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Tag: Whistleblower

John Kiriakou Plea Provokes Bitter Name-Calling Among Lawyers

By Jeff Stein
Spy Talk
WASHINGTON –– Is John Kiriakou a leaker or a patriotic whistleblower? Some rare, public name-calling among lawyers close to the case has broken out over the question.

Some of the ex-CIA man’s most fervent supporters claim the government is persecuting a patriot who helped expose CIA water boarding and the other “enhanced interrogation techniques” many people equate with torture.

The Justice Department begs to differ, of course. It argues the case is simple: Kiriakou “repeatedly” disclosed classified information and the names of covert CIA employees to journalists.

To read more clickhere.

ATF Whistleblower Vince Cefalu Vows on Fox News to Challenge His Firing


Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A veteran ATF agent and well-known whistleblower who was fired in a Denny’s parking lot this week has pledged to challenge his dismissal, Fox News reports.

Vince Cefalu, a co-founder of the website CleanUpATF.org, which is critical of the agency, said his firing was the direct result of blowing the whistle on the failed gun-smuggling operation, Fast and Furious.

First reported this week at ticklethewire.com, Cefalu was fired in Nevada near his home for “lack of candor,” according to his spokesman Patrick Crosby, a former spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Atlanta, who now has his own public relations firm.

Cefalu told Fox News that his decision to blow the whistle on Fast and Furious “was the final straw.”

 

ATF Whistleblower Vince Cefalu Fired

Vince Cefalu

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Veteran ATF agent Vince Cefalu, a whistleblower who became a particularly  controversial figure after voicing concern about the failed Operation Fast and Furious, was “unceremoniously” handed his dismissal papers on Tuesday, according his spokesman.

An ATF official met him at the Denny’s parking lot in South Lake Tahoe, Nevada, near his home, where Cefalu turned in his credentials,  said his spokesman Patrick Crosby, a former spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Atlanta, who now has his own public relations firm.

Crosby said Cefalu was fired for “lack of candor.”  He did not elaborate.

Cefalu has hired an Atlanta law firm to fight the dismissal.

Cefalu worked for more than two decades for ATF, often in an undercover capacity in major cases involving motorcycle gangs in California and the Ku Klux Klan in Georgia.

Wade Drew, a spokesman for ATF, said he could confirm that Cefalu worked for ATF for nearly 25 years and that he was no longer with the agency. But he said ATF does not comment on personnel or disciplinary matters.

In recent years, Cefalu  has been one of the more publicly vocal critics of ATF management. He claims to have gone through all the proper channels to voice his concerns about ATF management, but all to no avail.

“I have just been trying to do my job: make good cases, put away the bad guys, keep the our citizens and our agents safe,” he said in a statement after his termination. “ATF management has been bending the rules and breaking the rules. The agents want ATF to be the proud agency it once was, not a place where some managers jeopardize our citizens and our cases. The behavior of ATF management has been speaking for itself with all the transfers, reassignments, resignations. It has been a mess and an embarrassment. That’s not the ATF I have devoted my career and life to, and I do not regret trying to change it.”

Zahra S. Karinshak, an Atlanta-based attorney from Krevolin & Horst, who represents Cefalu, said in a statement:

“Vince has tremendous courage. Anyone who infiltrates the KKK and biker gangs to bring them to justice has an incredible sense of dedication. Vince has a team who will fight for him in court as aggressively as he fought violent crime on our streets.”

ATF had tried firing Cefalu last year. However, he appealed the termination. It  became final on Tuesday.

 

ATF Whistleblower Peter Forcelli Settles Retaliation Claim Against Government

By Jerry Seper
The Washington Times

WASHINGTON — A Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) agent who blew the whistle on the botched Fast and Furious gunrunning investigation and, according to lawmakers, was threatened with losing his job has successfully resolved a retaliation claim.

ATF agent Peter Forcelli settled the claim, according to Carolyn Lerner, head of the Office of Special Counsel, through an OSC-overseen mediation process in which a neutral third party — in this case an independent OSC mediator — assisted the opposing parties in reaching a voluntary, negotiated resolution.

The resolution is confidential under OSC mediation rules.

OSC is an independent agency that oversees whistleblower claims. ATF declined comment, citing an ongoing Justice Department investigation into the Fast and Furious operation.

“I commend Mr. Forcelli for his courage in coming forward, and I applaud both him and ATF for their good-faith efforts to reach resolution of these issues,” Ms. Lerner said. “This is a testament to the ability of mediation to resolve complex cases.”

To read more click here.

FBI Probe of News Leaks Chills Relations with Media

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Media coverage of national security issues has become more difficult because employees at federal agencies have been afraid to speak out since the FBI began its hunt for leakers of sensitive information, the New York Times reports.

In one of the most thorough criminal investigations of intelligence disclosures in years, agents are questioning employees about leaks at the White House, the Pentagon, the CIA and the National Security Agency.

Under President Obama’s administration, a record six leaks have been prosecuted.

