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Tag: Whistleblower

Border Patrol Agent Accuses Homeland Security of Manipulating Statistics

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A Border Patrol agent told a Senate committee Tuesday that Homeland Security is fudging border statistics to make the border seem safer than it actually is, The Business Insider reports.

“I want to be crystal clear – the border is not secure,” said border agent Chris Cabrera in prepared testimony before the Senate Homeland Security Committee on Tuesday.

“That is not just my opinion or the position of the NBPC,” he said, speaking on behalf of the National Border Patrol Council. “Ask any line agent in the field and he or she will tell you that at best we apprehend 35 to 40 percent of the illegal immigrants attempting to cross. This number is even lower for drug smugglers who are much more adept at eluding capture.”

Cabrera said the number of footprints from immigrants, for example, are severely undercounted and that supervisors create incentives for agents to lie.

“Agents who repeatedly report groups larger than 20 face retribution,” he said. “Management will either take them out of the field and assign them to processing detainees at the station or assign them to a fixed position in low volume areas as punishment.”

“Needless to say agents got the message and now stay below this 20 person threshold no matter the actual size of the group,” he added.

Elite Surveillance Team Accuses FBI of Nepotism, Favoritism at Expense of Investigations

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com
 
Members of FBI surveillance teams are getting fed up with what they say are internal politics and nepotism that are distracting from the mission of tracking terrorists, spies and mobsters, The Washington Times reports.

The newspaper reviewed FBI memos that showed at least three relatives of FBI supervisors landing jobs on the elite surveillance team. Two were “fast-tracked to full special agent status,” The Times wrote.

Agents with more experience are being passed up by politically connected officials.

One longtime surveillance team member is even seeking whistleblower protection as he explains the issue to the Justice Department’s inspector general and the Senate Committee on the Judiciary.

When the whistleblower launched complaints, he said he was given a poor personnel review.

The newspaper reviewed FBI memos that showed at least three relatives of FBI supervisors landing jobs on the elite surveillance team. Two were “fast-tracked to full special agent status,” The Times wrote.

Agents with more experience are being passed up by politically connected officials.

One longtime surveillance team member is even seeking whistleblower protection as he explains the issue to the Justice Department’s inspector general and the Senate Committee on the Judiciary.

When the whistleblower launched complaints, he said he was given a poor personnel review.

Professor Sues College, Saying She was Retaliated Against for Talking to FBI

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A physics professor who claims she was retaliated against for alerting the FBI to illegal activities at the California Institute of Technology’s NASA lab sued the school Thursday, the Associated Press reports.

Sandra Troian alleges in the suit that the school violated the whistleblower policy by trying to drive her out. She claims she was falsely accused of wrongdoing and that the school kept her out of events and lectures.

“Instead of resolving the issues around this incident and trying to get to the bottom of it, they decided to cover up the problem and turn up the heat, trumping up one charge after another,” Troian said at a news conference.

The allegations stem from a postdoctoral researcher whom Troian hired to work on a space propulsion system. She said the researcher sent out restricted data and made it available for others to see.

“Two weeks after my last contact with the FBI, my world came crashing down around me, as Caltech started a merciless campaign ongoing to this day of retaliation for my speaking to the FBI,” she said. “I’ve been humiliated, degraded, isolated, treated like a pariah on campus.”

 

Whistleblower Protections to Be Expanded for FBI Agents, Employees Who Report Internal Misconduct

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Justice Department outlined new changes that will make it easier for agents and employees of the FBI to blow the whistle on misconduct within the bureau, the Wall Street Journal reports.

The idea is to ensure complaints are handled swiftly and fairly.

President Obama directed the rule change in 2012 following complaints that whistleblower aren’t properly protected.

Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, a long-time critic of how the FBI handles internal complaints, said he pleased with the changes.

“Nobody’s got on rose-colored glasses that the culture for whistleblowers at the FBI will change anytime soon, but many of the items outlined in the FBI’s analysis are promising,’’ he said in a statement. “In an agency with so much focus on the chain of command, it makes no sense for the FBI to be the only agency in the federal government not to protect disclosures of waste, fraud, and abuse to immediate supervisors.”

The FBI didn’t comment immediately on the changes.

