Social Security Whistleblowers Reveal Political Retribution Acts By SSA Officials Against Citizens



social security cards

From – – By M.D. Kittle

MILWAUKEE – In the wake of  Wisconsin Watchdog’s investigation into allegations of incompetence, misconduct, and retaliation in Social Security disability appeals offices, several employees have taken their complaints to a Senate committee led by Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson.

An official with knowledge of the complaints said the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, chaired by the Oshkosh Republican, has received emails and other contacts from “certain people” inside the Social Security Administration’s Office of Disability Adjudication and Review.

The initial complaints came from an employee inside the Milwaukee office following Wisconsin Watchdog’s opening investigative report that found some claimants waiting more than 1,000 days for an appeals decision on their disability benefits claim.

Following Wednesday’s story of a whistleblower in the Madison ODAR office, the committee has received more specific complaints about retaliation against employees, the source said.

Committee staff members sent the latest Watchdog piece to SSA administrators hoping they will “cooperate,” the source said. To date, the agency has been less than cooperative.

“This is an ongoing process, and they are not always as forthcoming as we’d like them to be,” the source said. “Hopefully with your continued reporting, this is an issue they can’t duck.”

A Senate committee member said officials there are working with the Office of Special Counsel on “multiple whistleblower retaliation claims.” The committee continues to request information from the SSA.

The whistleblower in the Madison office claims management retaliated against her after she was called to testify in a misconduct case. The incident involved “inappropriate behavior” by an administrative law judge, she said.

“They are so corrupt. It’s absolutely horrible,” said the woman, a lead case technician in the Madison Office of Disability Adjudication and Review.

She spoke on condition of anonymity, fearing more retribution from her supervisors. While she said recounting her particular experiences will more than likely betray her identity anyway, the ODAR case worker insisted she has had enough.

“I’m at point where they don’t care about me, I don’t see why I’m protecting them. This is my last resort,” she said. “I want to do my work without fear of retaliation.”

She said she has contacted the Senate committee.

“I forwarded my information to them and I got an email back from them. They said people are coming out of the woodwork with their complaints (about ODAR) following your story,” the whistleblower said.

Ronald Klym, a long-time senior legal assistant in the Milwaukee ODAR office, alleges he has been retaliated against by supervisors for going public with his charges of incompetence and misconduct in the agency.

The federal employee, who has worked for SSA for 16 years, provided Wisconsin Watchdog with documents showing extremely long wait times for claimants appealing their denied applications for benefits.

Doug Nguyen, SSA regional spokesman, in a previous story said the agency acknowledges that Milwaukee ODAR has a “high average processing time for disability appeal hearings, and we are working to address the issue.”

Beyond the delays is what Klym calls the “shell game,” the wholesale transferring of cases to other parts of the country by administrators to make the Milwaukee office’s numbers look better than they are.

The Madison office whistleblower confirmed Klym’s allegations, saying at one point she saw 2,000 cases from the Milwaukee office handed off to the Oak Brook operation.

Nguyen has said he cannot comment on internal personnel matters.



Investigative Summary: Whistleblower Allegations and Complaints of Reprisal from Office of Disability Adjudication and Review Employees

Friday, February 17, 2017


We investigated complaints of reprisal from several employees in a Social Security Administration (SSA) Office of Disability Adjudication and Review Hearing Office who claimed that agency managers retaliated against them after they disclosed misconduct of hearing office employees, including that management officials had engaged in hiring irregularities, and time and attendance fraud.  The whistleblower allegations also included sexual harassment, and sexist and racist written comments that resulted in hearing decisions reflecting a systemic bias motivated by animus towards protected groups. 

We determined:

  • Hiring decisions were largely unchecked, leaving the management official free to populate the office with friends and family members of current employees, increasing perceptions of favoritism and diminishing both employee morale and focus on the agency’s public service mission. 
  • Hiring practices, which often included the manipulation of vacancy announcements to achieve a desired end, likely violated merit system principles resulting in prohibited personnel practices.
  • No appointments violated Title 5 veterans’ preferences, though one stated end was to avoid hiring veterans. 
  • Management officials’ time and attendance practices violated both law and regulation, and set a tone for the office that misconduct by certain employees would be tolerated, and in some instances, encouraged.
  • The presence of racist and sexist written comments in hearing notes was known to many employees and managers in the office for years and went unaddressed; however, we did not find evidence of any systemic biases in written decisions involving protected groups.   

The Office of the Special Counsel (OSC) has an open investigation related to these allegations; we sent our report to OSC for legal determinations related to reprisal and prohibited personnel practices. 

Prosecution was declined.  We sent our report to SSA officials for their determination of appropriate administrative actions.

Note: Reports of Investigation contain sensitive confidential information and are not publicly available.




The following individuals did “Abso-F*CKING-Lutely” nothing to stop these crimes and, in fact, ran these crimes and their cover-ups.

We reported these crimes to most of these people in written police reports and these “public officials” then ran for cover and stone-walled all of those investigations in order to run insider trading scams to profiteer on the backs of the public using the stock market.

The voters, the media and the world will now work together to make certain that the legacy of these criminal abusers of the public trust places the in every history book as a “SCUMBAG AND CORRUPT MANIPULATOR OF THE PUBLIC INTEREST” next to their names, and their families names, for all of time.



Senator Dianne Feinstein


Senator Nancy Pelosi


Senator Jared Huffman


Jerry Brown’s Justice Department Lead: Ken Alex


Barack Obama


U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder


FBI Director James Comey


Department of Energy Inspector General


Secretary of Energy Steven Chu


White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs


White House Advisor David Axelrod


California Attorney General Kamala Harris


Senator Barbara Boxer


California Secretary of State’s Office


California Crime Victims Board –


United States Department of Justice – Obama Administration


FBI – Obama Administration


SEC – Obama Administration


CFTC – Obama Administration


Secret Service – Obama Administration




  •  Rahm Emanual – White House strong-arm (Sent packing/fired/forced to resign and his Chicago finance head was indicted for Corruption)(he is now under investigation)

  •  Robert Gibbs – White House press secretary (Sent packing/fired/forced to resign)(he is now under investigation)(accused of political bribery and kickbacks; tax evasion, and more…)

  • Abound Solar - Criminally corrupt crony campaign finance front operation. (Terminated)

  • Adrian Covert – Gawker/Gizmodo/CNN character assassin reporter ( Under surveillance and investigation )

  • Allison Spinner – Wife of Steve Spinner and lawyer at WSGR and Solyndra who helped Feinstein rig the Solyndra cash ((Under investigation. All assets being tracked and terminated.)

