Former Federal Prosecutor Accuses DOJ Of Retaliatory Acts For His Refusal To OK An Illegal Search And Seizure

from the this-is-what-happens-when-you-go-through-official-channels dept

Two consecutive administrations have treated whistleblowers badly, with Obama's administration actually managing to out-evil the Bush administration in terms of persecuting and prosecuting those who have exposed governmental wrongdoing. A recently filed lawsuit covered by Courthouse News Service details the allegations brought by another whistleblower, an unnamed John Doe, who suffered retaliatory action at the hands of the DOJ from 2003-2008.

A former federal prosecutor sued the Justice Department, claiming he provided it with evidence that 9/11 hijacker Mohamed Atta was raising money for terrorism in the United States before 2000, but was fired for not signing off on an illegal search and seizure related to the case.

John Doe sued the Justice Department, Attorney General Eric Holder and the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board in Federal Court, claiming the Department fired him for blowing the whistle on federal misconduct.

He also claims that the Justice Department smeared him Soviet style, claiming his substantive disagreements with his bosses stemmed from mental problems.
According to the filing, Doe's trouble began in 2003 when he refused to authorize an illegal search and seizure. The law enforcement agent looking for approval then decided to go over Doe's head and get it approved by his superiors, one of which was the US Attorney General. Doe disclosed this proposed search and seizure via a memo, which prevented the search from taking place and got him booted from the case.

At this point, the US Attorney's office decided Doe must be crazy.
"In the summer of 2003, the USAO [U.S. Attorney's Office] suggested that John Doe's conflicts with their leadership must be the product of a psychological condition. John Doe met with a psychologist identified by the USAO, who found no need for any treatment or assessment, viewing the matter as a leadership problem."
The psychologist found no existing problems but the retaliation didn't cease. The US Attorney's office continued to punish him for his "conduct" during his "emotional state." Doe did spend some time away from work as a result of work-related stress and anxiety, but soon after returned and continued this whistleblowing.
"John Doe made additional disclosures regarding his supervisors' misconduct from 2005 through 2008 which are protected under the Whistleblower Protection Act. These additional protected disclosures included reports of misconduct by his superiors in disciplinary proceedings, in political hirings, and in mishandling of a terrorist investigation."
Things got worse both for the prosecutor and the agency in 2008, when everything came full circle.
Though he says he was given special work accommodations to cope with stress and anxiety, it all ended in 2008 when the Justice Department came under fire from allegations that it covered up misconduct, including allegations of perjury, paying informants to set up innocent people, beating suspects and tampering with recordings. The allegations were specifically made against the agent whom Doe says asked him to authorize the illegal search and seizure in 2003.
So, even though Doe was continuing to provide valuable assistance working on terrorist-related cases (most notably, a money exchange case that involved Mohamed Atta and provided proof of a funding network that existed prior to 9/11) and had attempted to out an agent who would cause the DOJ considerable embarrassment years later, his supervisors were more concerned with his previous refusal to assist in 2003's illegal search. They ordered him to withdraw his memo stating the claim that the money exchange case was tied to the 9/11 attacks and accused him of going outside the chain of command. Soon after that, he was demoted and fired. The US Merit Systems Protection Board denied his appeal and released his private medical records to others in the DOJ.
"These actions were a concerted effort by the USAO through certain of its employees to intimidate and coerce John Doe and to humiliate and embarrass him in the eyes of the public in an effort to destroy his credibility as a witness in the new trial motions. These actions were also in retaliation for numerous instances of whistle blowing by John Doe," the complaint states.
If the allegations are true, it's another example of the government saying one thing and doing another. The government claims whistleblowers are integral to the system and even sets up minimal protections for those exposing wrongdoing. But it's only interested in hearing about certain kinds of wrongdoing. If you've come across some small examples of budget carelessness or fraud, the government is all ears. But if it's anything related to the War on Terror, especially anything concerning the many arms of the DOJ, the government not only doesn't want to hear it, but wants to make sure those who do speak up are expelled from the system and blacklisted.



Reader Comments (rss)

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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 17th, 2013 @ 12:57pm

    "Just go through the proper channels", they said to whistleblowers.

    Yeah, that strategy seems to be working very well, doesn't it?

