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FBI's Culture of Hostility Toward Whistleblowers—And How ...

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Mar 5, 2015 - This FBI whistleblower attempted to go to supervisors. His complaint was dismissed, and he was given a “poor personnel review.” So, the  ...

Obama’s Crackdown on Whistleblowers | The Nation

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(AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
In the annals of national security, the Obama administration will long be remembered for its unprecedented crackdown on whistleblowers. Since 2009, it has employed the World War I–era Espionage Act a record six times to prosecute government officials suspected of leaking classified information. The latest example is John Kiriakou, a former CIA officer serving a thirty-month term in federal prison for publicly identifying an intelligence operative involved in torture. It’s a pattern: the whistleblowers are punished, sometimes severely, while the perpetrators of the crimes they expose remain free. 
The hypocrisy is best illustrated in the case of four whistleblowers from the National Security Agency: Thomas Drake, William Binney, J. Kirk Wiebe and Edward Loomis. Falsely accused of leaking in 2007, they have endured years of legal harassment for exposing the waste and fraud behind a multibillion-dollar contract for a system called Trailblazer, which was supposed to “revolutionize” the way the NSA produced signals intelligence (SIGINT) in the digital age. Instead, it was canceled in 2006 and remains one of the worst failures in US intelligence history. But the money spent on this privatization scheme, like so much at the NSA, remains a state secret. 
The story goes back to 2002, when three of the whistleblowers—Loomis, Wiebe and Binney—asked the Pentagon to investigate the NSA for wasting “millions and millions of dollars” on Trailblazer, which had been chosen as the agency’s flagship system for analyzing intercepted communications over a smaller and cheaper in-house program known as ThinThread. That program was invented by Loomis, one of the NSA’s top software engineers, and Binney, a legendary crypto-scientist, both of whom began working for the NSA during the Vietnam War. But despite ThinThread’s proven capacity to collect actionable intelligence, agency director Gen. Michael Hayden vetoed the idea of deploying the system in August 2001, just three weeks before 9/11. 
Hayden’s decisions, the whistleblowers told The Nation, left the NSA without a system to analyze the trillions of bits of foreign SIGINT flowing over the Internet at warp speed, as ThinThread could do. During the summer of 2001, when “the system was blinking red” with dangerous terrorist chatter (in former CIA Director George Tenet’s famous words), they say the agency failed to detect critical phone and e-mail communications that could have tipped US intelligence to Al Qaeda’s plans to attack. 
“NSA intelligence basically stopped in its tracks when they canceled ThinThread,” says Wiebe, sitting next to Binney at an Olive Garden restaurant just a stone’s throw from NSA headquarters in Columbia, Maryland. “And the people who paid for it were those who died on 9/11.” 
The NSA Four are now speaking out for the first time about the corporate corruption that led to this debacle and sparked their decision to blow the whistle. In exclusive interviews with The Nation, they have described a toxic mix of bid-rigging, cronyism and fraud involving senior NSA officials and several of the nation’s largest intelligence contractors. They have also provided an inside look at how Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC), the government’s fourth-largest contractor, squandered billions of dollars on a vast data-mining scheme that never produced an iota of intelligence. 
“That corruption was the heart of our complaint—the untold treasure spent on a program that never delivered,” Drake explained to me one morning in Bethesda, Maryland, across the street from the local Apple Store where he now works. He wants it understood that the NSA Four’s case was not primarily about President Bush’s warrantless domestic surveillance program, as outrageous as that was. “Some in the press think we blew the whistle on Trailblazer because, oh, it violated people’s rights,” he said. “Well, it didn’t violate anybody’s rights, or create any intelligence, because it never delivered anything.”
But there’s a direct link between their case and domestic spying: the technology developed at the NSA to analyze foreign SIGINT—including programs created for ThinThread—was illegally directed toward Americans when the agency radically expanded its surveillance programs after the 9/11 attacks. In response, Drake, Wiebe and Binney have taken to the media to expose and denounce what they say is a vast and unconstitutional program of domestic surveillance and eavesdropping. 
By using the NSA to spy on American citizens, Binney told me, the United States has created a police state with few parallels in history: “It’s better than anything that the KGB, the Stasi, or the Gestapo and SS ever had.” He compared the situation to the Weimar Republic, a brief period of liberal democracy that preceded the Nazi takeover of Germany. “We’re just waiting to turn the key,” he said. 
* * *
James Bamford, the world’s foremost authority on the NSA, said Americans should take Binney seriously. “Remember, he was the equivalent of a general because of his rank” at the NSA, he said. “In terms of going public with their names and faces,” the NSA Four rank as the most important whistleblowers in NSA history, he added. “Obviously, I think they’re very credible.” Because of their experience in some of the NSA’s most secret programs, the NSA Four are “indispensable” to understanding the agency’s unconstitutional operations, said Jameel Jaffer, deputy legal director for the ACLU. “NSA is an extraordinarily powerful agency with sophisticated technology that is poorly understood by many experts. It operates behind a veil of secrecy that is penetrated only occasionally by whistleblowers like these.” 
In 2011, the Pentagon’s Office of the Inspector General (OIG) declassified parts of its 2005 audit of Trailblazer and ThinThread, which was triggered by the NSA Four’s complaint. Its report severely admonished the NSA for “wasting” its resources on Trailblazer (the amounts are redacted). It also found that the agency had overlooked fraud and abuse and “modified or suppressed” studies that put ThinThread in a positive light. 
The NSA, the Office of the Inspector General concluded, “disregarded solutions to urgent national security needs.” And in a chilling comment that foreshadowed the government’s persecution of the whistleblowers, the OIG noted twice that some of the NSAers and contractors who came forward were in great fear of retaliation. “Many people we interviewed asked not to be identified for fear of management reprisal,” it stated. 
The OIG report is the government’s only public response to the extraordinary charges made by the whistleblowers. The NSA would not comment on any aspect of this story. Neither would SAIC or any of the other contractors involved with Trailblazer. Eventually, one intelligence source responded to the most serious charge, but only if promised anonymity. “Essentially, what they’re saying is that we missed 9/11,” said a former high-ranking government official with intimate knowledge of the NSA’s SIGINT capabilities. “That’s absolutely bizarre. I mean, how hard is it to prove a negative? The only way I can respond is to violate a sacred oath I take very seriously, and I won’t do that.”
In fact, none of the whistleblowers were convicted of leaking classified information. Yet all have paid dearly for speaking out. “This is all about retaliation, reprisals, revenge and retribution,” said Jesselyn Radack, the Government Accountability Project lawyer who represents the whistleblowers before the OIG. She describes the charges against Drake as ludicrous. “Tom was not charged with disclosing classified material but retaining information for possible disclosure,” she told me. 
In 2010, Eric Holder’s Justice Department indicted Drake on ten felony counts, including five under the Espionage Act, based primarily on Drake’s conversations with a single reporter. Those charges were dropped in 2011 after he pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of exceeding the authorized use of a computer. The FBI’s investigation of the other three ended at the same time. But like Drake, they lost their security clearances and thus their ability to work in intelligence. 
None of the whistleblowers have any doubt about who is responsible for the intelligence failures. “No NSA director did as much damage to the agency as Gen. Michael V. Hayden,” Binney told me. Hayden is now a principal with the Chertoff Group, the intelligence advisory company led by former Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff. His primary job there is advising government agencies and corporations about cybersecurity, which keeps him in constant contact with the NSA. The press office at the Chertoff Group never responded to my requests to interview Hayden, so I tracked him down myself. In February, after he made an appearance at George Washington University, I asked Hayden if the NSA would have been better off not wasting “hundreds of millions of dollars” on Trailblazer and going with its in-house system, ThinThread. In his first public comments on Trailblazer since 2005, Hayden admitted that the NSA and its contractors “overreached.” The agency “outsourced how we gathered other people’s communications,” he said. “And that was a bridge too far for industry. We tried a moonshot, and it failed.” But he wouldn’t comment on ThinThread (which, as Drake wryly pointed out to me, “did get to the moon”). 
Last October, at a conference on cybersecurity at the National Press Club, I asked Hayden about the whistleblowers’ charges regarding the NSA’s domestic surveillance program. At the mention of the term “whistleblowers,” he suppressed a smile. “As a former NSA director, I can tell you there is no workforce in the federal government more conscientious” about privacy and Fourth Amendment rights, he told me, avoiding any direct mention of his critics from the agency. “But that’s a trusting sort of thing, and I realize it doesn’t have much purchase in America.” The public, he added, must understand that the agency “has a problem. To be good, NSA needs to be powerful, and frankly it needs to be a bit secret.” The message was clear: people like the NSA Four should stay quiet. 
