Archive for May, 2009


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US Army Paid Bonuses to KBR Despite Questions

Wednesday 20 May 2009

by: Thomas Ferraro  |  Visit article original @ Reuters
Pfc. Justin Shults displays his burn wounds. Shults was electrocuted in a shower facility in Iraq, and is now suing KBR. (Photo: AP)

    Washington – The U.S. Army paid “tens of millions of dollars in bonuses” to KBR Inc, its biggest contractor in Iraq, even after it concluded the firm’s electrical work had put U.S. soldiers at risk, according to a source close to a U.S. congressional investigation.

    The Senate Democratic Policy Committee plans to hold a hearing on Wednesday to examine KBR’s operations in Iraq, and question why the Army rewarded the Houston-based company.

    The panel says KBR has been linked to at least two, and as many as five, electrocution deaths of U.S. soldiers and contractors in Iraq due to “shoddy work.”

    Investigators believe hundreds of other soldiers may have received electrical shocks, the source added. The Army is investigating.

    The company denies responsibility for any of the electrocutions, saying it is proud of its work and that its employees make great sacrifices to get the job done.

    KBR was part of Halliburton Co until two years ago. Former Vice President Dick Cheney served as Halliburton’s chief executive from 1995 to 2000, when he became George Bush’s running mate.

    During the Bush administration, some critics claimed Cheney’s deferred compensation from the company represented a conflict of interest and questioned Halliburton’s winning of lucrative government contracts in Iraq.

    Military reports have criticized KBR’s work in Iraq in recent years. Yet afterward, the company received “tens of millions of dollars in bonuses,” said the source, who declined to be identified.

    “We want to know why,” the source said.

    The military was invited to send a witness to testify at Wednesday’s hearing, but the committee agreed to let it submit a written statement instead, the source said. Witnesses who are expected to attend include a former KBR electrician.

    On Tuesday, the Army had no immediate comment when asked about the bonuses.

    Threat of Fire

    A September 30, 2008, letter to KBR from an officer in the Defense Department’s Defense Contract Management Agency had harsh words for the company.

    “We cannot overemphasize the significance of the lack of sustained electrical support services being provided by KBR in Iraq to maintain the minimum life, health and safety standards in support of our warfighters,” wrote Captain David Graff, an agency commander.

    A February 2007 report by the agency also raised concerns about KBR and its subcontractors in Iraq — while acknowledging the difficulty of working in a war environment.

    “Primary safety threat, theater wide, is fire due to the inferior 220 electrical fixtures found throughout Iraq,” it said. “Improper installation, substandard equipment purchases (such as light fixtures) and heavy usage appears to be the three primary causes of these fires.”

    U.S. lawmakers have raised concerns about the U.S. military’s increased use of private contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan and have said KBR and other companies should be held accountable.

    KBR spokeswoman Heather Browne said, “KBR remains proud of the work it performs in Iraq.”

    “We remain committed to engaging in a transparent and more importantly, a fact-based dialogue on this issue while pledging continued full cooperation and support to the military.”

    The Senate Democratic Policy Committee is the research arm of the Senate Democratic leadership and often conducts investigations of its own.

    ———–

    (Editing by Cynthia Osterman)

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The Last Inspector, Boeing Whistleblower, Gerald Eastman, on Boeing Arms Export Control Violations and Continuing Problems at the Boeing Company. 

 

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Updated!–A Short Period of Time Passes, and Yet More Boeing Management Arms Export Control Violations Come to Light 

Wednesday, May 20, 2009, 01:44 PM
Posted by Administrator

Read the documents at the links below to find out the “latest” violations by Boeing management of the laws meant to protect our national security.

The State Department Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC) feels that Boeing has a “serious, systemic, and longstanding” problem with export violations. They are, of course, right on the mark about that.

Of course, the sanctions implemented for these violations will not deter further violations by Boeing management. Boeing management has demonstrated that even a 615 million dollar fine will not result in reform of itself and real, effective “compliance” processes, so the 3 million dollar fine for these violations will be orders of magnitude less effective at getting Boeing management to begin to fully comply with our most important laws to our national security.

The 3 million dollar fine is equivalent to a person making 60,000 dollars a year being fined one dollar in each of the next three years for serious violations of the laws meant to protect our national security. Would such a fine make such a hypothetical person do anything differently than they had done before? No? That certainly is the most obvious answer. That may explain why the equivalent $15 fine for the last egregious violations by Boeing of ITAR laws were not effective as well.

Sanctions for such serious lawbreaking imperiling the security of our nation would be much more effective if the “veil” the company places over violations is pierced by government officials and individual Boeing employees charged with crimes in addition to sanctions against the company itself. Of course, even such sanctions against complicit Boeing employees would have to be heavily policed to ensure Boeing did not pay any fines brought against individual employees. When I was in Flight Test QA I heard it bandied about that a Boeing pilot had been fined $30,000 for violating FAA regulations, but that Boeing had paid the fine for them. Of course, Boeing paying such a fine would have much less deterrent effect on the pilot than if Boeing hadn’t paid it for them.

In one of stories I was the source of about the unauthorized transfer of B-2 technology by Boeing to their Commercial programs, one employee is documented as fearing indictment if they wrongly certified the 787 was free of ITAR data. Boeing also unfortunately stepped in in that case as well and said they would take the blame instead if their certification was proven wrong, thereby short circuiting what was a healthy fear (for compliance) by the employee of the personal consequences of their actions. Obviously, for compliance sake, what is needed is for the consequences of violations of these important laws to reach the individual employees and lawyers responsible for breaking them, not just for Boeing to make them simply another cost of doing business.

