It’s Time to Blow the Whistle on the Federal Whistleblowing Community

Over the last few months, this website has taken a proactive approach to exposing the conduct of the Government Accountability Project (specifically through Tom Devine, its legal director), which, ironically, has been acting in a rogue and unaccountable manner. Here are some of the allegations lodged against it, none of which have ever been contested on the merits:

GAP is the whistleblower advocacy organization in the United States. It exercises unparalleled influence in Congress relative to whistleblowing issues. It has taken the lead in passing whistleblower legislation for the last few decades.

It has also helped thousands of whistleblowers throughout its 30+ year history.

With that kind of clout and record, it makes sense that GAP has a loyal following of whistleblowers whose lives could have been much worse.

But will these whistleblowers go so far as to look the other way or even attempt to stifle or derail other whistleblowers when GAP’s misconduct comes to light?

Sadly, the answer is yes.

Here are a few examples, with redactions to protect identities. Note that many of these emails were also sent to GAP’s board of directors and board of advisors.

Recently I have shared my views with others in this community privately on the same topic, but will do so more publicly here, just as [ ] did.

This my experience:

I know Tom Devine to be a good man, amongst the very best I have ever known. Were it not for him and the services/tenacious advocacy of GAP I would be in a much worse place today – without a job, without a clearance, and very probably unable to recover.

It is because of Tom and GAP that my saga will have a just ending.

I can name many more like me who have benefited from his dedication, professionalism, and indomitable will to see that justice is done. He is a class act, and so is GAP.

and

Been reading comments made about GAP and Tom Devine.

Just wanted to take a moment and let you all know that GAP and specifically [ ], with her counsel [ ], have represented me free of charge.

GAP is also non-profit.

It is my understanding that most of their clients do not pay a dime.

[ ] and [ ] provided stellar representation for me.

I can see that Tom Devine has obviously ticked off a number of people in this group, but I don’t view GAP as synonymous with Tom Devine.

We may have differences, but given the ‘war on whistleblowers’ by the government, we need to get beyond our differences and cooperatively defend and extend the rights of whistleblowers together.

Too much is at stake.

and

I would appreciate sincerely if you could remove me from this continuous invective about the actions and results garnered by the GAP, specifically Tom D. I am struggling to put together another go at getting a review of my case by OSC. Tom has taken it on himself to guide and assist me as GAP didn’t feel it was a case they could stand behind. You are a young man David and have a long life to pursue your goals. I am [ ] and have spent [ ]. The [ ], MSPB and OSC were all parties to destroying that career. Tom is working on his own because he believes that there was wrongdoing in my case. He is, using a legal term you all seem to relish in doing, pro bono. For you regular folks that means he is not taking compensation.

My problem, which I am sure is bothering others, is that by your obvious continuous braying about what he did or didn’t do and asking for status reports and activity reports and other time consuming reports you are requiring him to take time away from issues such as his working with me on my potential OSC review. He is the only one left that has taken an interest in seeing justice accomplished in my case. I don’t have lots of time and energy and certainly no money to try and make this happen. Please exert your energies in other areas that might be productive and help those of us that have been targeted and basically destroyed by DC. I need Tom as much or more than he needs to answer your complaints which appear to be rather self serving and counter-productive. I guess this will miff you but if you don’t like what he is doing, go do it yourself. I need his help and my time is limited.

with my response:

[ ],

Unless the WPEA contains the retroactivity provision, it won’t apply to you. So unless Tom punishes you for our actions, and assuming we’re successful in getting him to push for it in good faith and he succeeds, my actions will benefit you.

That said, I’ll remove your name so you can preserve good will with Tom, your apparently sole chance for justice.

and

PARDO: FUCK OFF!!!!!

and

THE BIGGEST ACCOMPLISHMENT OF THIS EXHAUSTING, PASSIVE-AGGRESSIVE THREAD HAS BEEN TO SPUR MANY OF OUR MOST IMPORTANT VOICES TO ASK TO BE REMOVED! SOME ACCOMPLISHMENT. PERSONAL ATTACKS GUISED AS OPEN DIALOGUE ARE SEEDS OF DESTRUCTION. HOW DO WE GET THE BEST IDEAS WHEN SOME OF THE BRIGHTEST MINDS ARE FED UP AND LEAVE? SICKENING.

and

I would like to make a comment for the good of the group. Those of you in this group who have burned all of your bridges and continue to burn them remember that once a bridge is burned it is next to impossible to built it again. A better approach is to get a following by showing how well one can take on a cause and resolve some of the problems.