But here’s the irony: Even though Trailblazer failed, the massive enterprise it created set the model for the wholesale privatization of national security work after 9/11. As I described in my 2008 bookSpies for Hire, this tsunami of taxpayer largesse reached into every nook and cranny of theintelligence-industrial complex that had slowly been built over the 1980s and ’90s to service the vast CIA and Pentagon needs for surveillance, reconnaissance and advanced IT. In the end, a handful of contractors earned at least $1.2 billion from Trailblazer, and probably several billion more, since huge amounts were squeezed from other parts of the NSA, including its detachments in the Army, Navy and Air Force. “It was a feeding frenzy,” recalls Drake. 
One incident in particular crystallized the greed and hubris that gripped the NSA’s top officials at the time. It happened right after the 9/11 catastrophe, when Samuel Visner, a former SAIC executive who ran Trailblazer for the agency’s SIGINT division, held a meeting with contractors working on ThinThread (one of them still works inside the NSA; he is the source for this anecdote). Now that Trailblazer was the NSA’s chosen SIGINT project, the contractors were worried that they would be cut out of the money loop. But Visner assured them that, in the wake of the attacks, their worries were gone. 
“We can milk this thing all the way to 2015,” he said, according to separate accounts by Drake, Binney and Wiebe, who heard it directly from the contractor. “There’s plenty to go around.” In 2003, Visner returned to SAIC as a director of its Intelligence, Security and Technology Group. Visner is now a vice president in charge of cybersecurity policy at CSC, one of the NSA’s most valued contractors (neither CSC nor Visner would comment). 
* * *
Trailblazer marked a dramatic shift for the agency, away from small, government-led research projects that hired contractors only for specific functions to huge projects run by contractors who answer only to the senior leadership of the NSA. Since its origins during the Cold War, the NSA had led the world in encryption, computer and voice-processing technologies. But all of its development work was done by an elite corps of government scientists and mathematicians. Until the 1980s, “virtually everything was done in-house,” says Loomis, who spent much of his career in the agency’s telecommunications and computer services directorate. “As for contracting for development,” he added, “that did not happen.” 
That began to change around the turn of the century, when the NSA was forced to wrestle with enormous technological changes. For most of its existence, the agency had been focused on radio and microwave signals traveling through the atmosphere. The telecom revolution and the Internet altered the game forever. Suddenly the NSA was deluged with digitized cellphone traffic and e-mail flowing across fiber-optic cables that were almost impossible to intercept. It was an “explosion,” Hayden told me at George Washington University. “And if you’re a signals intelligence organization—we eavesdrop, right?—if your technology isn’t the technology of the target, then guess what you are? Deaf!” Hayden was appointed director in 1999, when the agency was struggling to figure a way out of this conundrum. 
His solution was to turn away from the NSA’s historic legacy and privatize. “Hayden made a fateful choice,” says Drake. “If we’re not going to make it, we’re going to buy it. That was the mantra.” Hayden couched his plan as “transformation.” Trailblazer, its centerpiece, involved turning the NSA’s most precious asset, SIGINT analysis, over to the private sector, from the development to the operations stage. The idea was to use cutting-edge technologies to analyze intercepted cellphone and e-mail traffic for clues to plots against the country. But Drake, who had extensive experience as a contractor and in the private sector, says it was flawed from the start. 
* * *
In the early 1990s, after a stint in Air Force intelligence and the CIA, Drake was assigned to a top-secret NSA project called MINSTREL that was digitizing intercepted voice communications. But he came in as a contractor and his actual employer was the now-defunct GTE Government Systems. There, he encountered his first corruption, including massive cost overruns and fraud; in 1992, he reported GTE to the Pentagon hotline. “That’s how I became a whistleblower,” he told me (MINSTREL, like Trailblazer, was canceled without becoming operational). Drake later worked inside the NSA for Booz Allen Hamilton and other contractors before finding work in the late 1990s as a private consultant in Silicon Valley. He returned to the NSA in 2001 as a member of the agency’s senior executive service. As a result of these experiences, Drake knew that hiring big corporations to develop new technologies ran against the grain of the information revolution. Trailblazer “was an industrial-age model so inappropriate for the digital age,” he said. The model of innovation in the computer industry was “very small teams, skunk teams, developing the next critical applications. And here we were going in the completely opposite direction.” 
That’s because corporations—and their moles inside the NSA—ran Trailblazer from the start. The fix began in 2000, when Hayden hired Bill Black, a wily NSAer who had worked at the highest levels of SIGINT in Europe as Hayden’s deputy. For the previous three years, from 1997 to 2000, he’d been working for SAIC, then a rising San Diego defense contractor with extensive contacts in the intelligence community. Black’s new job at the NSA was to carry out Hayden’s “transformation” plan by siphoning business to companies like his. To get the Trailblazer contract up and running, Black hired one of his closest associates from SAIC: Sam Visner, who had left the NSA in the mid-1990s to work as a contractor. 
Visner was a true believer. His father had been a scientist on the Manhattan Project during World War II, and according to his former associates, he saw Trailblazer as the twenty-first-century equivalent of the atomic bomb needed to win the “war on terror.” Hayden’s hiring of him and Black, the whistleblowers say, set the stage for SAIC winning the Trailblazer contract. 
In April 2001, the NSA awarded the first part of the contract to SAIC, Booz Allen Hamilton, Lockheed Martin and TRW, which was absorbed into Northrop Grumman in 2002. Their job was to “define the architecture, cost, and acquisition approach” for the project, according to a 2001 NSA press release. The results of their deliberations were announced in September 2002, when the NSA, as recommended by the companies, awarded the prime contract, called the Technology Demonstration Platform, to SAIC. It was initially worth $280 million. SAIC’s team included Northrop Grumman, Boeing and CSC—the company where Visner now works. 
By this time, Drake was a senior “change leader” reporting to Maureen Baginski, who was the agency’s director of signals intelligence and number three in the hierarchy, behind Hayden and Black. Drake sat in on many of the Trailblazer meetings and claims the concept setup was a scam. He told me that the four companies agreed secretly that the prime contract would go to SAIC, while they would divvy up big chunks of the subcontracting among themselves. Later, as a material witness for the Pentagon’s OIG, he provided investigators with hundreds of documents relating to the bidding and award process for Trailblazer; they remain classified, and Drake can talk about them only indirectly. Most crucial, he says, were statements he collected from NSA officials showing that agency leaders had told their procurement office to hand the award to SAIC. “The orders came from the very top,” Drake says. “They just ensured it was weighted in a way to award it to SAIC and its subcontractors. That was the deal.” 
I went over these details with a government procurement analyst who once worked for the Pentagon’s OIG and has had access to classified contracts. He could not comment on the record because of his current position in government, but was shocked at the evidence of collusion. “That’s the fraud, waste and abuse right there,” he said. “You’re steering the contract to a favored client. That’s blatant and outright favoritism. The impropriety is apparent.” 
The primary showcase for Trailblazer was a large building leased by Northrop Grumman in the “National Business Park” next to the NSA. There the agency and its contractors showed their system off to congressional overseers and intelligence leaders. The sessions took on increasing urgency after 9/11. “Basically, they took one whole portion of their facility to turn into a demonstration room, a showcase,” Drake recalls. “But that’s all it was: show and tell, a dog and pony show. Very large screens, fancy computers stacked up, a director’s place in the middle. But I have to tell you, there was nothing behind it.” Congress and the NSA finally agreed. After millions of dollars in cost overruns, Trailblazer was quietly terminated in 2006 by the current NSA director, Gen. Keith Alexander. 
* * *
If Trailblazer was a massive corporate boondoggle, ThinThread was the embodiment of the “skunk team” approach that had made the NSA the crown jewel of US intelligence. It cost less than $3 million, was small enough to be loaded onto a laptop, and included anonymization software that protected the privacy rights of US persons guaranteed in the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). And while Trailblazer employed hundreds of contractors, ThinThread was the work of less than a dozen NSA employees and a handful of contractors. 
It came out of the NSA’s SIGINT Automation Research Center, or SARC, where Loomis was director of R&D. In the late 1990s, he began working on tackling the Internet and the rapidly growing use of cellphones and e-mail. “I knew more and more intelligence and law enforcement targets would be making use of these cheap commodity electronics,” Loomis told me, sitting in the living room of his Baltimore home. “So I jumped in with both feet.” 
The genius of the group was Bill Binney, Loomis’s deputy at SARC. An amiable man who suffers from diabetes, Binney joined the NSA in 1966 while in the Army and began working as a civilian in 1970. In 1997, he was named technical director of SARC’s World Geopolitical and Military Analysis Reporting Group. “That’s when I started looking at the world,” Binney told me. 
