Whistleblowers’ Dirty Dozen: Interview with Sibel Edmonds
By Luke Ryland
Luke’s website: http://wotisitgood4.blogspot.com
On June 29, The National Security Whistleblowers Coalition (NSWBC) announced its Whistleblowers’ Dirty Dozen Campaign:
"The following members of Congress, by their action or inaction, have stood against real investigations, hearings, and legislation dealing with government whistleblowers who have exposed waste, fraud, abuse, and or criminal activities within government agencies. These representatives of the People are not only standing against whistleblowers, but against the public’s right to know, effective oversight, accountability, and ultimately against the democratic processes that underpin our society. "
The Whistleblowers’ Dirty Dozen list is as follows (in alphabetical order):
Senator Hillary Clinton
Senator Mike DeWine
Rep. David Dreier
Rep. Dennis Hastert
Senator Orrin Hatch
Rep. Peter Hoekstra
Senator Jon Kyl
Senator Joseph Lieberman
Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger
Senator Rick Santorum
Rep. James Sensenbrenner
Rep. Mark Souder
On July 2nd, I interviewed NSWBC Founder and President Sibel Edmonds by phone. I was primarily interested in a) what the Dirty Dozen campaign intends to achieve, and b) why these particular individuals were chosen.
For a little bit of background:
Sibel Edmonds worked as a language specialist for the FBI’s Washington Field Office. During her work with the bureau, she discovered and reported serious acts of security breaches, cover-ups, and intentional blocking of intelligence that had national security implications. After she reported these acts to FBI management, she was retaliated against by the FBI and ultimately fired in March 2002. Since that time, court proceedings on her issues have been blocked by the assertion of “State Secret Privilege” by Attorney General Ashcroft; the Congress of the United States has been gagged and prevented from any discussion of her case through retroactive re-classification by the Department of Justice. Ms. Edmonds is fluent in Turkish, Farsi and Azerbaijani; and has a MA in Public Policy and International Commerce from George Mason University, and a BA in Criminal Justice and Psychology from George Washington University. PEN American Center awarded Ms. Edmonds the 2006 PEN/Newman's Own First Amendment Award for her “commitment to preserving the free flow of information in the United States in a time of growing international isolation and increasing government secrecy".
The National Security Whistleblowers Coalition (NSWBC):
"National Security Whistleblowers Coalition (NSWBC), founded in August 2004, is an independent and nonpartisan alliance of whistleblowers who have come forward to address our nation’s security weaknesses; to inform authorities of security vulnerabilities in our intelligence agencies, at nuclear power plants and weapon facilities, in airports, and at our nation’s borders and ports; to uncover government waste, fraud, abuse, and in some cases criminal conduct…” For more click here
The following is an edited transcript of the interview - or perhaps more accurately a collection of Sibel's quotes. I transcribed the interview, and then cut & pasted her quotes into different places in an attempt to provide a better narrative while trying to keep Sibel's statements intact.
In the interview, Sibel describes the importance of Congress' oversight function, the mechanics of the process of bills moving through the committees, the specific problems with particular members of Congress, and the impact of those problems.
Over to Sibel:
This interview is a great idea - because in a way you make my life easier. I have been planning to put together a portfolio for each person on the Dirty Dozen. For the past 2.5 years, all the NSWBC's activities have been geared toward the Congress in terms of going to each of the appropriate committees. So I'll go through each of these committees for you - which ones are the appropriate committees, and who are the key players in each committee. We've been begging the committees, giving the details and relevant documentation of each of the Whistleblowers cases to the key offices, and so on. Let's say the Whistleblower is from the DoD, they would report to the Armed Services Committee - so we send all the documents on a particular Whistleblower and say: ‘ we're asking you to launch an investigation into this Whistleblowers case. Here is what we have so far, the person has gone to the Inspector General, he or she has been put on administrative leave, here are the issues etc'.
Let me give you an example that I often use: If you are a private citizen and you see some criminal conduct - you see a rape for example - what do you do? You call 911, right? But let's say you are working for these agencies - law enforcement, or intelligence - and you witness criminal conduct, or severe cases of government waste, fraud or abuse - what do you do? You don’t have a 911 that you can call! You can’t call the police. The only thing that you can do is contact the Inspector General, OSC, etc., but these departmental IGs aren’t really independent, they are part of the agencies, they're part of the system. So the only '911' that is available to Whistleblowers is the Congress - they have these committees for OVERSIGHT.
If you're from the FBI, for example, you know that the House Judiciary Committee and the Senate Judiciary Committee have oversight responsibility for the FBI & DOJ. They have the power to withhold funds from the FBI, they have the power to bring people in and hold hearings - and actually perform oversight and accountability. So naturally you go to the Congress. That’s why the NSWBC has had its focus mainly on Congress - we write respectful letters, and follow-up with calls and emails and faxes, and sometimes we attend rallies in front of their offices - saying 'you need to meet with us; get to know these cases' - and for 2.5 years, these people - particularly this Dirty Dozen - have done NOTHING. They have basically removed the only '911' that Whistleblowers have - and in doing so, they have abdicated their oversight responsibilities.
Often, when the public hears about Whistleblowers - they think 'oh - these poor people, I feel sorry for them - this is about their careers that have been destroyed, and the retaliation and so on' - and I always try to emphasize that what we're doing isn’t only about the Whistleblowers - this is about the public's right to know, and it's about stopping these crimes. It is about stopping this illegal activity. In the example I just used, it's about stopping the rape much more than being about Joe Citizen's right to call 911.
Congress is the representative of the people, remember - they are supposed to be working for the public’s right to know. So when they fail to pass legislation protecting Whistleblowers, or when they fail (or don’t even try!) to investigate these cases, they are failing the public at large.
They are failing the public’s right to know - which means they aren’t even FOR the public's right to know. They are actually ANTI the public's right to know. They also abdicate their oversight responsibilities - for example, when Congress has their bi-annual oversight hearings, they only bring in the director and deputy director. What do you think these people are going to say? Are they going to tell you that they have screwed up? No - they're going say they're doing great. They aren’t going to tell you about the real foul stuff that's happening there, right? I've sat through a bunch of these oversight hearings - the only problems they ever cite is that a) they don’t have enough money, and b) they don't have enough people! So Congress will never get any oversight by just listening to the Director and the deputy.
It's the people at the front-lines - the whistleblowers who come to you, be it the federal air marshals, or be it this guy Provance who witnessed torture, or be it Bunny Greenhouse at the DoD who saw that contract fraud was happening. These are the people who are doing the job - and without these people - the Congress simply won't find out what's really going on. So by not protecting whistleblowers, by not investigating the cases, by not holding hearings - apart from this being anti the public's right to know, it is abdicating their oversight responsibility, and once they do that, there will be no accountability whatsoever, and therefore these guys are anti-accountability. So the issues that we are putting forward in terms of whistleblower protection is actually about protecting the public’s right to know, and it's about bringing about oversight and accountability. And when you have oversight and accountability, then of course, there are fewer crimes, and less fraud and waste - because the people committing the crimes will know that someone might be watching.
