considering all of the problems that have been allowed to continue to due the Deferred Prosecution Agreements, I read were personally written and encouraged by this individual, I have grave doubts about his ability to do what is necessary to clean up the corruption.  -GFS

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Senate Confirms Holder as First African-American Attorney General

»

by: Carrie Johnson, The Washington Post

 


US Attorney General Eric Holder. (Photo: Getty Images)

    The Senate this evening confirmed Eric H. Holder Jr. as the nation’s first African American Attorney General in a vote of 75 to 21, opening a new chapter for a Justice Department that had suffered under allegations of improper political influence and controversial policy decisions on wiretapping and harsh interrogation practices.

    Holder, 58, will arrive at the Justice Department headquarters in Washington tomorrow for a swearing in ceremony and to greet some of the department’s 110,000 employees.

    “The need for new leadership at the Department of Justice is as critical today as it’s ever been,” said Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.), the Judiciary Committee chairman, on the Senate floor this afternoon. “This confirmation is going to do a great deal to restore the morale and the purpose throughout the department.”

    The Senate vote occurred four days after Holder overcame concerns by a small but vocal group of GOP lawmakers over his position on national security and gun rights, as well as his recommendations in two controversial Clinton clemency decisions. After delaying consideration of the nomination for a week, the Judiciary panel ultimately voted 17 to 2 Thursday to advance Holder’s bid to serve as the country’s chief law enforcement officer.

    Holder’s advocates marshaled critical support from a broad base of federal and state law enforcement groups as well as a bipartisan coalition of former Justice Department leaders, including onetime deputy attorney general James B. Comey, FBI director Louis Freeh and Bush national security adviser Frances Fragos Townsend.

    By all accounts, Holder is among the most credentialed lawyers ever to become Attorney General. He began his career as a public corruption prosecutor before serving as U.S. Attorney in the District and as a Superior Court judge. Holder later operated as second in command at the Justice Department during the later years of the Clinton Administration.

    But his service in the Clinton years invited criticism from GOP lawmakers, who also questioned his approach to hot button terrorism policies.

    At a grueling, seven-hour hearing last month, flanked by his wife and three young children, Holder labeled the simulated drowning technique called waterboarding “torture” and vowed to make national security his top priority.

    Holder also said that he would look askance at efforts to “criminalize policy differences” but did not conclusively rule out prosecution of Bush Administration officials for their involvement in detainee questioning and warrantless surveillance operations. That issue emerged as a pivot point for conservatives such as Sen. John Cornyn (Tx.) who today voted in opposition to Holder.

    Government officials “need to know the law is not going to change….I worry about Mr. Holder’s shifting opinions, and about the effect it will have on intelligence officials,” Cornyn said.

    Another “nay” vote came from Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Ok.). On the Senate floor this afternoon, Coburn concluded that Holder’s recommendation of “neutral leaning toward favorable” in the last minute 2001 pardon of fugitive financier Marc Rich “should disqualify him from higher office.”

    “I believe in summary that independence is lacking, judgment is lacking and candor is lacking,” Coburn said.

    A significant number of Republicans disagreed and supported Holder, along with an overwhelming majority of Democrats who cast all of their votes with Holder today. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (Ca.) said this afternoon that she “had never seen a more qualified nominee….I don’t think you can beat these credentials.”

    From day one Holder will have a full plate of work.

    President Barack Obama already has put the Attorney General in charge of a government-wide task force deliberating where to send nearly 250 terrorism suspects detained at the U.S. military base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Obama last month instructed officials to close the prison within one year. In another change from the Bush administration, lawyers said, the Attorney General will have a permanent formal role on the National Security Council.

    Holder also will play a critical role in developing new legal guidelines for interrogation practices and in deciding whether the Obama administration will adopt broad claims of executive power in court cases over warrantless eavesdropping and the firings of nine prosecutors during the Bush years.

    Holder last month vowed to revitalize the department’s troubled civil rights division, which is supposed to enforce voting and employment laws for minorities. Morale at the unit plunged during the Bush years and the Justice Department Inspector General in January issued a report detailing hiring abuses and racial epithets that proliferated among some former officials there.

    Holder’s late sister in law, Vivian Malone Jones, worked for a time at the civil rights division four decades ago, after she graduated from the University of Alabama, where she faced down vicious and sometimes violent crowds as one of two black students to integrate the school.

    He also may spend significant time and energy pushing back against calls from liberal Democrats who want a reckoning for what they perceive as Bush era legal abuses. Holder has charted a middle path on many of those issues, including a pledge to honor legal immunity for telephone companies that helped the government conduct electronic surveillance and support for several provisions of the U.S.A. Patriot Act, which is set to expire later this year.

 

Personal Letter From Bunny Greenhouse


Please Urge Your Senators To Support Taxpayers!