While the NSA brass and their corporate advisers believed the Internet could be tamed only by a massive corporate-run program, Binney found that cracking it was relatively simple. The secret was in the numbering system established by telecom providers: every phone has a number, every e-mail has an address, and every computer linked to the Internet has a unique identifier. The encryption systems from the past were “so much more complex,” he says. “This was simple shit.” 
ThinThread was basically three programs. The front end, analyzing incoming streams of Internet traffic, had been developed by Loomis. “It could take massive amounts of input and reassemble it in a sensible order,” he says. “And then, with a minimum amount of bandwidth requirements, could provide it to whoever was interested in a particular topic and do it while accommodating all privacy concerns that are required by FISA.” The middle portion was the anonymization software that hid the identities of US persons until there was sufficient evidence to obtain a warrant (Trailblazer had no built-in FISA protections). The back end, built by Binney, was the most powerful element of the system. It translated the data to create graphs showing relationships and patterns that could tell analysts which targets they should look at and which calls should be listened to. Best of all, “it was fully automated, and could even be remotely controlled,” Binney says. 
But there was another crucial difference with the Trailblazer model: ThinThread did its automated analysis at the point of interception; Trailblazer downloaded everything flowing over the Internet and analyzed it after the fact with key words and phrases. “Trailblazer made no distinction up front,” says Binney. “They didn’t try to determine ahead of the interception what to listen to. They just took it all.” This model of “taking it all” remains the NSA’s modus operandi, and it is why, Binney and Wiebe say, the agency is building a massive data center in Utah.
The ThinThread prototype went live in the fall of 2000 and, according to my sources, was deployed at two top-secret NSA listening posts. One was the Yakima Research Station in Washington State, which gathers electronic communications from the Asia-Pacific region and the Middle East. The other was in Germany and focused primarily on Europe. It was also installed at Fort Meade. In addition, several allied foreign intelligence agencies were given the program to conduct lawful surveillance in their own corners of the world. Those recipients included Canada, Germany, Britain, Australia and New Zealand. “ThinThread was basically operational,” says Binney. “That’s why we proposed early deployment in January 2001.” 
As ThinThread was being tested, word spread throughout the intelligence community that the NSA had a “cheap Trailblazer” that could help with surveillance. One day, Charlie Allen, a legendary figure who was head of collections for the entire intelligence community under George Tenet, came to see it. Black, Baginski and Visner were given demonstrations as well. “But Hayden never visited the SARC,” says Binney. “Not once.” Yet on August 20, 2001—“at 4:30 in the afternoon,” Loomis says, reading from his notes of the meeting—Baginski informed him that ThinThread would not become operational. Why? “It would have made Trailblazer meaningless,” says Binney. 
During this time, Binney and Wiebe, who was working on the ThinThread team as a SIGINT analyst, were called in to describe their system to congressional oversight committee staff, in particular a GOP staffer named Diane Roark. Long concerned about the NSA’s technical problems, she demanded that it keep ThinThread alive and provided funds to keep it going (she declined to be interviewed). 
According to the whistleblowers, the 2002 intelligence budget, which was signed by President Bush, included $9 million for ThinThread and an order to Hayden to install it at eighteen sites around the world considered the most critical for counterterrorism. But the NSA, they say, defied the spending directive (ironically, considering what happened after 9/11, Hayden’s general counsel told Loomis that ThinThread did not meet the agency’s FISA requirements). 
Then came the shock of 9/11. With the entire intelligence community frantically working to find who was responsible, the SARC team tried to persuade Baginski to put ThinThread into operation. “With each passing day,” Wiebe e-mailed her on October 8, “more and more information is coming out regarding the facts re what Al Qaeda is using for communications, yet the only relevant weapon in your arsenal continues to sit on the sidelines 27 days after the events of September 11.” Baginski, who is now the CEO of Summit Solutions, a contractor specializing in SIGINT interception, told me, “I’m not going to talk about it.” 
But she did take action. According to Drake, Baginski approved a plan to plug ThinThread’s automated analysis system into an enormous NSA database called PINWALE that included records of thousands of cellphone calls and e-mails. They found actionable intelligence—links between individuals and organizations—that had not previously been discovered or had not been shared before 9/11. Drake, who was ThinThread’s program manager by this time, still can’t talk specifics because the information remains classified; but he insists it could have alerted US intelligence to the 9/11 plot. “And that’s what caused them to finally shut ThinThread down, because of the severe embarrassment it could have caused,” he told me. 
In the weeks after the attacks, NSAers became aware that Hayden had changed the rules of engagement by throwing out the warrants required for surveillance of US persons. As the public was to learn in December 2005, when the secret wiretapping was exposed in The New York Times, the NSA was sifting through oceans of cellphone and e-mail traffic from AT&T, Verizon and other carriers. This massive data-mining program was given a secret code name: Stellar Wind. It came as a shock to many NSA employees. “People came to me and said, ‘My God, they’re pointing our system toward the United States,’” recalls Drake. For Binney, the last straw came when he learned that the graphing software he had developed for ThinThread had been attached to the NSA’s database to begin the “hot pursuit” of Al Qaeda suspects—but without the privacy restraints he and Loomis had built in. “They took the graphing software and began tracking relationships on a gargantuan scale,” he told me. “They considered it domestic intelligence.” 
* * *
On October 31, 2001, seven weeks after 9/11, Binney and Wiebe walked out the NSA’s doors for the last time. “I couldn’t take the corruption anymore,” Binney told me. Loomis left too, taking a job with a nearby contractor. In September 2002, they signed an official letter of complaint to the Pentagon OIG that was joined by Roark, the House staffer. Drake, who stayed on at the NSA until 2008, testified as a material witness. When the OIG released its report in 2005, it exonerated the whistleblowers. The NSA, it concluded, was developing a “less capable long-term digital network exploitation solution that will take longer and cost significantly more to develop” than ThinThread. 
After they left the NSA, Binney, Wiebe and Loomis were granted permission to form a company and sell the analytical skills they had developed for the NSA and ThinThread to other government agencies. But they quickly found they’d been blackballed. All three told me the NSA contacted every agency approached by the whistleblowers—including the Army Intelligence and Security Command and the National Reconnaissance Office—and persuaded them not to do business with the three. “We’ve been denied untold hundreds of thousands of dollars in potential income as a result,” Wiebe told me. The three are considering a lawsuit against the NSA officials responsible. But redress is going to be difficult: in late March, Binney and Wiebe were informed by the Pentagon’s inspector general that their 2012 request for an investigation into reprisals against whistleblower and a review of their clearances had been rejected. “The alleged personnel actions occurred…over a decade ago” and are “outside the scope of whistleblower provisions”of US law, the OIG said in a letter made available by their attorney, Jesselyn Radack (Drake’s complaint is still outstanding). 
Meanwhile, the NSA Four watch in grim fascination as the crackdown on whistleblowers continues, and Congress and the Supreme Court approve laws legalizing the surveillance state they’ve spoken out against. They see some hope in President Obama’s recent order extending legal protections to intelligence whistleblowers. But like other observers, they are waiting to see if its implementation will have any effect. Without real protections, they say, accountability is impossible. “When you permit something like Trailblazer and no heads roll except for the whistleblowers, what kind of message does that send to the American public?” asked Loomis. 
Despite the recent setback, Binney and Wiebe remain determined to speak out against the surveillance state. “I’m trying to stir shit up,” Binney told me. “I’m hoping they charge me, because that would get me into court and I could really talk about this in the open.” Drake, for his part, has become a leading voice for civil liberties; on March 15 he delivered a powerful speech about whistleblowing at the National Press Club. Speaking in the same room where General Hayden haughtily dismissed his case last fall, he slammed a government that “prefers to operate in the shadows and finds the First Amendment a constraint on its activities.” The act of “taking off the veil of government secrecy has more often than not turned truth-tellers and whistleblowers into turncoats and traitors,” who are then “burned, blacklisted and broken by the government on the stake of national security,” he said. “And yet I was saved by the First Amendment, the court of public opinion and the free press—including the strengths and growing resilience of the alternative media.” Those rights of expression, he added, “are the very cornerstone of all our liberties and freedoms.” And that may be the most important lesson of all.
No one except John Kiriakou is being held accountable for America’s torture policy—though Kiriakou didn’t torture anyone, he just blew the whistle on it. Read Peter Van Buren on the Obama administration’s “Protecting Torturers, Prosecuting Whistleblowers” (Sept. 11, 2012; originally on <a href="http://TomDispatch.com" rel="nofollow">TomDispatch.com</a>).
Read the whole story