Reading the below documents is also a bit concerning for another reason. Like many such agreements with Boeing, one person holds all the cards as to whether Boeing is deemed to hold to the agreement or not.

Laws meant to protect national security are much too important to give one person such an important responsibility. It would be too easy for Boeing management to perform a “Druyun arrangement” with such a person, even if that person had not before succumbed to such an offer. Any such agreements should ensure that no such conceivable fraud (especially considering Boeing’s documented history in this regard) by the company could endanger its viability at acheiving its goal–real compliance with the law.

The past agreements with Boeing as part of its management’s habitual lawbreaking (only a small part of which Boeing has been held accountable for in any way) all seem to have been victim to putting the judgment of compliance into many too few hands.

In the case of these violations, Boeing gets to hire their own auditor, as long as the choice is acceptable to that one official.

Boeing’s internal “compliance” processes implemented as C/A for the few past frauds they were caught at have proven ineffective, to say the least. A new suit by a whistleblower I will post about later shows just how badly compromised Boeing Ethics and the Boeing Office of Internal Governance tasked with these “compliance” processes are. Read this blog and www.thelastinspector.com for further evidence of these effectively fraudulent compliance measures instituted as a result of Boeing’s frauds.

Like the proverbial “horse and water” analogy, you can lead corrupt Boeing management toward compliance, however you cannot make them imbibe of it. For that to happen, you need to change out the corrupt management itself. Just a few sacrificial lambs’ heads rolling at the top as happened in the distant past will not suffice.

When it comes to lawbreaking, much of current Boeing management are just like junkies—no amount of fines will get them to quit “shooting up” on such lawbreaking that so easily maximizes the bottom line without the much harder work or real compliance and competence at doing their jobs. Their doing prison sentences would obviously be more effective, especially if managers of competence and integrity immediately were put in their vacated positions.

When will Boeing management stop taking shortcuts by violating laws and regulations in order to meet bottom line and personal stock option value goals?

Your guess is as good as mine.

But one thing is for sure—Boeing management will not undertake such minimally required reforms unless they are forced to do so by other means than mere fines that don’t come out of their own pocketbooks.

http://www.pmddtc.state.gov/compliance/ … mpany.html

BoeingDDTCChargingLetter06092008.pdf
BoeingDDTCConsentAgreement06092008.pdf
BoeingDDTCOrder06172008.pdf

 

From The Last Inspector, Boeing Whistleblower, Gerald Eastman

 

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My Letter to the Last Tanker Procurement Team Posted–Sadly, Nothing has Changed in Boeing Management Since Then 

Tuesday, May 19, 2009, 12:11 PM
Posted by Administrator

As no reforms in Boeing management have taken place since this letter, please use it as a model for your letters to the next procurement team and your Congressional politicians. Just substitute your own experiences with Boeing management fraud for mine. The taxpayer as well as the warfighter need to be protected from such Boeing management continuing Druyun/Sears-esque fraud. Note that I advocate for a Boeing selection despite corrupt Boeing management. I feel the extra expenses to guard against Boeing management fraud are outweighed by the necessity of this program to Boeing employees and our wider industrial base. This letter was previously posted at www.thelastinspector.com

Here is an important story yesterday in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer that explains in part the corruption detailed in the letter below–the first Boeing tanker procurement scandal was never adequately investigated–no adequate investigation, no adequate reforms.

http://blog.seattlepi.com/aerospace/archives/168964.asp

February 25th, 2008

The Honorable Sue C. Payton
Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition
1060 Air Force Pentagon, Room 4E964, AF/AQ
Washington, DC 20330-1060

Dear Assistant Secretary Payton:

This urgent letter is to inform you of matters that I have witnessed that I believe should strongly bear upon how you should go about structuring the KC-X contract and how you perform contract negotiations should The Boeing Company be selected over the Airbus/Northrop team as supplier of the KC-X Aerial Refueling Aircraft.

First, I want to make my motivations in giving you this crucial information clear: I am not trying in any way to influence you to select the Airbus/Northrop proposal for the KC-X instead of the Boeing offer. Instead, quite the opposite is true, although that is not related to this letter other than as background information. I do hope you ultimately select the Boeing RFP even considering the corruption I detail below that I witnessed that is still entrenched deeply within Boeing management following the former tanker contract debacle and other Boeing ethical and legal lapses that have been aired publicly for several years now.

My opinion as a loyal former Boeing employee and U.S. citizen that can trace my roots in this country to eighteen years after the Plymouth Colony was settled and some 138 years before our country was founded is that it is essential for the economy of our country, the preservation of aerospace manufacturing jobs in this country, and therefore the preservation of military aircraft production capacity within the United States, that Boeing is ultimately selected as the winner of the competition for the KC-X contract.

That said, I can now get to the essential crux of this letter, which is how best you and your KC-X procurement team can structure a contract should, as I hope, Boeing wins the competition, in order to protect the Air Force, Air Force personnel who will fly on and use these tanker aircraft, and the American taxpayer from the consequences of the fraud still ongoing within management at Boeing today several years after Boeing’s much self-publicized “ethics reforms.”

As a former Boeing Quality Assurance Inspector until just over a year and a half ago, when I was terminated per the direction of the highest management levels at the company for collecting information in order to bring this continuing fraud in Boeing management to light, I witnessed this management fraud in Boeing Commercial Airplanes Quality Assurance on a daily basis. Knowing not only the lives of the public were being intentionally placed at higher risk by corrupt Boeing management because of this fraud, but the lives of our brave military personnel were placed at much higher risk illegally, as well, to maximize Boeing’s bottom line, I knew I had to act to stop this brazen fraud before more lives of the public and our military that fly on Boeing Commercial Airplane platforms were inevitably lost, so I reported this rampant fraud in QA throughout BCA to the FAA in early 2002, well before the former tanker contract debacle.

