Tag Archive: DSS


I have continued to monitor the frustratingly slow, on again, off again trail of justice for federal Defense Security Service whistleblower, Robert Conley.  Conley, a veteran Industrial Security Representative, employed by DSS, has had to traverse a long hard trail in trying to secure justice against his former employer’s heavy handed disrespect, waste, fraud, abuse, harassment, and retribution for his whistleblowing after he discovered criminal and civil issues concerning a defense contract between a large aerospace contractor and the federal government.

Conley ran into difficulties processing his case report of an investigation, when DSS officials refused to accept the detailed and extensive investigative report he prepared, after Conley was ordered to cut his investigation short and submit his report.  Conley was then ordered to start editing his report.  This occurred several times, each time DSS management insisted he take out more of the documented evidence and testimony, that would make the case prosecutable.

Conley refused to sign the now DSS changed reports, which were, after DSS Headquarters manipulation, fraudulent.  There was a lot of conflict as DSS tried to force Conley to sign the fraudulent report.  Because he could not intimidate Conley into signing the fraudulent report, eventually, the DSS Headquarters manager, Michael McDaniel, signed the fraudulent report himself and then briefed the user agency affected.  Since other parties were aware of the issues that were found with this contract, and what the real problems were, things went downhill from there.  A massive cover-up appeared to be in process regarding the criminal and civil matters discovered that were issues in this contract, and in this investigation.  The DSS manager, Michael McDaniel,  who had apparently written, signed, and briefed the fraudulent report, later left DSS and moved directly to employment with a defense contractor.   (Keep in mind the functional policy of the U.S. Government appears to be, that once someone leaves federal service, they will not go after them in any legal proceedings, nor will they insist they testify in legal proceedings.  If they leave the government, they seem to receive a “get out of jail free card.”)

Conley has endured, along with his counterpart, Randall Kelly,  (who had oversight of the program for the Marine Corps), vast amounts of harassment, retribution, and abuse.  They were both thoroughly beaten down in every way possible by their employers, effectively ending their careers.  They have received massive retribution and abuse for reporting theft and fraud involving a government defense contract.   They even received threats of various kinds, and at least one death threat passed along through channels, which did not deter them from seeking proper legal resolution of their investigation and case.  It has now been fifteen (15) years of struggle with this situation.  (Both were forced into premature retirements eventually, as no support or remedy was offered by any of those government entities who are supposed to help whistleblowers.)

Conley has had to endure a long slow process which included making protected disclosures to various parties, as a part of working through the process of trying to get help and put attention on the attendant problems and alleged criminal activities.  As a part of the process, the DCIS (Defense Criminal Investigative Service) had an open case filed.  This went nowhere fast, and it appeared that a cover-up was likely in progress, as time passed and nothing constructive happened.

Conley then filed a complaint with the DOD OIG.  The DOD OIG had Conley’s complaint and case for an extended period of time.  Much more time passed.  The DOD OIG official in charge, had gone to the Washington DC office of the DCIS in search of Conley’s “then identified as missing” case, and found Conley’s case, with an unworked Congressional Investigation attached, sitting in Director Rick Beltz’s office, in a stack of similarly unworked cases on his desk.  Apparently, cases that for various reasons certain people, or corporations did not wish to see worked, were being held in limbo in that office.  This is absolutely unacceptable, and a betrayal of all integrity that should be demonstrated by federal law enforcement and contract enforcement activities.  So, if any of you filed a case with the DCIS in the past couple of decades or so, and never saw any action or results, you might check to see if your case was one of those held in the derailed pile on the Director’s desk.  I understand Rick Beltz was fired, and the DOD OIG official who was trying to do the right thing was removed from his position and transferred to some other position of less exposure.

The DOD OIG eventually said they would be forwarding the Title 18 Criminal issues to another office for processing.  That did not happen, as it appears the cover-up was put into place on the criminal issues, apparently in an effort to protect the implicated defense contractor.  Conley’s Title 5, Retribution case was upheld by the DOD OIG, whose report concluded he was indeed a whistleblower, and a victim of harassment, retaliation,  and retribution forced on him by the Defense Security Service.  The DOD OIG directed DSS to make Mr. Conley whole.  Director Stanley Sims chose to ignore the report entirely, although he is the Director who received the DOD OIG report.  In fact, he seemed, based on documents uncovered recently, to be enraged that Conley would go to the DOD OIG, and that the DOD OIG would tell the DSS what they can and cannot, will and will not, do and what Sims said in these documents could be construed as threats.

Conley’s case then spent a very long time in waiting with the OSC for them to consider his case.  There again appeared to be a lot of pressure on the investigative agency, this time OSC.  It appears that the corporate defense contractor and some of the implicated parties including within the management levels of DOD,  and possibly the Pentagon itself, have a great deal of influence and are able to intimidate those who are supposed to investigate and assure justice to whistleblowers and others reporting criminal and civil issues that need to be addressed by the legal system.  So, in my opinion, there was something not kosher going on there, and the OSC failed to do their duty regarding this case.

I have been  made aware that a hearing finally is going to take place, under the auspices of an MSPB judge regarding Title 5 issues on Conley’s behalf.