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FBI's Culture of Hostility Toward Whistleblowers—And How Justice Department Permits Policy of Retaliation

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During a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on FBI retaliation against whistleblowers, FBI associate deputy director Kevin Perkins declared, “We will not and do not tolerate retaliation against whistleblowers in the FBI.” The astonishing remark was made as the committee chairman, Senator Chuck Grassley, reported that an FBI whistleblower had recently emailed him to report retaliation.
The Washington Times’ Kelly Riddell reported on March 2 that a whistleblower has found who the agency selects to serve on surveillance teams is “now all about bias and favoritism and the good ol’ boy system.” Nepotism is impacting the agency as young relatives of “high-ranking supervisors” have been placed on “elite surveillance teams.” Two have been “fast-tracked to full special agent status.”
This FBI whistleblower attempted to go to supervisors. His complaint was dismissed, and he was given a “poor personnel review.” So, the whistleblower turned to Congress and emailed Grassley.
On March 3, one day later, Riddell reported the Office of Integrity and Compliance in the Justice Department advised him that he could face whistleblower retaliation.
“The main question would turn on the reasonableness of your belief; that is, would a reasonable person, in your situation, believe that the conduct at issue demonstrated mismanagement or abuse of authority?” the FBI attorney, within the Office of Integrity and Compliance, wrote in an email responding to the whistleblower’s inquiry. “In my opinion, yes.”
Then came the kicker: “I’m sure you know, though, this does not guarantee that you will not be retaliated against, even though retaliation/reprisal for making protected disclosures is illegal,” the attorney concluded in the August email to the whistleblower.
Grassley said prior to the hearing he was subject to further retaliation. Riddell reported that the whistleblower had been given a desk job and taken off a surveillance team.
The unfolding episode exemplifies the culture of hostility toward whistleblowers, which was repeatedly highlighted during the hearing.
Because of a carve-out in the Whistleblower Protection Act, the FBI may exclusively set its own regulations for whistleblowers, and, unlike other executive branch agencies, employees may not report wrongdoing in their chain of command including their immediate supervisor. There are nine individuals, who the Justice Department maintains may accept complaints. They are in the Attorney General’s office, the FBI Director’s office, the Justice Department Inspector General’s office or special agents in charge (SAIC).
Report to the wrong person or involve individuals not authorized to receive complaints, and the Justice Department can disqualify that employee from being granted protection from retaliation. It is a policy that effectively permits bullying and harassment from supervisors offended by whistleblowers.
Whistleblower Mike German, a former FBI special agent, testified, “In 2002, I was assigned to the Atlanta Division but was asked to work undercover in a Tampa counterterrorism investigation. As the operation began, I learned that the informant had illegally recorded a portion of the conversation between two subjects earlier in the investigation imperiling any possible prosecution. When the Tampa supervisor refused to address the matter and told me to pretend it didn’t happen, I felt duty-bound to report it. Luckily, I researched the proper procedure and realized I should make the report to the Tampa SAIC.”
“But I also knew failing to provide notice to my chain of command in Atlanta would cause problems for them, which would ultiamtely cause problems for me. So I called my supervisor to tell them I was going to call my assistant SAIC to tell him I was going to call the Tampa SAIC to make a whistleblower report. When I talked to my ASAIC, he asked me to write the complaint in an email to him, which he would forward to the Tampa SAIC.”
Because German transmitted his complaint through the ASAIC, the Justice Department decided he forfeited his right to be protected from retaliation he experienced for sending the email. Tampa officials involved in misconduct, falsified documents to cover it up and retaliated against German were not punished. Two individuals subsequently received promotions and became SAICs.
As German stated during the hearing, “FBI and Justice Department pay lip service to whistleblowers but the byzantine procedures they employ all but ensure that whistleblower employees reporting misconduct will not be protected from retaliation.
A report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) on the Justice Department’s handling of FBI retaliation—publicly released on February 23—further demonstrates how the process is setup to ensure whistleblowers are neutralized and even silenced. GAO reviewed a sample of 62 cases and found a third of the cases involved employees blowing the whistle to the wrong person.
Only three of the 62 cases were deemed valid whistleblower claims by the Justice Department and those cases dragged out for eight to ten and a half years.
In one particular case, Kohn recalled how FBI special agent Jane Turner blew the whistle on Minneapolis FBI personnel, who were stealing 9/11 victims’ property from Ground Zero in New York City. The FBI retaliated against Turner for “tarnishing” their image and forced her to resign after 25 years with the agency. Her claims of retaliation were eventually validated, however, the review of her claims dragged on for so long that she had passed the mandatory retirement age, which meant she could not be reinstated.
Kohn also highlighted the case of Bassem Youssef. He served as one of the FBI’s highest-ranked Arabic-speaking agents and even was involved in operations prior to 9/11 that involved infiltrating al Qaeda. He has raised concerns about discrimination against Arab Americans in the FBI, challenged the agency for failing to recruit more Arabic-speaking agents and even experienced firsthand the abuse of national security letters by the agency.
His case has been pending for nine years. The Justice Department’s Office of Professional Responsibility ordered the agency to allow him to go back to work on counterterrorism in 2006, but the department allowed the case to be prolonged and he retired in September of last year. He was one year away from the mandatory retirement age.
“The prolonged delays in processing the whistleblower claims sends a clear message to all FBI agents: don’t blow the whistle. If you do, the messenger is shot.”
The Justice Department’s refusal to meaningfully address the status quo, which has a chilling effect on potential whistleblowers, effectively encourages employees to not challenge corruption because if they do they will be forced out of the agency and stigmatized as a whistleblower for life.
With perhaps the exception of Perkins, there was unanimous consent at the hearing, including among the handful of senators asking questions, that there needs to be a culture change at the FBI as well as a legislative fix so that the Justice Department no longer has a carve-out, where it can make its own rules for whistleblowers.
The Justice Department recently rejected key recommendations from “whistleblower advocates” to allow “judicial review,” incorporate administrative law judges, impose time limits for decisions on cases, grant hearings upon request and require the production of a federal government employee, whose testimony may be relevant to the resolution of a case.
The department has also effectively stonewalled and denied the inspector general access to records it is legally mandated to access for oversight and review of whistleblower complaints. Congress’ inaction all but ensures this will continue.
Grassley spoke about the effect an annual ceremony held in the Rose Garden at the White House to honor whistleblowers could have on changing the culture. He recalled how one president rejected the idea and told him if this was done there’d be “3,000 whistleblowers coming out of the woodwork.” But that is exactly what everyone should want to see happen if one wants to see change actually happen in government, Grassley added.
***
Here is my appearance on HuffPost Live today to talk about this very issue with German, Kohn and Riddell.
{!hitembed ID=”hitembed_1″ width=”570″ height=”321″ align=”none” !}
Read the whole story

