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Times-Picayune (LA): Fired BP Worker Files Whistleblower Suit
Summary: A former BP employee has filed a whistleblower suit against the major oil company, claiming that he was fired after reporting to federal overseers that his superiors were falsifying data to make Mississippi beaches appear cleaner. According to the whistleblower, BP officials refused to clean up oiled debris on various beaches and then reported the beaches clean, all in an effort to finish its cleanup responsibilities and leave the rest to the coast guard.
Washington Times: Ex-CIA Official Accused of Leaks
Summary: More coverage of the former CIA officer, John Kiriakou, who is now the sixth whistleblower to be charged under the Espionage Act during the Obama administration. Kiriakou is accused of ‘leaking’ classified information to members of the media.
Key Quote: “[Those charged under the Espionage Act] are all whistle-blowers, who because they work in the national security and intelligence field, are not protected” by the whistle-blowing law, said Jesselyn Radack of the Government Accountability Project, a nonprofit watchdog group.
GAP National Security & Human Rights Director Jesselyn Radack blogged today about the revelation that Kiriakou's wife, another intelligence agency employee, was pressured to resign.
Related Article: Huffington Post
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According to the reports in today's Washington Post, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) pushed out career analyst Heather Kiriakou, wife to John Kiriakou, the former CIA employee who has the dubious distinction of being the sixth person in history charged under the Espionage Act for alleged mishandling of classified information. WaPo reports that spouses working at an intelligence agency creates a difficult situation for the agency:
The case created an unusual security dilemma for the CIA, turning on whether the career of a senior analyst should continue even when her husband faces charges that he breached his agreement to protect the agency’s secrets.
In actuality, spouses working in the intelligence community is far from an unusual situation, and the ruining of Ms. Kiriakou's career – who the WaPo reports was forced to resign while on maternity leave – is an all too typical consequence for whistleblowers.
Former Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) employee John Dullahan (whose security clearance was pulled for socializing with Soviets in 1985) and National Security Agency (NSA) whistleblower Thomas Drake (who was the fourth person charged under the Espionage Act for alleged mishandling of classified information) both had spouses who worked at NSA. In Dullahan's case, his wife worked at DIA as a supervisor with access to Top Secret/Sensitive Compartmented Information.
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"The perfect crime is the one that's not illegal."
– Greg Palast, Vultures' Picnic
World Bank headquarters in Washington, DCThe year 2011 was a long one of indecision between the new government in Egypt and the international financial institutions (IFIs) over new loans. Because lending from the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) previously came with politically unpopular conditions, such as cuts to subsidies and higher sales taxes, the post-Mubarak government had difficulty signing on. As it now stands, the loans once offered and declined may be back on the table because, as we come up on the one-year anniversary of the fall of the Mubarak government, Egypt continues to need financial support. A quick look at the last "Financial Sector Policy Loan" signed between the Mubarak government and the World Bank, together with a review of the corruption that tainted high office in Egypt shows the new government's current dilemma.
The program document for the last Financial Sector loan includes references to new laws and presidential decrees issued to insure the effectiveness of the "sound" new financial policies adopted by Mubarak & Sons. Because the new laws were in place, according to World Bank specialists, the Bank would lend the Mubarak government $500 million in a single tranche, disbursed in July 2010, to help strengthen the financial sector. This payout followed two earlier disbursements of $500 million each in 2006 and 2008, through the first and second loans in this series.
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Los Angeles Times: Ex-CIA Officer Charged with Disclosing Classified Information
Summary: Yesterday, the Obama administration charged another ‘leaker’ under the Espionage Act. Former CIA officer John Kiriakou was charged with disclosing classified information to journalists and could face decades in prison if convicted. This is Obama’s sixth criminal prosecution that is leak-related, "a figure that exceeds the number of such cases in all previous administrations combined." The Espionage Act charges brought against Tom Drake – another intelligence agency ‘leaker,' or more correct to say, ‘whistleblower’ – those charges crumbled last year just days before the trial was set to begin.
Key Quote: "What's missing from all these cases is any allegation that these people have actually caused harm to the United States," said Jesselyn Radack, national security and human rights director for the Government Accountability Project, which represented former National Security Agency official Thomas Drake in an Espionage Act case that collapsed last year.
GAP’s Jesselyn Radack lambasts this most recent Espionage Act prosecution in a blog entry posted this morning.
Related Articles: Associated Press, Salon
Supreme Court Overturns California's Slaughter Rule for Downed Livestock
Summary: Yesterday the Supreme Court announced its decision to overturn California's ban on slaughtering downed livestock too sick or weak to stand on their own. GAP's Food Integrity Campaign explains why this is disheartening news and, as whistleblowers have revealed, the need for change in federal regulation.
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Courtesy of Flickr user publik15Yesterday, John Kiriakou, a former Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) officer, gained the dubious distinction of being the SIXTH person charged in the Obama administration's record-breaking war on whistleblowers:
The Justice Department on Monday charged a former Central Intelligence Agency officer with disclosing classified information to journalists about the capture and brutal interrogation of a suspected member of Al Qaeda, Abu Zubaydah . . .
Worse, in Kiriakou's case, the Obama Justice Department appears to be covering for one of the most abhorrent crimes of the Bush administration – torture. Despite the flowery rhetoric that got him elected, Obama has a dismal record on accountability for Bush-era wrongdoing:
Criminal prosecutions for officials who authorized or conducted torture and warrantless surveillance: 0
Criminal prosecutions for so-called "leakers," who are more often than not whistleblowers: 6
Oh thank G-d. This is a great example of the Supreme Court conforming the law to new technology. The High Court ruled UNANIMOUSLY that the police must obtain a valid search warrant before using a GPS (global positioning system) device to track criminal suspects.
For those of you who saw the oral argument, the words "Big Brother" came up six times. It is hugely significant (says the attorney whose clients have been electronically surveilled) that courts hear these cases and that they not be shut down by the "state secrets privilege" – the reason the legal cases on warrantless wiretapping have all been halted.
Obviously, the broader issue is how technology has impacted our reasonable expectation of privacy in today's world. But this is a good start.
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Scalia wrote the opinion. Key quote:
We hold that the government's installation of a GPS device on a target's vehicle, and its use of that device to monitor the vehicle's movements, constitutes a "search,"
under the Fourth Amendment, meaning it's unconstitutional
– a word out of vogue these days.
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Courtesy of Flickr user lewisha1990Boston Globe: Complaint Describes Loan Fruad
Summary: This article looks at the Massachusetts connections of the Department of Labor whistleblower complaint filed by former Countrywide Financial/Bank of America employee and GAP client Eileen Foster, who reported the corrupt activities of company officials. Last October, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) found that BofA was wrong to terminate her, ordering her reinstatement and damages. However, BofA has appealed that order, and Foster’s fight continues.
Key Quote: Richard E. Condit, senior counsel with the Government Accountability Project, a Washington-based nonprofit representing Foster, said his client’s story puts a spotlight on a mortgage industry that cared more about short-term gains than long-term stability. “There is little indication the culture that created this crisis will ever change,’’ he said.
Los Angeles Times: Inaction by Regulators as Weight Loss Surgery Allegations Mount
Summary: Several current and former employees of a weight loss business filed a whistleblower suit last week, alleging that the company retaliated against them for reporting unsafe conditions. Federal regulators have yet to respond.