The hearing will take place at the federal courthouse in Seattle, 915 Second Avenue, Seattle, Washington 98101.  I understand it is a public MSPB hearing so if any of you are interested in observing, you may attend.  The hearing is scheduled for two days, Monday, January 25 through Tuesday, January 26, 2016.

There is a long list of witnesses and DSS appears to be making effort not to cooperate, or be accountable for their actions, and their lack of decency with regard to how they treat their employees.  Throughout the past 15 years, a lot of sudden and insufficiently explained changes have occurred in DSS management levels.  Director Stanley Sims, has just left DSS and has gone directly to a lucrative position at a large defense contractor.  Industrial Security Director Richard Lawhorn recently left DSS, and has directly taken a lucrative position at another large defense contractor.

There are regulations governing conflict of interest issues, and that prohibit federal employees and officials from using the revolving door to move directly from government oversight positions to defense contractor corporate jobs, where there might be a conflict of interest.  I believe there are problems with this succession of DSS employees/managers moving directly from DSS to defense contractors.  In fact, I learned that another former DSS Manager, Gregory Gwash, who had left DSS suddenly and directly taken a lucrative position at a large aerospace defense contractor in Seattle a number of years ago, was forced to leave employment with that defense contractor, after a federal AG’s office investigation of his use of the revolving door.   Expect I will be writing about this DSS situation in more detail at a later date.

 

 

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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

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

I received a follow up comment from “An Old Navy Man” today.  He states:

“I guess Lawhorn will have to share underwear with Cole and Hellman now.  The Beltway rumor is that Vince Taylor was encouraged to move on.”

 

Original Post – story

GFS,

 

There’s an old Navy story about a ship’s Captain who inspected his sailors.  Afterward he told the first mate that his men smelled bad.  Perhaps it would help if the sailors would change underwear occasionally.  The first mate responded “Aye, aye sir, I’ll see to it immediately!”

 

The first mate went straight to the sailor’s berth and announced, “The Captain thinks you guys smell bad and wants you to change your underwear.”  The first mate continued, “Watson, you change with Sterling.”  “Taylor you change with Cole.”  “Lawhorn you change with Hellmann.”

 

The moral of the story-   someone may come along and promise change, but don’t count on things smelling any better.

 

It’s time for the Office of the Secretary of Defense to hand the Industrial Security mission back to the Government Contracting Authorities.

 

From an old Navy man

 

 

A reader sent this to me today and asked to remain anonymous when it posted.  Thank you to the reader who took the time to write this thoughtful comment.  Here it is.   GFS

Has anyone considered the DSS mad-dash to become an “Intelligence Agency” might have been a desperate attempt to hide from any oversight? As an Intelligence agency, they would not have to answer to any inspectors, DOD/IG, GAO or even Congress. Their years of incompetence, mismanagement and looking the other way while Defense contractors compromised our nation’s most classified technologies would be safe from accountability.

Why would they do this? As an example, simply look at the former DSS upper management personnel who have garnered for themselves high paying positions within industry after leaving Government service.

Look back to the Boeing Tanker scandal, Senator McCain publicly asked for a list of all formerly high placed government employees who retired and went to work for DOD contractors. Senator McCain is/was a very influential Senator, yet no such list was ever forthcoming to the public and after losing the Tanker contract, Boeing pulled a Senator or two and a couple of Congressmen/women out of a hat and hocus-pocus, Boeing is back in the Tanker business.

This is just one example of what is going on within DSS and most other agencies; DSS looks the other way, Senators and Congressmen look the other way and God help anyone stupid enough to report security violations, retaliations here we come!  No one wants to address the fraud waste and abuse that is taking over our whole government; why fall on your sword and ruin your career when nothing will change.

I have found with association with others as well as my own personal involvement,  that a great many major security violations and classified technology compromises that we reported, were either dismissed by upper management types who were more loyal to Industry than to the government or dismissed as not an issue, by hiding behind the claim, “National Secrets”, and thereby not having to explain anything to anyone with no further comment.  Or the problems we reported were  just plain covered up by agencies such as DSS, Navy, DCIS, NCIS and others. This is the norm in today’s Government upper management – no ethics, and no honor.

If it were not so sad a state of affairs in our government, you could laugh at those who are asking Congressmen/women and Senators to pass Whistle blower protections for those who report Fraud, Waste and Abuse.

Think about this; they are asking for Congressmen/women and Senators to provide protections for those who report criminal acts committed by those very same members of Congress, and therein is the reason why agencies such as DSS, Navy, DCIS, NCIS, etc do not fear having to be held accountable for their actions. Our Congressional Representatives don’t want to be thrown under the bus or in some cases, disrupt the production of the campaign cash cow. 

-Anonymous Guest Blogger

 

The Washington Post

Can the Pentagon keep classified information safe?

The Pentagon agency responsible for making sure contractors are properly handling classified information is having a tough time doing its job.

The Defense Security Service (DSS) has had “recurring” troubles overseeing contractors, according to a November 2009 survey of agency employees. The Project on Government Oversight (POGO), a contracting watchdog group, got its hands on an internal agency e-mail, dated Sept. 16, that has employees saying they’re concerned about a “lack of resources” at DSS to “accomplish the mission.”