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FBI Revamping Whistleblower Rules - WSJ

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WASHINGTON—The Federal Bureau of Investigation is revamping its whistleblower rules to make it easier—and potentially lucrative—for agents and employees to report misconduct within the agency, according to a federal law-enforcement official.
The changes, which include expanding the list of those eligible to receive a complaint and making whistleblowers potentially able to receive compensation, are designed to ensure complaints get processed and decided promptly and fairly, the official said.
The rules come amid a renewed debate about how best to protect whistleblowers who work at U.S. intelligence agencies—an issue that has found new urgency in the wake of National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden’s release of classified documents showing the extent of U.S. surveillance.
The new rules stem from a presidential directive issued in 2012 designed to improve protection of whistleblowers who work at intelligence agencies.
Sen. Charles Grassley (R., Iowa) has long complained the FBI mishandles whistleblower cases, accusing it of punishing people who report misconduct and failing to properly investigate allegations of wrongdoing. On Thursday, he said some of the changes outlined by the Justice Department could help.
“Nobody’s got on rose-colored glasses that the culture for whistleblowers at the FBI will change anytime soon, but many of the items outlined in the FBI’s analysis are promising,’’ he said in a statement. “In an agency with so much focus on the chain of command, it makes no sense for the FBI to be the only agency in the federal government not to protect disclosures of waste, fraud, and abuse to immediate supervisors.”
The FBI didn’t immediately comment on the revamp.
The changes include expanding the list of FBI officials to whom a whistleblower can report concerns, the official said. Previously, a whistleblower could make a protected disclosure to the head of the office where he or she works. Under the new rules, a whistleblower can report to either the head of the office or the second tier of bosses in that office.
Whistleblowers also would be eligible for compensation if their allegations prove accurate, though how that payment system would work is unclear, the person said. And whistleblowers would be able to use a mediation program to resolve workplace disputes if they request it, the official said.
The FBI also will give whistleblowers equal access to witnesses, if their cases lead to hearings or depositions, the official said. Those who have filed whistleblower complaints in the past haven’t had the same freedom to call witnesses. Previously, FBI management has been allowed to call former employees as witnesses, while the whistleblower hasn’t had the authority to require testimony from ex-FBI personnel.
The rule changes were put together by a multi-agency working group, the official said. Some of the new policies already are in effect, while others are being implemented.
In an effort to improve transparency, the bureau will also publish annual reports on whistleblower cases, the official said.
The Central Intelligence Agency has already made changes to its whistleblower policies as a result of the 2012 presidential directive, an agency spokesman said.
Write to Devlin Barrett at devlin.barrett@wsj.com
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dr steven j hatfill - Google Search

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Scientist Is Paid Millions by U.S. in Anthrax Suit - NYTimes ...