By the way, this letter is in no way related to Boeing Corporate Headquarter’s retaliation against me as noted above. I knew the day I decided to try to bring Boeing’s illegal actions I witnessed to justice that I would be ultimately removed from my job by Boeing as retaliation for attempting to bring Boeing management’s fraudulent actions to an end as I knew Boeing management’s corrupt modus operandi almost better that they knew it themselves at that point, when Boeing’s “win at any cost” “ethic” was in full swing, as it had not been publicized yet.

The fraud that I witnessed and reported to the FAA in early 2002 is a fraud that sadly continues to this day, due to a relationship with the arm of the FAA that I reported it to that mirrors to some extent the bias that was unfortunately shown by a few former officials in the Air Force before those officials were removed from their posts following the reforms instituted after the 2003 tanker procurement scandal. While the Air Force, under your new leadership team’s hard work and integrity, is totally reformed now and is up to the task in performing your duties with the utmost integrity for the benefit of the taxpayer and our military you represent, the same cannot be said of the FAA and Boeing management involved in the continuing fraud I witnessed. And it is this continuing fraud that, if not noted and addressed by your team as it relates to the KC-X program, poses a grave threat to military personnel who fly on or use the services of the KC-X tanker, and an unreasonable danger to the wise use of American taxpayers’ dollars. Possible challenges to the hard won reputation of the procurement agency for the program also exist if this ongoing corruption at Boeing and the FAA is not properly addressed before a contract is signed, and is not properly mitigated during the life of the program.

The fraud I witnessed on a daily basis at Boeing is something you have likely heard of. While my coworkers and I referred to it as “rollerstamping,” this fraud does have other names in the industry, such as “hot stamping,” or perhaps its most apt description: Product Substitution.

As you well know, the safety, quality, and reliability of military as well as commercial airplane platforms that are produced must be ensured by strict adherence to inspection, testing, and other quality assurance processes. Without such processes, no matter how well intentioned the people are that do the actual construction of those aircraft and their many component parts, inevitably faulty and/or incomplete aircraft will be produced because all humans by nature make mistakes, especially on fast paced and complex tasks requiring high levels of skill, such as in aircraft manufacturing.

That basic fact is acknowledged in the modern regulations and implementing and necessarily mandatory quality assurance procedures that have been put in place over the years to ensure the safety, quality, and reliability of military and commercial aircraft is ensured, and is ensured to the high level required.

However, to Boeing and FAA management, those critical regulations and implementing procedures are only guidelines, if that.

At Boeing, inspectors are expected by management to “look the other way” rather than actually do their critical jobs of ensuring the safety and conformity of Boeing aircraft, and FAA Aviation Safety Inspectors are also similarly expected by their management to “look the other way” from their duties to enforce the FAA regulations at Boeing and to ensure Boeing is adhering to their FAA required quality system.

Is this corruption just speculation? Hardly. I, as well as many others, witnessed it, and I in fact proved it during my dealings with top Boeing and FAA management in my thusfar futile efforts to end this endemic and symbiotic Boeing/FAA fraud.

My reports of this fraud at Boeing to Boeing and FAA management did not have the desired result of reform so inspectors like me could begin to do their critical jobs without the inevitable harassment and retaliation for doing so. The FAA and Boeing chose to cover up and protect this fraud rather than investigate and end it. My refusal to ignore FAA foot dragging on investigating my report did result in corrupt FAA management having to document a few of my many reported Boeing noncompliances so as to be able to say they did an investigation, so they unwillingly corroborated several systemic noncompliances I reported. However, the major and most serious by far noncompliances the “investigation” of my report by Boeing and the FAA uncovered was in proving that the many noncompliances I reported were not just a result of low level Boeing management corruption—they were instead a result of corruption at the highest levels of FAA and Boeing management—a true “working together” corrupt relationship to ensure Boeing did not have to abide by what they saw as too expensive to comply with mandatory quality and safety ensuring regulations and procedures. What Boeing management got out of this corruption is clear as most of their compensation is tied to bottom line driven stock option prices. What the corrupt FAA management involved got out of ensuring Boeing could break regulations, in opposition to their mandated duties, other than “quid pro quo” well paying jobs at Boeing and organizations funded by Boeing is less clear, but time will tell.

Since you are busy, I will spare you the details in this letter as this letter is to only warn you of this fraud so you can take measures to protect the taxpayer and warfighter from it before it is too late to do so. The details of this fraud are on my website, www.thelastinspector.com . I strongly suggest you visit the site to find out the corroborating and disturbing details of this corrupt FAA/Boeing relationship.

As you are intimately aware of the inner workings of the aviation industry as I am, it should not surprise you then that the ethics reforms Boeing said it undertook after the first tanker contract and the Lockheed RFP data theft debacles did not “take,” and Boeing management still relies on unethical and illegal activities to enhance its bottom line. Even unethical and illegal activities that obviously place many citizen and military lives at risk.

Although Boeing has apparently been very careful to not use such unethical and illegal habits in the current tanker RFP until the contract is sewn up, that has not prevented it from engaging is such misconduct in other areas of its business—especially “safe” areas to do so, such as internally in making quality and safety assurance at Boeing one of the most corrupt organizations within Boeing, and in long fostered corrupt relationships with FAA management. The Boeing Legal department is another area where the illegal is tolerated, if not fostered. They were they department of Boeing tasked with covering up rather than ending the Boeing management corruption I reported to them on two occasions. It is no accident an internal Boeing system used by Boeing Legal is called the “elegal” system, and that one of Boeing Legal’s top attorney’s mantra was “you gotta do what you gotta do.” Rather than end the corruption I reported to them, the same Boeing Legal attorney assigned to “investigate” my report was also assigned to personally ensure I was arrested and charged with a crime for collecting data for my continuing efforts to end the noted Boeing/FAA corruption.

