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Hello Everyone,

As most of you may feel, I am quite fascinated (and saddened) by all of the incidences reported recently of corruption by government and employers and the suffering of whistleblowers for their candid commitment, and resolve to do the right thing.  I have been hearing about some specific cases also from people like you. 

For instance, some time ago, I published a post regarding a government activity, Defense Security Service, continuing to schedule wasteful “all-hands” meetings, where employees are flown to one or two locations across the country and put up in hotels, to sit and listen to talking heads for a week.  One source quoted a cost of about a million dollars spent by the DSS each time employees were ordered to report to these meetings.  That did not include the salary requirements for these government employees, as they were still technically on duty, though sitting in meetings, they were not at their work-site, working. 

The way this was scheduled, a managers-only all-hands was held first.   Then the field employees in four regions were divided up to attend one of two all-hands meetings; one for eastern half and one for western half of the country.  There also was an all-hands meeting for counter-intelligence activity employees within DSS, and then an all-hands meeting for DSS computing security employees. 

All of this spending was going on while many agencies and activities were being cut.  I have heard of quick planning going on to spend money fast, before it could be “lost” or reappropriated to prevent critical cuts in other areas of government.  I have heard that due to the discomfort and unwanted negative attention brought to bear on DSS previously for  this gigantic wasteful annual misspending of money, the DSS Director and managers attempted to change the name of these boondoggles from “all-hands meetings” to”all-hands trainings.”  Last year, I am told, they held them,  in defiance of being told by higher up not to hold those meetings. 

What’s in a name?  It appears  DSS director, Stanley Sims and his manager cronies,  thought that since they were also being criticised for the lack of meaningful and high quality training for their field employees, they could dodge the bullet by calling the meetings, “trainings,” and then continue the same sorry events exactly as before.  So the same meetings were held under the new label of training with the same old  format and succession of talking heads. In other words, hold employees captive in front of those talking heads for a week, (with little opportunity for meaningful training, or skill development, or true collaboration time for DSS employees to work on problem solving and improvements in how they do their oversight duties).  I have been updated that this year 2013, there were no meetings, (or meetings labeled as trainings), held, due to sequestration, and the close scrutiny that all such activities were being given. 

Also, in the DSS activity,  I have heard of more incidences of harassment of DSS employees by managers, reports that the DSS Director has gone about the country threatening employees who have complained about the issue of DSS managers pressuring employees to work unreported overtime, that if the employees are not willing to work when he wants, where he wants, and however long he wants, they can leave, or he’ll “fire their ass.”  True story; my sources are very adamant about this.  So nothing has changed.  It is still a sorry mess, despite Richard Lawhorn’s (Director of Field Operations, DSS) public statements to the contrary.  So while those who have been conducting these illegal activities protest  in public, behind the scenes the abuse of civil servants continues. 

I have also been hearing about new incidences of nepotism and cronyism within DSS, in actions taken by managers, including the Director.  I’d appreciate anyone who can elaborate on any of this contacting me.  Please see the “About” section of this blog, for email contact information.  I also would like to hear from those of you with different examples from government or industry. 

There just appears to be an even more expanding wave of corruption going through the government.  I heard a whistleblower last night on a national radio program,  berating Attorney General, Eric Holder, for his lack of willingness to investigate and prosecute wrongdoing.  I appreciated hearing her interview.   This exact problem has bothered me ever since Eric Holder, in a lower position in the AG’s office, crafted and positioned the Non-Prosecution Agreement first used with Boeing in the Druyan/Sears Tanker scandal.  He appears to have continued this same philosophy to the present day, as the U.S. Attorney General, to the chagrin of a great many whistleblowers, and victims of the corrupted ones in government and industry. 

Persist!  And please, keep communicating with me.  I wish to bring your concerns to light. 

GFS

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

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/

The Office of Special Counsel (OSC) investigates allegations of prohibited personnel practices.

Download Prohibited Personnel Practices (PPP) Complaint Form (OSC-11).  This form can also be used to
complain retaliation for whistleblowing.

