Dr. Frederic Whitehurst, the FBI scientist who blew the whistle on misconduct at the FBI crime lab, was recently interviewed by Andrew Cohen of The Marshall Project.  In the interview Dr. Whitehurst discusses the recent admission by the FBI of “errors” by the crime lab in hair analysis cases.

Read the full interview: Bad

The National Whistleblower Center issued the following Press Statement today:

FBI Admission of Crime Lab “Errors” In Hair Cases Vindicates Whistleblower

Washington, D.C. April 20, 2015. Yesterday, the Washington Post published a front-page article reporting that the FBI has finally admitted the FBI Lab’s forensic hair analyses used for decades in state and federal criminal cases were flawed and inaccurate more that ninety percent (90%) of the time.

These systemic problems at the FBI Lab were first raised by FBI whistleblower Dr. Frederic Whitehurst more than 20 years ago.  The latest reviews reported by the Washington Post are also the direct result of Dr. Whitehurst’s initial whistleblower disclosures between 1995-1997.  Although Dr. Whitehurst was highly criticized and subjected to severe retaliation by the FBI for raising these concerns more 20 years ago, yesterday’s admission by the FBI demonstrates that he was right. 
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The Federal Bureau of Investigation is under pressure to fix it’s broken whistleblower process. In February 2015, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) reported that whistleblower protections at the FBI are weaker than at any other agency. The Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing in March and whistleblower advocacy groups are calling for change.

The GAO Report found that the Department of Justice’s FBI whistleblower process leaves FBI whistleblowers without protection from retaliation, and creates a chilling effect. The GAO also found that it could take over 10 years for a simple case to be completed through the FBI process.

FBI employee Robert Kobus is one such whistleblower. In October 2005 Mr. Kobus reported budget and time card fraud in his office. It was a simple case, and fully documented. The retaliation he faced was swift – the FBI stripped him of his duties and literally isolated him by assigning him to work as the only person on a vacant floor amongst 130 empty desks. 
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On March 5, Kevin Gosztola wrote the below article about the FBI’s failed whistleblower program and the recent Senate hearings, for The Dissenter on Firedoglake.

FBI’s Culture of Hostility Toward Whistleblowers—And How Justice Department Permits Policy of Retaliation

On March 6, Sputnik News also published an article about the failure of the FBI to protect

On March 4, 2015  the Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on the lack of whistleblower protections for FBI employees.

A focus of the hearing was a February 2015 report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), which found that whistleblower protections at the FBI are weaker than at any other agency. The GAO Report found

Washington, D.C. March 4, 2015. The lack of whistleblower protections for FBI employees was the subject of a Senate Judiciary Hearing held Wednesday, March 4. Senators from both sides of the aisle were outraged by the amount of retaliation FBI whistleblowers face along with the failure of the FBI whistleblower program to appropriately handle such cases.

Stephen M. Kohn, Executive Director of the National Whistleblower Center, testified before the Committee stating that “The Department of Justice’s program for protecting FBI whistleblowers is broken.”

“Whistleblowers should not have to fear retaliation for speaking up, and they should not have to wait a decade for relief,” Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) said during the hearing. 
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Urgent Action Needed!!

The Senate Judiciary Committee is holding a critical hearing Wednesday, March 4, 2015 on FBI whistleblowers.  They will hear testimony from current and former FBI agents and the Executive Director of the National Whistleblower Center describing how FBI whistleblowers are subjected to illegal retaliation, and how the system designed to protect them

Yesterday, Senators Chuck Grassley and Ron Wyden expressed optimism that Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) whistleblowers may receive better protection under new guidelines outlined in a proposal to President Barack Obama.  The Department of Justice forwarded a copy of the Attorney General’s report titled “Department of Justice Report on Regulations Protecting FBI Whistleblowers.”  As I wrote in a previous post, the Senators requested a copy of this long overdue report in August 2014.

“Nobody’s got on rose-colored glasses that the culture for whistleblowers at the FBI will change anytime soon, but many of the items outlined in the FBI’s analysis are promising.  I’m not a fan of all of the recommendations, but it would at least be a step forward if some of them are actually implemented and carried out.  That said, in an agency with so much focus on the chain of command, it makes no sense for the FBI to be the only agency in the federal government not to protect disclosures of waste, fraud, and abuse to immediate supervisors,” Grassley said.
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