Some of our cases have been high profile cases - like Sergeant Provance and Russ Tice. Remember when we fought for those hearings that Congressman Shays eventually held in the House Government Reform Committee - we convinced Shays to actually have whistleblowers, such as Sergeant Provance & Tice, on the witness panel. Provance was military, stationed in Iraq - and with some of these torture cases, he immediately reported these illegal activities. The military in Iraq were bringing the children of the detainees, and they would beat up and torture the children in front of the detainees - and they'd threaten the detainees that they would keep torturing the children until they talked! So Sergeant Provance reported this stuff and he was disciplined and put on administrative leave.
In his case, the appropriate committees to deal with these issues and reports are the Armed Services Committee, the Judiciary Committee, and the Government Reform Committee. This is just one example - for each of our cases, we have been writing letters to the congressional offices, and calling them, and emailing them, and contacting their staff - asking for briefings, and hearings - we have been doing a lot of activity for the past 2.5 years with the Congress. We have first hand experience with the various committees and their offices.
NSWBC has 84 official members so far - and our partner coalitions, Veteran Affairs Whistleblowers Coalition (VAWBC - this is the group of doctors and nurses from VA hospitals who have whistleblowers on severe abuse and fraud/waste cases - they have about 10-15 members) and of course the State Dept Concerned Foreign Service Officers Coalition - they have about 40-45 whistleblowers.
The purpose of the Dirty Dozen campaign
Believe it or not, over 60% of our members are Republicans and people who consider themselves conservative - however many are disgusted with this administration, and with the Republican Congress. Nonetheless, a lot of these people are from military backgrounds and consider themselves conservative. And yet - three quarters of the Dirty Dozen list is Republican. We have 84 Whistleblowers at NSWBC, mostly Republicans, and we all agreed that we have to kick these Dirty Dozen out of office.
We've been doing this for 2.5 years, and all of our whistleblowers are asking 'well - what more does it take? We have been pounding on their doors, doing action-alerts, sending them letters - how can we get them to do something? How can we provide that push?' Well - one way is the media. There are two other ways - especially when in DC (and I call DC the real sin-city - it's not Vegas, its DC!) - Sticks and carrots.
When you observe what is going on, with lobbyists and Congress and the whole DC machine - it's all about either carrots, or sticks. Of course, the lobbyists have the carrots - giving them money and donating to their campaigns. We are not about that - we are not that kind of organization. So the congressional people see us and simply say “Hey - These people are not important. What can they do for me? I will not give them any meetings, I will not give them any briefings - I'm not even going to look at these cases - because who are these people? “You know what I'm saying? We don’t have any carrots for them.
That's why a few months ago we documented that we have been trying so very hard to break through for 2.5 years - and it's not as though the media hasn't put out a lot of this information - we hear about whistleblowers every day exposing wrongdoing. We know that Congress too is aware of many of these cases - but they're still not doing anything. And we realized that we may not have carrots, so let's try using sticks. And that's what we're doing with the Dirty Dozen.
We call it 'holding these representatives accountable' - saying 'you are failing the public's right to know, you're standing against accountability’. We have tried for over 2 years and you're not doing it. It's time for you to leave congress, and hopefully we will replace you with someone who will do the job properly'. So this is what we are going to do from now until the election in November. Some of us are ready to travel, to go and give speeches before their constituents, and to actively let the constituents know that they should consider this when they are voting for or against these people. We aren’t going to tell them who to vote for - but we are going to tell them what their representatives are not doing, and also the effect of them not doing this: The effect on them individually, the effect on their national security, and on their taxes being wasted. This is our pledge, and this is what we are going to do.
This is about accountability - we're saying that it's time for these people to go, and hopefully if we are successful with some of these people (I'm not all that optimistic about all of them) - that might send a message. Next time we knock on their doors, in January, they might say 'hey we'd better pay attention here - because our constituents obviously care about these major issues.'
Hopefully we can get some support from the challengers in these races - that's another message. The problem is that we don't have the funding, and we don't have staff, and offices. As you know, our organization is of whistleblowers, for whistleblowers, and by whistleblowers - we don’t have a single person who isn’t a whistleblower. One of the reasons that we don’t have funds is that last year I refused to go and file the organization with the IRS as a 501(c)(3) (a tax-exempt non-profit). If you file as a 501(c)(3) you give up so much power, and rights - because you are not allowed to go out there and campaign, and say 'this person has been doing this' in an attempt to affect the voting. You can only do advocacy - so you're giving up a lot of power. So I decided that we would become a 501(c)(4) instead. And I also refused to accept money from some foundations that came and offered because with some of these foundations - and again, this is why I call DC 'sin-city' - the funding sometimes comes with a caveat. For example, ok - you don't ruffle feathers, or some of these foundations have ex-congressmen or ex-senators on their board, or as advisors, or they might say 'oh by the way, we're giving you all this money, and your list has 3 Democrats, and we are pro-Democrats - and we want you to take those 3 people out.' We don’t want to be compromised like that. We want to be able to say 'look - this is the list; this is the truth. We don’t owe anybody anything, we're not in anyone's pocket' - so what you get from us is a straightforward, ’This is how it is' - which is so rare to find in this sin-city.
We don't really have any external financing - we've had several small individual donors which has helped to pay for the website, etc. We have to organize some more because we want to be able to produce flyers of the Dirty Dozen and other things, and we also want to be able to pay the travel expenses for our Whistleblowers to go to these states, and districts, and be able to provide information to the constituents of these particular 12 candidates on our list. As far as the challengers go, again, we are not going to go and campaign for anybody, but on the other hand, lets say someone who is running against Lieberman comes to us and says "Hey NSWBC, one of the agendas that I have here that I'm promising if I become a senator, or the congressman is that I would work very hard in passing Whistleblowers legislation." If somebody were to do that and pledge their support publicly, then we would campaign along with them and do it as a mutual thing, but right now, as it stands we are bi-partisan Whistleblowers.
We had one very interesting case with the House Government Reform Committee. The Chair is Tom Davis - Republican from Virginia - and the ranking minority leader is Henry Waxman from California, Democrat. Last September, Chairman Davis brought this quasi-whistleblower bill - HR 1317 - which they said was a bill to protect whistleblowers, and as soon as we looked at it we noted that all the National Security Whistleblowers - FBI, NSA, DHS - everybody is excluded from it; contractors were also excluded. So in the committee, they had the markup hearing - this was when they put it up for vote - and during the hearing Henry Waxman, Congressman Maloney - the Democrat leadership in that committee - introduced amendments to the bill proposing to remove the exemption language so the National Security Whistleblowers are included, and another amendment that both contractors and subcontractors should be given protection.