According to a source at DSS with whom POGO officials said they talked, the problems at DSS include having a lack of trained and experienced personnel who are “on-the-ground examining what systems contractors have in place to protect classified information.”

DSS is said to now be conducting a follow-up survey that asks employees, among other things, questions about having enough pens, paper clips and working copy machines. A source inside the agency has told POGO that the greater concern is not the agency’s office supplies but the lack of trained personnel.

With the government using more private contractors to help it do everything from run missile systems, maintain classified databases and analyze intelligence information on terrorist networks, POGO says the DSS report is worrisome.

“As the government’s secrets are increasingly placed in the hands of private companies we need to ensure that these companies can protect our nation’s crown jewels,” said Nick Schwellenbach, POGO’s director of investigations.

POGO points out that DSS’s outgoing director and the Government Accountability Office have said improvements need to be made at DSS.

Kathleen Watson, the director of DSS, who is expected to leave the agency this week, told Congress in April 2008: “When I came to this agency two years ago, it was broken across the board, and it took a year to figure out where the problems were and design a transformation plan. We just got our resources six months ago.

“This is an agency in transition,” she said. “It will be an agency in transition for as long as I am there. We have a lot of work to do; and, in my view, we have just started.”

In its audits of DSS, the GAO has raised concerns about DSS’s ability to ensure classified information is kept secure as contractors at some 11,000-plus facilities work with the Defense Department and dozens of other top-secret agencies. In one report, GAO auditors said DSS couldn’t “provide adequate assurances to government agencies that its oversight of contractor facilities reduces the risk of information compromise.”

It also said the agency didn’t follow proper procedures in reviewing 93 cases where a contractor reported a violation and possible compromise of classified information.

By Dana Hedgpeth  | October 5, 2010; 1:47 PM ET

 Link to original:  http://voices.washingtonpost.com/checkpoint-washington/2010/10/can_the_pentagon_keep_classifi.html

Be sure to check out the comments left for this article on the Washington Post,  f0und at the  bottom of the article.  -GFS

I received this recently from an anonymous source.  I can understand why so many people wish to remain anonymous with all the mistreatment of federal employees going on out there.  Considering the changes happening at the highest levels in DSS recently, it seems to me that the comments of this reader are worth considering carefully.  GFS

*******

G Florence,

The Joint Strike Fighter, BAE and DSS article by Nick Schwellenbach, which you reference, is a good investigative report.  Thank you for posting it on your blog.  DSS’s problems are not yet adequately addressed. 

The report just scratches the surface of a large and systemic problem in DSS.  Director Kathleen Watson told the OIG that “DSS has a thorough and fundamentally sound facility inspection process which was only marginally diminished by the failure to systematically collect, analyze, and retain BAE’s required reports.” 

As the director, Kathy Watson paid the price for bad DSS inspection work and sloppy documentation.  The problem has not gone away with Kathy Watson leaving DSS.  The real problems and responsibilities rest upon the shoulders of Rick Lawhorn, the DSS Director of Field Operations.  To the public and the defense contractors Rick Lawhorn eloquently speaks to quality and timeliness of inspections and inspection reports.  But in reality, Lawhorn has stressed “metrics” or numbers to his DSS regional directors and field office chiefs. 

Many Action Officer positions and deputy management positions were created to micromanage the industrial security representatives doing the inspection work.  It seems like there are more managers sitting around staring at an ever-increasing number of individual manager created Excel spreadsheets than there are field people doing the work.

This has created a DSS management atmosphere where everything becomes top priority, and everything must be done in a timely fashion.  It is not possible to do everything all at once, particularly when more and more is being added to the list and the work force is still insufficient for the workload. 

This has also created an atmosphere where employees are working many undocumented hours to try to remain successful at their jobs.  This environment has lead to employee burnout and high turnover within many of the DSS field offices. 

DSS management and Rick Lawhorn seem to believe that there is a limitless supply of highly trained industrial security representatives just waiting for the opportunity to work for DSS, so the pattern of heavy-handed DSS micromanagement of employees continues on, chasing more and more people who have knowledge and experience out of DSS.

Former and current DSS employees have reported many of these instances to the DoD inspector general’s office.  The DoD inspector general’s office seems to have a high success rate of dismissing these reports without further investigation, which points to another Nick Schwellenbach article that you reference about the DoD inspector general’s office failing in its mission.  Nick Schwellenbach’s article references a Senator Grassley report that says the DoD IG in numerous instances has failed to follow up on serious evidence of wrongdoing, especially in the vulnerable area of defense contracting.

Another Former DSS Employee

Here are a couple of excerpts from a post at POGO regarding BAE, Joint Strike Fighter, and the failure of Defense Security Service in protecting matters of National Security.  Later it is correctly stated that there are problems with DSS’s performance as the watchdog in charge of ensuring BAE was adequately protecting classified information and includes soon to be past Director, Kathleen Watson’s inexplicable comments and excuses for her agencies failures.  Please follow the link to read the whole story and to take a look at the other excellent reports on POGO’s website.  (http://pogo.org

Note:  This is not the only documented case of this type of problem.  I am told that there are others, involving DSS and other contractors.  -GFS

 

A “Black Eye” for the Pentagon’s Watchdog: The Backstory of the BAE-Joint Strike Fighter Audit Report Withdrawal

By Nick Schwellenbach

“The findings were troubling to say the least. In spring 2008, British Aerospace Enterprises, the U.K.’s largest defense contractor better known by its initials BAE, had been accused by the Pentagon watchdog agency of possibly losing classified information related to the world’s most expensive weapons program,  the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF).