However this letter is not about what Boeing has done to me. It is solely to protect the taxpayer from being defrauded by Boeing as it defrauds its current customers via the ongoing product substitution abetted by corrupt management personnel in the FAA, as well as to ensure such fraud is not allowed unwittingly by your organization to place military personnel’s lives at extra risk by your organization not being informed of it.

I have read disturbing articles about the still unreformed FAA being allowed to certify 767 tankers for Japan and Italy. Such certifications are next to meaningless in the current era of FAA management corruption. This is a key area that will have to be changed should Boeing be awarded the contract.

If FAA personnel have to be used on the tanker program in any way, DCMA Quality Assurance personnel must closely supervise FAA personnel to ensure they are actually doing their critical jobs rather than mostly pretending to do them. They must perform independent audits of Boeing quality assurance as well as FAA inspections and certification work with ending and preventing the fraud reported in this letter and on my website in mind during the program. Such heightened oversight activities by the DCMA must be allowed in the contract.

Boeing will likely pursue language that FAA and FAA delegated Boeing personnel do as much of the inspection and certification work as possible in the contract. After this letter, the motivations of such language should be much more transparent. Language must be inserted in the contract to give the DCMA the authority, headcount, and budget with which to perform the much increased oversight functions that will prevent FAA/Boeing fraud on the program from being used to pump up Boeing’s profits from the program via the noted product substitution currently enabled by “quality assurance” at Boeing and the reduced certification costs lack of real FAA oversight provides.

Such real oversight by the DCMA would uncover problems in the production system hidden for years by the noted Boeing and FAA non-oversight of Boeing’s engineering and production processes. This would add additional costs to the program, but the conforming aircraft that would result would be worth those costs. Drawings and engineering specs that could never be complied with as they were in error and/or conflicting would be uncovered—never fixed because Boeing management thought it would cost too much to fix them and that such fixes were “non-value added” no matter how much the errant engineering confused those who had to try to build per those drawings/specs and how creative mechanics had to become to make what they thought the engineer might have intended. Such evidence of past Boeing and FAA carelessness will be simply more proof of the corruption I am disclosing to you now.

Although I have not been on the Boeing production line for over a year, there is no doubt the FAA/Boeing fraud proven by the handling of my reports continues to this day. I still communicate with Boeing personnel on occasion. Nothing has changed. If the noted fraud was ended by Boeing and/or the FAA, the severe bottlenecks on production programs resulting would have to be made public, and an announcement by the FAA making the public announcement of the ultimately ineffective FAA Special Technical Audit of 1999/2000 seem very insignificant by comparison would have to be done. Neither has happened to date.

As you can see on my website documenting the Boeing and FAA management corruption I and others have witnessed, “working together” fraud in Boeing and FAA management will not be the only Boeing mismanagement and fraud your team will have to be vigilant in preventing in order to protect the interests of the military and our country’s citizens during a Boeing tanker program. Boeing’s past intentional and “unintentional” mismanagement of ITAR controls is an area that will need special emphasis in preventing during a Boeing tanker program. The QRS-11 chip debacle is just one such instance of ignoring such controls that I helped ensure a fair end to for our country. Transfer of ITAR data between commercial and military programs is another area that will need to be of special concern during the program in terms of putting in place controls to prevent such actions by Boeing’s still ethically challenged management during the program, and/or to prevent Boeing management’s past demonstrated disdain for adhering to ITAR controls when more money can be made by ignoring them from affecting how such controls are used on the program.

And then there are the 787 delays and the Japan and Italy tanker delays to consider as far as how to best help Boeing management avoid a repeat of those delays during a tanker program for our government. It is my belief that it was Boeing’s focus on “leaning out” the production and certification processes and focusing on the financial planning aspects of the program rather than planning sufficiently for production of the 787 itself that has resulted in the 787 delays. Schedules planned too tightly in order to meet financial targets ultimately has resulted in the delays thusfar, I believe. Notably, one of the “bright spots” in the 787 program thusfar has been the “smoothness” of certification activities on the program and the FAA siding with Boeing over experts on some controversial certification tests performed and those chosen not to be performed as was required in past new programs. I need not, I trust, give my well informed opinion as to why the FAA has been so accommodating to Boeing’s every wish on the program, and has allowed unprecedented levels of delegation of Boeing personnel to do formerly and exclusively FAA performed certification activities on past programs on the 787 program.

I will let my website give you the rest of the details. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions for me not addressed in this letter or on my website.

Please do not penalize Boeing workers for the continuing “sins” of their management. I believe, if you heed the warnings in this letter, Boeing and FAA management’s arrogance in continuing to perform unethical and illegal activities if the personal rewards are seen to outweigh the risk can be mitigated completely so that the Air Force will avoid being defrauded and receive the product contracted for, with the required levels of quality, safety, and reliability assured. And our country and the vast majority of Boeing workers not complicit with the noted fraud will reap the benefits of such a key contract to protect our military aircraft industrial base.

I hope one day soon the noted FAA/Boeing fraud will be ended. However, until then, procurement officials like you and the DCMA will have to take actions to protect our country and military from it on programs such as the KC-X tanker program and the P-8A Poseidon program.