There were 3 or 4 excellent amendments that we had been pushing for, and the Democrats introduced them, and the Chairman said "No - we're not even going to look at those amendments - we don’t deal with National Security Whistleblowers. That's for the Intelligence Committee - so we aren’t even going to look at them and we're just going to pass the bill the way it is" - and it passed immediately. Then we had a massive campaign against Tom Davis - we had faxes, letters, interviews etc. and surprisingly, after we'd spent so much effort and energy on it - Tom Davis changed his position just a couple of months ago - Waxman introduced the amendments again - and this time Davis said "I agree with you" and he put his name on it! Lo and behold! Our campaign worked, see! He came to his senses and it passed the committee. Great!
Here we had a bill that even Republicans voted for - right - so the next stage was to take the bill to the next committees and to the House floor and get it passed. Well - they had to send it to the House Rules Committee and they (House Rules Committee) simply said 'No - we are not going to bring this - we're not even going to look at it'. A week later the House Government Reform Committee sent it again, House Rules Committee refused again, without any reason. The third time it was sent it was refused again, so now it's dead. This bill is dead! - Even though it was bi-partisan. That is the power that the Leadership has. These are all learning experiences for me too. I was not planning to be in the middle of this sin-city and doing this - and hopefully I won’t have to be doing it for too long! Hopefully we will bring about enough change here that I can turn around and leave before I just drown in it.
The same thing happened with Senator Collins' bill from last week - that’s exactly the same situation - that bill is S494 - this is the Senate version of the same bill - it came out of Senator Collins' committee - Collins, Lieberman and Akaka - they said, 'ok - they are making a lot of noise, let's give some Whistleblower protection' so they drafted this bill - of course, there is this chunky paragraph there saying 'however, the following agencies are all exempt for any Whistleblower protection. FBI, NSA - every National Security and law enforcement agency!'
Not only that - we also caught this one paragraph (we sent Collins and Lieberman a letter - we and the National Whistleblowers Center - they have been around for decades, and have their own legal experts and attorneys etc.) We recognized that this one paragraph would be deadly - because this one paragraph said that the agencies have the right to open an investigation against any employee - and this is from any agency, not just National Security agencies - any government employee who goes to Congress and discloses information - whether or not the information is classified or unclassified! Basically it's giving carte blanche to the executive branch, saying 'you have the right to investigate these people and see why they went to Congress.' well - this actually legitimizes retaliation - because even if the person didn’t really 'blow the whistle', or even if the info wasn’t even classified - the government can investigate any employee that speaks to Congress. That is such a dangerous thing!
I’ll send you the letter, it is posted at NSWBC.org. We wrote 'please take out that paragraph - it's worse to have a bill like this, under the mask of ‘Whistleblowers protection’ than to have no bill - because this legitimizes retaliation. They refused - Collins refused to take the language out - and they also said that they will not deal with National Security Whistleblowers - they won’t even discuss the issue. When I say 'they' - Lieberman and Collins. Then they sneaked it behind our back and they attached it to the defense bill!
Once a bill passes through a committee, it has to go to other committees - i.e. the Intelligence Committee votes on it, the Armed Services Committee etc before it gets to the floor. So you can either do a standalone bill, or sometimes bills are attached to another bill that is already going through. Collins attached it to an existing defense bill. In our letter to Collins we said 'this is very dangerous, please don’t do that.' The bill hasn’t passed the entire Senate yet - they are waiting for the conference - which is going to happen in September, I believe. So we still have two months to fight Collins and Lieberman - and anybody else who is pushing the bill - because it's better not to have a bill at all than have a bill that legitimizes retaliation.
Again, that is a bill that they're advertising in the media as ‘Whistleblowers protection’ - but the devil is in the details. When you take a closer look you can see that this is no protection. All these National Security people are exempt, contractors are exempt. They are basically inviting the agencies to retaliate - It's not a good bill.
There are two different scenarios - one in the House, which seems to be very partisan - all the Democrats have been supporting our bill. We haven’t had any Democrats opposing us (except for Ruppersberger who is on our list.) In fact the Democrats have been pushing for hearings on our issues - the great people there are Henry Waxman, Congresswoman Maloney, and Congressman Markey - they have been so pro-Whistleblower legislation & accountability - they have been pushing it very hard - and there aren’t many Democrats really standing against us.
However, in the Senate, it's completely different. Senators describe themselves as 'too civilized to disagree' - so they get together - lets say Lieberman and Collins - and they say 'we don’t like controversy - ok - you don’t bring up or push for this & this, and I won’t bring up that, and lets always look like we agree with each other and we are very bi-partisan.' So what happens is Lieberman says 'ok we will not bring proper Whistleblower legislation' and then Collins says 'ok - I’ll scratch your back there' - they always support each other - that's how it is in the Senate. Except for Senator Lautenberg - he's on the Homeland Security Committee - and he has sponsored this bill that we presented them with - a model bill
We already have these two great bills proposed on whistleblowers - because we worked with whistleblowers and the whistleblower experts outside the congress - we sat down and created our own proposed model legislation. We call it the 'model bill’, which includes all whistleblowers - including National Security, and including contractors, subcontractors - it provides for accountability - not only that, one provision criminalizes retaliation against Whistleblowers who report criminal activity.
Lets say that it's illegal to eavesdrop without warrants - and let's say Whistleblower X is reporting this illegal conduct (because you can also report government waste/fraud/abuse - which is not necessarily illegal, or criminal) - but if they are reporting something that is criminal or illegal - and people in the agency retaliate against them - then, there should be criminal investigations against those who retaliate against this whistleblower. If you report a crime, and those people above you retaliate against you - then those people should be criminally prosecuted too. Because there's the original crime, but they were also trying to cover-up too - so this model legislation is fantastic.
We presented this model legislation to several offices until we found some to sponsor it. In the House - our legislation was sponsored ("Paul Revere Freedom to Warn Act") by Congressman Markey and Congresswoman Maloney (both Democrats) - and they are trying to find sponsors because it has to be co-sponsored by Republicans - and the Republicans are just not supporting it at all.
In the Senate, Sen. Lautenberg crafted his own bill - based on our model - and it is the best, the most comprehensive bill out there. However, in his own committee - the Democrats all turned their backs on it - saying 'we don’t want to touch this issue, its too controversial - we don’t want to piss off the Republicans', and of course the Republicans say 'we're not even going to look at it' - so unlike the House, nobody in the Senate does anything! The senators are just there to make each other happy. The Senate, in a way, is just like one party. It's rare to see someone like Feingold or Sen. Lautenberg - but because of the climate in the Senate - people like that are being shunned, and isolated, even by their own party members - which is awful! I sat through this one Senate meeting - personally - with the directors of four other organizations - and during this meeting, (I won't name these people) the staff of the chairman of this committee started bad-mouthing some really good people like Sen. Lautenberg - and the other democrats' staff sat there nodding and they were applauding - it was just disgusting! So basically you just have this one party system as far as the Senate is concerned. Less so in the House - it's a totally different pattern in the House.
It's been so frustrating, like banging our head on the wall - now we are hoping to bang our heads against the election instead! And we are going to bang it big time! (laughs) and we will put our efforts towards contacting the local media (paper, radio) and also getting the attention of the challengers who want to look into the issue of Whistleblowers and also take a position on this - so we would like to see that too.