This tale did not end here.”  

*****

 

“On top of findings related to BAE the OIG’s report contained arguably equally troubling, yet less well-publicized findings that a little-known Pentagon agency had failed in its job to ensure that BAE was adequately protecting classified information. Questions about the effectiveness of the Defense Security Service (DSS) in overseeing contractors had been bubbling to the surface since a 2004 Government Accountability Office report—but this was the first real example of the agency’s inadequacy to come to light.”

‘In its defense, DSS Director Kathleen Watson told the OIG that “DSS has a thorough and fundamentally sound facility inspection process which was only marginally diminished by the failure to systematically collect, analyze, and retain BAE’s required reports.”’

Follow Link to complete story:  http://pogoblog.typepad.com/pogo/2010/09/a-black-eye-for-the-pentagons-watchdog-the-backstory-of-the-bae-joint-strike-fighter-audit-report-wi.html

Update:  9-5-10   I never did get any kind of response from the DoD Hotline.  As I posted on a different item today, I would caution people, particularly from DSS about submitting complaints to the DSS IG or the DoD hotline.  I have been informed that hotline complaints regarding DSS (Defense Security Service) are being sent to Richard Lawhorn, second in command at DSS (or was unless his reassignment has occured), which gives him a chance to see who is complaining and also to derail the complaint.  Based on what I have been able to find out, this is a big concern, as if one of the people most likely culpable for the poor treatment of field employees is being given that kind of access to an allegedly protected hotline complaint process employees are supposed to be able to safely use to report fraud, waste and abuse, then the whole system is corrupted and is very much broken. 

I would recommend at this time that you consider contacting the DoD IG Reprisal office with your complaints of harassment, abuse, and retribution from unethical managers, (Title V Complaints).  You might also contact your Congressperson or Senator.  I am informed that there are Congressional Investigations going on related to DSS, and other agencies right now.  Your information would help assure something may get done right.   If you have complaints of criminal activities, the fraud, waste, theft, espionage  and such in addition, (Title 18 matters), I believe the Reprisal office may be able to help direct your information to the correct criminal law enforcement personnel. 

In the mean time, here is the email link to the Department of Defense Hotline, associated with the DoD IG.  If you are not actually an employee of the DoD and are complaining about things you’ve learned about, but that do not directly affect you or your loved ones, go for it. 

hotline@dodig.mil

Here is an example letter of complaint to the DoD Hotline.  I sent this today.  I encourage everyone else with “pieces of the puzzle” to do the same.  The more of us that do, the better chance we have of prevailing.  GFS

*******

 

Monday, July 26, 2010

DoD Hotline:

Below is an excellent article written by Julia Davis, of the LA Examiner, including the link to the original document.  This article rings very true with the person who sent it to me, (see his/her comments preceding the article). 

And it reads as a very true characterization for me of what has been going on in DoD and some other agencies, both with internal governmental problems reported by federal employees who uncovered them in the course of doing their jobs, and with reports of problems involving defense contractors, also uncovered while federal employees were doing their jobs.

There are a growing number of federal employees who have found fraud, waste, abuse, and criminal behaviors on the part of federal government agency management and/or defense contractor management, who have found that after reporting the problems and including that information in their reports, as required by law, they have been targeted for harassment and retribution of the most egregious types. 

Only the most tenacious continue to weather the beatings and try to advance their cases through their immediate chain of command, and then the only other available paths of recourse, hoping to have it finally taken seriously, criminally investigated, and then properly prosecuted.  All along the way, at each step in the process, these federal employees have been harassed, threatened, and have had to endure intense retribution.   Their belief, in the very government they have dedicated their careers and lives to as public servants, has been badly shaken.  Observing what has been going on and what has happened to these people through spotty news coverage, personal contacts and in some cases dogged research, many of us,  citizens and taxpayers, also have lost faith in our government and its ability to solve problems, and protect us from thugs and those who would take apart our very system of government and justice and every other system that holds this country together. 

These ethical federal employees also have found that the corruption has infiltrated the very criminal investigative agencies they must report to in order to get help.  They have found that there are many ties between wrongdoers across many agencies, and can attest to the fact there has been, (and still appears to be), purposeful communication between these wrongdoers, showing a coordinated effort to try to keep the fraud, waste, abuse and other crimes behind the veil of secrecy, and to try to destroy the federal employees who won’t stop investigating and pushing for lawful criminal investigation and prosecution of the culpable parties.   It is also clear there has been an organized effort to stop these investigations from proceeding, taking the work of these honest federal employees and leaving it and them, ground into the floor.  I have heard reports that these problems extend into the highest levels of government, including the Pentagon. 

