JOHN KIRIAKOU: Hold the Halos

There is one big reason I’m not attending the National Whistleblower Center’s annual gathering this year

U.S. Department of Justice headquarters in Washington. (CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia Commons)

By John Kiriakou
Special to Consortium News

Last week I received an invitation to attend the annual whistleblowers luncheon hosted by the National Whistleblower Center (NWC).  The luncheon is always a big deal.  It’s held in Washington, D.C., in the Russell Senate Office Building’s Kennedy Caucus Room, the same room that hosted the Watergate hearings, the Army-McCarthy hearings, the Iran-Contra hearings and other momentous events in American political history. 

It’s attended by hundreds of whistleblowers from all over government and the private sector, as well as more than a few politicians.  The NWC usually has one of those politicians as a guest speaker.  There is lots of applause, a lot of self-congratulations, and everybody goes away with a full belly, even if nothing of substance gets done.

This year, however, I’m boycotting the event.  So is Darin Jones.

The author, at right, receiving 2016 Sam Adams Award for Integrity. (Linda Lewis)

Procurement Improprieties

You may recall me writing about my friend Darin Jones.  Darin is an FBI whistleblower and former supervisory contract specialist who in 2012 reported evidence of serious procurement improprieties.  Darin said 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 maintained that this was a violation of the Procurement Integrity Act.  He made seven other disclosures alleging financial improprieties at the FBI, and he was promptly fired for his whistleblowing.

What was done to Darin Jones was patently illegal.  I wrote at the time:

“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.”

The Man Behind It

Michael Horowitz. (Wikimedia Commons)

To make matters worse, it was the Justice Department’s Inspector General Michael Horowitz who was behind all of this.  It was Horowitz who said that Darin Jones’s information was not whistleblowing and was not worthy of investigation.  It was Horowitz who refused to respond to Grassley or to Jones’ attorneys to reinstate him. 

This is the same Horowitz who has garnered wide press attention and acclaim for investigating the FBI’s handling of the Michael Flynn case, the FBI’s handling of the Larry Nassar sexual assault case and the federal response to the demonstrations in Portland all the while ignoring legitimate whistleblowers. 

And who do you think the National Whistleblower Center has as its keynote speaker at its annual luncheon?  Michael Horowitz.  The press would have you believe that he’s a hero.  Even the National Whistleblower Center would have you believe that he’s a hero.  He’s not. Many of us think he’s a fraud.  Just ask Darin Jones.

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.

The views expressed are solely those of the author and may or may not reflect those of Consortium News.

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13 comments for “JOHN KIRIAKOU: Hold the Halos

  1. Andy
    July 31, 2020 at 18:51

    So much respect to you John, you and your fellow CN journos are like beacons of light in these dark times.

  2. Voice from Europe
    July 30, 2020 at 03:11

    An institution called ‘national whistleblower center’ doesn’t sound right from the start. As per usual… follow the money to see who is in control.

    • robert e williamson jr
      July 31, 2020 at 01:41

      John has it covered here.

      Trump flu, Trump flu, Trump flu, Mitchy is gonna get the Trump flu. Ya know, Trump Flu, brought to you by the stellar management of King Flu Trump. (movie rights being negotiated)

      No, I’m fine. Needed a comical break. And by the way the Trump campaign says &*^% your feelings.

      Drink rum it’s the revolutionary drink!

      Special Thanks to Robert Parry

  3. Taras77
    July 29, 2020 at 18:44

    Frauds abound in the doj, the fbi, and even in the judiciary system itself. One has to wonder if this massive rot will bring the entire structure down and what that would entail.

  4. David Otness
    July 29, 2020 at 13:56

    As ever, John, thank you. Your work post-whistleblowing on Bush/Ashcroft/Gonzalez/Yoo turns out to be a legacy much larger and historical in gravitas than your work in the belly of the Beast, outstanding though it was for all of those years.

    Exposing these perfidious characters for their lack of character (as an attribute of opprobrium) gives the rest of us reason (hope) to believe there are still some of conscience struggling to breathe freely and honestly in the Stasi-like repressive atmosphere of these ever-more-secretive and far-too-powerful 3-Letter agencies—along with their Big Tech compatriots in surveillance and mass manipulation.

    And thanks to Robert Parry and Consortium News’ staff for providing a rigorously consistent platform for such an outstanding grouping of journalists who can rightly be said to represent true patriotism in the USA. That the political spectrum is also well represented on these pages is another testament of the objective truth one always finds herein. Against the grain, against the odds. And fearlessly “In yo face” to the Juggernaut whose sole aim is to subject, stifle and silence..

  5. Pablo Diablo
    July 29, 2020 at 10:18

    The FBI managed to get a Federal Judge to sign a search warrant for my house that listed all the drugs in the box they were going to mail me. Problem was the FBI agent disguised as a mailman was such a bad actor that I not only refused to sign for the box of drugs, I told him to get off my porch or I would call the police. Well, they had a valid search warrant so I had to let them search my house (8 hours). They found NO drugs and I was relentless in ridiculing them the whole time. The head FBI agent of this “entrapment” kept threatening me with jail time for “interfering” in an investigation. I told him “Please do that and I will go to the press”. Funny thing, I never heard from them again.
    USA = an empire in decline.

    • David Otness
      July 29, 2020 at 13:59

      Kudos to you, Pablo Diablo.

    • George Collins
      July 29, 2020 at 20:33

      John is heroic in an era when heroism is punished and scoff laws like Obama & Biden, who have war crimes to answer @ ICC, are celebrated as less odious than Mr. Trump

      Also sobering is news that the often sainted Robert Mueller, who was in charge during the era of the Boston FBI’s criminal malfeasance, as FBI Director abused power after 9/11, also failed notice and/or to interdict the FBI’s complicit role in CIA torture programs.

  6. Rick Bochner, M.D.
    July 28, 2020 at 23:42

    Thank you John Kiriakou; you’re a man of principle and courage.

  7. robert e williamson jr
    July 28, 2020 at 20:59

    Well ,it is the U. S. Department of Injustice right!

    I need a drink after that one.

  8. Nathan Mulcahy
    July 28, 2020 at 20:47

    What shame and disgrace. Does anything and any institution in this ******* country work anymore?

    • David Otness
      July 29, 2020 at 13:37

      Of course it works. It’s humming along smoothly. For the Owners.

    • hlj
      July 29, 2020 at 21:08

      Well, It is NOT looking good…..

Comments are closed.