The following practices are prohibited by the federal government agencies under the Prohibited
Personnel Practices
(PPP) Act:

(1) discriminate against an employee or applicant based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin,
age, handicapping condition, marital status, or political affiliation;  

Although OSC is authorized to investigate discrimination based upon race, color, religion, sex, national
origin, age, or handicapping condition, as well as reprisal for filing an
EEO complaint, OSC generally defers
such allegations to agency procedures established under regulations issued by the Equal Employment
Opportunity Commission (EEOC). 5 C.F.R. § 1810.1.  (This deferral policy does not apply to discrimination
claims outside the jurisdiction of the EEOC, such as complaints alleging discrimination based upon marital
status or political affiliation.) (See http://www.osc.gov/ppp.htm#q10.)

Filing a complaint with OSC will not relieve you of the obligation to file a complaint with the agency’s EEO
office within the time prescribed by EEOC regulations (at 29 C.F.R. Part 1614).
(2) solicit or consider employment recommendations based on factors other than personal knowledge
or records of job-related abilities or characteristics;

(3) coerce the political activity of any person;

(4) deceive or willfully obstruct anyone from competing for employment;

(5) influence anyone to withdraw from competition for any position so as to improve or injure the
employment prospects of any other person;

(6) give an unauthorized preference or advantage to anyone so as to improve or injure the employment
prospects of any particular employee or applicant;

(7) engage in nepotism (i.e., hire, promote, or advocate the hiring or promotion of relatives);

(8) engage in reprisal for whistleblowing – i.e., take, fail to take, or threaten to take or fail to take a
personnel action with respect to any employee or applicant because of any disclosure of information by
the employee or applicant that he or she reasonably believes evidences a violation of a law, rule or
regulation; gross mismanagement; gross waste of funds; an abuse of authority; or a substantial and
specific danger to public health or safety (if such disclosure is not barred by law and such information is
not specifically required by Executive Order to be kept secret in the interest of national defense or the
conduct of foreign affairs – if so restricted by law or Executive Order, the disclosure is only protected if
made to the Special Counsel, the Inspector General, or comparable agency official);

In order to allege retaliation arising from whistleblowing, you must first blow the whistle–that is, you must
make the “disclosure” of agency’s wrongful acts.  See more on
whistleblowing.

Download OSC-11 form: prohibited personnel practice complaint form or whistleblower
retaliation complaint form.

Download OSC-12 form: whistleblower disclosure form.

 
(9) take, fail to take, or threaten to take or fail to take a personnel action against an employee or
applicant for exercising an appeal, complaint, or grievance right; testifying for or assisting another in
exercising such a right; cooperating with or disclosing information to the Special Counsel or to an
Inspector General; or refusing to obey an order that would require the individual to violate a law;

(10) discriminate based on personal conduct which is not adverse to the on-the-job performance of an
employee, applicant, or others; or

(11) take or fail to take, recommend, or approve a personnel action if taking or failing to take such an
action would violate a veterans’ preference requirement; and

(12) take or fail to take a personnel action, if taking or failing to take action would violate any law, rule or
regulation implementing or directly concerning merit system principles at 5 U.S.C. § 2301.

(Obtained from http://www.osc.gov/ppp.htm#q1)  

OSC receives, investigates, and prosecutes allegations of PPPs, with an emphasis on protecting federal government
whistleblowers.  OSC seeks corrective action remedies (such as back pay and reinstatement), by negotiation or from
the Merit Systems Protection Board (
MSPB), for injuries suffered by whistleblowers and other complainants.  OSC is
also authorized to file complaints at the MSPB to seek disciplinary action against individuals who commit PPPs.

All statements contained in this page are subject to change and update.  EEO 21 does not take responsibility for any
errors or misrepresentation contained therein.