Dirty Dozen Selection Process
This Dirty Dozen list could have easily been 60 or 70 people - unfortunately. It's a sad reflection on how bad things are in Congress. We had to limit the list to a number that we could manage, so we decided to keep it to a dozen people. These dozen people are at the top of our list because they have let us down the most - and also those who have been in the position to do something. For example, when you are talking about the Chair of a Committee, then the expectation is much, much higher that they actually provide some oversight - this is what they are paid to do, after all.
For example, in my case, when Senators Grassley and Leahy came out and said the case was so credible, and we need to turn the FBI upside-down - this is 4 years ago - and they came on CBS 60 Minutes. And after the Inspector General’s report came out, they wanted to immediately hold public hearings on my case - both of them. Grassley is a Republican, Leahy is a Democrat - but the person who prevented the hearings was Senator Hatch. Orrin Hatch was the Chairman at the time - and he basically told Grassley - a Republican, so this isn’t even a partisan issue - Hatch just said "No no no. I'm not allowing any hearing on this woman's case."
One of the most detailed articles that first came out about my case was Gail Sheehy's piece in the New York Observer. It's not a particularly comprehensive piece, but it does deal with the Whistleblowers aspect. You know how diplomatic these Senators normally are - they don’t normally come straight out and say 'this person is blocking this' or whatever. Despite that, Grassley got so pissed off that he even went on the record and said to Gail Sheehy "The only reason that we aren’t having these hearings is because Senator Hatch - the Chairman - is preventing it - and without the Chairman allowing it, we can't have any hearings."
So when we deal with Chairmen - even if you get bipartisan support, the Chairmen, and the Leadership, are in a position to block it and simply say "No - I'm not going to have any hearings on this" or "No I’m not going to bring this particular bill for a vote." So even if a lot of people on the committee agree with a particular bill and want to vote for it, the Chairman can simply refuse to schedule voting on it. So the Chairmen are really powerful. That’s why we have people like Sensenbrenner (Chairman-House Judiciary), Dreier, Hastert. These are all the different factors in making our Dirty Dozen list, and based on the ones that we dealt with, based on those people's positions, and the third criteria is that you have certain people who are very visible, like Clinton for example.
That is why we worded our message in the Dirty Dozen press release very specifically to say "Action OR Inaction" - on one hand we have people, like the Chair of the Intel committee, or in a leadership position like Hastert - who have actively opposed and said "No - I'm not going to put this up for a vote" or "No - I'm not going to allow this hearing." That's actively opposing. But we also have people who have actually heard of these Whistleblowers cases by being in their position, but have refused to take any action. So even though they haven’t actively opposed, they've decided that they aren’t going to say anything about the cases, decided not to do anything about it, decided not to give us a meeting. These people have the attitude that they don’t want to hear no evil, or see no evil. Again - that's why we have in the press release "Action or Inaction."
For example, how many hearings has Conyers requested that have actually taken place? Who do you think blocks those hearings when he wants some hearing on Abu Ghraib or the Valerie Plame case or on Iraq? It’s the House leadership - that is Sensenbrenner, Dreier, Hastert - and before that DeLay - you are looking at the top 5 or 6 in the House Leadership saying 'no this isn’t going to happen' - and they can say that - even if you have some other Republicans saying that they want the hearings too.
Then we have the fourth criteria for making the Dirty Dozen list. They have to be up for re-election in November. For example, Jeff Sessions would be on the list, but he isn't up for election in November, or Susan Collins - she's the Chair of the Homeland Security Committee - but her election isn’t till 2008. The same with Arlen Specter.
Here's the thing - we have 84 whistleblowers who voted on the Dirty Dozen list - tri-partisan - and the list was virtually unanimous - based on their records, and the trials and all of our experience we have had with Congress - it's based on their stance, the dealings we have had with each of them - both specific Whistleblowers cases and also general issues.
So that was the selection criteria:
1) If they have specifically let us down: Oversight, Accountability & Meaningful Whistleblower Protection Laws
2) If they are powerful in the relevant committees: Leadership Position
3) If they are visible
4) If they are up for election
How about I go through the individuals on the Dirty Dozen list and that will give you an idea how we went about picking these people.
Senator Hillary Clinton-D, NY
Armed Services Committee
Clinton - she's on top because it's alphabetical.
There are several reasons why Clinton is on the list. We have a partner coalition that I mentioned earlier- Veterans Affairs Whistleblowers Coalition – www.vawbc.com - they are doctors and nurses who blew the whistle on some incredible criminal and abuse cases in the VA hospitals - I'll send you their letter (links to come) to Clinton, and also NSWBC's letter (links to come) from February - we made lots of follow up phone calls and Clinton's office hasn’t even responded!
For the past 4 years these doctors have been trying to get Clinton's attention. a) They are from NY state, her state, and b) some of these cases are of VA patients who have been murdered.
In one case, some pharmaceutical companies give the VA hospitals $2000 per patient if the patient gives consent and signs up for some experimental drugs - and in some cases, some of these administrators and doctors - they forged patients' signatures in order to get the $2000 per head - just like guinea pigs - and some of these patients died. Because of the medical history of some of these veterans, they shouldn’t even have been given these experimental drugs - even if they had given their consent.
One guy involved in this case has been jailed for life - but they didn’t pursue it with other doctors - what happened was that before it even became a public issue - these pharmacists and doctors blew the whistle, and instead of looking into the issues and investigating it, these people were fired. They had to go and fight it with IGs and other such bodies - some of them got their jobs back but they're still being harassed there. But most of these problems that they reported haven’t been corrected. There has been no accountability, and many of these cases haven’t even been investigated. So for the past 4 years these people have been trying to blow the whistle - boxes of letters, faxes, emails to Sen. Clinton’s office for the past four years. Not a response! Sometimes they get a canned response of 3 lines saying 'Sen. Clinton has always voted for an increase of budgets for the VA.' This is a high profile case - its been in the NY Times - its a Whistleblowers case, its a NY state case - and we are looking at this woman, Clinton, who is hawker than the most hawkish - or she pretends to be. She says she's pro-military 'send them to Iraq, let them die' - but here, she's not even looking after these veterans' rights when they're being murdered in VA hospitals. These same issues are widespread throughout the country in the other VA hospitals, not just in New York.
When we at the NSWBC found out about it, we were outraged - so we started sending letters. We called Clinton’s office, and we asked her to give us an appointment so that we could brief her and show her some of the patient files, together with the doctors. Nothing! No response. So that's one issue with Clinton.