The kinds of things Ms. Davis writes about in her list of “accomplishments” of Scott Bloch during his tenure at the OSC, are precisely what many, if not most, federal employees have experienced.  It appears to me that these tactics are very wide spread within government offices, and have been pretty much institutionalized within management ranks, and I know that in one case, were also being collaborated with a particular defense contractor, against a particular federal oversight employee.  This situation also involved revolving door activity which is in violation of federal law or policy.  (I believe there may have been some policy changes somewhat recently made by those that wished to minimize their revolving door activity restrictions.  This warrants a bit of research.)  After reading Ms. Davis’s article, I now know the history of these types of attacks on our civil service and justice systems.

I am aware that currently there are investigations into matters surrounding wrongdoing at DSS and another agency thanks to readers of my blog and sources from the Beltway.  I also have heard that this may involve criminal matters as well as investigation into DSS’s and the other agency’s harassment and retribution (abuse) of employees.  Please take action on these matters. 

It is not acceptable to have federal managers committing unethical acts in order to try to scuttle an employee’s efforts to secure justice every step of the way.  It is not acceptable to have those in the criminal investigative agencies and in the Justice Department sitting on cases and taking no action on them.  Shenanigans include having a criminal investigator in one agency claim on one case “No one will talk to me,” referring to the witnesses who waited for nearly 8 years for someone to contact them and hear their story and their evidence.  No one ever contacted them.  Clearly the investigator was lying and trying to stop the case from going forward.  It includes having multiple agencies try to close another case after many years of these agencies trying to cover up the crimes and stop the investigations, at every level and in every agency the case passed through.  In this particular case no one had even made the effort to obtain and see the substantial documentation and evidence which would have made the case extremely prosecutable despite the efforts of the wrongdoers to stop it.

 All of this is outrageous.  So far successful careers and lives are being destroyed, and the American taxpayers are paying for it and continuing to be negatively affected by it. 

Interestingly, I was aware independently of many of these problems that were taking place even before reading Ms. Davis’s discourse on Scott Bloch.  It is clear, based on what I have learned from multiples of federal employees and in reading news reports, that these types of tactics have been used in a variety of federal offices, and I have featured some of it in my blog postings.  It is difficult to do this due to the fear that exists in the federal employee ranks.  (Fear that is understandable considering the systematic terrorizing they are subjected to on a daily basis as they try to do their jobs.)  Despite this I’ve been able to put enough out there to let these employees know they are not as isolated and alone as they have been led to believe.  I know there are a lot of current, former and retired federal employees out there, and I believe that each of them holds pieces of a very large puzzle.  If all of those pieces can be retrieved and brought together maybe a true and complete picture and understanding may illuminated.  Then it will be possible to route all of this evil-doing and put our government and civil service back to some semblance of integrity and functionality. 

The U.S. Government is negligent in not taking action to stop these problems.  This type of malfeasance must be prosecuted and dealt with severely wherever it is found.  I am extremely offended that it is reported that in Scott Bloch’s case, “Prosecutors said they would not oppose probation without any imprisonment for Bloch.”  This is outrageous.

The problems caused by Bloch and others include crimes against not only loyal federal employees who were trying to ethically and lawfully do their jobs, but the American taxpayers and citizens themselves.  No wonder there is no trust in government, when this is the way the Justice Department and other agencies entrusted with protecting our country and its citizens choose to deal with very serious and endemic problems.  If Bloch and others were ordered to commit these unlawful and unethical acts, then follow the trail to the top.  Find out who was directing all of this and investigate and prosecute them as well, including everyone who cooperated and joined in all the way up the chain of command.

It is like U.S. Government oversight, criminal investigations, and justice agencies have been choosing to fight a raging wildfire with a squirt gun and saying “Oh well, we tried.  We just couldn’t stop it so it will all burn to the ground, but eventually it may grow back.  Be happy.”  This is not acceptable to most of us, not in the least.  We cannot allow our law enforcement agencies, government oversight and the Justice Department to just blink and “move on.” 

Sometimes you just can’t move forward and try to forget the unresolved past.  The corruption and sickness in the system will not heal itself.  In fact, like a cancer, it has been spreading.  It must be identified, and cut out, while reinforcing our laws and policies and reenergizing oversight to make sure it does not occur again. 

You may forward this email to anyone that is actively trying to do something responsible about the unacceptable abuse of federal employees.  I am continuing to invite federal employees and others to communicate on my blogs.  It is time to shine light into the swamp and rid it of its predators.  We have enough bloodied victims of this epidemic suffering now.  These issues are very critical.  You must take definitive action immediately.  Our country’s future depends on it. 

Sincerely

G. Florence Scott

 

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Scott Bloch and the OSC: Justice is still dragging its heels 

A reader sent this to me today.  His/her comments prefaced the article as follows and are very compelling.   You will find earlier reporting of Scott Bloch and his troubled rein at the Office of Special Council (OSC) in the historical portions of this blog.  Use the search under Scott Bloch and/or OSC.

I urge anyone who has knowledge of any information which may assist those who are fighting to bring to light the corruption and wrongdoing that had become an even more imbedded part of government culture the past decade to reenergize and stand up.  I hear rumors that there are some good people who are trying to bring about accountability for the miscreants.  Some high level investigations and probable criminal proceedings are in progress.  Speak up now.  If all of the whistleblowers created in the past decade all joined together, it would make truth and justice much more likely to obtain for everyone.   

