NPR: Fast and Furious Whistle-blower Reaches Agreement Over Retaliation Claims
Peter Forcelli, a GAP client and one of the whistleblowers involved in the 'Fast & Furious' scandal at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATF), has settled his retaliation case with the agency through the Office of Special Counsel's mediation program.
Key Quote: A lawyer for Forcelli declined to disclose the terms of the settlement because it was the product of a confidential mediation process. "We can't reveal the details but Mr. Forcelli's smile could not be broader," lawyer Tom Devine, of the Government Accountability Project, told NPR in an interview. "This outcome was a 180 degree reversal by new management... This dispute is over."
Related Articles: Main Justice
Walmart to Sell Monsanto's Unlabeled GE Sweet Corn
Walmart, the world's largest retailer, will soon be selling Monsanto's new genetically engineered (GE) sweet corn – just months before a California vote determines whether GE foods require labeling in that state. GAP's Food Integrity Campaign explains.
Wired's Danger Room: NCIS Targets Danger Room in Silliest Leak Investigation Ever
The Naval Criminal Investigative Service has initiated a leak investigation around the disclosure of a unclassified document marked "For Official Use Only" that was provided to Wired Magazine. The document in question is about an undeveloped, futuristic laser weapon whose purpose would be to set insurgents' clothes on fire. The article discusses how leak investigations by the federal government have gone awry, citing the case of GAP clients Franz Gayl and Tom Drake.
Key Quote: The leak investigations have also gone after lower-ranking players, like Franz Gayl, a civilian scientist working for the Marine Corps. Gayl, who first brought attention to delays in fielding bomb-resistant vehicles, wasn’t celebrated for helping keep troops alive; rather, he was stripped of his security clearance, and then suspended him from work. (Gayl won his job back in November 2011.)
In July, the Pentagon chief established a “top-down” system for reporting leaks, and requires a security officer review of unauthorized disclosures of protected information. The guidance also states that public affairs is the “sole release authority for all DoD information to news media in Washington.” That lead some to wonder whether the chase for leakers wasn’t really an excuse to keep whistleblowers from speaking out.
After all, the Obama White House had already gone after whistleblowers with a fury not seen in decades. Former National Security Agency employee Thomas Drake, for instance, was charged with espionage for telling the Baltimore Sun about overbudget, dysfunctional data mining projects at the agency. (He eventually pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor.)
For those who protect whistleblowers, the new regulations are seen as new way to intimidate those would would expose official waste or wrongdoing. Tom Devine, legal director of the Government Accountability Project, which represents whistleblowers, said these new policies are likely to have a “chilling and freezing effect” on employees wanting to disclose malfeasance.
WFTZ (FL): TSA Whistleblower Raises Concerns about Security at RSW
A veteran TSA agent is disclosing what he believes to be serious safety concerns at the X-ray screening operations at a Fort Myers, Florida airport.
Key Quote: "You give me any 10 year old kid who has ever played a video game and I could teach him how to operate that X-ray in 30 minutes and he'll probably do it better than a lot of the people who are doing it for a living."
Leadership: CBN to Make Whistle-blowing Mandatory for Banks
In Nigeria, it will soon be mandated that banks and other financial institutions "provide mechanisms that facilitate whistleblowing."
Dylan Blaylock is Communications Director for the Government Accountability Project, the nation's leading whistleblower protection and advocacy organization.