The second issue with Clinton is that she's on the Armed Services Committee. We have had many DoD whistleblowers - either on a) big - very big - Halliburton related contract issues, and b) we have had whistleblowers on torture issues, for example Sergeant Provance who I mentioned earlier. He testified in the hearings in the House - it's just outrageous. These cases have been mailed to her office - and to this day, her office has not requested a single hearing into any of these DoD whistleblowers cases - some of them high profile. To this day they have not released a single press release, they have not responded to us, they have not responded to these whistleblowers (when I say 'they' I mean the staff members and Clinton’s office.) This woman is the hawkest of the hawks out there! Here we have Clinton - the queen of publicity whores - she is literally out there on TV and radio all the time, and at every chance she gets she wants to show her 'leadership skills' - and she's from NY. We want to go to her constituents in NY and say 'let's look at this woman’s track record, really!' a) where does she stand? Because she's a woman who takes NO ACTION - that should be her motto! and b) she pretends she's a hawk - but on the other hand, she sits and watches military people being abused and being screwed up, and murdered in VA hospitals in her own state! c) she doesn’t even respond to any whistleblower cases and therefore she's anti-accountability - and is against oversight, and against the public's right to know.
Her constituents have the right to know about this. You're looking at 10 to 15 senior level people - doctors and pharmacists - they’re not disgruntled employees. Some of these people that were fired have new jobs now - they’re practicing doctors - and some have gotten their jobs back, and they are still being retaliated against by the VA administrators. We have had so many DOD whistleblowers; same with them.
This fits into the 'inaction' category that we mentioned earlier, but also 'pretension' - that would be another word to use! Another thing that I would like to say to people is that the latest surveys show that over 70% of people have lost faith in Congress - they don’t have any confidence. Hillary, I believe is a very good example of why some people just shrug and say 'well - they're politicians - what do you expect, they're all just dirty scumbags - they’re' not going to represent the people'. Sen. Hillary Clinton - with this type of inaction - coming and pretending with a bunch of baloney - she's a good example of this scumbag politician. Does she take a stand? Does she really do anything about issues that matter? No! Again - I’m not talking about one whistleblower's career - I’m talking about the issues. I believe her constituents have the right to know.
When I send you the letters about Hillary, you'll be able to link it in your article - and also the VAWBC website - and I also invite anybody who says 'well - they have to prove more' - well, they have to prove something to us. I would say 'why is the burden of proof in this case with us?’ Here is the information if you don't believe us.'
She's always in front of the camera - yet for all her exposure, going through her statements in the press or in hearings, not once has she even mentioned the term "whistleblower." Now - considering the fact that we have had unprecedented numbers of whistleblowers in the past four years since September 11 - every week you open the newspaper there's a story about whistleblowers - from the Homeland Security, the DoD, the CIA, the FBI, and you read about the retaliation against whistleblowers - and yet not once has Clinton even mentioned whistleblowers - and she's on the Armed Services Committee! Her behavior is outrageous and yet somehow, whistleblowing isn’t an issue for her. That says a lot in terms of where she stands, too.
It's not like people say this issue doesn’t exist. It’s a very major issue. It wasn’t until 2001 - but since September 11 whistleblowing is in the list of the top 5 issues. Since 2001, one of the big issues is whistleblowers. This administration is always screaming "We have leakers!" but of course we have so much fraud and waste and abuse and criminal activities that is forcing these whistleblowers to come forward - because we have so much bad stuff going on - but regardless, we have this huge issue of whistleblowers - and yet Clinton has not responded.
When we request to go and brief her, and her staff - meet with her office, she doesn’t want to know. She’s not even giving appointments. Why? Because we are not defense contractors, we are not contributing to her campaign. Mrs. Clinton - why is it that your staff - being on the Armed Services Committee, and therefore responsible for DoD whistleblowers - why is it that they don't want to even become aware of the issues? or even give an appointment for half an hour? To me, that says a lot. For someone who is so high profile, and who pretends otherwise. People need to be aware of this.
In a way, even though I'm fighting against them, I have more respect for those people who oppose whistleblowers directly and say 'we're opposing it, we're not going to protect whistleblowers.' But these hypocrites who just sit down behind closed doors and actually go along with those who oppose whistleblowers, but out in public, they just pretend they don't know anything, as if this justifies their inaction. But then, when it comes to talk, they say they have leadership skills and they care for this country, and they think they are 'it' - well that is hypocrisy. I respect someone more like Dreier or Souder who come right out and say 'I'm anti-whistleblowers - and I don't believe we should be giving any rights to whistleblowers ' - at least we know where they stand, but this hypocrite Clinton, watch out, she's far more dangerous, because this woman has no stand - it's simply inaction - this type of person has no leadership skills. She should not be in a leadership position.
However, with Clinton, I don’t know how much we can influence her election because I know that she has been running strong, but remember that she got booed at the Take Back America conference! You know, everyone always looks for the first person to boo at these things, and once one person started many others joined in. It was great to see some Democrats with spines out there! So I guess that's as much as we hope to achieve with Hillary being on the Dirty Dozen list - we can start the booing!
Senator Mike DeWine-R, OH
Senate Judiciary Committee
Mike DeWine, in Ohio, well, he's just incredible. Have you seen the bill he introduced? He's a nutcase - as far as being far-out Right and pro-White House. After this illegal eavesdropping came out - he introduced a bill with 5 or 6 points. The last point in his bill says 'we need to criminalize whistleblowing. Whistleblowers from agencies that deal with National Security or Law Enforcement should be liable to go to jail for up to 15 years and should be fined up to $1 million. The guy actually introduced this! This guy is a fascist!
He introduced this bill into the committee and he is going to push it for a vote! The conference is in September - and he's really pushing it hard - he is on the Senate Judiciary Committee. Specter is the chairman, DeWine kind of has the 2nd chair on that - but DeWine has found other Republicans who have been backing him. I will send you the bill he proposes - there is one provision there that says that we should criminalize whistleblowing - with jail time and a fine. This is the first time ever that Congress has tried to criminalize whistleblowing. It’s incredible! That says it all about DeWine.
The Judiciary Committee is very relevant to whistleblowers issues, and as a senior member of that committee DeWine has done ‘0’ in terms of oversight hearings, accountability, whistleblower cases…
Rep. David Dreier-R, CA
House Rules Committee
Also on our list is David Dreier - he is Chair of the House Rules Committee (which I discussed earlier). He is the one who has rejected all the whistleblower amendments and bills presented to the committee - and prevent them from coming to a vote - anything that has to do with whistleblowers, he's against it.
Waxman actually had a press release saying that three times they rejected these amendments even though it was bipartisan, introduced by Waxman and Davis - basically saying that National Security Whistleblowers and contractors should be covered and that the House Rules Committee and their Leadership prevented it. That's why Dreier is on the list - he's anti-whistleblowers and in his leadership position he has been preventing the whistleblower legislation. He is a very important one.
The reason that Dreier is so anti-whistleblower is that these people are in bed with the executive branch, the Whitehouse. People like Dreier and Hastert. If you look at all of their actions, they seem to see their job as protecting the President and the White House - rather than being the oversight body - the Congress of the United States that was established to provide checks and balances. And the issue of whistleblowers - not only the executive branch stands against it, but also these people such as Dreier and Hastert - and Pat Roberts in the Senate - they see themselves as the guardian angels of the White House.
But you see, it's not just the Executive Branch that hates whistleblowers. You also have look at the other powerful actors - the defense companies and the rest of the military industrial complex. Do you think they like to see any whistleblower protection? Of course not! These companies take advantage of the situation. It is these companies that are doing these deals that are fraudulent or unfair.