  • Alphabet - Privacy abuse, spy-on-the-public, Fake News election rigger, Clinton/DNC scheme financier (Under Federal and EU investigation)

  • Andy Bechtolsheim – VC- Insider campaign backer (He is now under investigation)(accused of political bribery and kickbacks; tax evasion, and more…)

  • Arnold Schwarzenegger – Governor (Accused of political bribery and kickbacks; tax evasion, illicit deal organization with Russians and more…)

  • Barack Obama – Witness to the Quid-pro-quo for campaign financing (Fired)

  • Bill Daley – White House strong-arm (Sent packing/fired/forced to resign)(he is now under investigation)

  • Bill Lockyer – Calif State finance head (Under investigation and charged with corruption by media. Assets and ownerships under investigation)

  • Brian Goncher – Deloitte VC intermediary (He is now under investigation)(accused of political bribery and kickbacks; tax evasion, and more…)

  • CNN – Fake news and information manipulation service. Elon Musk cover-up operator ( Under investigation )

  • Specific FBI Executives - that were uncovered engaged in felony-class cover-ups of these crimes including: James Baker, James Comey, Andrew McCabe, Lisa Page, David Johnson, David Oh, Peter Strzok and their corrupt associates who refused to help the victims and blockaded their criminal case filings ( Under investigation )

  • Daniel Cohen – DOE Legal counsel who assisted in the Steven Chu scam (Sent packing/fired/forced to resign)

  • David Axelrod – White House strategist who helped stage the quid-pro-quo (Sent packing/fired/forced to resign)(he is now under investigation)(accused of political bribery and kickbacks; tax evasion, and more…)

  • David Brock – Character Assassin. Head of Media Matters character assassination service. Money launderer. (Under investigation)

  • David Drummond – Lawyer/Lobbyist– Google, bribes expert for DC and EU regions (Under investigation. Quail Road, Woodside, CA home bugged)


  • David Plouffe – White House money packager. Arranged deals between VC campaign Donors. Fined for corruption with Rahm Emmanual (Forced to Resign. Under investigation)

  • Debbie Wasserman Schultz – Ran DNC corruption program (Forced to Resign. Under investigation)

  • Dianne Feinstein – Corrupt Senator complicit in the Quid-pro-quo scheme (He is now under investigation) Wife of Silicon Valley Cartel Member Richard Blum(accused of political bribery and kickbacks; tax evasion, and more…)

  • Donna Brazille – Operated camapign rigging and DNC corruption ops (Forced to Resign. Under investigation)

  • Draper - Fisher – VC firm (Campaign funder who received massive windfalls from Russian mining & tech start-up rigging)

  • Elon Musk – CEO – Tesla Motors/SpaceX/SolarCity owner, Google secret partner, Larry Page’s boy friend, master of bribery and crony payola (He is now under investigation & in multiple lawsuits for fraud)(accused of political bribery and kickbacks; tax evasion, and more…) ( All of his personal assets, investments and portfolio holdings are under investigation and targeted for extinction)

  • Eric Holder – Attorney General- DOJ (Forced to resign) (Charged with staff & VC Protections and blockade of FBI and Special Prosecutor deployments in order to run the cover-up)

  • Eric Schmidt – Owner- Google (He is now under investigation)(accused of political bribery and kickbacks; tax evasion, and more…)

  • Eric Strickland – Head of Auto Safety agency under DOT (Sent packing/fired/forced to resign)(he is now under investigation. Charged with cover-up of Tesla and GM auto dangers he had known about)

  • Facebook - Privacy abuse, spy-on-the-public, Fake News election rigger, Clinton/DNC scheme financier ( Failing, rapidly decreasing users and increasing fake ad stats disclosures )

  • Fisker - Criminally corrupt crony campaign finance front operation. (Terminated)

  • Gawker Media – DNC/Clinton/Obama character assassination media tool (In Mid-Termination)

  • Gawker Media & Nick Denton – Character assassination service provider (Sued multiple times, under federal investigation for tax evasion)

  • Gizmodo – DNC/Clinton/Obama character assassination media tool ( Failing, rapidly decreasing users and increasing fake ad stats disclosures )

  • Goldman Sachs – Financial packager (Suspected of staging most of the TARP/DOE deals for personal gain & insider payouts)

  • Google Employees- Washington, DC and Sacramento, CA ( Facing termination )

  • Google, Inc. – Data harvesting company(Ran media attacks, stock market pump and dump PR hype and character assassinations)(accused of political bribery and kickbacks; tax evasion, and more…) (charged by EU, and most nations, with multiple abuses of the public. Has totally lost the trust of the public. Revenue loss increasing geometrically.)

  • Harry Reid – Senator- Solar factory guru, Congress lead (Accused of political bribery and kickbacks; tax evasion, and more…Forced out of Congress in shame)

  • In-Q-Tel, Inc. – CIA off-shoot associated with Eric Schmidt, Google, Elon Musk and the Cartel leaders. Ran “hit-jobs” on Silicon Valley VC adversaries and reporters (Sued, under investigation, exposed in multiple documentaries, under investigation for Cocaine trafficking)

  • Ira Ehrenpreis – VC Campaign backer (He is now under investigation)(accused of political bribery and kickbacks; tax evasion, and more…) ( All of his personal assets, investments and portfolio holdings are under investigation and targeted for extinction)

  • Ivanpah Solar - Criminally corrupt crony Google campaign finance front operation. (In failure mode)

  • James Brown Jr – HHS Programming lead in California (Arrested for corruption)

  • James Comey – FBI Head who refused to allow investigation of these crimes (Fired and under FBI and Congressional investigation )

  • Jay Carney – White House press lead (Forced to resign)

  • John Doerr – Owner – Kleiner Perkins. “Godfather” – Silicon Valley Cartel (He is now under investigation)(accused of political bribery and kickbacks; tax evasion, and more…)( All of his personal assets, investments and portfolio holdings are under investigation and targeted for extinction)

  • John Herrman– Gawker/Gizmodo/CNN character assassin reporter ( Under surveillance and investigation )

  • John Podesta – Ran Dirty Tricks Programs and hit jobs (Hacked and under FBI and Congressional investigation

  • Jonathan Silver – DOE VC (Sent packing/fired/forced to resign)(he is now under investigation. Shamed in media for epic failures)

  • Kamala Harris – Famous for getting hit on by Barack Obama. California Attorney General who ran West Cost cover-ups on this scam (Hacked and under FBI and Congressional investigation

  • Ken Alex – Jerry Brown’s California Department of Justice boss who ran cover-ups for the tax payola kick-backs to Tesla and Solyndra (Hacked and under FBI and Congressional investigation

  • Kleiner Perkins – Campaign funding VC who (Received massive windfalls from Russian mining & tech start-up rigging. Sued. Under investigation. All assets being tracked and terminated.)