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Jun 28, 2008 - Steven JHatfill, a former biodefense researcher, was a “person of ... DrHatfill'slawsuit, filed in 2003, accused F.B.I. agents and Justice  ...

Exonerated anthrax suspect: FBI harassed me - today ...

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Apr 16, 2010 - What's more, DrSteven JHatfill told TODAY's Matt Lauer during his first interview since the September 2001 attacks, neither the Justice  ...

The Wrong Man - Magazine - The Atlantic

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HEAD of the FBI's Anthrax Investigation Says the Whole Thing Was a SHAM Washington's Blog

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Agent In Charge of Amerithrax Investigation Blows the Whistle

The FBI head agent in charge of the anthrax investigation – Richard Lambert – has just filed a federal whistleblower lawsuit calling the entire FBI investigation bullsh!t:
In the fall of 2001, following the 9/11 attacks, a series of anthrax mailings occurred which killed five Americans and sickened 17 others. Four anthrax-laden envelopes were recovered which were addressed to two news media outlets in New York City (the New York Post and Tom Brokaw at NBC) and two senators in Washington D.C. (Patrick Leahy and Tom Daschle). The anthrax letters addressed to New York were mailed on September 18, 2001, just seven days after the 9/11 attacks. The letters addressed to the senators were mailed 21 days later on October 9, 2001. A fifth mailing of anthrax is believed to have been directed to American Media, Inc. (AMI) in Boca Raton, Florida based upon the death of one AMI employee from anthrax poisoning and heavy spore contamination in the building.
Executive management at FBI Headquarters assigned responsibility for the anthrax investigation (code named “AMERITHRAX”) to the Washington Field Office (WFO), dubbing it the single most important case in the FBI at that time. In October 2002, in the wake of surging media criticism, White House impatience with a seeming lack of investigative progress by WFO, and a concerned Congress that was considering revoking the FBI’s charter to investigate terrorism cases, Defendant FBI Director Mueller reassigned Plaintiff from the FBI’s San Diego Field Office to the Inspection Division at FBI Headquarters and placed Plaintiff in charge of the AMERITHRAX case as an “Inspector.”While leading the investigation for the next four years, Plaintiff’s efforts to advance the case met with intransigence from WFO’s executive management, apathy and error from the FBI Laboratory, politically motivated communication embargos from FBI Headquarters, and yet another preceding and equally erroneous legal opinion from Defendant Kelley – all of which greatly obstructed and impeded the investigation.
On July 6, 2006, Plaintiff provided a whistleblower report of mismanagement to the FBI’s Deputy Director pursuant to Title 5, United States Code, Section 2303. Reports of mismanagement conveyed in writing and orally included: (a) WFO’s persistent understaffing of the AMERITHRAX investigation; (b) the threat of WFO’s Agent in charge to retaliate if Plaintiff disclosed the understaffing to FBI Headquarters; (c) WFO’sinsistence on staffing the AMERITHRAX investigation principally with new Agents recently graduated from the FBI Academy resulting in an average investigative tenure of 18 months with 12 of 20 Agents assigned to the case having no prior investigative experience at all; (d) WFO’s eviction of the AMERITHRAX Task Force from the WFO building in downtown Washington and its relegation to Tysons Corner, Virginia to free up space for Attorney General Ashcroft’s new pornography squads; (e) FBI Director’s Mueller’s mandate to Plaintiff to “compartmentalize” the AMERITHRAX investigation by stove piping the flow of case information and walling off task force members from those aspects of the case not specifically assigned to them – a move intended to stem the tide of anonymous media leaks by government officials regarding details of the investigation. [Lambert complained about compartmentalizing and stovepiping of the investigation in a 2006 declaration.  See thisthis and this]
This sequestration edict decimated morale and proved unnecessary in light of subsequent civil litigation which established that the media leaks were attributable to the United States Attorney for the District of the District of Columbia and to a Supervisory Special Agent in the FBI’s National Press Office, not to investigators on the AMERITHRAX Task Force; (f) WFO’s diversion and transfer of two Ph.D. Microbiologist Special Agents from their key roles in the investigation to fill billets for an 18 month Arabic language training program in Israel; (g) the FBI Laboratory’s deliberate concealment from the Task Force of its discovery of human DNA on the anthrax-laden envelope addressed to Senator Leahy and the Lab’s initial refusal to perform comparison testing; (h) the FBI Laboratory’s refusal to provide timely and adequate scientific analyses and forensic examinations in support of the investigation; (i) Defendant Kelley’s erroneous and subsequently quashed legal opinion that regulations of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) precluded the Task Force’s collection of evidence in overseas venues; (j) the FBI’s fingering of Bruce Ivins as the anthrax mailer; and, (k) the FBI’s subsequent efforts to railroad the prosecution of Ivins in the face of daunting exculpatory evidence.
Following the announcement of its circumstantial case against Ivins, Defendants DOJ and FBI crafted an elaborate perception management campaign to bolster their assertion of Ivins’ guilt. These efforts included press conferences and highly selective evidentiary presentations which were replete with material omissions. Plaintiff further objected to the FBI’s ordering of Plaintiff not to speak with the staff of the CBS television news magazine 60 Minutes or investigative journalist David Willman, after both requested authorization to interview Plaintiff.
In April 2008, some of Plaintiff’s foregoing whistleblower reports were profiled on the CBS television show 60 Minutes. This 60 Minutes segment was critical of FBI executive management’s handling of the AMERITHRAX investigation, resulting in the agency’s embarrassment and the introduction of legislative bills calling for the establishment of congressional inquiries and special commissions to examine these issues – a level of scrutiny the FBI’s Ivins attribution could not withstand.
After leaving the AMERITHRAX investigation in 2006, Plaintiff continued to publicly opine that the quantum of circumstantial evidence against Bruce Ivins was not adequate to satisfy the proof-beyond-a-reasonable doubt threshold required to secure a criminal conviction in federal court. Plaintiff continued to advocate that while Bruce Ivins may have been the anthrax mailer, there is a wealth of exculpatory evidence to the contrary which the FBI continues to conceal from Congress and the American people.