Do you know the Bunny Greenhouse case? That's a good example of why these companies also don’t want effective whistleblower legislation.
These people, Dreier and Hastert, are pro-executive branch, and pro-White House, and they don't even believe that their duty is as the other branch that is there to maintain the system of checks and balances - so they have given carte blanche to the White House.
I didn’t even know who Dreier was till 3 or 4 months ago - when finally after working so hard - we passed this bill through the committee with Waxman, and we finally got Tom Davis' signature - and we were all excited that we'd finally got it - but then we were told 'No, no - you've still got to get past someone who is very anti-whistleblowers - he's not going to let this go any further - and I was like 'Dreier - who is he? The Rules Committee? What kind of committee is that? I've never heard of the Rules Committee!'
You see - when a committee in the House passes a bill, meaning that the Republicans and Democrats vote on it and they pass it - that's only in the committee. Before it is put up for vote on the entire House floor, that bill that has already passed the committee has to go to the House Rules Committee, and these committees have to then get permission from the House Rules Committee to take it to the other committees, and then to the House floor. The House Rules Committee is in a position to simply say "No - we don’t want this bill to be voted on this year. We'll look at it next year. Why? We don't have to give you any reasons." They can block it there and it can get stuck in the House Rules Committee, even though it might have had bipartisan support. And the House Rules Committee has been blocking every single whistleblower legislation - even the bad ones! Even the bills that we consider really weak - bills that we'd prefer not to pass because we think they are so weak - because it only gives the illusion of protection - they block even those! It's David Dreier and Dennis Hastert, as the Leadership, who are preventing these bills.
As you know, Dreier nearly took Tom DeLay's position when DeLay was forced to stand down. It all makes sense - see how it all fits together!
Rep. Dennis Hastert-R, IL
Speaker of the House
Why is Hastert on the Dirty Dozen list? Hastert's inclusion on the list has nothing to do with my personal case - because I never went to him when I blew the whistle and was reporting it to Congress - and of course you understand why I couldn’t! His is the last office I would want to go to.
He is in the leadership position in the House - and talking with other NGO's who deal with whistleblowers - like POGO and GAP etc - and also dealing with people in Congress who have been trying for the past 2 or 3 years to push certain bills and legislation - they have gone on record clearly stating that the biggest problem is the House Leadership - especially Dennis Hastert - who basically prevents these bills from coming up for vote, and he stands really strongly against whistleblowers .
But I haven’t had any direct contact with his office - and we have never had any specific cases dealing with his office. His inclusion on the list is based on the record compiled by all the NGOs that the House Leadership, led by Hastert is the major problem.
David Dreier is in a similar situation. Dreier is on the House Rules Committee, Hastert is the Speaker of the House - and as Speaker, he is part of the House Leadership that has been blocking any bills that have to do with whistleblowers legislation - or any hearings. They have the power - because when you talk about House Leadership - you're looking at the chairman, and the WHIP, and the Speaker and the Chair of the Rules Committee. Those three or four people have the power to influence the Chairs of all the other committees. Even if the other Chairs want to have a vote, the Leadership can just block it. They just put pressure on each other. When Feingold was saying that some Democrats were trying to put pressure on him, we're talking about the same scenario. And it's not just us - all of the other NGO's are saying the same thing - whenever any legislation gets stuck it's because the House Leadership stands completely against it
(see also Dreier, above, and Hatch, below)
Senator Orrin Hatch-R, UT
Senate Judiciary Committee
Select Committee on Intelligence
Now over to Orrin Hatch - he was the Chair of the Judiciary Committee. As a whistleblower I have dealt with Orrin Hatch's office as the leadership for the Judiciary Committee for the Senate, and I know how he was for my case - but besides that, just look at his record. Since 1986, Orrin Hatch has always sided with secrecy - especially when it comes to do with anything related to law enforcement - FBI, CIA, NSA - and he has always voted against whistleblowers and that has been consistent throughout his career - since 1984.
With first hand experience, I dealt with his office and the Senate Judiciary Committee for 2.5 years - but also as NSWBC, we have been trying to deal with the Senate Judiciary Committee, they don’t want to even read or listen - they are not even open to look into any of these issues or have briefings. Just the way that we finally succeeded with Congressman Shays we have been begging the Senate Judiciary Committee to hold hearings - both on whistleblowers in general like the ones we had with Shay's committee - but also on some high profile cases.
You know about my petition, right - that is for the Senate Judiciary Committee. That was the first committee I went to as a whistleblower - it's been 4.5 years, and they promised that they were going to investigate and have public hearings - 4.5 years later I’m sitting here - they are not even willing to look at the case - even to have a meeting, or a briefing on it! For 2 years they said that they had to wait for the IG report, then when the IG report came out - and it basically backed up everything that I said - and now they say 'No - this is prevented by Senator Hatch' - as I mentioned earlier - but also on whistleblower legislation they are completely irresponsive. They don’t even respond to any request for legislation or amendments for whistleblowers protection. The Senate Judiciary Committee has not held a single hearing on whistleblowers issues since 2001 - they have not had a single investigation on whistleblowers cases from the FBI, and we have had so many whistleblower cases. There have been some with Sen. Grassley - but it's not going to mean anything unless it is followed by action and hearings - so even though in some cases, like mine and Mike German's case, Sen. Grassley and Sen. Leahy have done some preliminary investigations, and based on their findings they come to senior people like Hastert and Specter and say 'let's have hearings - this is disastrous!' but they get blocked. Who are the people who are doing the blocking? Specter, but he's not up for election, and before that it was Sen. Hatch.
Rep. Peter Hoekstra-R, MI
Committee on Intelligence
Over a year ago the CIA IG finally completed its investigations of CIA & 9/11; then, immediately, Goss decided to classify the entire report, and he successfully did just that. The CIA-IG investigations included interviews of CIA whistleblowers. Hoekstra & his committee refused to challenge the classification; thus, prevented the public from getting to know the facts/cases relevant to 9/11 & the courageous whistleblowers who gave up their careers/jobs to bring these issues to the public's attention. And finally; as we all know, the House Intel Committee has refused to hold meaningful oversight hearings (despite many recent CIA whistleblowers relentless efforts); they are also the staunchest opponents of whistleblower protections for Intel employees.
Senator Jon Kyl-R, AZ
Senate Judiciary Committee
Speaking of the Senate Judiciary Committee, apart from Hatch and Specter, there is also John Kyl on that committee. He's also on our Dirty Dozen list. Kyl has been anti-whistleblowers, and he has not taken up any whistleblowers issues in terms of hearings, or investigations or legislation. The same story. The Judiciary Committee is the most important committee when it comes to whistleblowers - you see, you have specific whistleblowers areas - if you're DoD you go to the Armed Services Committee, if you’re CIA you go to the Intelligence Committee, but the Judiciary Committee has a broader oversight area which covers all of those because it also deals with the courts. Considering the fact that all these whistleblowers also have to deal with classification, states secret privilege, National Security being invoked, being prevented from filing in certain courts etc - there are two committees that are most relevant to whistleblowers issues, period, regardless of the agency that the whistleblowers is from. The number one committee is the Judiciary Committee, the other one, as the name suggests, is Government Reform – in the House the House Government Reform Committee - in the Senate the Government Reform Committee and the Homeland Security Committee are under one name - which is called the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee - which is the same as the Government Reform Committee. So with the Judiciary Committee, every single one of those members are in a position and they have the responsibility - more so than any other committee in terms of Whistleblowers issues. And Kyl has absolutely done nothing! He is completely irresponsive to all the whistleblowers cases to date, and requests for hearings, and legislation.
