How the FBI Silences Whistleblowers

Speaking truth to power has ruined Darin Jones, a former FBI contract specialist who reported evidence of serious procurement improprieties. He should be the last federal whistleblower victimized, writes John Kiriakou.

By John Kiriakou
Special to Consortium News

The idea of “whistleblowing” has been in the news a great deal.

Is the anonymous author of a recent New York Times op-ed eviscerating the president a whistleblower?  

Is the victim of an alleged sexual assault by Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh a whistleblower?  

I’m fortunate to have access to the media to talk about torture after blowing the whistle on the CIA’s program. I think Ed Snowden, Tom Drake and others would say the same thing about the aftermath of their own whistleblowing.

Cost of Doing the Right Thing

The problem is that we are the exception to the rule. Most whistleblowers either suffer in anonymity or are personally, professionally, socially and financially ruined for speaking truth to power. Darin Jones is one of those people. He’s one of the people silenced in Barack Obama’s war on whistleblowers. And he continues to suffer under Donald Trump.

Jones was an FBI supervisory contract specialist who in 2012 reported evidence of serious procurement improprieties to his superior. Jones maintained that Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC) had been awarded a $40 million contract improperly because a former FBI official with responsibility for granting the contract then was hired as a consultant at CSC. Jones said, rightly, that this was a violation of the Procurement Integrity Act. He made seven other disclosures alleging financial improprieties in the FBI, and he was promptly fired for his troubles.  

Remember, the United States has a Whistleblower Protection Act.  Any federal employee who brings to light evidence of waste, fraud, abuse, illegality, or threats to the public health or public safety is protected under federal statute.

The FBI didn’t care, though. Jones was a troublemaker. He was talking about his fellow FBI agents. And he had to be silenced.

Immediately upon his firing, Jones appealed. He was not reinstated, however, because he had made his revelation to his supervisor and not to one of the nine people on the FBI leadership-approved list of who could hear a whistleblower complaint. Jones appealed again, beginning a more than four-year odyssey.

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) is the champion of whistleblowers on Capitol Hill, whether you like his politics or not. Jones contacted Grassley and asked for help. His dismissal was clearly retaliation for his revelations and was illegal, according to the whistleblower protection law. Grassley agreed and wrote three separate letters to then-FBI director James Comey and then-Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates. None were answered.

Grassley urged the Justice Department to reinstate Jones, saying that his dismissal was a violation of the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act of 2016, which strengthened the original whistleblower protection law. He added that when Yates appeared before his Senate Judiciary Committee for her confirmation hearings earlier in the year, she promised “to improve the process for adjudicating claims of retaliation, including expanding the list of persons to whom a protected disclosure may be made.”  

She never did that. In fact, Yates ordered the director of the Justice Department’s “Professional Misconduct Review Unit” to write to Jones and to tell him, “The Deputy Attorney General’s review is complete and her decision is final. Your case is no longer pending. You should not expect to receive any future communications that you or any other organization or individuals may submit with regard to your whistleblower reprisal case.” In other words, the official policy of the Justice Department was to ignore the law and to give the Senate Judiciary Committee chairman and the whistleblower himself the middle finger.

The FBI’s response was equally bad, albeit predictable. The FBI’s Office of the General Counsel wrote to Jones, “The FBI has advised you that it will not conduct further investigation into your allegations that the FBI removed you from employment because you reported a compliance concern and retaliated against you in violation of applicable whistleblower retaliation protection regulations. The FBI has met its legal obligations and considers this matter closed without any basis for further review or reopening. Please be advised that the FBI will not respond to any additional correspondence or emails related to or arising from the termination of your employment.”

That’s another middle finger.

Note also that the FBI refers to “whistleblower regulations.” It’s not a regulation. It’s a law. And the FBI, too, has to respect and follow the law even when they don’t want to.

End Victimization of Whistleblowers

The bottom line here, though, is that Darin Jones did the right thing.  He did the honorable thing. He did the ethical, legal, and moral thing. And he paid for it with his career.  Like other federal whistleblowers, he’s ruined financially. Friends and family members have walked away from him. He can’t find a job. I can tell you from firsthand experience that the psychological weight of the fallout from whistleblowing is sometimes too much to handle.