Exonerating Evidence for Ivins

Agent Lambert won’t publicly disclose the exculpatory evidence against Ivins. As the New York Timesreports:
[Lambert] declined to be specific, saying that most of the information was protected by the Privacy Act and was unlikely to become public unless Congress carried out its own inquiry.
But there is already plenty of exculpatory evidence in the public record.
  • Handwriting analysis failed to link the anthrax letters to known writing samples from Ivins
  • No textile fibers were found in Ivins’ office, residence or vehicles matching fibers found on the scotch tape used to seal the envelopes
  • No pens were found matching the ink used to address the envelopes
  • Samples of his hair failed to match hair follicles found inside the Princeton, N.J., mailbox used to mail the letters
  • No souvenirs of the crime, such as newspaper clippings, were found in his possession as commonly seen in serial murder cases
  • The FBI could not place Ivins at the crime scene with evidence, such as gas station or other receipts, at the time the letters were mailed in September and October 2001
  • Lab records show the number of late nights Ivins put in at the lab first spiked in August 2001, weeks before the 9/11 attacks
As noted above, the FBI didn’t want to test the DNA sample found on the anthrax letter to Senator Leahy.  In addition, McClatchy points out:
After locking in on Ivins in 2007, the bureau stopped searching for a match to a unique genetic bacterial strain scientists had found in the anthrax that was mailed to the Post and to NBC News anchor Tom Brokaw, although a senior bureau official had characterized it as the hottest clue to date.
Anthrax vaccine expert Meryl Nass. M.D., notes:
The FBI’s alleged motive is bogus. In 2001, Bioport’s anthrax vaccine could not be (legally) relicensed due to potency failures, and its impending demise provided room for Ivins’ newer anthrax vaccines to fill the gap. Ivins had nothing to do with developing Bioport’s vaccine, although in addition to his duties working on newer vaccines, he was charged with assisting Bioport to get through licensure.
***
The FBI report claims the anthrax letters envelopes were sold in Frederick, Md. Later it admits that millions of indistinguishable envelopes were made, with sales in Maryland and Virginia.
***
FBI emphasizes Ivins’ access to a photocopy machine, but fails to mention it was not the machine from which the notes that accompanied the spores were printed.

FBI Fudged the Science

16 government labs had access to the same strain of anthrax as used in the anthrax letters.
The FBI admitted that up to 400 people had access to flask of anthrax in Dr. Ivins’ lab.  In other words, even if the killer anthrax came from there, 399 other people might have done it.
Moreover, even the FBI’s claim that the killer anthrax came from Ivins’ flask has completely fallen apart. Specifically, both the National Academy of Science and the Government Accountability Office – both extremely prestigious, nonpartisan agencies – found that FBI’s methodology and procedures for purportedly linking the anthrax flask maintained by Dr. Ivins with the anthrax letters was sloppy, inconclusive and full of holes.  They found that the alleged link wasn’t very strong … and that there was no firm link.  Indeed, the National Academy of Sciences found that the anthrax mailed to Congressmen and the media could have come from a different source altogether than the flask maintained by Ivins.
Additionally, the Ft. Detrick facility – where Ivins worked – only handled liquid anthrax.  But the killer anthrax was a hard-to-make dry powder form of anthrax.  Ft. Detrick doesn’t produce dry anthrax; but other government labs – for example Dugway (in Utah) and Batelle (in Ohio) – do.
The anthrax in the letters was also incredibly finely ground; and the FBI’s explanation for how the anthrax became so finely ground doesn’t even pass the smell test.
Further, the killer anthrax in the letters had a very high-tech  anti-static coating so that the anthrax sample “floated off the glass slide and was lost” when scientists tried to examine it.  Specifically, the killer anthrax was coated with polyglass and each anthrax spore given an electrostatic charge, so that it would repel other spores and “float”.   This was very advanced bio-weapons technology to which even Ivins’ bosses said he didn’t have access.
Top anthrax experts like Richard Spertzel say that Ivins didn’t do it. Spertzel also says that only 4 or 5 people in the entire country knew how to make anthrax of the “quality” used in the letters, that Spertzel was one of them, and it would have taken him a year with a full lab and a staff of helpers to do it. As such, the FBI’s claim that Ivins did it alone working a few nights is ludicrous.
Moreover, the killer anthrax contained silicon … but the anthrax in Ivins’ flask did not.  The FBI claimed the silicon present in the anthrax letters was absorbed from its surroundings … but Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories completely debunked that theory. In other words, silicon was intentionally added to the killer anthrax to make it more potent.  Ivins and Ft. Detrick didn’t have that capability … but other government labs did.
Similarly, Sandia National Lab found the presence of iron and tin in the killer anthrax … but NOT in Ivins’ flask of anthrax.
Sandia also found that there was a strain of bacteria in one of the anthrax letters not present in Ivins’ flask. (The bacteria, iron, tin and silicon were all additives which made the anthrax in the letters more deadly.)

The Anthrax Frame Up

Ivins wasn’t the first person framed for the anthrax attacks …
Although the FBI now admits that the 2001 anthrax attacks were carried out by one or more U.S. government scientists, a senior FBI official says that the FBI was actually told to blame the Anthrax attacks on Al Qaeda by White House officials (remember what the anthrax letters looked like). Government officials also confirm that the white House tried to link the anthrax to Iraq as a justification for regime change in that country. And see this.
People don’t remember now, but the “war on terror” and Iraq war were largely based on the claim that Saddam and Muslim extremists were behind the anthrax attacks (and see this and this)
And the anthrax letters pushed a terrified Congress into approving the Patriot Act without even reading it. Coincidentally, the only Congressmen who received anthrax letters were the ones who were likely to oppose the Patriot Act.
And – between the bogus Al Qaeda/Iraq claims and the FBI’s fingering of Ivins as the killer – the FBI was convinced that another U.S. government scientist, Steven Hatfill, did it.  The government had to pay Hatfill $4.6 million to settle his lawsuit for being falsely accused.

Ivins’ Convenient Death

It is convenient for the FBI that Ivins died.
The Wall Street Journal points out:
No autopsy was performed [on Ivins], and there was no suicide note.
Dr. Nass points out:
FBI fails to provide any discussion of why no autopsy was performed, nor why, with Ivins under 24/7 surveillance from the house next door, with even his garbage being combed through, the FBI failed to notice that he overdosed and went into a coma. Nor is there any discussion of why the FBI didn’t immediately identify tylenol as the overdose substance, and notify the hospital, so that a well-known antidote for tylenol toxicity could be given (N-acetyl cysteine, or alternatively glutathione). These omissions support the suggestion that Ivins’ suicide was a convenience for the FBI. It enabled them to conclude the anthrax case, in the absence of evidence that would satisfy the courts.
Indeed, one of Ivins’ colleagues at Ft. Deitrich thinks he was murdered.
Whether murder or suicide, Ivins’ death was very convenient for the FBI, as dead men can’t easily defend themselves.
Read the whole story

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fbi anthrax investigation - Google Search

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FBI — Amerithrax Investigation

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On February 19, 2010, the Justice Department, the FBI, and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service formally concluded the investigation into the 2001 anthrax attacks ...