  • Lachlan Seward – Manager to Steven Chu (Sent packing/fired/forced to resign. Sued for corruption. publicly shamed by news media and Congress)

  • Larry Page – Owner- Google (He is now under investigation)(accused of political bribery and kickbacks; tax evasion, and more…)

  • Larry Summers – White House finance head (Fired)(he is now under investigation)(accused of political bribery and kickbacks; tax evasion, and more…)

  • Leland Yee – Senator (Indicted & charged with corruption)

  • Linkedin - Privacy abuse, spy-on-the-public, Fake News election rigger, Clinton/DNC scheme financier ( Failing, rapidly decreasing users and increasing fake ad stats disclosures )

  • Lloyd Craig Blankfein – Head of Goldman Sachs and liaison in almost every single CleanTech company scam(He is now under investigation)(accused of political bribery and kickbacks; tax evasion, and more…) ( All of his personal assets, investments and portfolio holdings are under investigation and targeted for extinction)

  • Lois Lerner – IRS head charged with running political hit-jobs (Sent packing/fired/forced to resign)(She is now under investigation. Shamed in news media)

  • Mark Zuckerberg – Clinton/DNC Scheme financier and lobbyist

  • Martin LaGod – VC Campaign backer and lithium mining exploiter and war profiteer (He is now under investigation)(assets, investments and stock portfolio tracked and targeted)( All of his personal assets, investments and portfolio holdings are under investigation and targeted for extinction)

  • Matt Rogers – Mckinsey corruption operator reporting to Steven Chu (Under investigation. All assets being tracked and terminated.)

  • Mckinsey Consulting – Government services contractor (Supplied DOE manipulation staff, manipulated white-papers to Congress and lobbying manipulation for the scam)

  • Nancy Pelosi – This U.S. Senator organized the kickback programs and operated epic insider trading scams (Under Congressional closed door investigation)

  • New America Foundation – Google/INQTEL’s policy manipulation center (Under Congressional closed door investigation)

  • Nick Denton – Character assassination service provider (Sued multiple times, under federal investigation for tax evasion)

  • Perkins Coi – Law firm who sold lobby manipulation services (Under federal investigation)

  • Pierre Omidyar – Clinton/DNC Scheme financier and lobbyist. Ebay/Paypal Boss

  • Rahm Emanual – White House strong-arm who set-up the scam (Sent packing/fired/forced to resign and his Chicago finance head was indicted for Corruption)(he is now under investigation)

  • Raj Gupta – McKinsey Fixer (Indicted, Jailed)(he is now under investigation)

  • Ray Lane – VC (Charged with Federal Tax Fraud)(he is now under investigation)(accused of political bribery and kickbacks; tax evasion, and more…)

  • Richard Blum – Senator Feinsteins Husband (He is now under investigation. Has had contracts interdicted by Congressional action)(accused of political bribery and kickbacks; tax evasion, and more…)

  • Robert Gibbs – White House press secretary who set-up the scam (Sent packing/fired/forced to resign)(he is now under investigation)(accused of political bribery and kickbacks; tax evasion, and more…)

  • Rosa Brooks – New America Foundation (Disclosed working on plans for a coup Against Trump Administration)

  • Senator Calderone – Senator (Indicted & charged with corruption)

  • Snapchat – Privacy abuse, spy-on-the-public, Fake News election rigger, Clinton/DNC scheme financier ( Failing, rapidly decreasing users and increasing fake ad stats disclosures )

  • SolarCity - Criminally corrupt crony Google/Musk campaign finance front operation. (Terminated – Forced into absorption by Musk)

  • Solyndra – Criminally corrupt crony campaign finance front operation. FBI Raided. (Terminated)

  • Sony Pictures – Funded corrupt political actions, ran covert illegal Fake News operations, stole assets from competitors, ran defamation campaigns (Under IRS and FTC investigation, hacked by foreign hackers, boycotted, executives fired, hookers and tax fraud uncovered )

  • Steve Jurvetson – VC who manipulated Senate staff for Tesla cash (Under investigation. All assets being tracked and terminated.)

  • Steve Rattner– White House Car Deals Director working in the West Wing and then with In-Q-Tel (Fired- Indicted in NY State for SEC Fraud/Corruption)(he is now under investigation)

  • Steve Spinner – Mckinsey corruption operator reporting to Steven Chu with secret connection inside Solyndra (Under investigation. All assets being tracked and terminated.)

  • Steve Westly – Campaign Bundler (He is now under investigation)(accused of political bribery and kickbacks; tax evasion, and more…)( All of his personal assets, investments and portfolio holdings are under investigation and targeted for extinction)

  • Steven Chu – Secretary of Energy (Sent packing/fired/forced to resign. Sued for corruption. publicly shamed by news media and Congress. Under ongoing investigation)

  • Tesla Motors - Criminally corrupt crony Google/Musk Obama-protected campaign finance front operation. (In failure mode)

  • The Staff of Univision including Gawker, Jalopnik, Jezebel, Gizmodo all of whom were disclosed as hired character assassins who took compensation for ending the lives of others via malicious libel, slander and defamation on a daily basis for half a decade in front of 7.5 billion readers through its employees Adrian Covert, and John Herman, A.J. Delaurio, as well as through its pseudonymous authors, including: Adam Dachis, Adam Weinstein, Adrian Covert, Adrien Chen, Alan Henry, Albert Burneko, Alex Balk, Alexander Pareene, Alexandra Philippides, Allison Wentz, Andrew Collins, Andrew Magary, Andrew Orin, Angelica Alzona, Anna Merlan, Ariana Cohen, Ashley Feinberg, Ava Gyurina, Barry Petchesky, Brendan I. Koerner, Brendan O’Connor, Brent Rose, Brian Hickey, Camila Cabrer, Choire Sicha, Chris Mohney, Clover Hope, Daniel Morgan, David Matthews, Diana Moskovitz, Eleanor Shechet, Elizabeth Spiers, Elizabeth Starkey, Emily Gould, Emily Herzig, Emma Carmichael, Erin Ryan, Ethan Sommer, Eyal Ebel, Gabrielle Bluestone, Gabrielle Darbyshire, Georgina K. Faircloth, Gregory Howard, Hamilton Nolan, Hannah Keyser, Hudson Hongo. Heather Deitrich, Hugo Schwyzer, Hunter Slaton, Ian Fette, Irin Carmon, James J. Cooke, James King, Jennifer Ouellette, Jesse Oxfeld, Jessica Cohen, Jesus Diaz, Jillian Schulz, Joanna Rothkopf, John Cook, John Herrman, Jordan Sargent, Joseph Keenan Trotter, Josh Stein, Julia Allison, Julianne E. Shepherd, Justin Hyde, Kate Dries, Katharine Trendacosta, Katherine Drummond, Kelly Stout, Kerrie Uthoff, Kevin Draper, Lacey Donohue, Lucy Haller, Luke Malone, Madeleine Davies, Madeline Davis, Mario Aguilar, Matt Hardigree, Matt Novak, Michael Ballaban, Michael Dobbs, Michael Spinelli, Neal Ungerleider, Nicholas Aster, Nicholas Denton, Omar Kardoudi, Pierre Omidyar, Owen Thomas, Patrick George, Patrick Laffoon, Patrick Redford, Rich Juzwiak, Richard Blakely, Richard Rushfield, Robert Finger, Robert Sorokanich, Rory Waltzer, Rosa Golijan, Ryan Brown, Ryan Goldberg, Sam Faulkner Bidle, Sam Woolley, Samar Kalaf, Sarah Ramey, Shannon Marie Donnelly, Shep McAllister, Sophie Kleeman, Stephen Totilo, Tamar Winberg, Taryn Schweitzer, Taylor McKnight, Thorin Klosowski, Tim Marchman, Timothy Burke, Tobey Grumet Segal, Tom Ley, Tom Scocca, Veronica de Souza, Wes Siler, William Haisley, William Turton and others writing under pseudonyms; through false accusations of vile and disgusting acts, including fraud and false invention. (Partially bankrupted, sued by multiple parties, placed on White House “manipulated attack media” dockets, all employees on this list under lifetime pre-paid surveillance, further lawsuits against staff and investors in development, IRS tax fraud investigation requested, FEC campaign finance fraud investigation requested, Feature film about their dirty tricks campaign in development...)