Senator Joseph Lieberman-D, CT
Homeland Security Committee
With Lieberman - and his staff - do they ever come out and oppose whistleblowers? Absolutely not! Because to oppose whistleblowers openly/publicly you’ve got to have balls! And the man lacks them! He ain't got none! You know - he's a weasel. What he does is, and he's the ranking minority with Collins - this letter that we sent Collins, a copy went to Lieberman, and you can see the letter - it's on the front page of our website - but with Lieberman, as the ranking minority member on the Homeland Security Committee with not only ours, but also with independent whistleblowers. The Dept of Homeland Security is the most troublesome, screwed up agency in the country - every day is just a disaster with them - every day I’m getting 2 or 3 applicants from the federal air marshals or baggage screeners. It's disastrous! It’s incredible!
And Lieberman - what has Lieberman done? He has absolutely refused to push anything. You see, it’s the ranking minority member who can push and say 'we want to have these hearings on these issues’ - nothing from Lieberman.
I also have a whistleblower from DoD - this is the guy who blew the whistle 4 or 5 years ago on the anthrax case - when they were forcing them to take anthrax vaccine.He brought together a large group of the DoD people who refused to take the vaccine - and they were retaliated against. This whistleblower is from Connecticut - from Lieberman’s state - and for the past 5 years, they have tried unsuccessfully to get his office to do anything. This despite a) they're his constituents in Connecticut, and b) it's whistleblowing and security related too - and Lieberman again has been very irresponsive. So Lieberman is on our list, and he's an important one coming up for re-election from the Homeland Security Committee.
We would definitely have Collins on our list if she were running in November - but Lieberman is the ranking minority member on the same committee.
Again, the Senate is different from the House - in the House for example, we have had the ranking minority really pushing legislation and reform and hearing requests, and that at least created some pressure on the majority - on, let’s say Tom Davis. It was all the pressure by Waxman, Maloney… together with us, that got the hearings before Shays' committee - it was all that exposure to the issues that finally got Davis disgusted to the point that he said 'yeah - I’m signing up for this!' In the Senate - with this committee, we don't have that - you know why? It’s because the leader of that committee's minority is Joe Lieberman! And Joe Lieberman does not want any controversy. Joe Lieberman is there to simply go along with whatever the leadership says. That is Joe Lieberman’s position. And that holds true especially for whistleblower issues and whistleblower-related hearings and legislation. At least I’ve got to give Joe Lieberman one thing - he's been consistent!
You know Lieberman is having some trouble in Connecticut - and I salute his constituents and the Democrats who understand that this man is NOTHING like the man they thought they were voting for - as far as his action and his inaction - both.
In the Senate, the Senator who championed the only meaningful whistleblowers legislation out there is Sen. Lautenberg from New Jersey, Democrat. He's on the Homeland Security Committee. He sponsored this bill, and he begged Collins to co-sponsor the bill, and we keep sending letters to Collins saying that this is the most comprehensive bill there is out there - that provides, not only protection, but also provides accountability. Collins refused, but unlike the House - where Markey, Waxman and Maloney are all supporting this bill - Lieberman has said that he's not going to support the model legislation, he's absolutely against it, he's not going to have anything to do with it - so not only did we not get support from Collins, we didn't even get support from the ranking minority member - the Democrat, Lieberman!
Lautenberg's bill is the complete bill - he introduced it March 2006, it's on our website - and all the provisions are listed there - and he had a press release on this, he asked for Democrats to come and support him - from the Judiciary Committee, the Homeland Security Committee and also Armed Services Committee - guess what - we haven't had a single Democrat Senator supporting it - because, their leader in the Homeland Security Committee, Lieberman, is saying that he's not going to have anything to do with it. That's another reason Lieberman is on the Dirty Dozen list. He is actually standing against Lautenberg's bill.
I'm sure that Feingold will be very supportive - he's on the Judiciary Committee - but Lautenberg is not in the Judiciary Committee - it has to pass Lautenberg's committee first right, the Homeland Security Committee - Collins just said 'no - we're going to do S494 - we're not even going to look at this model bill' So the ranking Democrat, Lieberman, said exactly the same - he's simply not going to have anything to do with it. Akaka - he's like a parrot - he follows Lieberman's act, and won't do his own thing. So the top two senior democrats on the Homeland Security Committee have left Lautenberg isolated - because he dared introduce some legislation that has some teeth - and Lieberman and Akaka just turned their back on him. Zero support. It’s such a let-down - because if you can't get the support of the top two Democrats in the committee, do you think the Republicans will support it? No - they'll eat you alive. So Lautenberg hasn’t been able to do anything with it. That was one of the main things with Lieberman that I forgot to mention.
Lieberman is a pathetic case!
(update: another case that Lieberman refused to touch was the 'House of Death: Juarez Murders' case, involving DEA murders in Mexico. The whistleblower is Mr. Gonzalez who was a Special Agent in Charge and member of the Senior Executive Service, which is the highest rank in the Civil Service)
Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger-D, MD
House Committee on Government Reform.
House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.
This is one person who is on the bottom of the list in terms of importance - but nonetheless he is the only Democrat in the House that I have seen who is absolutely pro-secrecy. He is on the Homeland Security Committee - Ruppersberger, from Maryland. He's also on the Gov. Reform & Intelligence Committees. When I explained the event from last September when the Democrats introduced these amendments and Tom Davis said 'No - I'm not even going to consider it' and they passed it without those amendments - Ruppersberger was the only Democrat opposing it - saying 'no - these issue deal with National Security and secrecy and should be dealt with behind closed doors, by the Intelligence Committee' and I was like 'Who the hell is that guy? He’s sitting on the Democrats’ side and he's harder than the Republicans in opposing whistleblowers!' - They said 'he's always been like that - that's Ruppersberger'. That was my first experience with him.
Ruppersberger is also Russ Tice's representative - Russ Tice lives in his district - and Russ Tice, besides this NSA eavesdropping issue - his whistleblower case had nothing to do with illegal eavesdropping - it has to do with this espionage case that he reported. That was 2.5-3 years ago - he reported this espionage case - it's similar to the Dickersons’ case - and he was retaliated against - that was when they sent him to the shrink's office. That is the way the NSA retaliates - they gave him the 'red badge' (clarification via email: When NSA pulls a whistleblower's security clearance, it gives them this Red Badge to wear at all times, which shows they are not clear/they have no access to info/they are under investigations...Then, they put them in these positions, in Tice's case: Parking attendant, where they are humiliated and are seen by every other employees with their Red Badge. By doing this: They want to humiliate the whistleblower; they want to intimidate others) - and all the angst he went through. The first person that Russ started contacting initially - sending letters and calling - was Ruppersberger. So for three years they put him on admin leave and after that they fired him. He kept taking his case, sending it inside envelopes, FedEx it, calling, emailing - well, Ruppersberger was the representative.