     

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      weneedhelp (profile), Oct 17th, 2013 @ 12:58pm

      Re:

      Right. Snowden knew. He did the right thing. [Enters shills]

       

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      Andrew F (profile), Oct 17th, 2013 @ 4:08pm

      Re:

      Proper channels typically means "up and out" -- the problem being "up" often means reporting to the problematic party to begin with. Not sure what a proper "out" channel would be, but I wonder if giving government contractors a way to bring cases directly, discreetly, and pseudonymously to the judiciary would work.

       

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    anonymouse, Oct 17th, 2013 @ 1:09pm

    Seriously

    I thought that it was the soviet Union that use the blame the judges of being crazy to get there way, did they want to ship him off to some private clinic where he would have been questioned on all his beliefs and secrets???? Seriously Americas tactics are getting to be similar to Russians, is it really that bad , have the terrorists really caused so much terror that nobody is respected any more, are the people in power so scared of every single American now.
    Damn the terrorists did a bang up job of causing as much fear as they could on 9/11.

     

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    out_of_the_blue, Oct 17th, 2013 @ 1:19pm

    MIXED MESSAGE: implies DOJ needs illegal means to find terrorists.

    Seems to me to be the payload here; "before 2000, but was fired for not signing off on an illegal search and seizure related to the case." -- Obvious implication is that pesky legalities got in the way, so should be eliminated. -- The rest of this may just be decoration. We may never even know whether "John Doe actually exists: it's an ODD point for a Federal prosecutor to try to remain anonymous, aren't many of them to start with, and learning the name will be easy for those in same area. So it's only hidden from the public. Besides that, this has value to DOJ as example of what will happen to others.

    The sum of implied need to do away with legalities, no name, and the chilling effect useful to DOJ adds up to a big HMM.

    Also, minion needs to chase down whether that "2000" is accurate. Interesting if so. One might hope that glaring anomalies like that weren't overlooked or ignored by the writers here.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 17th, 2013 @ 1:47pm

    People like John Doe above deserve a tremendous thank you. Not all heroes are famous or well-spoke of, but they are heroes nonetheless.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 17th, 2013 @ 3:15pm

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 17th, 2013 @ 3:54pm

    just the treatment to encourage people to believe in the government and law enforcement, eh?

     

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    lucidrenegade (profile), Oct 17th, 2013 @ 5:10pm

    I really wonder when people will finally say "enough".

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 17th, 2013 @ 7:49pm

    It is this mindset that encourages those like Gen. Alexander that has led this country to what it is today. Seriously this is not an improvement if you need some sort of hint that it is not satire.

    Now take this same attitude and multiply it by the NSA, the FBI, the ATF, the DHS, the TSA, and all these other enforcement branches and that is why the US looks like it does today.

    We need some serious leadership changes. What we have today is failing the public dramatically while trying to cover up it's problems.

     

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    Tangaroa, Oct 17th, 2013 @ 10:16pm

    The Money Exchange is an interesting case. A lawyer looking into it testified to Congress that it laundered $1 trillion with a T. (By the way, al-Qaeda is not poor and they do not live in caves. They bought Sierra Leone's entire blood diamond supply one year to get their assets out of the traceable banking system. However, this much money would require other customers or running the money in circles for no reason.) Two of the wealthiest Arab families, al-Gosaibi and al-Sanea, were drained of cash and set against each other. The British bankers hired to run the show were making up fake customer accounts and using them as collateral to draw on the accounts of one family in the name of the other. Word is that their banks did not have one single real customer. Right before it all fell apart, much of the money was converted to gold and shipped to London. Headlines about the resulting lawsuit usually included the words "Bigger Than Madoff", but you've probably never heard about it.

    I wonder if this AUSA was sacked for almost blowing the cover of a MI6 operation. If that's the case, they should give him his old job with back pay and a bottle of scotch and start reading him in on such stuff. We need more investigators whose alarm bells go off when they hear "this bank funded the 9/11 hijackers", but these people tend instead to get fired or demoted. You can ask Robert Wright about that, but he's still not allowed to answer your questions 15 years after he was taken off the 9/11 case. FBI HQ shut down his investigation of the hijackers' financiers in 1998.

     

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    BigKeithO, Oct 18th, 2013 @ 11:56am

    I what does this have to do with tech? This site has gone awfully political since the whole Snowden thing. I miss my "tech dirt". :(

     

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