As you all have noticed that some people have fallen away because of the bridge burning and that is a problem for a group that is so small and attempting a big important task. In addition, all of us should only send out blind cc since these regular cc long lists are an open door to persons who like to send spam and other more damaging e-mails. So for those of you who know how to do the right thing and point out the faults of others please show your talent and give us some information that would point us in your direction. Being above the crowd requires one to treat everyone with respect. The bridge burners do not speak for me as I do not have a bridge burning style and I do not want us to get into cutting people off by pointing out their personal faults. Most people do not want to be a part of an organization that has individuals who criticizes others and in the process of pointing the finger the pointer’s good work gets lost. Point us in a positive direction “run it up the flag pole and see who salutes.

and

I agree if it wasn’t for Tom Devine with GAP…I would also be a in much worse place than I am today…
Whistleblower groups can’t help everyone…but they have made the world a better place by providing education on whistleblowing.

with my response:

It’s a simple issue of conflict of interests. We have grievances with the way GAP does things. The ones who have come to defend Tom and/or GAP, always on grounds other than on the merits, have personal/financial/professional ties. In a lot of ways, this community cannot get good laws passed because too many feel indebted to GAP and are not willing to speak up against the way it does business. We would be better off if the pool of activists were enlarged to include (1) folks not associated with any of the established players, and (2) not traumatized by retaliation so to avoid any Stockholm syndrome-type gratitude. No offense intended re latter point, speaking as a reformed ex-hostage. Re former point, that would be quite the threat to the status quo.

and a follow-up:

SECOND REQUEST – PLEASE REMOVE ME OFF THIS BULLSHIT LIST… and remove my name OFF your website…

If it wasn’t for GAP…I would have went to jail when I blew the whistle –so yes…I am not going to spend my time bashing an organization that is giving so much back.

You are obviously one of the whistleblowers that GAP refused to help and this is why you are bashing them…

My whistleblowing activities was over 12 years ago…so I have moved on to bigger and better things.

GET A LIFE —AND REMOVE ME OFF THIS BULLSHIT LIST ……NOW!!!

with my response:

Actually, I turned down GAP’s offer for help:  http://mspbwatch.files.wordpress.com/2012/09/gmail-osc-reluctant-to-take-my-case_.pdf

It’s one thing to be grateful, quite another to look the other way.

and

Like so many, I’ve had enough of this destructive back and forth.

I know that in 2011 when [ ] was viciously attacked with complete lies, none of you were there to stand up for him. We were alone against incredible odds. A nation under law be damned. The [ ]’s success in attacking [ ] gave them the brass to go on to further attack many of you. None of you had a word for [ ]. He stood alone.

He was alone, that is until Tom Devine stood up. GAP didn’t even take aviation cases then. Tom Devine not only stood by us through hell and back many times, he’s been there for many other whistleblowers we know personally.

I don’t know what your intentions are with these internal back-stabbings, but I know the effect. I can’t help but wonder if you aren’t being used by the industry to silence us all? Surely we’ve lost a tremendous amount of credibility because you can’t work with others. Build something positive with your time and efforts, don’t damage others who have been so badly harmed thus far.

Courage comes in many forms but I’ve never seen it among those who attack their friends. Please stop this now.

with my response:

Sorry, these issues won’t go away, no matter how many grateful clients step forward to condemn our complaints, or the manner in which we seek to redress them, or whatever. This isn’t about friendship, but accountability. As whistleblowers, we have to lead by example, lest we give industry or government an excuse to continue with their corruption, because we allow it to happen in our midst.

This recap doesn’t include the dozens of emails requesting to be removed from the list or the private overtures to dissuade me and others from our campaign through subtle and not-so-subtle means of persuasion.

However, there were a few, rare responses that addressed the merits of the complaints above:

my ESWF (“extra special whistleblower friend”) [ ] sent out the photo of POGO’s use of funds which is attached to this email. I have read Sibel Edmond’s book, “Classified Woman” wherein she writes about the lack of help she received from Whistleblower groups, and I know what happened to me at the Whistleblower Conference. I have documented everything. Maybe I’ll publish something in the future, don’t know.