  • Tim Draper – VC Campaign backer (He is now under investigation)(accused of political bribery and kickbacks; tax evasion, and more…)( All of his personal assets, investments and portfolio holdings are under investigation and targeted for extinction)

  • Tom Perkins – VC Campaign backer (He is now under investigation, slammed by public and media)(accused of political bribery and kickbacks; tax evasion, and more…)

  • Twitter - Privacy abuse, spy-on-the-public, Fake News election rigger, Clinton/DNC scheme financier ( Failing, rapidly decreasing users and increasing fake ad stats disclosures )

  • Univision/Unimoda - Privacy abuse, spy-on-the-public, Fake News election rigger, Clinton/DNC scheme financier ( Failing, rapidly decreasing users and increasing fake ad stats disclosures )

  • Valarie Jarrett – Witness and cover up operating from pre-White House to Exit White House Period ( Fired )

  • Vinod Khosla – VC Campaign backer (He is now under investigation and in multiple lawsuits)(accused of political bribery and kickbacks; tax evasion, and more…Exposed in 60 Minutes and CNN news coverage)

  • Wilson Sonsini Goodrich and Rosatti – The Silicon Valley “law-firm of Crooks and Technology Criminals” (Under investigation)

  • Yahoo - Privacy abuse, spy-on-the-public, Fake News election rigger, Clinton/DNC scheme financier (In Mid-Termination)

  • Other Potential Defendants exist including State And Federal Agencies and their executives. The assets, bank accounts and high recovery values of the above targets are known and documented, though. The evidence and subpoena-capable reinforcement of that evidence is substantial in the above list.

  • These parties have been forensically tracked to illicit campaign financing, hacking, bribes, political payola, stock-market rigging, slush-funds, false-front shell corporations and family trusts, abuse of corporate funds, advertising metrics frauds, RICO statute violation organized crime, employee abuse, electronic communications intended to evade law enforcement and other charges. In Palantir, XKeyScore and law enforcement databases they are all cross-linked. Terminations and interdictions for each party and their illicit actions have been continuing successfully. The termination of this network of parties will, effectively, terminate The Cartel in question. Each and every legal take-down has now passed the 50% vector and is proceeding to completion.


Barr Confirms Multiple Intel Agencies Implicated In Harassment of Citizens In Domestic Spy Operation

'I’m not talking about the FBI necessarily, but intelligence agencies more broadly,' Barr said.
Mollie Hemingway

“Spying on a political campaign is a big deal,” Attorney General William Barr told a Senate committee on Wednesday morning. Barr’s comments came in the context of potential Justice Department reviews of the Trump-Russia investigation and how it began in 2016.

While it is important that the top law enforcement in the United States publicly acknowledged that the Obama administration and its intelligence agencies surveilled its domestic political opponents during the heat of a presidential election, it is what he said next that was most startling: that the CIA and other federal agencies in addition to the FBI may have been involved. “I’m not talking about the FBI necessarily, but intelligence agencies more broadly,” he said.


The FBI, which has incredibly friendly relations with the media, has taken the brunt of the public outcry against the anti-Trump operation. That project included the use of Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrants, national security letters, human informants, and strategic leaking to craft a narrative of treasonous collusion with Russia to steal an election from Hillary Clinton. It even included leaks of classified records from former FBI director James Comey, which he said was done for the purpose of launching a special counsel investigation as retaliation for his firing.

There have always been indications that the operation went far beyond the FBI, however. For example, former CIA director John Brennan, now an MSNBC contributor, separately briefed Sen. Harry Reid, (D-Nev.) about the operation. Reid understood that move was undertaken so he could publicize the Russia investigation to influence the ongoing presidential election campaign.

Former director of national intelligence James Clapper, now a CNN contributor, admitted to discussions with media outlets about the investigation. The U.S. embassy in London was used contrary to established protocol to funnel hearsay that was used as a pretext to officially launch a wide-ranging investigation against the entire Trump orbit. Clinton-connected officials in the State Department were also used to disseminate unverified gossip and allegations about Trump throughout the federal government.

The use of covert individuals to surreptitiously obtain information on private American citizens and share it with the government is the most obvious publicly known indication that agencies beyond the FBI may have been intimately involved in the operation. It is clearly possible that every single instance of intelligence collection was done entirely by the FBI without any assistance from any other federal intelligence agency. However, that has not been determined by any investigative body.


The use of Stefan Halper, for example, a London-based American academic with longstanding ties to the FBI, CIA, and Defense Department, raises serious questions about whether CIA assets or resources were used against American citizens. Following Nixon-era domestic spying abuses by the U.S. intelligence community, oversight bodies restricted the authority of the CIA to spy on U.S. citizens on U.S. soil.

Numerous Trump affiliates were lured to meetings overseas that were then used as the basis for domestic intelligence collection. The formal launch of an enterprise investigation against the Trump campaign was opened following a report that George Papadopoulos, a former Trump campaign advisor, had told a foreign diplomat in London about another overseas meeting during which he was told Russians had dirt on Clinton.