GFS

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Reader’s Comment:

“If you would like to see what is really going on within the federal government agencies, read this article.  This clearly describes just what I have seen and experienced as to how corrupt our government has become.  We must take a solid stand before it gets worse, which I know is happening daily.  This reporter has done her research and she has published an accurate and complete report.   Our democracy as we have known it is in jeopardy and unless we join together to take a stand against corruption, it will soon be gone.  Please help spread the word. “

Anonymous Contributor

Office of Special Counsel (OSC) – the dark legacy

July 23, 1:47 PM LA Homeland Security Examiner Julia Davis

Whistleblowers and federal government workers rejoiced on April 27, 2010, when former head of the Office of Special Counsel (OSC), Scott J. Bloch, pleaded guilty to criminal contempt of Congress. The justice continues to be delayed, as Scott Bloch’s sentencing has been rescheduled for the second time and is now set for September 8, 2010. U.S. Magistrate Judge Deborah Robinson said that she wants prosecutors and Bloch’s attorney to clarify the applicable guidelines for Bloch’s sentence and fine. Robinson is also apparently planning to “adjust” the sentence based on Bloch’s guilty plea. She stated that the lawyers failed to clearly define the sentencing guidelines in this matter.

Prosecutors said they would not oppose probation without any imprisonment for Bloch. This should come as no surprise to anyone familiar with our courts. While the Department of Justice relentlessly pursues, prosecutes and imprisons inconvenient whistleblowers, high-ranking bureaucrats who violate their rights are usually coddled by the system. The crooked wheel of justice crushes those at the lower levels of the government and pushes up criminals in high places. This bad egg is being cooked over-easy, with obvious disregard for hundreds of whistleblowers whose careers have been destroyed due to the OSC’s failure to investigate their complaints.

The legacy of failure

Here is an abbreviated list of Scott Bloch’s dubious “accomplishments” as the former head of the OSC:

Knowingly and willfully ignoring whistleblower disclosures;

Dismissing and closing hundreds of whistleblowing complaints without investigation;

Deleting hundreds of files pertaining to whistleblowing disclosures and complaints of retaliation and reprisal;

Rolling back protections for federal employees against discrimination based on sexual orientation;

Staffing key OSC positions with cronies who shared his discriminatory views;

Engaging in retaliatory activities against OSC staffers who opposed his wrongdoing;

Assigning interns to issue closure letters in hundreds of whistleblower complaints without investigation;

Intimidating OSC employees from cooperating with government investigators;

Misusing prosecutorial power for political purposes;

Reducing the backlog of cases pending at the OSC by 56% percent by closing cases without an investigation and destroying electronic files;

During the fiscal year of 2008, the OSC filed 0 corrective action petitions with the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB);

During the fiscal year of 2008, the OSC obtained 0 stays from the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB);

Bloch reassigned his perceived critics within the OSC to field offices across the country – giving them 10 days to accept, or else they’d be fired;

Bloch imposed retaliatory transfers upon OSC staffers he perceived as having a “homosexual agenda”;

OSC under Bloch rarely recognized legitimate whistleblowers, typically only when the whistleblower has already prevailed elsewhere;

In an ironic twist that shocked his own staffers, in 2007 Bloch initiated a large-scale investigation against Karl Rove. He decided to probe the disappearance of an untold number of emails related to the firing of the New Mexico’s U.S. Attorney, David Iglesias. Bloch assembled a task force to create the impression that the OSC was investigating the White House, while Bloch himself was under investigation for mass-destruction of inconvenient documents. One year earlier, in December of 2006, Bloch hired private technicians with a firm called “Geeks On Call” to delete whistleblower complaints and related computer files by conducting the 7-level memory wipe of the computers at the OSC’s office. Bloch was also investigated by the FBI for obstruction of a Hatch Act inquiry for improperly mixing his political and official activities.

Bloch wasn’t charged with obstruction of justice, evidence tampering, destruction of official files, impeding an official federal investigation, civil right violations and violations of the Whistleblower Protection Act (WPA). Instead, he was charged only with criminal contempt. While this charge carried a possible prison sentence, Department of Justice prosecutors said they would not oppose probation for Bloch, who is currently working as (don’t fall down laughing) an employment attorney at the Tarone & McLaughlin law firm in Washington.

Bloch’s defense attorney, William Sullivan Jr., a Winston & Strawn partner in Washington, had the audacity to state in court papers that Bloch has “served with distinction” as the head of the OSC. Sullivan wrote, “This case marks an unfortunate aberration for Mr. Bloch,” submitting 35 pages of letters to Magistrate Judge Deborah Robinson, who is scheduled to preside over the sentencing. These letters include notes from Bloch’s wife, his friends and former co-workers.

“Glad this matter is behind us, and Mr. Bloch is looking forward to getting on with his life,” Sullivan said as he walked with Scott Bloch to the probation office. Bloch’s victims don’t have the same luxury, as whistleblowers have been continually oppressed with no recourse throughout OSC’s existence.