Please ensure these warnings are heeded and the contract language is structured to protect the Air Force and the taxpayer from the noted Boeing/FAA fraud. Please delay any contract signing until such contract language is drafted, if necessary.

And please distribute this letter to your Deputy, Lt. Gen. Donald Hoffman, John Young, and any other member of your team that you believe has a need to know this information.

Sincerely,

Gerald Eastman

cc: The Honorable Patty Murray
United States Senate
173 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
202-224-0238

cc: The Honorable Maria Cantwell
717 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
202-228-0514 fax

 

 

AP Link:  http://www.tmcnet.com/usubmit/2009/05/19/4187969.htm

 

Boeing loses lawsuit on pricing for GPS satellites

 

WASHINGTON (AP) _ The Air Force can disclose the rates that Boeing Co. charged for the next generation of global positioning satellites to the public and its competitors, a federal judge ruled Tuesday. The ruling by U.S. District Judge Gladys Kessler rejects Boeing’s effort to reverse an Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center decision to comply with a Freedom of Information request filed five years ago about the satellite contract the company won in 1996.

 
Dear Friends,

I wrote to you last week that I would be testifying before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform because I believe that all employees should be protected from retaliation for reporting waste, fraud, and abuse.  I did not expect that within hours of my testimony I would be subject to additional retaliation. At 6:23 p.m. I was forwarded an email written by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Chief of Staff stating that from now on, all testimony before Congress must be pre-approved by the Army Corps and that all oral testimony must conform to the approved written testimony.

I am shocked by this blatant violation of the First Amendment.  I said nothing improper during my testimony, I simply told the truth.  I was testifying on my own time while I was on unpaid leave.  I appeared at the invitation of Congress, to explain what happened when I reported improprieties surrounding the awarding of contracts to Halliburton-KBR just prior to the invasion of Iraq. The restriction imposed upon my right and the right of other federal employees to testify before Congress in our personal capacity free from restrain and censorship must stop NOW!

The newest attempt to silence me is the kind of retaliation that frightens government employees.  Federal employees have no protection when up against powerful special interests, who can intimidate and prevent federal employees from enforcing the law.  This is why Securities and Exchange Commission employees are afraid to police Wall Street.  This is why Food and Drug Administration employees are afraid to police powerful pharmaceutical companies.  This is why food safety inspectors are afraid to police powerful agri-business.

Its time to fight back when federal employees are forced to submit to censorship and are blocked from exercising their constitutional right to “petition Congress for redress of grievances.”

How can we fight?  Every American should demand immediate passage of H.R. 1507.  This law protects all federal workers who testify to Congress and gives us our day in court.  It is the only way to stop overt and subtle censorship of federal employees.  We need the government to work for us – not powerful special interests.  Congress and the American people deserve to know the truth!  Federal workers do their best to protect the health, safety, and welfare of all Americans and it is time that they are protected when federal employees are retaliated for doing their job.

Take Action now!  Send this new letter to Congress and President Obama.  And please pass it on to as many people as possible – your friends, family, co-workers, churches, unions, and civic groups need to know what’s going on and how they can help. Call Rajesh De at the Department of Justice Office of Legal Policy (202-307-3024) and convince him that the administration needs to keep its campaign promises of supporting jury trials for all federal whistleblowers by backing H.R. 1507.  Or Call your Congressperson, visit your Congressperson’s local office, and do whatever else you can to show Congress and the President that we will no longer tolerate censorship.  Please let us know what you are doing to help.

Thank you for you continued support.

 

           Very Truly Yours,

 

 

                        Bunnatine H. Greenhouse
                                 Former Procurement Executive
                               U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

 

P.S.  Please pass this letter on! We need to demonstrate that the majority of Americans want whistleblower protection

  1. Link to Ms. Sparky’s webpage:   http://mssparky.com/

 

 

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Ms Sparky’s Blog Updates

 

Senator Dorgan, D-ND, Chairman of the Senate Democratic Policy Committee will hold ANOTHER hearing on KBR’s electrical work in the Middle East. I am posting the press release here for those in the middle east who are blocked from MsSparky.com For those who aren’t you can click HERE

 

 

Senate Democratic Policy Committee Hearing

 

 

 

“Rewarding Failure: Contractor Bonuses for Faulty Work in Iraq”

 

 

 

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

9:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.

628 Dirksen Senate Office Building

 

 

This hearing will examine bonuses paid by the Department of Defense (DoD) to contractor KBR in 2007 and 2008, despite the company’s grossly incompetent electrical work in Iraq, which resulted in the deaths of U.S. soldiers and significant property damage caused by electrical fires.  Witnesses at the hearing will describe how the company failed to hire qualified personnel, performed electrical work in a manner that continues to place our troops in grave danger, and failed to make repairs once hazards were identified.  The hearing, which will be the nineteenth hearing held by the DPC on contracting abuses and corruption in Iraq, will also focus on the need to reform DoD’s fee award system.

 

Witnesses

 

James Childs:  Mr. Childs, a Master Electrician hired by the Army to review KBR’s electrical work in Iraq in 2008, will testify that the electrical work performed by KBR in Iraq was the worst he has seen in his 30-year career.  Mr. Childs will testify that the great majority of the buildings KBR worked on were improperly wired.  He will also testify about the difficulty he had working with KBR to correct the problems.

 

Eric Peters:  Mr. Peters, a Master Electrician, worked for KBR at Al Asad Airbase, Camp Striker, and Camp Warrior in Iraq.  He worked in Iraq from February 2009 through April 2009, when he resigned in response to KBR’s disregard for safety and its inability to perform quality electrical work.  Mr. Peters will testify about KBR’s poor performance, which resulted in part from the substandard, inferior materials used by the company, and the lack of qualified individuals serving in management.