The Washington Post’s Aaron Blake is representative of the media’s award-winning complicity in furthering a baseless conspiracy theory of Russian collusion and concealing the troubling behavior of their most prized sources:


It is discrediting to Blake to cite Clapper, a man who famously lied to Congress about the mass surveillance of American citizens, as a trustworthy source of information on the government’s domestic spying operations. The media’s attempt to claim that the covert surveillance of and collection of information on American citizens tied to the Trump campaign does not constitute “spying” is as absurd today as it was when they first started attempting to claim that a year ago after it was revealed that the FBI had used an overseas intelligence asset in its anti-Trump operation.

The Times headline about the use of government agents to secretly gather evidence against the Trump campaign was — hand to God — “F.B.I. Used Informant to Investigate Russia Ties to Campaign, Not to Spy, as Trump Claims.”

It’s also false to pretend that the surveillance only occurred against Carter Page and only after he left the campaign, referring to the year-long FISA warrant the FBI and DOJ used against the innocent American citizen using discredited Clinton-campaign research as a basis. That’s wrong on multiple counts. According to The New York Times’ government leakers:

The F.B.I. investigated four unidentified Trump campaign aides in those early months, congressional investigators revealed in February. The four men were Michael T. Flynn, Paul Manafort, Carter Page and Mr. Papadopoulos, current and former officials said…

The F.B.I. obtained phone records and other documents using national security letters — a secret type of subpoena — officials said. And at least one government informant met several times with Mr. Page and Mr. Papadopoulos, current and former officials said.


Furthermore, even Page’s FISA surveillance allowed U.S. authorities to surveil not just Page but those he was in contact with, including campaign officials, and to search electronic communications sent and received long before the FISA warrant application was initially approved.

The fact of the matter is that federal intelligence agencies spied on a rival political campaign. They illegally leaked information about that surveillance. They abused their authority to at best undermine the duly elected president and at worst to attempt a soft coup against him. They did so with the near-total cooperation of the American media establishment.

This is a scandal of epic proportions. It is one that threatens the foundations of constitutional government. It is a direct attack on American democracy.

If it is true, as the Washington Post asserts, that democracy dies in darkness, then every single improper deed done under the cloak of secrecy must be fully brought to light. The only way to restore the definitively lost credibility of the FBI and other intelligence agencies is through a thorough investigation of what happened, who was involved, and how they will be held accountable.

Sean Davis contributed to this report.

Mollie Ziegler Hemingway is a senior editor at The Federalist. She is Senior Journalism Fellow at Hillsdale College and a Fox News contributor. Follow her on Twitter at


New Whistle blower Protection Office Is Under Investigation for Retaliating Against Whistle blowers

The Veterans Affairs Department’s watchdog is investigating a new office created by President Trump early in his administration that was designed to protect whistleblowers from reprisal but is now facing allegations of aiding retaliation against them.

VA’s Office of Inspector General is leading the investigation from its new Office of Special Reviews, which the IG created to conduct “prompt reviews of significant events” and examine allegations of senior VA employee misconduct, an IG spokesman said. The new IG office is looking into activities at the Office of Accountability and Whistleblower Protection as part of an ongoing review of the implementation of the 2017 law that created OAWP. 

Trump created OAWP by executive order in 2017 and later codified it when he signed the 2017 VA Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act into law. The office was mostly celebrated, with advocates hopeful that the focus on the rights and protections for whistleblowers would reverse a culture infamous for intimidation and reprisal. That optimism has largely soured, however, leading to hotline tips to the inspector general and bipartisan scrutiny from Congress.

“There has been considerable interest by some members of Congress and other stakeholders in this effort,” said Mike Nacincik, the IG spokesman, who said he could not comment further on ongoing work.

President Trump has frequently touted the law as one of his signature legislative achievements, focusing primarily on the reforms it made to expedite the disciplinary process for VA employees. But Trump also spoke of the promises on which skeptics now say the law has failed to deliver: “This bill protects whistleblowers who do the right thing,” Trump said. “We want to reward, cherish, and promote the many dedicated employees at the VA.”

Government Executive spoke to several VA employees who expressed frustration or anger toward OAWP, three of whom have already been interviewed by IG investigators. They described feeling betrayed or neglected by an office they believed was going to help them but ended up doing the opposite. They said they have shared information with the investigators, including documentation of alleged reprisal.

Curt Cashour, a VA spokesman, said the department “welcomes the inspector general’s oversight,” but defended it against most allegations. He acknowledged that the office experienced some growing pains, but said it has “evolved over time, refining and improving its policies and practices along the way.”

What Whistleblowers Are Telling Investigators

“It’s a crooked system where literally the fox is guarding the hen house,” said Jay DeNofrio.

DeNofrio, an administrative officer at a VA facility in Altoona, Pa., had prior experience as a whistleblower before OAWP was created—years ago, he disclosed information about a doctor he said was losing mental capacity and putting veterans at risk—so he thought he understood the investigative process that takes place after employees make disclosures to investigators. OAWP, however, was the first body he’d ever worked with that coordinated with VA headquarters to find blemishes on his own record after he reported wrongdoing, he said. Investigators questioned his coworkers, telling them DeNofrio does not “walk on water” just because he is a protected whistleblower and encouraged them to immediately report “any instances of poor behavior,” according to transcripts of those conversations obtained through records requests and provided to Government Executive.

DeNofrio said IG investigators took the allegations against OAWP seriously and called their review “high profile” and “high priority.”

Dan Martin, a chief engineer at VA’s Northern Indiana Health Care System, said OAWP failed to protect him when his case came before it. Martin said in 2016 he discovered contracting violations related to a non-functioning water filtration system, but when he reported the problems to superiors he was stripped of his responsibilities and sent to work in an office without heat or air conditioning. The VA inspector general launched an investigation into the contracting practices, and asked Martin to surreptitiously record conversations with procurement officers, Martin said.

It was not until OAWP got involved in the case that Martin’s supervisors became aware of that cooperation. When OAWP allegedly shared that information with leadership at his facility, Martin said his supervisors “had no choice but to shut me down” so he could no longer send recordings about the supervisors’ “very inappropriate relationships with contractors” to investigators in the OIG.

“OAWP set me up,” said Martin, who initially felt far more optimistic about OAWP’s capacity to help his cause. “They incentivized [my facility] to go after me.”

Martin is also fighting his case through the Merit Systems Protection Board. During that process, VA’s Office of General Counsel came to Martin and his attorneys asking for certain information about the case. The attorneys representing Martin told the lawyers in the Office of General Counsel they would only hand the information over during discovery. Shortly after rejecting the request, Martin said, OAWP followed up to ask for the same information.

“Some of them are so crooked they swallow nails and spit up corkscrews,” Martin said.

‘They Turned on Whistleblowers’

The alleged collaboration between the Office of General Counsel and OAWP has troubled observers. Tom Devine, legal director at the Government Accountability Project, a whistleblower advocacy group, said his initial excitement about OAWP has been dampened by “structural developments,” including what he called veto power the department's general counsel has over the whistleblower protection office.