OSC’s dark history

The Office of Special Counsel (OSC) was created in the 1978 Civil Service Reform Act to protect whistleblowers from reprisal and hold responsible agency managers accountable. Under President Carter, OSC languished without permanent leadership or funding. When President Reagan came to power, he quickly appointed Alex Kozinski as the Special Counsel and gutted the OSC. Nearly 50% of the OSC personnel and 70% of attorneys and investigators at the OSC headquarters were fired or had resigned. This was unprecedented for any government agency.

Since that time, over 7,000 federal employees have filed complaints with the OSC. Out of those thousands of cases, OSC requested a hearing to restore jobs in only 2 instances.

The dog-gone mind behind the plan

To understand why the OSC never worked according to its stated purpose, one must go back in history. The Watergate investigation revealed a plan by the Nixon administration to replace the non-partisan civil service system with a politically loyal government workforce. Every government agency had a ghost “political hiring czar”, whose authority covertly trumped that of personnel offices.

A special manual was prepared by the former White House Personnel Office Chief Fred Malek. This encyclopedia-like guide was dubbed the Malek Manual and provided information on how to harass career employees out of the government by exploiting loopholes in civil service laws. Unpopular federal employees would be replaced by hand-picked applicants.

The Malek Manual emphasized a telling message: “You cannot achieve management, policy or program control unless you have established political control.” The manual went on to describe underhanded techniques designed to “skirt around the adverse action proceedings” (such as the EEOC and the MSPB), “to remove undesirable employees from their positions.” (The President and the Executive Branch, by Joel D. Aberbach. UCLA Center for American Politics and Public Policy Occasional Paper Series 9 1-9.)

A telling memorandum written by Fred Malek to President Nixon’s Chief of Staff stated in relevant part, “We garnered from reliable sources in the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission that the Commission was preparing to sue the University of Texas for discrimination in the hiring of faculty. This could be disastrous for Texas. When queried, Bill Brown, Chairman of the EEOC, agreed not to pursue it. I will continue to follow this situation closely.”

The sobriquet most often used to describe Fred Malek was “hatchet man”, because of his ruthlessness in ousting those deemed to be disloyal. Malek’s techniques included mandatory transfers and investigations against whistleblowers and outspoken critics of the establishment. For example, Malek reportedly ordered the FBI to conduct an investigation of then-veteran CBS correspondent and Nixon critic Daniel Schorr, who was placed on the “Enemy List”. Sadly, Daniel Schorr died today, on the day of Scott Bloch’s scheduled sentencing that has now been delayed.

Fred Malek was infamously ordered by Nixon to count the Jews in high-ranking government positions. Malek admittedly completed this blatantly anti-Semitic order and compiled a list of government employees whom he believed to be Jewish. Shortly thereafter, these senior officials were transferred to other locations and less prominent, dead-end positions.

In spite of his prior activities, after leaving the White House, Fred Malek became the Deputy Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). In 1982 Fred Malek was nominated by President Ronald Reagan to head the U.S. Postal Service. The Senate Governmental Affairs Committee refused to act on his nomination because Senators reportedly felt that Malek had made conflicting statements under oath regarding his role in the “program”. Outraged committee didn’t hold back its disgust. Then-Senator John Danforth (R-Mo.) said, in relevant part, “… whether it was legal or illegal . . . it was wrong, just plain wrong… you admit that it was true, you admit that it was wrong . . . you regret it and you will never do it again. . . . Am I wrong or right?” Fred Malek responded, “You are absolutely right, senator.” Senator David Pryor (D-Ark.) asked, “Did it ever occur to you that what you were doing was wrong or immoral?” Malek replied, “Yes, sir, it did.”

Under questioning by Senator Carl Levin (D-Mich.), Malek admitted authoring a memo that suggested punishing politically incorrect people. Senator Levin described Malek’s role as “Unethical, immoral and improper”. Malek lost his bid for the head of the Postal Service and a few years later the same disclosures cost him his job as deputy chairman of the Republican National Committee.

Fred Malek, Then and Now

Another disgusting vignette of Malek’s character was revealed when police arrested five men after locating a blood-spattered car near the park entrance in Peoria, Illinois. After giving conflicting stories, the men finally admitted that they “caught a dog and were barbecuing it.” The perpetrators caught, skinned and gutted a dog and barbecued it on a spit. One of them was Fred Malek.

Fred Malek, a Dog and the SEC

Fred Malek’s legacy continued with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) action against him in 2004. The SEC instituted administrative and cease-and-desist proceedings against Malek, his company, Thayer Capital Partners and their affiliates. The SEC charged that pension investments in Malek’s company were used to reward a political supporter, William DiBella, former majority leader of the Connecticut Senate. Malek’s company was ordered to pay a civil penalty of $150,000, and Fred Malek was personally made to pay a civil penalty of $100,000. Apparently, a leopard doesn’t change its Jew-counting, whistleblower-retaliating, critic-investigating, dog-barbequing, securities laws-violating spots.