Prohibited Personnel Practices (5 USC § 2302(b))

Any employee who has authority to take, direct others to take, recommend, or approve any personnel action, shall not, with respect to such authority—

  1. discriminate for or against any employee or applicant for employment—

A.     on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin, as prohibited under section 717 of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (42 U.S.C. 2000e–16);

B.     on the basis of age, as prohibited under sections 12 and 15 of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (29 U.S.C. 631, 633a);

C.    on the basis of sex, as prohibited under section 6(d) of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (29 U.S.C. 206 (d));

D.    on the basis of handicapping condition, as prohibited under section 501 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (29 U.S.C. 791); or

E.     on the basis of marital status or political affiliation, as prohibited under any law, rule, or regulation;

  1. solicit or consider any recommendation or statement, oral or written, with respect to any individual who requests or is under consideration for any personnel action unless such recommendation or statement is based on the personal knowledge or records of the person furnishing it and consists of—

 .       an evaluation of the work performance, ability, aptitude, or general qualifications of such individual; or

A.     an evaluation of the character, loyalty, or suitability of such individual;

  1. coerce the political activity of any person (including the providing of any political contribution or service), or take any action against any employee or applicant for employment as a reprisal for the refusal of any person to engage in such political activity;
  2. deceive or willfully obstruct any person with respect to such person’s right to compete for employment;
  3. influence any person to withdraw from competition for any position for the purpose of improving or injuring the prospects of any other person for employment;
  4. grant any preference or advantage not authorized by law, rule, or regulation to any employee or applicant for employment (including defining the scope or manner of competition or the requirements for any position) for the purpose of improving or injuring the prospects of any particular person for employment;
  5. appoint, employ, promote, advance, or advocate for appointment, employment, promotion, or advancement, in or to a civilian position any individual who is a relative (as defined in section 3110 (a)(3) of this title) of such employee if such position is in the agency in which such employee is serving as a public official (as defined in section 3110 (a)(2) of this title) or over which such employee exercises jurisdiction or control as such an official;
  6. take or fail to take, or threaten to take or fail to take, a personnel action with respect to any employee or applicant for employment because of—

 .       any disclosure of information by an employee or applicant which the employee or applicant reasonably believes evidences—

                               i.            a violation of any law, rule, or regulation, or

                                                    ii.            gross mismanagement, a gross waste of funds, an abuse of authority, or a substantial and specific danger to public health or safety, if such disclosure is not specifically prohibited by law and if such information is not specifically required by Executive order to be kept secret in the interest of national defense or the conduct of foreign affairs; or

A.     any disclosure to the Special Counsel, or to the Inspector General of an agency or another employee designated by the head of the agency to receive such disclosures, of information which the employee or applicant reasonably believes evidences—

                                                        .            a violation of any law, rule, or regulation, or

                                                       i.            gross mismanagement, a gross waste of funds, an abuse of authority, or a substantial and specific danger to public health or safety;

  1. take or fail to take, or threaten to take or fail to take, any personnel action against any employee or applicant for employment because of—

 .                   the exercise of any appeal, complaint, or grievance right granted by any law, rule, or regulation;

A.     testifying for or otherwise lawfully assisting any individual in the exercise of any right referred to in subparagraph (A);

B.     cooperating with or disclosing information to the Inspector General of an agency, or the Special Counsel, in accordance with applicable provisions of law; or

C.    for refusing to obey an order that would require the individual to violate a law;

  1. discriminate for or against any employee or applicant for employment on the basis of conduct which does not adversely affect the performance of the employee or applicant or the performance of others; except that nothing in this paragraph shall prohibit an agency from taking into account in determining suitability or fitness any conviction of the employee or applicant for any crime under the laws of any State, of the District of Columbia, or of the United States;
  2.  

 .                   knowingly take, recommend, or approve any personnel action if the taking of such action would violate a veterans’ preference requirement; or

A.     knowingly fail to take, recommend, or approve any personnel action if the failure to take such action would violate a veterans’ preference requirement; or

  1. take or fail to take any other personnel action if the taking of or failure to take such action violates any law, rule, or regulation implementing, or directly concerning, the merit system principles contained in section 2301 of this title.

This subsection shall not be construed to authorize the withholding of information from the Congress or the taking of any personnel action against an employee who discloses information to the Congress.

Thanks Old Navy Man,

I appreciate your contributions.   It is good to learn of someone who is trying to support whistleblowers instead of destroy them.  GFS

G Florence:

There are some good ones out there.  Dan is one.