Jones’ friends and supporters are creating a GoFundMe campaign to help him through this horrible period.

We also need to keep up the heat on the FBI, the CIA, NSA, TSA, and every other governmental organization that victimizes whistleblowers.

We have to support Chuck Grassley and others on Capitol Hill who are trying to protect whistleblowers.

We have to force our own elected officials to do the same. After all, they work for us.  

Our goal should be a simple one. Work hard to ensure that Darin Jones is the last federal whistleblower to be treated this way.

John Kiriakou is a former CIA counterterrorism officer and a former senior investigator with the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. John became the sixth whistleblower indicted by the Obama administration under the Espionage Act – a law designed to punish spies. He served 23 months in prison as a result of his attempts to oppose the Bush administration’s torture program.

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15 comments for “How the FBI Silences Whistleblowers

  1. Sliide
    October 16, 2018 at 23:34

    Grassley is empty window dressing swamp creature.
    In 2001 he set the stage for the lawless Kavenaugh distraction.

    Kavenaugh too is a swamp creature who in his duties at the White House during my trial sat back and watched the existing law and 80+ years of history denied as a defense of truth in that free speech citizen watchdog case.

    No less than 3 doctrines of law and the protection of political speech and action by citizens as a matter of civic obligation were destroyed.

    Grassley demanded that this be done by the DOJ in a joint committee and then got a law enacted to fine anyone who brings up the federal law in their defense $20,000.

    He is scum. He, Baccus, and Zerbe, the whole of this Marxist imposter government.

    It is not just the Executive Branch.

    There is no constitutional rule of law.

    I lost everything and 2008 did not awaken the masses to their slavery. Now we sit at the edge if civil war and I pray for their final destruction .

  2. October 16, 2018 at 23:18

    Support Grassley…OMG.

  3. Maxwell Quest
    October 16, 2018 at 22:03

    “We have to force our own elected officials to do the same. After all, they work for us.” – John Kiriakou

    LOL! What a quaint notion! I hate to be the one to tell you this, but the days of “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” are long gone and won’t be coming back anytime soon. The U.S. is a law unto itself and is not held accountable by anyone, least of all the voters, unless of course you happen to have a nuclear weapon or two. Then you might get some consideration, but only until they find a way to checkmate you.

    Each branch of government and its ancillary agencies are now in the service of empire. The agenda: global domination and wealth extraction. One either gets with the program or gets kicked to the curb.

    But occasionally, a real miracle worker, a paragon of virtue, an ethical superman comes along to right the ship of state for the little people. Enter Obama, the most transparent and accountable administration in history! –

  4. Hide Behind
    October 16, 2018 at 21:45

    Sonce when has the FBI not been the protector and enforceragainst the enemies of Political and Financial systems.
    Since its founding it kept records of officials misdeeds in order to insulate itself from being reviewed by both Houses of Congress.
    It always has had criminals , wether thievery, bribary or unconstitutional abuses to Civil Rights.
    Congress and the Executive Branch that are supposed to protect we the people from government abuse, that is not FBI mission, they were supposed to be the Warrant process servers, and Investigative Arm of the Justice Departmen,.
    Congress has never initiated any oversight functions as to FBI; that is until in the 1950s through 70s the peoples majority brought out into open their abuses and massively demanded for them to halt.
    In partnership with Executive Banch both Houses of Congress once more said f u to public and passed legislation making FBIs’ previous illegal acts “LEGAL”
    Anyone so naive as to believe that they are doing some protected American Rights and Constitutional duty that is protected from reprisals, iis as dumb as a rock.
    As I stated earlier, the FBI is not, as a whole body, the American populace friend and is made and based upon favoritism to/of the prevailing political PTB, powers that be.

  5. Kim Louth
    October 16, 2018 at 21:28

    o man, you are singing my song. I was hired in 2010 as a consultant to the Dept of Labor to review all American Recovery and Reinvestment contracts its OASAM dept had awarded — 350 to be exact — for compliance with ARRA funding regulations prescribed by the OMB under Obama.

