Archive for September, 2012


I read a post today on the POGO blog by Angela Canterbury and Suzanne Dershowitz, titled:  “Conservatives Tell Rep. Issa:  Federal Whistleblowers, and Taxpayers, Deserve Their Day in Court.”

The issue is the concept that federal whistleblowers are entitled to protections and should have the right to use the courts and our legal system to hold the federal government accountable for waste, fraud, abuse, and illegal and unethical acts.  And they should have recourse for the government or agents of the government exacting reprisal on federal whistleblowers for being…. well whistleblowers.    

Representative Darrell Issa (R-California) is being pressured by press in his own district to “fulfill his promise of protections for federal whistleblowers.” 

The Senate Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act was passed in May.  The House version is said to ignore the need for federal whistleblowers to have access to the legal system and the courts.  Issa is criticized for not seeing to it that federal whistleblowers have the same standard in federal whistleblower law that already exists for private sector whistleblowers.  Further criticism of the current system is that federal whistleblowers take very large risks and rarely prevail in an iffy system where the government “always wins.” 

Federal whistleblowers must have access to the courts and our legal system.  The process should not be rigged against them, assuring they will endure massive reprisal and career destruction, and take on massive legal costs to try to prevail against what looms as a monolith of self-protection in the case of corruption and cover-ups at the expense of federal whistleblowers and their families.  GFS 

Link to original POGO blog post:

http://pogoblog.typepad.com/pogo/2012/08/conservatives-tell-rep-issa-federal-whistleblowers-and-taxpayers-deserve-their-day-in-court.html#more

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Seriously, does the current Administration think that a voluntary process is going to make functionally any difference at all? 

Those agencies with the most to hide, particularly those who may have employees or directors with inappropriate conflict of interest relationships with corporations or other organizations will be the last to ever consent to the transparency of making responses (truthful and illuminating responses) to FOIA requests more easily accessed. 

Perhaps in issues, which do not involve corruption and direct involvement of federal managers in confederate relationships to defense contractors, who profit mightily from such relationships, there may be some easier access to some information.  But the situations that are causing the worst of the mass of incidents being covered up and kept from the public will not be helped by any of this. 

And those federal employees who are trying to report such violations will continue to be shredded by the system of corruption and the influence pressured by conflict of interest relationships as they are today.

GFS 

Requesting public documents about to get easier

Link to original article: 

http://www.nextgov.com/cio-briefing/2012/06/requesting-public-documents-about-get-easier/56044/?oref=ng-relatedstories

I read an interesting article recently regarding how federal agencies have been trying to deal with their overly backlogged Freedom of Information Act requests for information that have apparently been piling up since the 2009 change in Federal direction about granting such requests. 

According to the article by Joseph Marks, in Nextgov, August 31, 2012, about half the agencies have actually reduced the number of FOIA exemptions (information they refused to release formerly, under the premise that such information is exempt to FOIA requests). 

The article also talks about agencies using technology to improve processing time for FOIA requests and the use of the FOIA libraries to post information that might commonly be requested via FOIA requests. 

It seems to this observer that if the Obama administration truly wishes to increase transparency, that more transparent action taken toward prosecuting the many cases of wrongdoing and criminal activity in the realm of federal defense contracting needs to take center stage.  Corruption, influence pedaling, cronyism, fraud, technology theft, use of the “revolving door” by people between industry and the federal government (and vice versa) in order to better serve the needs of the corporations they serve, must be stopped cold in order to allow the oversight that supposedly is in place now to be able to actually function and prevent such atrocities.  The Administration must see that a general clean up is put swiftly into action, and mean it so that these issues are handled first for any genuine transparency in FOIA request handling to be a reality. 

As long as intensive efforts within corporations and their government confederates go into covering up corruption, theft, and fraud within the federal defense contracting world, and wrongdoers that are occasionally exposed, usually by federal employees trying to do their oversight jobs, the status quo, cover-ups and sudden retirements of culpable individuals and use by such of convenient revolving doors will continue to provide sufficient threat of exposure to thwart any serious transparency granted to a FOIA request hopeful, preventing s/he from every getting an honest and “transparent” accounting of what is really going on in federal agencies, particularly in relationship to defense contractors and other corporate interests. 

This article describes a tempest in a teapot, and does not address the real problems related to FOIA requests not being honored by those trying to get to the truth of wrongdoing in the federal government. 

GFS

Link to article:  http://www.nextgov.com/big-data/2012/08/agencies-continue-struggle-foia-requests/57819/