An Old Navy Man

See article

Whistleblower sits in Defense IG office

By Jeremy Herb – 07/12/12 06:00 AM ET

at this link:

http://thehill.com/blogs/defcon-hill/army/237469-whistleblowers-have-one-of-their-own-in-dod-office

Old Navy Man,

Thanks for the information.  I appreciate you supporting this blog.  That is quite disturbing indeed.   I am posting this to see if anyone else can elaborate or comment.  GFS

G Florence:

Here is a link to a story that emphasizes why it is so important for this country to be ferociously protecting our most advanced technology.

 http://www.upi.com/Top_News/US/2012/08/19/Reports-of-Russian-sub-in-gulf-downplayed/UPI-35751345390615/

Who remembers the sale and transfer of advanced navy quieting technology to Toshiba?  Because of that poorly informed sale this country lost some of our most advanced navy quieting technology.  Remember those countries where these most advanced navy technologies ended up?  Refresh your memories!  This article just came out today, through the United Press International.  It is a U.S. News article entitled “Reports of Russian sub in gulf downplayed.”  This is what happens when we do not let good men like Mr. Conley and Mr. Kelly do their jobs.  This is what happens when the people of this country are complacent and do not support the tireless efforts of patriotic Americans like Mr. Conley and Mr. Kelly.

Shame on us!

An Old Navy Man

 

I ran across this story from August 29, 2011 (in my mail box, sent to me by a reader), which is remarkably like what I am being told is going on in DSS (Defense Security Service). 

 

Note similarities, those of you familiar with the problems DSS seems to be propagating at an alarming rate: 

 

Managers pushing out senior employees who have the knowledge, training and experience to do the job in order to make room for often unprepared, untrained, equally incompetent cronies from another work environment.  Cronyism can be hiring relatives, or can be hiring members of a same church, college class, club, or military service branch etc.  It does seem like DSS is having more than its share of such problems. 

 

It seems like within DSS, as in this story, some crony seeking managers like people around who can spy on other employees for them, and be loyal to the manager in charge, even if they aren’t capable of doing the job they ostensibly were hired to do.  In the case of DSS, how is this helping DSS protect our technology and oversee government contracts?  (Answer:  It’s not! But it may well be meeting the goals of certain defense contractors who don’t want any oversight anyway.)  GFS 

 

See original article:  Whistleblowers:  DOD official incompetent, wasteful , ‘tyrannical’

 

Link to original: 

http://thehill.com/news-by-subject/defense-homeland-security/178639-whistleblowers-charge-dod-official-with-incompetence-wasteful-spending-tyrannical-leadership

 

Got a DOD crony story?  Report it here – https://gflorencescott.wordpress.com

 

Thanks Old Navy Man for sending this.  It is a good follow up in one of the continuing stories I had been observing.  The Defense Security Service has truly reached the point of no salvation in this whistleblower supporter’s opinion.  It just gets worse and worse.  I have a lot more I’ve been told or have been able to find out during my family emergency trips back east.  I’ll be unrolling more stuff from this point forward.   Please do go to this link.  I see that POGO’s Nick Schwellenbach included links to the DOD OIG’s report concerning Mr. Conley’s case from 2002-2008, where the DOD OIG validated and upheld Mr. Conley’s concerns and that he has been fiercely retaliated against by DSS managers and it appears the director.  Mr. Conley has been on the receiving end of a vendetta for doing his job lawfully and trying to make sure a particular case was not covered up and would be prosecuted.  But because of the demonstrated actions of the defense contractor involved (Boeing) and the conflict of interest relationships certain managers in DSS have personally and professionally with Boeing,  and as it was discovered later, Boeing’s relationships with other government managers and  defense agencies or activities, it has been a brutal uphill battle to assure integrity in the oversight process.  Start with reading all of this.  I will be publishing more later.    GFS

G Florence:
 
Please read this article    http://getinvolved.pogo.org/site/PageNavigator/dss_boeing_whistleblower.html

I just stumbled across this link to a very disturbing whistleblower article.  I did not see it posted at your site so I am forwarding it to you.  Please take the time read it.  I hope you will consider posting it with your comments.  This recent article is from the Project On Government Oversight.  As an old navy man I am incensed that the two government workers identified in this article have been persecuted by the Marine Corps, my Navy and the Defense Security Service for trying to do their jobs.  More people need to know what is going on in our government!
 
An Old Navy Man