Problems with forensics at the FBI crime lab continue, 25 years after a whistleblower flagged the agency for sloppy science, according to a story from independent news source ProPublica.

The story reports on the lack of scientific evidence supporting the work of FBI technicians who specialize in facial identification and “visual evidence.”  The unit analyzes and sharpens crime scene photos and videos. From the story:

The FBI’s endorsement of the unit’s findings as trial evidence troubles many experts and raises a new question about the role of the FBI Laboratory as a standard-setter in forensic science.”  

Add that to the questions that have lingered since crime lab problems were revealed by insider Frederic Whitehurst in 1994. The chemist’s information about faulty evidence and worse have emerged via three inspector general reports and a National Academy of Sciences study. The ProPublica piece is the latest in two decades of investigative news stories about faulty FBI forensics and its consequences.

Whitehurst is now the director of the National Whistleblower Center’s Forensic Justice Project.

Continue Reading An FBI whistleblower flagged problems with forensics 25 years ago. A new report finds they persist, this time with video analysis.

Frederic-Whistehurst-FBI-whistleblowerIn a new Trailblazers podcast episode titled Forensics: Who’s on the case, Walter Isaacson delves deep into the history of forensic fraud cases. The show details three stories of victims wrongly accused by criminal investigators and faulty forensic practices. What does history teach us about the validity of forensic technology?

Continue Reading Finding Fault In Forensic Fraud Cases

Grassley: FBI, DOJ Employees Have Protections, Legal Right to Blow the WhistleLongtime advocate of whistleblower protections Sen. Chuck Grassley delivered a strongly-worded floor statement to the United States Senate on Thursday, saying that FBI whistleblowers, and all federal law enforcement agents, are protected when reporting misconduct to Congress, and they should not fear retaliation. The Senator from Iowa and Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee cleared up any misconception of agents not being able to approach Congress without a subpoena. Continue Reading Senator Grassley Reminds FBI Agents of Their Whistleblower Rights

Earlier today, the National Whistleblower Center (NWC) joined a friend-of-the-court brief filed with the Supreme Court in support of FBI whistleblower John Parkinson’s petition for certiorari, seeking review of the Federal Circuit’s decision denying veterans’ preference-eligible FBI employees the right to raise whistleblowing as an affirmative defense in an appeal to the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB).

The amicus brief, filed on behalf FBI whistleblowers Michael German, Robert Kobus, Jane Turner, and Frederic Whitehurst, as well as the NWC and the Project on Government Oversight, details why the Department of Justice’s procedures for FBI whistleblowers are not an adequate substitute for a veterans’ preference-eligible FBI employee raising a whistleblower claim in an MSPB case.

Continue Reading NWC Joins SCOTUS Amicus Brief with FBI Whistleblowers

Picture this: while at work you become aware of conduct that you believe is unethical, illegal, or qualifies as government waste, fraud, or abuse. You decide you want to blow the whistle. But before you act, be careful! Most corporate and government networks log traffic. Your work computer and phone are not private. When you use a company or department computer, assume everything you do is monitored. These computers are an easy way for your employer to determine you are the whistleblower.

Continue Reading Whistleblowers Beware: Your Work Computer Is Probably Monitored

The National Whistleblower Center released a new video featuring four prominent whistleblowers who share their personal stories of blowing the whistle and the backlash they faced for doing the right thing. Whistleblowers Change the World,  highlights the crucial role whistleblowers serve in exposing corruption at all levels of society and why we need a sustained grassroots movement to ensure the legal protections they require are upheld.

Continue Reading NWC Releases New Video: “Whistleblowers Change the World”

Dissenting judges decry “denial of due process” for FBI whistleblowers.

October 26, 2017. Washington, D.C.  The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, sitting en banc, ruled against veterans who are employed at the Federal Bureau of Investigation and are fired for blowing the whistle. The case is known as Parkinson v. Department of Justice.  In a major setback for veterans and whistleblowers at the FBI, the majority opinion held that FBI employees like John Parkinson, who have rights to challenge a termination from the FBI before the Merit Systems Protection Board cannot raise whistleblowing as an affirmative defense before the MSPB as other employees are permitted to do. Continue Reading Appeals Court Ruling a Setback for Veterans and Whistleblowers at the FBI

More FBI whistleblower reforms needed in next Congress

December 12, 2016. In the wee hours of Saturday morning’s lame duck session, the U.S. Senate passed a truncated version of the FBI Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act (WPEA). This bill was drawn from an excerpted portion of a bill of the same name, originally introduced by Senators Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Patrick Leahy (D-VT) in 2015. Whereas the original bill was a full reform of the broken FBI whistleblower protection system, there were last minute objections from the intelligence community that prevented enactment of the full FBI WPEA.

Continue Reading Congress Unanimously Closes One Loophole in FBI Whistleblower Protections