 

Charles Smith:  Mr. Smith, who managed the LOGCAP III contract for the Pentagon, was forced out of his job in 2004 when he refused to approve paying KBR more than $1 billion in questionable charges.  Had Mr. Smith not been ousted from his job, he would have continued to oversee KBR’s performance under LOGCAP III.  He will testify about the need to reform DoD’s award fee process.  In November 2004, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld awarded Mr. Smith the Department of Defense’s Medal for Distinguished Civilian Service.

 

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If you can’t make it to DC to watch this hearing hopefully it will be on C-SPAN. I will get the videos on Ms Sparky as soon as possible.

 

My personal thanks to Senator Dorgan, chairman of the Senate DPC, for his true “unwavering commitment” to the safety of our soldiers and civilians and financial responsibility to US taxpayers. Also…a big thanks to Holly and Leslie who made it all happen!!

 

Please forward to those who might be interested in this information. If you are in the States forward to those friends and family in the Middle East.

 

I know KBR is going to put on the pressure with threats and intimidation. That is their MO. Do what you need to do to take care of yourself and your family. If you need to unsubscribe all together, I get it!

 

If you have questions you can email me by replying to this Update.

 

Be safe!!

 

 

Ms Sparky

(aka Debbie Crawford)

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Here is the original announcement sent out by Leslie Gross-Davis (DPC)

 

“Rewarding Failure: 

Contractor Bonuses for Faulty Work in Iraq

 

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

9:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.

628 Dirksen Senate Office Building

This hearing will examine bonuses paid by the Department of Defense (DoD) to contractor KBR in 2007 and 2008, despite the company’s grossly incompetent electrical work in Iraq, which resulted in the deaths of U.S. soldiers and significant property damage caused by electrical fires.  Witnesses at the hearing will describe how the company failed to hire qualified personnel, performed electrical work in a manner that continues to place our troops in grave danger, and failed to make repairs once hazards were identified.  The hearing, which will be the nineteenth hearing held by the DPC on contracting abuses and corruption in Iraq, will also focus on the need to reform DoD’s fee award system.

Witnesses

James Childs:  Mr. Childs, a Master Electrician hired by the Army to review KBR’s electrical work in Iraq in 2008, will testify that the electrical work performed by KBR in Iraq was the worst he has seen in his 30-year career.  Mr. Childs will testify that the great majority of the buildings KBR worked on were improperly wired.  He will also testify about the difficulty he had working with KBR to correct the problems.

 

Eric Peters:  Mr. Peters, a Master Electrician, worked for KBR at Al Asad Airbase, Camp Striker, and Camp Warrior in Iraq.  He worked in Iraq from February 2009 through April 2009, when he resigned in response to KBR’s disregard for safety and its inability to perform quality electrical work.  Mr. Peters will testify about KBR’s poor performance, which resulted in part from the substandard, inferior materials used by the company, and the lack of qualified individuals serving in management.

 

Charles Smith:  Mr. Smith, who managed the LOGCAP III contract for the Pentagon, was forced out of his job in 2004 when he refused to approve paying KBR more than $1 billion in questionable charges.  Had Mr. Smith not been ousted from his job, he would have continued to oversee KBR’s performance under LOGCAP III.  He will testify about the need to reform DoD’s award fee process.  In November 2004, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld awarded Mr. Smith the Department of Defense’s Medal for Distinguished Civilian Service.

Lobbyists Skirt Disclosures on Stimulus Lobbying

Friday 15 May 2009

by: Olga Pierce and Brian Boyer  |  Visit article original @ ProPublica
President Obama signed an executive order instating strict new lobbying rules soon after taking office. (Photo: Getty Images)

 

    President Barack Obama’s March 20 memo was quite clear on stimulus lobbying: every communication between a lobbyist and a government agency regarding the stimulus has to be documented, and those records have to be posted.

 

    We know that, like any giant pot of government money, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act attracted lobbyists’ interest. Lobbyists have long been required to give Congress quarterly disclosure reports outlining their lobbying efforts. In the latest quarterly reports, no less than 871 lobbyists indicated lobbying on the stimulus.

 

    But only 12 of those lobbyists appear in the filings that agencies are now required to post online almost immediately after they speak to a lobbyist. (See our full list of lobbyist communication disclosures.)

    Given that lobbyists’ job is to serve as go-betweens for their clients and government agents, what are the droves of stimulus lobbyists now doing?

 

    There were only a few days of overlap between the start of the March 20 requirement for agencies to report conversations with lobbyists and the filing deadline for the first-quarter reports to Congress. So much of the lobbying shown in the congressional reports did not require agencies to post records.

    Still, the first-quarter lobbying reports show that there were many stimulus lobbyists with many stimulus clients. The fact that so few of those lobbyists have made contact with agencies over the two months is striking.

 

    Holland & Knight, a lobbying firm that boasted to the Washington Post in March about having 240 stimulus clients, hasn’t filed a single one of the contact disclosures appearing on agency Web sites. 

    The same holds for Kinghorn, Hilbert & Associates, which indicated in its first-quarter filings that it lobbied federal agencies on behalf of clients seeking stimulus funds. In the firm’s filing for Hardeesville, S.C., for example, it says the departments of Justice, Transportation and Agriculture were lobbied for “stimulus funding.” (Neither firm has returned our requests for comment.) 

 

    But those agencies report no contacts from the firm after the new regulations went into effect.

    “Nobody’s losing business on the stimulus,” said Dave Wenhold, president of the American League of Lobbyists.