Two Influential Senators Demand to See Report on Protections for FBI Whistleblowers

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Two powerful U.S. senators are getting impatient with a long overdue Justice Department report that is supposed to examine the effectiveness of the FBI’s whistleblower protections for bureau employees.

The Oregonian reports that Sens. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, expressed frustration that the report has not yet been released, even though Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. pledged to deliver a report by April 8, 2013.

Holder submitted the report in June, but no one has turned it over.

“Whistleblowers play a critical role in holding the government and its employees accountable,” Wyden wrote in a joint news release with Grassley. “The FBI has had special rules for its own employees for decades that desperately need to be updated. It’s important for the Justice Department to explain whether they will fix this on their own, or if Congress needs to step in.”

Supreme Court to Decide When Federal Employees Can Blow Whistle to the Media

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

When is a federal whistleblower allowed to release sensitive information to the public?

That’s the question before the Supreme Court, which must decide whether a federal air marshal was unfairly fired for blowing the whistle to the media about a security plan that he disliked, the Washington Post reports.

Robert J. MacLean, who was an air marshal in 2003, went to the media after his boss told him to be quiet about budget shortfalls requiring the agency to cut back on overnight trips for undercover air marshals.

After MSNBC began asking questions, Homeland Security canceled the cutbacks and called them “premature and a mistake.”
MacLean, who was fired in 2006, argued that he was protected by whistleblower laws. The U.S. Court of Appeals agreed.

“Robert MacLean was a federal air marshal who spoke up about the consequences of a dangerous and possibly unlawful government decision,” wrote Washington lawyer and former deputy solicitor general Neal Katyal.

“Because he blew the whistle, the government changed policy and a potential tragedy was averted. But Mr. MacLean paid a hefty price.”

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Whistleblower, Ex-Arizona U.S. Attorney Says His Office Was Cast As Scapegoat

Fprmer U.S. Attorney Dennis Burke

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Former Arizona U.S. Attorney Dennis Burke, who blew the whistle on the Fast and Furious gun investigation, said he leaked the information because he feared his superiors in Washington would unfairly blame the problems on his office, Main Justice reports.

During an Arizona State Bar disciplinary proceeding on March 27, Burke said his bosses were more concerned with political expediency than getting to the bottom of the problem.

Burke “believed that his office and employees were not being protected by DOJ, and that accurate and complete information was not being provided to the national media,” according to the disciplinary agreement.

Burke was issued a reprimand and accepted responsibility and agreed to $1,200 to reimburse the state bar, Main Justice wrote.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST


Jim Gilmore: Balancing Challenges of Homeland Security And Civil Liberities

By Jim Gilmore
The Washington Times

Our country is currently in a struggle between the need to protect our citizens from terrorism and the need to protect the civil liberties of our citizens. How can we do both while not sacrificing either?

During my five years as chairman of the National Commission on Homeland Security, we analyzed and debated issues of national security and presented our finding to the president and Congress, which became the framework for the Department of Homeland Security.

America must never make the mistake of sacrificing liberty for security. However, an equally severe mistake would be to give up the ability to track the enemy because of a fear of government. This duality of purpose demands oversight, not dismantling.

While our security focus has been primarily on non-state entities such as al Qaeda, the past several weeks in Ukraine have been a sobering reminder of the threat we face from state actors as well. The easiest way for such entities to circumvent our security is by revealing the tools we use in order to protect our country.

A perfect example of this are the crimes committed by Edward Snowden. Some would argue he is a patriot. I can tell you those people are dead wrong. Mr. Snowden swore an oath to protect his country and, in turn, was given the trust of America.

Sen. Robert Menendez, New Jersey Democrat, said it best: “Edward Snowden is not a whistleblower worthy of protection, but a fugitive deserving of prosecution. He violated his sworn pledge to protect classified information. He jeopardized our national security. And he betrayed the trust of the American people. This man is no hero.”

Mr. Snowden’s traitorous act is a perfect example of the dual threat we face from state and non-state actors. His actions helped al Qaeda by revealing a program used to track terrorists, while at the same time giving the world’s largest bully a propaganda tool used to legitimize its actions.

Click here to read more.