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.