[Cross-posted from Whistleblower Support Fund] At a hearing of the Senate Appropriations committee Thursday, whistleblowers testified on Veterans Affair’s investigation of the concerns about healthcare deficiencies at Veterans Affairs hospitals–investigations they characterized as a collective whitewash.
When the U.S. Department of Justice accepted a $192.7 million settlement from Endo Pharmaceuticals for “a decade’s worth of fraud that ripped off Medicare and Medicaid for over $700 million dollars,” it left Endo with a generous profit from the alleged wrongdoing. But, when it came to rewarding the whistleblower who built the government’s case, Justice put on its Ebeneezer Scrooge spectacles and offered her “barely more than the minimum 15% required by law.”
The success of Edward Snowden’s disclosure of National Security Agency surveillance hinged on measures he took to prevent government detection of his communications with journalists. His contact, Laura Poitras, describes using similar measures to avoid tipping off authorities, who would have arrested Snowden and seized the evidence he collected from NSA computers.
Other federal agencies, state and local governments, and businesses also conduct surveillance. Our movements, communications and transactions are monitored in great detail, making it essential for whistleblowers who desire anonymity to develop cyber security skills and a bit of spycraft. It’s especially important for national security and qui tam whistleblowers, but potentially beneficial to others, too.
A Senate hearing in the Dirksen Office Building ended abruptly after someone called in a bomb threat to U.S. Capitol Police. Reportedly, a bomb had been placed in the room next to the hearing room. When word came to evacuate the hearing room, members of the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs were listening to testimony from whistleblower Robert MacLean about TSA management failures that threatened aviation security. Sen. Ron Johnson, who chaired the hearing, later said the threat was determined to be false.
(Commentary) by Shanna Devine (Government Accountability Project) and Liz Hempowicz (Project on Government Oversight)
Published in The HIll, March 12, 2015
When facing the prospect of criminal prosecution for leaking highly classified material to his mistress and later lying about it to the FBI, General David Petraeus found unlikely allies on Capitol Hill. Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), and Diane Feinstein (D-Calif.) have all spoken out against criminally prosecuting the four-star general, in part because they feel he has “suffered enough.” This is not the first time that a high-ranking individual may skirt punishment for infractions that would land a subordinate in jail for years. Former Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta was also recently allegedly involved in highly classified leaks to the film producers of Zero Dark Thirty and treated with near impunity.
Glenn Greenwald: As Bulk NSA Spying Expires, Scare Tactics Can’t Stop “Sea Change” on Surveillance
Published by Democracy Now!, Republished under Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.
At an April 13 hearing, members of the House Committee on Veterans Affairs heard testimony from whistleblowers who confirmed that retaliation continues at medical facilities operated by the Department of Veterans Affairs. At a previous hearing, on July 8, 2014, whistleblowers described retaliation for reporting inadequate medical services to veterans.
Dr. Maryann Hooker, a VA neurologist, described reprisals that targeted individuals who spoke favorably about whistleblowers as well as the whistleblowers themselves.
OSHA wants employers and employees to know that temporary employees “are entitled to the same protections under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (the OSH Act) as all other covered workers.” That includes protection against retaliation for reporting hazardous or unhealthful working conditions to their employer, OSHA or other government agencies. The agency has issued a bulletin on Whistleblower Protection Rights (https://www.osha.gov/Publications/OSHA3781.pdf) in connection with its Temporary Worker Initiative,
The bad news is that whistleblower complaints from all workers fare poorly under OSHA. Nationwide, the agency found merit in only 2.7% of cases investigated from 2009 to 2014.