Ruppersberger's office never responded to him once; never returned his calls; not even once. Even after I sent his stuff to the Gov. Reform Committee - Shays was saying 'Wow - this is outrageous! I’m going to have an enquiry into NSA' and still Ruppersberger did nothing. No follow-up. So it's another good example of abdication of responsibility - because one of the things that whistleblowers do is they contact their senators and reps - they contact those in the appropriate committees - those that I was talking about - the FBI goes to the Judiciary Committee or the Gov. Reform Committee etc - but they also always go to their local congressmen and senators. For example, I’m from Virginia so I tried to contact Warner - because he's my senator - that's one of the things that whistleblowers do and Russ Tice is a very good example of this - he sent letters, respectful letters, and emails, faxes, FedEx, and here is his representative who is on two appropriate committees dealing with NSA a) the Intelligence Committee and b) the Gov. Reform & Homeland Security Committee - and not a single response, or a single briefing, or a single meeting with his constituent, Russ Tice.
Ruppersberger is pro-secrecy, unreasonable secrecy, without oversight - he's pro-NSA's illegal eavesdropping, and he has let down a major whistleblower case - a high profile case - from someone who is also a constituent. This despite the fact that Ruppersberger is on 2 relevant committees.
That's why Ruppersberger is on the list.
(See here for the April 06 letters Tice wrote to different Senators and Reps, cc: Ruppersberger. Also, see here for the Dec 05 letter Russ Tice sent to House and Senate Intelligence Committees and the press release)
Senator Rick Santorum-R, PA
Senate Finance Committee
Chairman of the Senate Republican Conference
Moving on – Santorum’s position is like Hastert’s - those two are exactly are the same - because he's the Chairman of the Senate Republican Conference - and he has the same position as Hastert. Talking to NGO & government watchdog groups like GAP (they have been around for 25 years) - Santorum has been very consistent in terms of always standing against meaningful whistleblower legislation - both in terms of directly blocking - and also by his influence on other Republicans. When someone like Grassley stands up for some whistleblowers, it's Santorum who says 'calm down - you don’t want to go too far with that - you don’t want to piss off the FBI, for example - we don’t want to see this sort of thing - so cool it off' - so Santorum has exactly the same position as Hastert - in terms of having leadership position. Pennsylvania is just a short ride from here - I’ll be happy to get involved in this particular election.
Rep. James Sensenbrenner-R, WI
Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee
Sensenbrenner - again - he's in a leadership position. Chairman, Republican, House Judiciary Committee. The Senate Judiciary Committee has at least had people like Grassley - even though he's a Republican - to a certain degree he has been supportive. With the House we have this great ranking minority leader, Conyers, but on the other hand - Sensenbrenner - the House Judiciary Committee - and the chairman’s office, don’t even touch whistleblower cases - and the most relevant committee to whistleblower cases is the Judiciary Committee - Sensenbrenner has always stood against whistleblowers - the best cases that I'm compiling against him are actually coming from conservative federal air-marshals - how long they have been trying to get his attention. Under his committee - Finance - he has just absolutely been against whistleblowers - and against holding any hearings - and has been rejecting bringing any kind of meaningful legislation for a vote - so you know - whatever Conyers has tried to do for whistleblowers - he has blocked and simply said 'no - we're not going to do it' so again - Sensenbrenner’s voting record shows how he has been on whistleblowers issues - and accountability and transparency.
Both Sensenbrenner and Hatch are just incredible.
(Update: Sensenbrenner also refused to touch the 'House of Death: Juarez Murders' case, involving DEA murders in Mexico. The whistleblower is GS 14 level, Supervisory Special Agent, Sandalio Gonzalez)
Rep. Mark Souder-R, IN
Gov. Reform Committee
Another short one - this one is very easy! I’m going to send you a link to a video - and all you need to do is tell your readers to watch this video (30 seconds) of this as….le! Mark Souder. He’s on the Gov. Reform Committee - Republican, Indiana. He’s a buffoon! This guy gets up and he doesn’t even know what whistleblower protection is about. He’s a complete dummy. They had a hearing and this idiot didn’t even know that it was being video-taped. He stands up and starts attacking whistleblowers - he said ‘Whistleblowers? Whistleblowers? They don’t need protection! These people are millionaires! Celebrities! They make movies, they make books, and they get millions of dollars! It's not like they are out there starving and need protection! I haven't seen one Whistleblowers panning for bread!" - one of the congressional offices called me right away and said 'Sibel! You’ve got to hear this guy! We’ve got it on video!"
He's from Indiana right - it's a pretty conservative state - so I called our conservative whistleblower members - DOD, veterans - and told them - you know - I’m not going to have much luck here. You guys go and contact these people - because you're conservative and so on.' So these guys went on the blogs and called up the media - and these veterans jumped into it. They started bombarding Souder with letters saying 'what the hell are you talking about, you idiot!' you have been mischaracterizing whistleblowers as millionaires with book and movie deals! You know, of all the whistleblowers we have seen over the past 5 years, there are only a couple - Richard Clarke got a book deal - I don’t have members like that. Many of our members are unemployed, and broke - after decades of decorated service to their country! They are despondent - trying to make their mortgage payments, trying to keep their marriages together, trying to find work - and yet, still committed to stopping these crimes that are going on.
And I can give so many examples of our whistleblowers. I don’t have a whistleblower who has received a penny out of whistleblowing! It’s outrageous! Some of these people have already lost their homes - and their marriages break up because it has been so hard for them - economically, and physically, and mentally - and this guy Souder gets up there - and his voting record is very clear - he is anti-Whistleblowers - but also - well - just watch the video - he says 'All these whistleblowers have money, and fame - from books and movies - and he says 'it's not like they are out there starving for bread!'
So he's a moron - but he's a dangerous moron. For him to go and misrepresent whistleblowers this way it’s such a shameful act. These people (whistleblowers) are like today’s Paul Revere - they're the ones who are doing the right thing - above their careers - and above their futures and above their 401ks and their retirement. How many people would do that? Obviously - 99% don’t! Because they say 'hey - even though I think this is wrong - I’ve got to protect my family and my money etc’. So it's awful. I’ll also send you the letter that we sent to Souder - asking him to apologize and say 'I was an idiot - and I apologize, and I didn’t even know what being a whistleblower meant! I have to go look it up in the dictionary!' you know - just come out and apologize and take it back - and he's staff said 'no he's not going to do that!' - so I said 'well, we'll take the issue directly to the people in his district'
This interview is posted at: http://wotisitgood4.blogspot.com/2006/07/whistleblowers-dirty-dozen-interwiew.html