“People are being cautious,” one intelligence official who, considering the circumstances, told the New York Times on condition of anonymity. “We’re not doing some of the routine things we usually do,” he added, referring to briefings on American security efforts and subjects in the news.

OTHER NEWS OF INTEREST

ATF Whistleblower Says New Leadership Unfairly Accused of Trying to Stifle or Intimidate Whistleblowers

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

ATF whistleblower Peter Forcelli told ticklethewire.com on Thursday that the current leadership at ATF is being unfairly attacked and wrongly accused of trying to silence whistleblowers like himself.

“It’s not fair, these guys are trying to do the right thing,” he says about the new leadership at ATF.

The comments by Forcelli, who has testified before Congress as a whistleblower about Operation Fast and Furious, comes a day after Sen. Chuck Grassley and Rep. Darrell Issa questioned a video message ATF Director B. Todd Jones delivered to ATF agents. The two lawmakers said they feared the statement may have been meant to put a chill on whistleblowers.

Jones statement said:

“… if you make poor choices, that if you don’t abide by the rules, that if you don’t respect the chain of command, if you don’t find the appropriate way to raise your concerns to your leadership, there will be consequences. …”

Forcelli, who was in the Phoenix Office as a group supervisor and who is now at headquarters as program manager for criminal groups and gangs, says: “The chain of command has been broken for a long time. They ‘re trying to get people to follow chain of command . I don’t think their intention is to disuade people from blowing the whistle.”

Forcelli says disgruntled ATF agents may be fueling Capitol Hill with allegations that the current regime is trying to put a chill on whistle blowing, but that’s not true, he said. For one, he said, he’s a whistleblower and he’s been treated very fairly.

“Whistle blower cases were mishandled. That was in prior administrations. These guys are paying for their sins,” he says of Jones and second in command, Tom Brandon.

He says that Brandon was nothing but supportive when he was blowing the whistle on Fast and Furious.

He said Brandon told him: “This is a big deal, if you need to go, you need to tell the truth. Don’t minimize. Don’t embellish. Run to the truth. He said they’re going to throw fast balls. Hit them out of the park.”

“Where ATF has screwed up, I’m not going to apologize,” Forcelli said. But he repeated that the attack on the new leadership is unfair.

Forcelli says that as a whistleblower, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Phoenix retaliated against him and blackballed him. He said people in that office were directed to report any contact with him, even at a coffee shop over the weekend.

He went on to say that “I totally support Sen. Grassley and Rep. Issa’s inquiry into what happened with Fast and Furious. I appreciate what they did for me when I was retaliated against” by the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

“But I feel that some people have cried wolf with respect to this video” with the message from Director Jones by suggesting it’s putting a chill on whistle blowing.

FBI Whistleblower’s New Book Calls for Change in Agency Culture

Grassley Questions Justice Dept. Commitment to FBI Whistleblowers

Sen. Grassley/official photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Sen. Chuck Grassley is questioning the commitment of Attorney Gen. Eric Holder and his Deputy Attorney General James Cole to FBI whistleblowers.

In a press released issued Monday, Grassley said one FBI whistleblower case “continues to languish for nine years and a second case sits in limbo for more than four years.”

“Whistleblowers are key to unlocking many of the secrets hidden deep in the closets of the federal government,” Grassley said in a statement. “Allowing a case to sit in limbo for more than nine years shows a lack of commitment to resolving issues for these courageous people.

“The excessive time to make a judgment on these cases indicates that the process for adjudicating FBI whistleblower claims is broken, and needs to be fixed,” Grassley added. “The Attorney General and Deputy Attorney General have significant say over the speed at which these matters are addressed, and the recent decision by Deputy Attorney General Cole to remand a nine year old case for further proceedings is mind boggling and calls into question his commitment to help support whistleblowers.”

Grassley, in a letter to Holder, urged the attorney general to address whistleblower cases in a more timely manner.

Grassley mentioned former FBI agent Jane Turner who was fired in 2002 after disclosing to the Justice Department Inspector General after discovering that FBI agents removed items from Ground Zero following the attacks of 9/11.

Grassley said in his release that due to the Inspector General’s delayed decision, Agent Turner was forced to file an appeal with the Office of Attorney Recruitment and Management, which ordered the FBI to issue back pay, attorney’s fees and other relief.

After an FBI appeal, the Deputy Attorney General remanded the case for further proceedings and it now continues to languish nine years after Agent Turner’s original complaint, Grassley said.

Grassley also cited the case of Robert Kobus, a 30-year non-agent employee of the FBI who more than four years ago disclosed time and attendance fraud by FBI agents. The Inspector General substantiated his claims of retaliation for protected whistleblowing, yet his case has been sitting with the Office of Attorney Recruitment and Management for four years.

“I presume you would agree that DOJ is sxending the wrong message to whistleblowers by taking an inordinate amount of time to issue final declarations for Agent Turner and Mr. Kobus,” Grassley wrote in the letter to Holder.

Read letter to Holder