 

    Instead, lobbying firms are handing off formal lobbying duties to lawyers and junior staffers who are not registered lobbyists. (Among the rules: Anybody who spends more than 20 percent of their time lobbying has to register.)

 

    Meanwhile, lobbyists are training their clients to attend meetings on their own.

    “The lobbyists will bring in clients, train them, then have them meet,” said Wenhold. Some lobbyists will even go so far as to “go right up to the meeting point and drop them off, kind of like dropping a kid off at school,” he said.

 

    Other lobbyists are helping their clients while still apparently keeping arms-length from agencies.

    Manzano Strategies said in its filings it lobbied the departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Energy, Homeland Security, Justice, Transportation and Veterans Affairs to help the County of Sandoval in New Mexico secure stimulus funding. But not a peep from them in the agencies’ contact disclosures now required by the Obama administration.

 

    The explanation: employees of the firm gathered information on how to get stimulus funding for county employees, said Bruce Donisthorpe, vice president of government relations at Manzano.

    “We used some contacts to get information about timelines and process,” he said

Former Boeing employee alleges fraud, wrongful termination

by Martha Kang

Originally printed at http://www.komonews.com/news/local/45061467.html

 

SEATTLE — A former Boeing Co. employee has filed a complaint against the company and his two former managers alleging they wrongfully terminated him after he pointed out what he perceived to be fraudulent practices by the company.

 

Joseph Scilia, an attorney who was hired as an administrative assistant for Boeing, further claims the company and the two managers – Carrie Hill and Randy Hays – violated both federal and state laws.

 

A Boeing spokesman said the allegations are without merit.

Scilia was hired to work in Boeing’s ethics department in 2001. In the following year, he began managing the Compliance Assessment Program which oversees the company’s compliance of ethical guidelines — a requirement Boeing must fulfill in order to be eligible to receive government contracts.

 

Scilia claims his eventual termination resulted from the alleged violations he discovered while monitoring the company’s compliance. In the complaint he says violations consisted of “improper and fraudulent government contract procurement practices.” He further claims Boeing was diluting its self-check system that had been established in 2003 when the company became involved in an ethics investigation and consequently suspended from eligibility to receive government contracts.

 

“Scilia was required, in part, to assure that Boeing complied with approximately 32 risk areas,” the complaint said. “Boeing/Hill were committing fraud with the government by making false statements to the government regarding the true health and nature of Boeing’s compliance program.”

 

Scilia said in 2005, he raised a red flag over new policies that he believed would result in misrepresentation of compliance, which would equate to fraud. He took his concerns to his supervisor, but his concerns were not investigated as was protocol, he said.

 

Boeing spokesman Chaz Bickers said Scilia’s claims are unfounded.

“Boeing has strong compliance monitoring system and effective mechanisms for reporting potential wrongdoing,” he said.

 

After Scilia voiced his concerns, he faced a series of retaliations which included public degradation and urgings for him to “find another position somewhere else,” according to the complaint.

Then in 2007, he said he was removed from his position when he returned from medical leave even though the leave had been approved by Boeing. He added he had not been reprimanded while on the job.

 

Scilia said he was ultimately given the position as an administrative assistant in the Corporate Secretary’s Office. Five months later, he was let go due to “organizational changes,” the document said. He said he filed a formal complaint with human resources, but it was never addressed.

 

The retaliation and discrimination on the part of Boeing and its two managers caused economic loss and emotional distress, Scilia said, and as a result, he is seeking damages.

 

Boeing has not filed a response in court, but Bickers said, “This suit is clearly without merit, and we will defend it accordingly.”

 

Scilia’s attorney, Mary Schultz, said she and Scilia, who now lives in Spokane, are fully prepared to take the case to trial. She said the complaint extends beyond Scilia and the damages he is seeking.

 

“A company engages in practices that are defrauding the government, to the detriment of all of us,” she said. “This is a very important claim for everyone, all of us as taxpayers.”

From the National Whistleblowers Center

—————————————————————————————————————–

Dear Action Alert Member,

This morning the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform held a hearing “Protecting the Public from Waste, Fraud and Abuse: H.R. 1507, the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act of 2009.” Whistleblower Bunny Greenhouse and NWC General Counsel David Colapinto testified at this critical hearing in which whistleblower advocates rebutted arguments by federal executive agencies bent on defeating federal employee whistleblower protections.  To read testimony from the hearing participants click here.

 

We learned from DOJ testimony that there is still work to be done in order to achieve protection for national security employees.  We need your help to let Congress and the administration know that true transparency will not be achieved without protecting national security employees.  Click here to send a letter to Congress and President Obama demanding support for H.R. 1507.  If you have already taken action, you can still help federal employees by forwarding this message on to your friends and family.

 

Thank you for your continued support.

 

Sincerely,

 

Stephen M. Kohn

President

National Whistleblowers Center

 

National Whistleblowers Center
3238 P Street, NW
Washington, D.C. 20007
http://www.whistleblowers.org

 

              For More Information Contact: 
David K. Colapinto, Michael D. Kohn and
Stephen M. Kohn (202) 342-6980
Lindsey M. Williams (202) 342-1903
Cell (570) 362-3179

PRESS STATEMENT
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

 

DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE OPPOSES COURT ACCESS
FOR NATIONAL SECURITY WHISTLEBLOWERS

President Obama Urged to Reject DOJ Opposition to Whistleblower Protection

 

 

Washington, D.C. , May 14, 2009.  In testimony presented today by the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Policy, the DOJ opposed giving national security whistleblowers judicial due process protections.  The policy presented by the DOJ was in stark contrast to the position taken by President Obama during the presidential campaign, when his campaign endorsed judicial protection for all federal employee whistleblowers.  