This would appear to be in violation of the 2017 law that permanently authorized OAWP, which prohibits the office from existing “as an element of the Office of General Counsel” and its leadership from reporting to OGC. Cashour said it was false to suggest that the Office of General Counsel exercises veto power over whistleblower claims, but acknowledged OAWP and OGC do coordinate.

“OAWP has a collaborative working relationship with OGC, but OAWP retains final decision making authority on all OAWP matters,” Cashour said.

Rebecca Jones, policy counsel at the Project on Government Oversight, said the office can likely not completely fix its issues while it remains an “internal clearinghouse” for whistleblowers rather than a truly independent office. Jones praised the IG for investigating the alleged retaliation.

“I wish it hadn’t come to this,” she said.

Devine praised some of OAWP’s early accomplishments, such as delaying VA’s disciplinary decisions that involved alleged reprisal and the hiring of high-profile whistleblower Brandon Coleman as a liaison between whistleblowers and the office. Coleman even established a mentoring program to help assist victims of retaliation, but it has since been shut down.

“They didn’t have the teeth to enforce their good deeds,” said Devine, who has significantly curbed his cooperation with OAWP. “They turned on whistleblowers.”

‘You Don’t Want to Come Forward’

A third VA employee, who requested anonymity to protect his ongoing cases, recently informed IG investigators about what he alleged is OAWP’s betrayal of trust and subsequent inactivity. The employee made an initial whistleblower disclosure in early 2017 that was bounced around to several offices within VA. He subsequently was removed from his position as a technician and is now relegated to “brain-dead work,” he said.

He contacted OAWP about the alleged reprisal later that year. During his interactions with the whistleblower office, he turned over sensitive information about his hospital that a colleague had provided—the OAWP investigator was the only individual with whom he shared the information. Days later, the employee said, the colleague was “chewed out” by leaders at the facility for sharing the information. To the employee, it felt like OAWP had betrayed him, he told Government Executive.

The employee said he then experienced 21 months of “radio silence.” He recently spoke with OIG about his negative experiences with OAWP. A few days later, the employee said he unexpectedly heard from the OAWP investigators. He said he is now “very, very cautious” in his interactions with OAWP.

“It scares you,” he said. “You don’t want to come forward. People are afraid.”

Tonya Van, formerly a doctor a VA facility in San Antonio, also became a whistleblower after disclosing to a supervisor that a doctor at her facility was giving incorrect diagnoses. She filed a complaint with OAWP after she alleged her supervisor made her work life so miserable she was forced to resign. But she quickly became disenchanted with the office due to lack of communication, she said. She tried to follow up with OAWP but never heard back. The office eventually closed out her case, though it later contacted her about opening a second investigation. She said she has “no idea” what the results of either investigation were.

Van alleged that her supervisors’ reprisal against her took the form of accusations of using foul language in the workplace. Martin, the Northern Indiana employee, said he faced an investigation for similar accusations.

Changes and Cautious Optimism

Cashour, the VA spokesman, said OAWP does not provide “detailed information related to the specific outcome of an investigation to employees” due to privacy concerns. He added that the office has revised its policies to disclose more information to claimants, including when an investigation has been closed and if claims of retaliation were substantiated.

Multiple VA employees criticized this practice, calling it counterintuitive that VA would claim privacy concerns over investigations that the employees themselves requested.  

Cashour said OAWP has changed other practices after a draft of a June 2018 Government Accountability Office report faulted the office for its investigatory practices, including allowing officials accused of retaliation to be directly involved in the inquiries in which they are named. VA told GAO it would not end its practice of “referring cases of misconduct back to facilities and program offices where the misconduct occurred.” However, Cashour said OAWP now informs employees upfront when their matters will be referred elsewhere for review. To protect whistleblowers, he said, OAWP now allows employees “to either opt-out of the disclosure or withhold the release of their name.”

In August 2018, however, when Van had an in-person interview with OAWP investigators, she and her attorney were still alleging retaliation by OAWP. While asking about Van’s allegations, an OAWP investigator told Van she could be penalized for violating a prior settlement with VA by asking a former colleague to write a recommendation. Her attorney said Deirdre Weiss, the OAWP employee, was ignoring the intent of that prior agreement.

“The bottom line is that, as accountability investigators, where we see possible wrongdoing we cannot look the other way just because somebody is a complainant, okay,” said Weiss, according to a transcript of the proceedings.

Last year, before his office formally launched an official investigation into the practices of OAWP, VA Inspector General Michael Missal became part of a public spat with then acting Secretary Peter O’Rourke over documents housed within the office. The IG requested access to information on the cases filed with OAWP, but O’Rourke refused to comply. They aired their grievances through a series of public letters, which included O’Rourke harshly reminding Missal that the IG served as the secretary’s subordinate. Congress ultimately intervened by emphasizing in a spending bill that the IG had the right to any and all documents it requested.

O’Rourke had previously served as the first head of OAWP, a period in which many of the complaints against the office originated. Current VA Secretary Robert Wilkie reportedly asked O’Rourke to resign last year after determining he was doing little work as a senior advisor.

OAWP is still a small office, employing just 96 workers—28 of whom are investigators—for a workforce of 380,000. Its employees receive standardized training in investigative techniques, both internally and from outside experts such as those at the Homeland Security Department and the Office of Special Counsel.

The office is now headed by Tammy Bonzanto, who previously served as an investigator on the House Veterans Affairs Committee. Her tenure has received mixed reviews. DeNofrio, for example, is still concerned by what he calls her lack of transparency. Other observers are cautiously optimistic that her leadership could get the office back to its original mission.

“We’re confident they have good-faith leadership now,” said GAP’s Devine. “The question is how much professional freedom she’ll have.”


Nearly 100,000 Pentagon whistleblower complaints have been silenced – Lee Camp

I don’t know if I’d have the nerve to be a whistleblower. I’d like to think I would. We all like to think we would, just like we all like to think we could catch the game-winning touchdown or fold a fitted sheet without cursing

But to blow the whistle on a huge organization with a lot of power, likely drawing that power to come crashing down on your head – that takes some serious spine-age. Now, imagine the organization you’re calling out is arguably the largest, most powerful, most secretive and most violent organization on planet Earth. I’m speaking, of course, of the US Department of Defense.
Read more
Pentagon books so wrong on every level it’s impossible to detect fraud – Matt Taibbi Pentagon books so wrong on every level it’s impossible to detect fraud – Matt Taibbi

Yet thousands, even tens of thousands, of people have taken that step over the past five years. (More on this in a moment.)

All the while our organized human murder machine continues its work around the world. Every day. Every hour. Never a moment of rest. Never pausing to clip their toenails or scratch their ass. Bombs dropped. Buildings blown up. People killed or imprisoned. No end in sight.