Fred Malek’s career in government and politics didn’t end after his activities were exposed. He is the former President of Marriott Hotels and Northwest Airlines and former assistant to United States Presidents Richard Nixon and George H.W. Bush. Malek has formed seven institutional private equity funds, including three corporate acquisition funds with approximately $1.5 billion in committed capital and four funds that target hotel investments with over $500 million in committed capital. He recently served as a National Finance Committee co-chair of John McCain’s presidential campaign. In 2010, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Ca.) called Malek “a man of high principle” who “has proved many times over the years his loyalty to the highest principles of freedom, human rights and international tolerance.”

Should we be surprised that our leaders and government officials are not interested in pushing forth effective whistleblower protection measures? Malek did not respond to this reporter’s request for comments.

The Ink Commission, later created to explore the Watergate Committee’s public record of the abuses, participated in studies and issued recommendations that became the foundation for the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978.

In spite of the exposure, the ugly Malek Manual continued its destructive influence in government service.

Alex Kozinski and the Malek Manual

The next attack on the OSC and the merit system came from within the Office of Special Counsel itself. It was waged by President Reagan’s appointee, the former head of the OSC, Special Counsel Alex Kozinski, who kept a copy of the Malek Manual on his desk. Kozinski reportedly used its techniques (such as transfers, investigations and harassment) to purge the professional civil service experts from the OSC staff. They were replaced with obedient minions who viewed whistleblowers as crazy, disloyal troublemakers.

While serving as the head of the OSC, Alex Kozinski taught courses to federal managers on how to fire whistleblowers without getting caught by OSC investigators. For example, Alex Kozinski tutored Secretary Watt on how to purge a whistleblowing coal mine inspector from the Department of Interior. He used the OSC Investigations Manual as a handout in these morbid lectures. Senior Supervisors still serving in various government agencies quite possibly received such training on how to get rid of “inconvenient” employees and whistleblowers. These techniques are still being implemented within federal agencies today, with virtual impunity.

Alex Kozinski’s abuses were the major catalyst for passage of the Whistleblower Protection Act (WPA) of 1989, and he was forced to resign.

A few years later, 43 Senators voted against his confirmation for a seat on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, after Senator Levin’s intensive investigation of Kozinski’s tenure as the OSC’s Special Counsel. In spite of the controversy surrounding his dubious OSC performance, Kozinski became the Chief Judge of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Curiously enough, OSC fiasco was not the last time Alex Kozinski would bring shame to the public office. In June of 2008, Los Angeles Times reported that Kozinski was caught operating a website that featured photos of naked women on all fours, painted to look like cows. Judge Kozinski’s website reportedly contained suggestive images of bestiality, pictured women shaving their pubic hair, themes of masturbation, public sex, contortionist sex, defecation and urination.

Ironically, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Alex Kozinski was set to preside over an obscenity trial (the Issacs trial in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles), from which Kozinski later recused himself.

Porn trial in L.A. is halted – Judge grants a stay after conceding he maintained his own website with sexually explicit images.

With respect to his publicly accessible website, the panel of judges declared that Kozinski was “careless” and “judicially imprudent”. He was reprimanded but not disciplined. In spite of his OSC abuses, reprehensible anti-whistleblower stance and an obscene behavior, Alex Kozinski still sits as the Chief Judge on the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

As the head of the OSC, Bloch continued Kozinski’s legacy of shame and disgrace, by destroying careers of countless whistleblowers he was appointed to protect.

Office of Special Counsel’s War On Whistleblowers

United States Office of Special Counsel

Watchdog groups and ethics advocates are appalled at the lackadaisical approach towards Bloch’s crimes. The proposed sentence of probation is not commensurate with the scope and longstanding impact of Bloch’s abuse of office and serious violations against federal whistleblowers.

Uncertain future

The OSC has operated without permanent leadership since 2008, leaving federal employees in the dark ages and without recourse. Legal professionals are now advising federal employees against coming forward. “When people call me and ask about blowing the whistle, I always tell them, ‘Don’t do it, because your life will be destroyed,'” says William Weaver, a professor of political science at the University of Texas-El Paso and a senior adviser to the National Security Whistleblowers Coalition. “You’ll lose your career; you’re probably going to lose your family if you have one; you’re probably going to lose all your friends because they’re associated through work; you’ll wind up squandering your life savings on attorneys; and you’ll come out the other end of this process working at McDonald’s.”

Yes, that is the way things are. But that is not the way they ought to be.

Link to original: 

http://www.examiner.com/examiner/x-35807-LA-Homeland-Security-Examiner~y2010m7d23-Office-of-Special-Counsel-OSC–the-dark-legacy

Following the failures mentioned previously in this blog regarding DSS management’s handling of the DSS mission, and treatment of employees, I was sent this information.

I have heard from sources through the Beltway that Kathleen Watson’s  resume is currently out to industry and other government agencies.  Has anyone else heard these same rumors?  GFS

Update:  8-29-10

I have also heard changes are happening for Richard Lawhorn.  It is not clear if he is being promoted or forced out.  It is also not clear if someone might be moving him sideways and out of the line of fire, now that DSS is the subject of DoD IG investigations. 

The cavalier treatment of field employees continues, including “forced overtime” without pay, remote temporary assignments to other field offices, which make no practical sense other than as apparently as a tool to further harass and stress out employees.  It does not appear anyone is taking action to stop these wayward and mean spirited managers at this point.  Anyone have any perspective or more stories of the situation?  -GFS