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Tag: Whistleblower

TSA Official Blows Whistle on Agency’s Failures to Protect Employees, Travelers

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

A senior TSA official in Kansas filed a complaint against the agency, saying it failed to provide adequate training and protective gear to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus to airport employees and travelers.

The TSA reports that 706 of its employees tested positive for COVID-19, and five have died.

Jay Brainard, the top TSA official in Kansas, said supervisors were prevented from providing screeners with stockpiled N95 masks in March, when it was difficult to buy the respirators.

“I have no doubt whatsoever that our people became Typhoid Marys and contributed to the spread of that virus because TSA senior leadership did not make sure (screeners) were adequately protected,” Brainard told The Associated Press.

Brainard’s complaint prompted the Office of Special Counsel to order Homeland Security to investigate.

In a statement, the TSA insisted if followed CDC guidelines in protecting employees.

Brainard countered that the TSA failed to notify screeners that they should change gloves after every pat-down.

TSA Officers Would Receive Expanded Protections Under Passed House Bill

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

TSA officers would receive expanded protections like other federal employees under a bill passed by the U.S. House on Thursday.

The Rights for Transportation Security Officers Act, which passed on a 230-171 vote, would give full collective bargaining rights and whistleblower protections to TSA workers, who are among the lowest paid federal employees, The Hill reports.

Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon, D-Pa., said when the TSA was established following Sept. 11, 2001, “its administrator was given broad authority over its workforce with respect to setting up pay and workplace conditions. As such, transportation security officers, T.S.O.’s, have been unable to benefit from fair labor standards act protections or fall under the general schedule pay scale.”

But opponents of the bill said the additional protections would compromise public safety.

“TSA has repeatedly told us that [these changes] would tie the agency’s hands related to national security policy, workforce management, and collective bargaining,” Rep. Debbie Lesko, R-Ariz., said on the floor. “Specifically, TSA would not be able to continue a one-step removal process for employees found to have committed serious security breaches or misconduct such as allowing unauthorized access to secure areas or allowing threat items and illicit contraband through the security checkpoints.”

FBI Sought Interview with Whistleblower Who Help Initiate Impeachment Inquiry

Photo via FBI.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

The FBI requested an interview with the whistleblower who helped initiate the impeachment inquiry into President Trump and Ukraine.

An agent in the Washington Field Office sought the interview last month by reaching out to the CIA analyst’s attorney, according to sources who spoke with Yahoo News, the Associated Press and The New York Times.

It wasn’t clear why the FBI wanted to interview the whistleblower, and the interview never happened.

One of the attorneys for the whistleblower declined media interviews, as did the FBI.

Yahoo News reports that top FBI officials were divided on whether to get involved. But it wouldn’t be unusual for the bureau to investigate allegations of wrongdoing within the federal government.

An interview could impact the ongoing impeachment inquiry.

FBI Launches Probe of Death Threats Targeting CIA Whistleblower

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

The FBI is investigating death threats leveled against the CIA whistleblower whose complaint prompted the U.S. House of Representatives’ impeachment inquiry.

Since the whistleblower’s identify is still anonymous, the threats were sent to the legal team representing the CIA official, a person with direct knowledge of the matter told the New York Daily News.

Several of the death threats mentioned executing and shooting the CIA informant.

One email sent to the legal team says, “The whistleblower should be shot.”

Another person wrote, “In Putin’s country, they would execute this person.”

According to the source, the FBI is taking the threats “incredibly seriously.”

President Trump has turned up the hateful rhetoric directed at the whistleblower, calling him a “partisan operative,” “spy,” and “never Trumper.”

“Sounding more and more like the so-called Whistleblower isn’t a Whistleblower at all,” Trump tweeted last month.

Serious Questions Raised about DOJ and AG Barr’s Handling of Whistleblower Complaint

Attorney General William Barr.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

The Department of Justice’s handling of the whistleblower complaint involving Ukraine raises a serious question: Why did the DOJ decide not to forward the complaint to Congress?

The complaint was serious enough to spur an impeachment inquiry. It alleges Trump tried to pressure a foreign nation to investigate his political opponent.

The whistleblower also implicates Attorney General William Bar for allegedly helping Trump dig up dirt on Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and his son.

Democrats are accusing Trump of using the Justice Department to help interfere in the election.

It also has become clear that Barr’s DOJ has stymied the investigation.

As the impeachment inquiry continues, much more will be known about Barr’s involvement.

FBI, DOJ Refuse to Disclose Details of Settlement With FBI Agent Who Was A Whistleblower

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The FBI and Justice Department are refusing to disclose details of a legal settlement with an FBI agent who was a whistleblower, the Associated Press reports.

FBI agent Kurt Siuzdak’s lawsuit, filed in 2014 exposed allegations of internal strife and dysfunction within the FBI’s main Connecticut office in New Haven and mentioned a 2013 visit to the New Haven office by then-Director James Comey, who apologized to employees for “the failure of the FBI’s executive management to correct the leadership failures” in Connecticut, AP reports.

Siuzdak’s lawsuit in court  documents filed in March, but the FBI and Justice Department have declined to release the details and rejected recent requests under public records laws by The Associated Press for a copy of the deal. Officials contend there’s was no admission of wrongdoing in the settlement.

Senator Demands Answers about Suspension of Whistleblowing FBI Agent

Sen. Chuck Grassley

Sen. Chuck Grassley

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A Senate committee chairman wants more information from the Justice Department about an FBI agent who was suspended after blowing the whistle on a former Louisiana district attorney accused of trading sex for leniency, the Associated Press reports. 

FBI Special Agent Mike Zummer filed an ethics complaint in 2013 against a federal prosecutor, Fred Harper, of New Orleans.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, said Zummer complained that Harper’s relationship with a defense attorney may have resulted in a lenient plea agreement for former St. Charle Parish District Attorney Harry Morel.

The FBI suspended Zummer and his security clearance earlier this year after he made the conflict-of-interest allegations in a letter to a judge.

“That looks like it could be a misuse of the security clearance process to mask retaliation for protected whistleblowing,” Grassley wrote in Nov. 15 letters to Attorney General Loretta Lynch and FBI Director James Comey.

Grassley said he has not yet received a response.

Editorial: Why FBI Whistleblowers Should Be Protected, Not Mistreated

whistleBy Editorial Board
Post and Courier 

Whistleblowers perform an essential role in providing government accountability. Just consider the array of life-threatening problems that agency employees brought forth at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

But for what they do for the taxpayers and people who are served by the bureaucracy, whistleblowers are routinely mistreated by the federal government.

Surprisingly, perhaps, the FBI’s record on that score is among the worst.

A recent report by the Government Accountability Office, amplified by hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee, found that the nation’s premier, elite law enforcement organization routinely discourages employees who want to report fraud, waste and abuse.

Worse, it often retaliates against those that do, ruining careers and taking as long as a decade to resolve whistleblower complaints.

And unlike most other government agencies, FBI employees are not protected by the Merit Systems Protection Board or the Office of Special Counsel whose main mission is to help whistleblowers.

To read more click here.