In response to the DOJ position, David K. Colapinto, General Counsel of the National Whistleblowers Center, and Michael D. Kohn, attorney for Bunnatine Greenhouse, issued the following statements on behalf of the National Whistleblowers Center:

“Without granting national security whistleblowers full court access, the administrative scheme proposed by the Department of Justice is doomed to fail.”  

“The Obama administration should not bend to the pressure of the national security bureaucracy.  That bureaucracy  retaliated against whistleblowers who warned of the 9/11 attack and misled the American people concerning the justifications for invading Iraq.”  

“That same bureaucracy removed Bunnatine Greenhouse from her job as the top civilian procurement officer at the Army Corps of Engineers.  Greenhouse was the only federal official who opposed the billion dollar no-bid contracts for Halliburton – contracts that cost the taxpayers billions of dollars in waste and fraud during the “reconstruction” of Iraq.  Under the DOJ proposal, Greenhouse would remain without any effective means to vindicate her rights.”

“Over the past twenty-five years, weak and ineffective administrative remedies for federal employee whistleblowers have completely failed.  We cannot afford more of the same.  Federal employees need whistleblower reforms that will actually result in real protections.”

 

“DOJ justified stripping whistleblowers from access to court under the pretext of protecting confidentiality.  However, the Justice Department ignored the findings of a comprehensive General Accounting Office report. The GAO concluded that whistleblowers can have full due process rights (including access to courts) without jeopardizing national security.  The GAO identified specific procedures currently in place that would prevent the improper release of classified information if national security employees were provided full court access.”

 

 “The Obama administration must live up to its campaign promise to support the House Bill which ensures court access for all federal employees.”

 

“It is more important than ever that every American contact their member of Congress and urge them in the strongest possible terms to provide courageous whistleblowers with the protections they need.  These courageous employees who risk their jobs and careers to expose waste, fraud, and corruption deserve our support.” 

 

Witness testimonies and other information concerning the May 14, 2009 Hearings before the House Committee on Government Oversight may be obtained here.

A Look at the Dropping of Espionage Charges

Link to original:  http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/05/04/AR2009050403639.html?wpisrc=newsletter&wpisrc=newsletter&wpisrc=newsletter

 

By Walter Pincus
Tuesday, May 5, 2009

When the Justice Department on Friday formally dropped its four-year-old case against two former pro-Israel lobbyists for allegedly conspiring to violate the 1917 Espionage Act, prosecutors cited several reasons for their decision but did not provide details.

Some details from the point of view of the defendants, Steven J. Rosen and Keith Weissman, can be gleaned from a March 27 letter to Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr., asking the Obama administration to review the case. That was written by the pair’s lead defense attorneys, Abbe David Lowell, John N. Nassikas III and Baruch Weiss.

The two lobbyists had been charged in August 2005 with conspiring between 1999 and 2004 to disclose national defense information to people not authorized to receive it — the first time that civilian, non-government employees had been prosecuted under the then-88-year-old act. The case had broad implications, because the same charges technically could be applied to academics, think tank analysts and journalists who seek and receive security information in conversations every day.

The government and the defendants filed many motions to determine what the law required for a finding of guilt and to clarify rules for presenting evidence and witnesses at trial. U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III presided over 40 hearings on the matter, and he delivered 12 published decisions. Seven separate trial dates were set and postponed during the past 3 1/2 years before the date of June 2 was established.

Prosecutors and investigators had used FBI wiretaps to pursue Rosen and Weissman for at least five years. The two were charged in 2005 with conspiring to obtain classified information and pass it to the Israeli government and journalists from The Washington Post and other news organizations. The first reason prosecutors gave on Friday for ending the case was the likelihood that classified information would be revealed and concern about “damage to the national security that might result.”

The defense attorneys wrote that Ellis’s rulings permitted them to introduce “a good deal of classified material.” But the classified documents they planned to use would show that the information orally passed to the defendants was similar to, but only part of, more sensitive classified information.

The lawyers said it was “ironic” that to prove “the sanctity of alleged national defense information, the prosecution will risk the disclosure of classified documents . . . the defendants never saw.”

The second reason prosecutors gave for ending the case was a question of whether the government would prevail at trial.

The defendants’ attorneys wrote that they would show that the information relayed to their clients was not classified defense information but material already in the public domain and “not potentially damaging to national security.”

To demonstrate that, the lawyers wrote that two of the government officials who prosecutors said passed classified information to the defendants “have told both us and/or government investigators, that they were authorized to speak with our clients and knew full well (and even intended) that our clients pass the information on to others.”

In addition, the lawyers said that Rosen and Weissman were under government surveillance, including telephone wiretaps, for five years, from 1999 to 2004, yet over that time nothing was done to stop them. Eventually, according to the lawyers, Lawrence Franklin, a Defense Department Iran expert who himself was under investigation for leaking information, was turned into a cooperating informant.

Franklin, wearing a recording device, met with Weissman and “induced him into believing that he had to communicate certain information right away in order to save innocent lives,” according to the lawyers.

The defense lawyers also said they had experts, including two former directors of the Information Security Oversight Office, which is responsible to the president for policy and oversight of the government-wide security classification system. The government had unsuccessfully sought to bar the testimony of J. William Leonard, the most recent former director.

Along with that of other experts, Leonard’s testimony would “establish that the information was innocuous and that the defendants had every reason to believe that their conduct was innocent,” the lawyers wrote. That was important because Ellis had ruled that the government would have to prove that Rosen and Weissman “disclosed the information knowing that their conduct was illegal, knowing the information was closely held, and knowing that the information was potentially damaging to national security,” according to the lawyers’ letter.