My personal opinion is that all information about who has helped and who has not is useful, so that all of our efforts can be both timely and effective, up to a point. If we rely on Tom, and his efforts are not up to what we would expect, then OUR time is wasted, and we need to address this for ourselves. That’s why I’m forwarding the POGO information that Julia posted on Facebook. But I would like to see us look at the future, and I dont think we are looking at that sufficiently. It helps to know who to rely on and who NOT to rely on. As far as I can tell, we must rely on (1) good reporting of our cases, with accurate data and information written in a readable, not hysterical manner; (2) sent to the most people possible, including media that provides hosting for internet exposure without changing the nature of the story in any way to bias the reader; (3) continuous monitoring of each story by the whistleblower, to preserve his or her integrity.

In the end, we need to rely on ourselves, individually, to fight the huge rejection by government of anyone who dares to speak up and expose the true nature of “good government groups”. I have been fighting since 1998, then [ ], and this did not stop me, neither did the despicable comments of people who are on this listserv about me. I will deal with that in my book, or never.

Let’s all move forward without the bad stuff, so that all of us can achieve our collective and individual victories . We need each other, and we need to celebrate victories, however large or small.

That is my individual mission, which in no way precludes my helping any whistleblower who has been retaliated against, with my reporting on facebook, twitter, my website, blogs, press releases, TV appearances, etc.

and

I agree with Joe [Carson] here to a point…I have seen all the Whistleblowing support organizations “pull their punches” on more than one occasion…there is commitment – but only to a point…so I do find merit in what Joe is saying here (my two cents).

and Joe Carson’s message:

Dear abused current or former federal employee,

Your moral courage has been exploited, for decades, by Tom Devine, GAP and other “professional advocates” such as the Make It Safe Steering Committee MISC SC. Our suffering is to them a “profit-center” just as it is to a courage industry of lawyers who specialize in federal employment law and federal employee unions, despite America being much diminished and more threatened as a result of their treachery to us and other Americans.

I openly dare any of them to engage in a public disputation about my allegations and their basis in law and fact. I openly dare any of them to file a professional misconduct complaint against me with the Tennessee Board of Architectural and Engineering Examiners where I am licensed as a professional engineer (PE). it has the power to strip my PE license if I make public statements as this in a less than objective and truthful fashion. Its website is [ ]

Feel free to complaint to the Secretary of Energy about me too, if you wish. Dr. Steven Chu is the Secretary of Energy, his email is the.secretary@hq.doe.gov

But please stop insulting the thousands of victims of Tom Devine and his co-exploiters on the MISC SC by saying “what a nice guy Tom is.” Lots of people said that about Jerry Sandusky too. Contact him at tomd@whistleblower.org and ask him to either call upon Obama to direct resolution of broken covenant contentions at Office of Legal Counsel of Department of Justice, or file a professional misconduct complaint against, or resign.

He is the single biggest obstacle to thousands of feds getting some justice, no matter how delayed or limited because of 34 years of Gov’t lawbreaking by Presidents, OSC, MSPB and agency heads. But that lawbreaking has been a goldmine to Tom Devine, so he wants it to continue unchallenged, betraying his oath as a licensed attorney, your trust, and the trust of many others.

There is no middle ground. You are for rule of law in America or you are for Tom Devine and his opposition to rule of law when it benefits him.

Continue reading here.

Every rigid, punitive, and corrupt organization or community has an audience that exercises the moral choice to say nothing or obscure the facts and thereby give cover to the misconduct. If you want to know why the whistleblower community can’t seem to get its act together and pass strong legislation to eradicate retaliation in government, look no further than GAP, its leadership, and its obedient and faithful whistleblower supporters.

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3 thoughts on “It’s Time to Blow the Whistle on the Federal Whistleblowing Community

  1. Jonathan Haidt’s bestseller “the Righteousness mind” explains that most of time humans use reason to justify their emotional response. Human reason is not a “judge,” is it a PR machine for our emotional, less conscious/unconsciuos selves. That is what we are seeing in people defending status quo, becaues they are not applying reason or citing fact and law.

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