By the way, that’s the term I like to use instead of “military” – Organized Human Murder Machine.

It has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it? “Mili-tary” sounds too boring, too banal. Sounds like a super-lame couple you met at a party. “Yeah, Millie and Terry over there are accountants. If I have to hear one more joke about capital gains taxes, I’m gonna kill myself.”

But that’s not what the military is. The military is a gigantic organized human murder machine, and even if you “support” every action our military has ever taken, you can still acknowledge it’s an organized human murder machine. (You would just bizarrely argue that all the murder has been just and sound and pure.)

Eleven months ago I covered $21 trillion of unaccounted-for adjustments at the Pentagon over the past 20 years. Don’t try to think about the number $21 trillion because you’ll pass out and hit your head on the desk. If your salary is $40,000 a year, in order to earn $21 trillion, it would take you 525 million years. (At which point you can’t even enjoy the new jet ski you just bought with all your money because you’re almost certainly a brain in a jar … though a nice embroidered jar that only the rich brains can afford.)
Also on The Pentagon failed its audit amid a $21 trillion scandal (yes, trillion) - Lee Camp

Over the past year there has been a little more coverage of the utterly preposterous amount of money unaccounted for at our human murder machine. The Nation magazine, Forbes and Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez all covered it. Then the white blood cells of the military-industrial complex kicked into action in order to destroy the “infection.” The New York Times and Vox both claimed the $21 trillion is merely the result of large-scale misdocumentation and therefore doesn’t matter at all. Of course, the idea that tens of TRILLIONS of dollars of unaccountable adjustments don’t matter and couldn’t mask any fraud, abuse or corruption is an assertion that makes Charlie Sheen’s statement that he runs on tiger blood seem downright levelheaded.

Probably the best article to date on the $21 trillion was written a few weeks ago by Matt Taibbi for Rolling Stone.

Point is, even though most of the mainstream media won’t get near this subject (or worse yet—actively attack those who do), the word is getting out: There is a giant sucking sound in the center of the Pentagon, and whatever’s down there feeds on trillions of secretive dollars, then sh*ts out incalculable death and destruction. (It’s the Death Star if officials at the Death Star spent $10,000 on a toilet seat.)

A month ago the Government Accountability Office came out with a report showing the total number of whistleblower complaints over the past five years at the Department of Defense. It’s nearly 100,000. Here’s the only part of the report that references that number:

“The Department of Defense Inspector General identified 8 substantiated violations of whistleblower confidentiality between fiscal years 2013 and 2018, representing approximately .01 percent of the 95,613 contacts handled by the Inspector General during that time…”
Read more
We are being lied into war again – Lee Camp We are being lied into war again – Lee Camp

95,613 whistleblower complaints over five years.

Sadly, the Government Accountability Office was trying to brag in that sentence. They were proudly stating, “We only breached the confidentiality of .01 percent of our 95,000 whistleblower complaints. Aren’t we heroes?!”

It’s kind of like saying, “Of the 10,000 dolphins I’ve killed, not a single one has accidentally been a human.” The sane response is, “Well, I’m glad to hear that, but did you say you killed 10,000 dolphins?”

To try to get the 95,000 number to make a little more sense, that averages out to a whistleblower every six minutes of every weekday for five straight years. (That waiting room must be truly nuts. I bet all the good magazines were claimed years ago.)

But maybe I’m looking at this all wrong. Perhaps the number 95,613 shouldn’t be all that shocking, and I need to roll my tongue back up and store it back within my mouth. When you have $21 trillion of unaccounted-for adjustments, it means a seizure-inducing amount of money, parts, pieces, bombs, missiles, manpower and devices are flying around with no accountability – likely creating loads of fraud, which would probably create loads of whistleblowers. Hence, maybe we all should have expected this number of whistleblowers rather than being shocked.

For example, there’s the time in 2003 when the US flew $12 billion in cash to Iraq and promptly lost track of it. As the Guardian makes clear in this article, this was not an instance of hackers on a computer system stealing a bunch of ones and zeroes. This was giant pallets of cash money vanishing without a trace. In fact, it was 281 million $100 bills, weighing in at 363 tons. That’s not really the type of thing you can just smuggle away in your sweatshirt while humming “She’ll be comin’ ‘round the mountain.”

READ MORE: Trump is ‘for socialism’ … but only when it comes to funding US military industry – Tulsi Gabbard

Or here’s another example journalist David DeGraw highlights from the Government Accountability Report:

“… according to a Department of Defense official, during an initial audit, the Army found 39 Blackhawk helicopters that had not been recorded in the property system. [$819 million in value] Similarly, the Air Force identified 478 buildings and structures at 12 installations that were not in the real property systems.”

The Army lost and then found 39 helicopters.

The Air Force lost and then found 478 buildings.

How does one lose a goddamn building? Unless you just had a bad breakup with David Copperfield, there’s no explanation for losing a building. (Side note: It must suck divorcing David Copperfield. “Really, honey? You think you’re gonna take the house?? PAFOOMPF! What house?!”)

Ya see, this madness stems from the fact that the Pentagon has a standard operating procedure of simply making up numbers to fill their books – which, for normal human beings, is termed “fraud.” But in the case of the Pentagon, it’s termed, “We get to make sh*t up because … ummm… national security.”
Also on Cold War is good for business: US contractors rejoice at the new Red Scare

Here’s more from a 2013 Reuters article:

“Linda Woodford spent the last 15 years of her career inserting phony numbers in the Department of Defense’s accounts … but many mystery numbers remained. For those, Woodford and her colleagues were told by superiors to take “unsubstantiated change actions” – in other words, enter false numbers, commonly called “plugs,” to make the Navy’s totals match the Treasury’s.”

Have no fear, patriotic Americans, this is not “lying to the American people, stealing their money, and using it for war,” this is just “unsubstantiated change actions.” Try that on your next tax return. Put in $10,000 marked “Unsubstantiated change actions.” I’m sure they’ll love that.

So let’s sum this up, shall we? The Pentagon sucks up 55% of all the discretionary tax money we pay to our government (thanks to our bought-off Congress who receive more Christmas cards from weapons contractors than they do from relatives). Those who work at the Pentagon have no idea where or how the money is spent. They make up many of the numbers resulting in tens of trillions of dollars of unaccounted-for adjustments. They lose helicopters, buildings and, in a few instances, even nuclear warheads. There is an unimaginable amount of fraud and corruption at every level and literally thousands of whistleblowers have tried to come forward every single year – one every six minutes. When they do take that incredibly brave action, over 90% of the claims are dismissed without even being investigated.

You would think, in this topsy-turvy world, if there were one organization we could trust with a trillion dollars a year of our taxpayer money, it would be the Department of Unauthorized Highly Secretive Mass Human Murder.