    When I reported to my supervisor , Carol Jenkins, that her dept had awarded as a small business set-aside contract to an “other than small business” as reported in ORCA, and recommended that the contract be rescinded and re-competed. I was advised that I should remove this information, When I did not, and submitted my report to said supervisor who then found herself in the position of having to either commit the violation herself or let the report to the ARRA officials and Congress stand, I was told one day as I was driving in to work that DOL had no more funding for my position and I need not report for work. I have subsequently been blackballed everywhere. I have lost my home, my friends, everything I own; I have been hacked and harassed everywhere I go for years. THANK YOU for reporting on this despicable action.

    • Sam F
      October 16, 2018 at 21:36

      There you have it: the government is well organized to be the supreme thought police, simply by having monster lists to unleash economic and social attacks “only” against monsters, which are in fact used against anyone blacklisted by anyone in government. They really believe that government is “us” versus “them” the citizens, a perfect form of extreme tribalism that cannot be counteracted or even tracked by the people. “We” can do no wrong, and anyone of “them” who say otherwise is listed as a traitor and threat to all we hold dear. But it is the tribalists, the courtiers, the sycophants of oligarchy who have destroyed America.

  6. Mike Martin
    October 16, 2018 at 21:08

    Can’t such cases be taken to court to force the enforcement of the law?

  7. David G
    October 16, 2018 at 19:34

    There are so many thriller movies and the like where the plot revolves around the government or powerful corporations going to fantastic lengths to cover up wrongdoing such as in real life is routinely revealed with no consequences whatsoever.

    In the movies, a premise like this would mean hit men hired, an intrepid reporter disappeared, with a massive conspiracy launched to make a *different* intrepid reporter look insane for asserting that the whistleblower and the first reporter ever even existed in the first place, and that’s just the first two acts.

    In real Ameri-life: FBI official takes lightly camouflaged bribe; another FBI person blows the whistle on her; and – nothing happens, except the whistleblower gets canned, and there’s a little squeaking in the blogosphere, far from the Times, the Post, or the cable news channels.

    I, for one, remember Bunny Greenhouse.

    I hope Darin Jones is suing.

    • Sam F
      October 16, 2018 at 21:20

      Yes, Darin Jones should sue. But ACLU is likely too busy, and the federal judiciary not only don’t honor constitutional rights or specific laws (except for the wealthy), they actively subvert them with profound dedication. For the wealthy/business/government they will defend “rights” loudly and sonorously, claiming to be driven by pure principle. But for the citizen, whom they regard as the unwashed slaves, they will claim that he used the wrong typestyle in his complaint, or that a paragraph is too long, or look for some absurdly unrelated case to claim as a precedent, or misquote the relevant laws to twist their meanings, etc, etc. They will let him wait a few years while the DOJ makes up rumors and nonsense case law, and then dump the case. The deluded people will never read, and will never be told the real cases, and will never believe that the judiciary are not Santa Clauses who will rush to defend them in case of injustice. The reality is just the opposite. They are exactly as corrupt as they know how to be, to the last judge and magistrate (with just a remote chance that a good one is hiding somewhere). Kavanaugh is just the tip of the iceberg.

  8. October 16, 2018 at 19:31

    Free speech warriors they are not.

  9. October 16, 2018 at 17:13

    This should get interesting…….

    “Getting Some Disclosure”: Carter Page Sues DNC And Clinton Law Firm Over Sham Dossier Used To Spy On Him

    “FBI represented to a federal judge that investigators knew for certain that Carter Page met w/ Igor Sechin and Diveykin. Except, the FISA app acknowledges this intel came from Steele dossier. And FBI has acknowledged dossier was not verifieid.

    Of note, both Rosenstein and Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson have suddenly refused to speak to Congressional investigators, with Rosenstein bailing on scheduled testimony last week and Simpson’s lawyer announcing his client plans to invoke his fifth amendment right not to incriminate himself.”

