“The next time a leak occurs, the national security state’s defenders should blame themselves for failing to bring about a system that can adequately police itself. If their historical and recent track record weren’t so dismal they’d have more legitimacy.”—Why Intelligence Whistleblowers Can’t Use Internal Channels
NPR reporter David Welna profiled two of those whistleblowers, Bill Binney and Thomas Drake, for Morning Edition this week. He also spoke to POGO’s executive director about the complicated politics of whistleblower protections.
House Republicans and Senate Democrats may finally have found something on which they are both so exercised about that they may actually get together and do something: transparency. Republican anger and distrust over lost IRS emails, bipartisan upset over secret National Security Agency surveillance and concerns about the White House’s failure…
A pharmacy supervisor at the VA was placed on leave after complaining about errors and delays in delivering medications to patients at a hospital in Palo Alto, California. In Pennsylvania, a doctor was removed from clinical work after complaining that on-call doctors were refusing to go to a VA…
A $398 billion project for 2,443 F-35s (that’s the cost for the initial purchase; upkeep could run over a trillion dollars) that don’t actually work can be officially called a boondoggle. So why is Congress still committed to the F-35?
The answer lies with Lockheed Martin’s suave contracting strategy. What the company has done is incorporate subcontractors all over America (across forty-five states, in fact) into the process of manufacturing the F-35, keeping Congress more invested in funneling tax payer dollars to certain favored constituents than in offering said taxpayers a functioning plane. As former Pentagon acquisitions official Thomas Christie told Foreign Policy earlier this month, “An upfront question with any program is: How many congressional districts is it in?”
The F-35 is in being built in a lot of congressional districts. Which explains why the dysfunctional plane has its own caucus in Congress, creatively named the Joint Strike Fighter Caucus.
Boondoggles like these are more than just examples of Congressional incompetence, or even of corporate greed. They illustrate something very fundamental about how our government works: its primary function, at this point, is to funnel public money to corporations. As the last thirty years of America’s economic history as shown us, this grand transaction doesn’t necessarily equate to more jobs or rising salaries or a stronger middle class.
And unfortunately, in this instance, it doesn’t even mean that we get what we paid for.
"Chinese hackers in March broke into the computer networks of the United States government agency that houses the personal information of all federal employees, according to senior American officials. They appeared to be targeting the files on tens of thousands of employees who have applied for top-secret security clearances."
On June 24, Sens. Patrick J. Leahy, D-Vt., and John Cornyn, R-Texas, unveiled the FOIA Improvement Act of 2014, a bill that would deal with some of the long-standing issues the public faces when trying to use the federal Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to obtain government records. The common-sense reforms included in the bill are changes that President Obama can, and should, embrace in order to meet his goal of unprecedented levels of openness in government.
""I am neither Democrat nor Republican nor ideological," he told a Wall Street Journal reporter recently over a 7:15 a.m. meeting at CIA headquarters. "I’m an equal opportunity offender."
Partly as a result, relations between the CIA and Congress are more fraught than at any point in the past decade. The source of the tension is the Senate intelligence committee’s classified report on the CIA’s controversial post-9/11 interrogation program—and the agency’s response to it.”
In a letter to Rep. Speier, eleven nonpartisan organizations and a campaign finance expert described the MERIT Act as a “smart, common-sense approach… to addressing instances where politicians inappropriately benefit from political activities.”
"Just weeks before Blackwater guards fatally shot 17 civilians at Baghdad’s Nisour Square in 2007, the State Department began investigating the security contractor’s operations in Iraq. But the inquiry was abandoned after Blackwater’s top manager there issued a threat: “that he could kill” the government’s chief investigator and “no one could or would do anything about it as we were in Iraq,” according to department reports.
American Embassy officials in Baghdad sided with Blackwater rather than the State Department investigators as a dispute over the probe escalated in August 2007, the previously undisclosed documents show. The officials told the investigators that they had disrupted the embassy’s relationship with the security contractor and ordered them to leave the country, according to the reports.”
The Center for Science and Democracy at the Union of Concerned Scientists wrote a letter to Veterans Affairs Acting Inspector General this week urging him to reconsider his office’s demand for the Project On Government Oversight’s whistleblower records.
This post was updated to include a statement from Lockheed Martin. A Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter was severely damaged — possibly destroyed — in a Monday morning fire on the runway at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., USNI News learned. No injuries were reported and officials have begun an investigation into the incident, …
The Inspector General at the Department of Veterans Affairs gave POGO until last Friday to turn over the names of whistleblowers who had contacted POGO about mismanagement at the VA. If the VA IG can demand POGO’s records where does the government draw the line?
A government watchdog allowed a deadline to pass on Friday imposed by the Department of Veterans Affairs to hand over documents and emails from whistleblowers reporting potential wrongdoing at veterans hospitals and medical centers. The Project on Government Oversight, or POGO, said they are…
The Project On Government Oversight won prizes Tuesday for business journalism and investigative reporting. The Dateline Awards were conferred by the Society of Professional Journalists’ Washington, D.C., chapter.
An internal Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) watchdog confirmed allegations today of falsified records at VA healthcare facilities, and in one case, discovered that veterans were waiting 91 days longer for care than the facility was reporting.
For years, employees at a Texas VA complained that their bosses were cooking the books. For years, the VA insisted there was no widespread wrongdoing.
“What’s worse, the documents show the wrongdoing going unpunished for years, even after it was repeatedly reported to local and national VA authorities. That indicates a new troubling angle to the VA scandal: that the much touted investigations may be incapable of finding violations that are hiding in plain sight. “
“The possibility that $1 billion worth of good ammunition might be destroyed even when those bullets and missiles can be used to protect our troops sounds like a colossal waste and another taxpayer rip-off,”—