HEAD of the FBI's Anthrax Investigation Says the Whole Thing

<a href="http://www.washingtonsblog.com" rel="nofollow">www.washingtonsblog.com</a> › General
Apr 17, 2015 - The FBI head agent in charge of the anthrax investigation – Richard Lambert – has just filed a federal whistleblower lawsuit calling the entire ...

2001 anthrax attacks - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Jump to Doubts about FBI conclusions - Earlier in the investigation, the FBI had named tin as a ... of the FBI's case, that Ivins had produced the anthrax in  ...

fbi cointelpro program - Google Search

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FBI — COINTELPRO

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COINTELPRO The FBI began COINTELPRO—short for Counterintelligence Program—in 1956 to disrupt the activities of the Communist Party of the United ...

COINTELPRO - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Jump to Program exposed - [edit]. The building broken into by the Citizen's Commission to Investigate the FBI, at One Veterans Square, Media,  ...

A Short History of FBI COINTELPRO - Monitor

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[Editor's note: More information on COINTELPRO in the Bari case is available at ... In early 1971, theFBI's domestic counterintelligence program (code named  ...

Inside COINTELPRO | The Nation of Islam Official Website |

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Inside the Counter Intelligence Program ... COINTELPRO: The U.S. Government's War Against Dissent ... FBI COINTELPRO Program Memo (August 25, 1967).

fbi still practices cointelpro - Google Search

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COINTELPRO - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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FBI records show that COINTELPRO resources targeted groups and individuals ..... The IG report found these "troubling" FBI practices between 2001 and 2006.

COINTELPRO - What Really Happened

whatreallyhappened.com/.../COINTELPRO/cointelpro-methods.html
"COINTELPRO" was the FBI's secret program to undermine the popular .... very different times cannot be itemized in such detail, since most are still secret. ..... spying activities, these investigatorypractices have been generally found to be legal  ...

COINTELPRO: The Untold American Story

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The FBIstill supporting the vigilantes, had [obtained the release of those arrested ...... practices and explore ongoing (i.e.: ostensibly post-COINTELPROFBI  ...

informants trick fbi - Google Search

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Informant in terror case paid $41000 by FBI - Star Tribune

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Aug 6, 2015 - The FBI paid more than $41000 to an informant who provided information ... Trick-or-treaters with allergies can look for the teal pumpkin.

More About FBI Spying | American Civil Liberties Union

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The FBI has a long history of abusing its national security surveillance powers. ... illegal wiretaps, warrantless physical searches and an array of other dirty tricks. ... increase in the FBI's controversial use of informants as agents provocateur in  ...

​How an FBI Informant Ordered the Hack of British Tabloid ...

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Vice
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Oct 14, 2014 - Except one of their leaders was an FBI informant. .... versions of PHP and then can attempt to trick the targeted network into executing malicious  ...

The Murky World Of FBI Informants | On Point with Tom Ashbrook

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New Yorker: Assets and Liabilities – “Nobody knows how many confidential informants are working for the F.B.I. at any time, but in a 2008 budget request the bureau put the number at fifteen thousand. After the degree of official complicity in Bulger’s crimes was revealed, the Department of Justice ordered the F.B.I. to track any crimes committed by its informants. In a 2013 letter, the bureau disclosed that in the prior year it had authorized informants to break the law on 5,939 occasions.”
USA Today: FBI allowed informants to commit 5,600 crimes — “The FBI gave its informants permission to break the law at least 5,658 times in a single year, according to newly disclosed documents that show just how often the nation’s top law enforcement agency enlists criminals to help it battle crime.”
The Wall Street Journal: In U.S. ISIS Cases, Informants Play a Big Role — “Some legal experts and defense lawyers say law-enforcement officials are pulling young and vulnerable people into the criminal acts that ultimately lead to their arrests. Others say the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s use of informants and undercover agents helps facilitate criminal activity for terror suspects who wouldn’t otherwise have the money or mental capacity to pose a serious threat.

fbi overrelies on informants - Google Search

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Exclusive: FBI allowed informants to commit 5,600 crimes

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Aug 4, 2013 - WASHINGTON — The FBI gave its informants permission to break the law at least 5,658 times in a single year, according to newly disclosed ...

FBI — Frequently Asked Questions

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Although it is legally permissible for the FBI to use informants in its investigations, special care is taken to carefully evaluate and closely supervise their use so  ...

Snitch! What's worse: Prison or being an FBI informant ...

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Apr 29, 2015 - When the FBI is ready to make you a snitch, they pounce quickly. And it just may be worse than prison.
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fbi is inadequate - Google Search

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Special Report: A Review of the FBI's Handling of ...

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The Minneapolis FBI opened an investigation on Moussaoui, believing that ...... Inadequateevaluation of whether to proceed as a criminal or intelligence matter.

Intelligence and the National Security Strategist: ...

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Roger Z. George, ‎Robert D. Kline - 2006 - ‎Political Science
The FBI's failure to focus on this matter resulted from management inattention and inadequatebriefing of senior management. Our investigation revealed that ...

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Why is our FBI so inept at catching dangerous criminals? (suspect ...

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Apr 3, 2013 - 10 posts - ‎9 authors
Carelli is also the lone suspect in the December 2, 1994 mail-bombing of the FBI Manhattan headquarters which injured two FBI workers.

Is The FBI Dumb, Evil, Or Just Incompetent? | TechCrunch

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May 25, 2013 - So we're left with the last option: the FBI is simply technically incompetent. Unable to come to terms with the new world of technology, and take ...

How Inept Is the FBI? | commentary

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In the final weeks before he was picked up, rotating teams of FBI agents ..... inept investigation, and the inadequate supervision of that inept investigation, nearly ...

fbi is incompetent - Google Search

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FBI Transparency - The Federal Bureau Of Incompetence

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Apr 11, 2014 - Why did the FBI slow-play the local Boston cops on what the Russians told them about the elder Tsarnaev?

Is The FBI Dumb, Evil, Or Just Incompetent? | TechCrunch

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TechCrunch
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May 25, 2013 - So we're left with the last option: the FBI is simply technically incompetent. Unable to come to terms with the new world of technology, and take ...

Scathing indictment of FBI incompetence - Missoulian

<a href="http://missoulian.com" rel="nofollow">missoulian.com</a> › Entertainer › Books and Literature
Missoulian
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Mar 4, 2012 - Each week, the FBI sends reporters an email of “top 10 news stories” that it hopes will hit the headlines. The news releases usually highlight ...