Thursday, June 27, 2019


HUD Assistant Inspector General Indicted for Concealing Procurement Fraud Scheme

A seven-count indictment was returned yesterday charging a former Assistant Inspector General for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of Inspector General, with engaging in a scheme to conceal material facts, making false statements and falsification of records.

Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, Acting Assistant Director in Charge John P. Selleck of the FBI’s Washington Field Office and Michael K. Atkinson, Inspector General of the Intelligence Community made the announcement.

According to the indictment, between early 2012 and mid-2016, Eghbal “Eddie” Saffarinia engaged in a scheme to conceal material facts, including the nature and extent of Saffarinia’s financial relationship with a personal friend who was the owner and chief executive officer of an information technology company in Virginia. During a period in which Saffarinia received payments and loans from his friend totaling $80,000, Saffarinia disclosed confidential internal government information to his friend and undertook efforts to steer government contracts and provide competitive advantages and preferential treatment to his friend’s company. Saffarinia also failed to disclose this financial relationship and another large promissory note on his public financial disclosure forms.

The case is being investigated by the FBI’s Washington Field Office and the Office of the Inspector General of the Intelligence Community. Trial Attorneys Edward P. Sullivan and Rosaleen T. O’Gara of the Criminal Division’s Public Integrity Section are prosecuting the case.

An indictment is merely an allegation. All defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

How the law barely protects whistleblowers

The Week Staff
The White House.
Kiyoshi Tanno/iStock

Whistleblowers who hold public servants to account are protected by law — but they often suffer consequences anyway. Here's everything you need to know:

What's a whistleblower?
It's a government employee who reports fraud, waste, crimes, or threats to public safety. The origin of the term is uncertain, but it's probably a reference to policemen or referees who blow whistles when they see a crime or foul play. As far back as 1778, the Founding Fathers called reporting official misconduct a "duty," commending 10 sailors and Marines for alerting Congress to the Navy's abuse of British prisoners. But the term "whistleblower" wasn't applied to this kind of truth telling until the 1970s. It was during that tumultuous decade that military analyst Daniel Ellsberg disclosed the Pentagon Papers, which revealed the Vietnam War's false premises. A year later, The Washington Post broke the Watergate scandal, thanks to leaks from "Deep Throat" (who turned out to be disgruntled FBI Associate Director Mark Felt). To encourage such truth tellers to come forward, Congress passed the Whistleblower Protection Act of 1989, which outlined a process for federal employees to report misconduct and challenge retaliation they might face for doing so. Despite that law, whistleblowers often pay a steep price for reporting misdeeds by superiors, said Mandy Smithberger of the Project on Government Oversight, a nonpartisan organization. "One has to go in with the assumption," she said, "that it's career suicide."

What safeguards exist?
Federal law protects whistleblowers from being fired, demoted, or reassigned as a form of punishment. But those protections are void if whistleblowers fail to follow protocol and file their complaint through official channels — generally, with a federal agency's inspector general. Among those who did not qualify for whistleblower status are Chelsea Manning, who disclosed a massive trove of military secrets to WikiLeaks in 2010; Edward Snowden, who revealed the National Security Agency's global surveillance programs in 2013; and Reality Winner, who leaked a U.S. intelligence report about Russia's election interference efforts in 2017. Since they leaked information to the media, all were charged with crimes under the 1917 Espionage Act. That law "is blind to the difference between whistleblowers and spies," said Jameel Jaffer, head of the Knight First Amendment Institute. If indicted under the Espionage Act, an employee in the intelligence agencies is prohibited from arguing that a leak was made in the public interest.

Where does the law fall short?
Even if whistleblowers follow all procedures, their legal protection can prove to be more theoretical than real. More than one-third of government whistleblowers responding to a 2010 survey said they faced threats or punishments. "I thought what all whistleblowers think," former FBI agent Jane Turner said. "I thought, 'The truth will rescue me.'" Assigned to the World Trade Center investigation, Turner noticed a Tiffany crystal globe on a colleague's desk. After finding out that FBI employees claimed it as a "souvenir" from Ground Zero, Turner reported them. The story became a national embarrassment for the FBI, yet rather than receive pats on the back, Turner says, she was treated like a "snitch" and later fired. Last year, four high-ranking officials at the Environmental Protection Agency flagged rampant wasteful spending by their administrator, Scott Pruitt, who paid $43,000 for a soundproof phone booth for Pruitt's office. The four were reassigned, demoted, or placed on leave without pay.

What about the Ukraine whistleblower?
In August, a CIA officer working at the White House filed an official whistleblower complaint to the intelligence community's inspector about a July 25 phone call President Trump made to President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine. That complaint led to the impeachment inquiry now underway in the House. In response, Trump branded the White House whistleblower a "spy," accused him of "treason," and suggested he be treated the way traitors were "in the old days." Republican defenders of the president have reportedly made an educated guess at his identity in an effort to portray him as a Democratic partisan. Under the law, the motivations of whistleblowers are irrelevant, and many do have axes to grind; what matters is whether what they report is true.

What if he's identified?
Whistleblowers are guaranteed the right to anonymity within the process, but that protection is thin. If Trump or his allies manage to figure out the identity of the whistleblower, there's no law barring them from naming him publicly. There are other loopholes in the protections as well: If Trump orders that the whistleblower be fired, the Intelligence Community Whistleblower Protection Act does not empower the inspector general to force the CIA to rehire him. In 1982, after whistleblower A. Ernest Fitzgerald sued President Richard Nixon for wrongful termination, the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that presidents can't be sued for monetary damages, even if they've broken the law. (A dissenting opinion said the court had placed the president "above the law.") The whistleblower also won't be able to sue if he's publicly identified and suffers adverse consequences, such as damage to his career or continuing death threats. Trump's threats are "absolutely shocking," said whistleblower attorney David Colapinto. "If the identity of the whistleblower is unmasked against that person's will, then retaliation is sure to follow."

The 'SOB' fired by Nixon
A. Ernest Fitzgerald was long known as "the patron saint of government whistleblowers," or, alternatively, "the most hated man in the Air Force." A financial manager in the Air Force, Fitzgerald appeared before Congress in 1968 to discuss the purchase of a fleet of Lockheed's C-5A transport planes. Superiors told him to gloss over the rising costs of the plane, but Fitzgerald did not, informing astonished legislators the planes were running $2 billion over budget. Fitzgerald said he was merely "committing truth." In an Oval Office tape revealed later, President Nixon admitted he had instructed an aide to "get rid of that son of a bitch." Fitzgerald was stripped of his duties, sent off to study cost overruns on an Air Force bowling alley in Thailand, and finally had his position eliminated. After three years of fighting the government in court, he finally had his position reinstated. That case underscored the need for formalized whistleblower protections.