 

 

Dear Action Alert Member:

 

My name is Bunny Greenhouse.  I am the former Procurement Executive and highest-ranking Army Corps of Engineers civilian procurement official.  

Today I am asking you to contact your Senators and Representativesto demand, in the strongest possible terms, that employees who disclose fraud in federal contracting are fully and properly protected in the 800 billion dollar stimulus package that Congress is currently debating.  Here’s why. 

Shortly before the Iraq War commenced, I blew the whistle on the award of a multi-billion dollar, no-bid, cost plus contract to Halliburton/KBR for the “Reconstruction of Iraq.”

I was concerned that improper contracting activity would cost the taxpayers billions – and it did.  The contact should not have been awarded.   But Vice President Cheney was the former President of Halliburton, and from an inside prospective it appeared to me that the fix was in.  

Those who should have protested the contract remained silent.  And their silence is not surprising because, as federal employees, we have no meaningful whistleblower protection!   We can be fired for reporting fraud.  We can lose our careers simply for doing our job and trying to protect the taxpayer.  

I know this is true.  It happened to me.  The top brass demanded that I drop my protests.  I refused.   The top brass – many of whom had longstanding relations with government contractors – slammed me.  

I was thrown out of my job and removed from anything having to do with contract oversight.  When I went to federal court to demand protection as a whistleblower the judge dismissed my case because as a federal employee I had no protection. 

The bottom line is that without access to independent courts, real judges and juries, whistleblowers don’t stand a chance. 

Only Congress can fix this. The House of Representatives has already acted decisively by adding H.R. 985 to the stimulus bill, by a unanimous voice vote (now called H.R. 1, Section IV).   President Obama’s presidential campaign is on record as supporting the same whistleblower protections now found in House version of the stimulus bill.  

So, the buck stops with the Senate.  I urge you to contact your Senators and let them know that whistleblower protection is an important part of the stimulus package.  I urge you to contact your Representatives and tell them to hold strong — and refuse to cut whistleblower protections from the Bill.  Federal employees, like me, who risk their careers to protect taxpayer money need to be protected.

Please act now!  Pass this letter to your friends!  Pass this letter to your co-workers!  Pass this letter to your family!  Send a letter to your Senator Now! 

Billions of taxpayer dollars are at stake and it is up to the Senate to do the right thing.


Very truly yours,

 

Bunnatine H. Greenhouse

Former Procurement Executive
Army Corps of Engineers

 

NRC:  Pa. Nuclear Plant Workers Fear Retaliation

Link to Original:


http://www.forbes. com/feeds/ ap/2009/01/ 28/ap5978740. html?partner= email

 

This is the same problem Boeing and a number of other defense contractors had going on as well as some other issues I have read about regarding their “security” of their computer files and other materials. It seems to me that some of the defense contractors just don’t value putting the resources into adequate computer security. -GFS

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Report: Obama helicopter security breached Pa. company says blueprints for Marine One found at Iran IP address NBC News and msnbc.com February 28, 2009 A company that monitors peer-to-peer file-sharing networks has discovered a potentially serious security breach involving President Barack Obama’s helicopter, NBC affiliate WPXI in Pittsburgh reported Saturday. Employees of Tiversa, a Cranberry Township, Pa.-based security company that specializes in peer-to-peer technology, reportedly found engineering and communications information about Marine One at an IP address in Tehran, Iran. Bob Boback, CEO of Tiversa, told WPXI-TV: “We found a file containing entire blueprints and avionics package for Marine One, which is the president’s helicopter.” The company was able to trace the file back to its original source. “What appears to be a defense contractor in Bethesda, Md., had a file-sharing program on one of their systems that also contained highly sensitive blueprints for Marine One,” Boback said. Tiversa also found sensitive financial information about the cost of the helicopter on that same computer, WPXI-TV reported. Someone from the company most likely downloaded a file-sharing program, typically used to exchange music, not realizing the potential problems, Boback said. “When downloading one of these file-sharing programs, you are effectively allowing others around the world to access your hard drive,” Boback said. Retired Gen. Wesley Clark, an adviser to Tiversa, said the company discovered exactly which computer the information came from. “I’m sure that person is embarrassed and may even lose their job, but we know where it came from and we know where it went.” Boback said the government was notified immediately. Iran is not the only country that appears to be accessing this type of information through file-sharing programs, Boback told the station. “We’ve noticed it out of Pakistan, Yemen, Qatar and China. They are actively searching for information that is disclosed in this fashion because it is a great source of intelligence,” Boback said. Clark told WPXI that he doesn’t know how sensitive this information is, but he said other military information has been found on the Internet in the past and should be monitored more closely. Rep. Jason Altmire, D-Pa., said he would ask Congress to investigate how to prevent this from happening again.