    Trending Articles
    “It’s All About Space”: Trump Says Russia And China Are…

    The US needs its own space force because China and Russia have already gotten a head start, but American ingenuity and…

    “Rosenstein’s decision not to testify may be due in part to statements made by former FBI top lawyer James Baker, who told Congressional investigators in early October that Rosenstein wasn’t joking about secretly recording President Trump right around the time former FBI Director James Comey was fired, then trying to impeach Trump by invoking the 25th amendment with the recordings. ”

    Moreover FBI spy Stephen Halper – a US citizen and Cambridge professor, reportedly conducted espionage on Trump advisers Page and Papadopoulos on British soil months before the 2016 US election. Halper’s consulting firm was granted over $1 million in contracts from the Obama Pentagon, with nearly half of it coming directly before the 2016 election. Once the election was over, Halper continued to spy on Page. ”



    • October 16, 2018 at 18:03

      Off topic. WAY off topic. Carter Page had been taking trips to Russia since 2012—the FIRST basis for FISA warrant. Seems if you’re such a “constitutional patriot”, you might give have serious concern about Darin Jones yet another WHISTLEBLOWER who expose waste, fraud & corruption that is quite clearly ILLEGAL & then are ILLEGALLY FIRED for doing so. Instead, yet another Trump Cult-member weighs in defending the Conman-in-Chief.

      • October 16, 2018 at 18:36

        No its not……the FBI colluded with Hillary and the DNC to steal a US election with blackmail and illegal surveillance…..

        Its not illegal to do business in Russia…..if it were Bill Clinton would be in Prison and Hillary made sure RUSSIA git the rights to US Uranium ?…….and only after getting 143 million “donated” from the CEO to her Slush fund?Larry Summers has lots of “business” ties in Russia and so did PODESTA…..

        Carter Page helped the FBI find Russian spies…..Ditto Manafort…..

        Carter Page’s Assistance in Russian Spy Case Might Count as Exculpatory Evidence
        Former Trump campaign adviser reveals new details regarding meeting with FBI in Buryakov case

        Russia Scandal Befalls Two Brothers: John and Tony Podesta

        Sources: Podesta Group, Mercury Are Companies ‘A’ and ‘B’ in Indictment

        FYI, im a Sanders voter ,remember him?……the guy who would have won if Hillary didnt cheat and conspire with the FBI to do it?

        How did the Podesta group get IMMUNITY?.wanna hint?

        As for Manafort?

        “A member of the so-called Hapsburg Group, which comprised former European politicians Manafort convened as part of his lobbying effort in support of Ukraine’s then-President Viktor Yanukovych, came with a foreign prime minister on May 16, 2013, to meet with Obama and Biden, “as well as senior United States officials in the executive and legislative branches,” according to the court documents.

        Alan Friedman, a former journalist based in Europe who helped Manafort launch the group, told Manafort after the meeting that the member of the Hapsburg Group “delivered the message of not letting ‘Russians steal Ukraine from the West,’” prosecutors say.”

        GET THAT?

        “the Hapsburg Group “delivered the message of not letting ‘Russians steal Ukraine from the West,’”

        Manafort’s pro-Ukraine lobbying campaign reached Obama, Biden

        A member of the so-called Hapsburg Group, which comprised former European politicians Manafort convened as part of his lobbying effort in support of Ukraine’s then-President Viktor Yanukovych, came with a foreign prime minister on May 16, 2013, to meet with Obama and Biden, “as well as senior United States officials in the executive and legislative branches,” according to the court documents.

        Alan Friedman, a former journalist based in Europe who helped Manafort launch the group, told Manafort after the meeting that the member of the Hapsburg Group “delivered the message of not letting ‘Russians steal Ukraine from the West,’” prosecutors say.

      • October 16, 2018 at 18:46

        Im a Sanders voter whom Hillary cheated and used the FBI to do it.

        Hillary and the FBI conspired against this country and the voters and conspired against the sitting President whom lost to.Hillary used the FBI to blackmail and illegally spy on Trump.

        Thats Collusion and Sedition……And used the dossiers from rumors from Top Russian officials to do it…….THAT’s RUSSIAN collusion.

        Zero evidence against Trump but plenty against Hillary and the DNC and FBI…….how is that off topic?

        FYI……Obama prosecuted more whistle blowers than all presidents combined.What a fraud he was.

        • Kim Louth
          October 16, 2018 at 21:37

          You said it, sister. Obama was a traitor to all who supported and voted for him, including me.

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