Dr. Frederic Whitehurst took on the FBI because he knew that defendants had been wrongly convicted on the basis of seriously flawed testimony by the FBI crime lab. On Wednesday, the Washington Post reported that the D.C. Superior Court overturned the conviction of a man who wrongly served 28 years in prison for killing a taxi driver. It is amazing to see the positive result of Dr. Whitehurst’s hard work. One person really can make a difference.

Sadly, Mr. Tribble was not the only victim of the misconduct by the FBI crime lab. After Dr. Whitehurst’s original whistleblower disclosures, the Justice Department formed a Task Force to review thousands of cases impacted by his allegations and to determine if any individuals were wrongly convicted. Although the Justice Department and FBI pledged to correct their mistakes, documents obtained by the NWC through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) show they failed.

Last month, the Washington Post published a series of articles about the failures in the Task Force’s “investigation,” including that they never issued a final report and did not inform defendants about the misconduct in their cases. Once again, this only came to light because Dr. Whitehurst followed through on his personal vow to find out who was harmed. He was the one who lead the NWC Forensic Justice Project’s FOIA fight to release the documents about the Task Force.


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By Guest Blogger: Jane Turner
Member of NWC’s Board of Directors and Director of NWC’s FBI Oversight Program

Recently, an article appeared in Wired magazine reporting that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) was teaching that being a devout Muslim is in itself a sign of terrorist activity. The article exposed teaching techniques used at the FBI Academy in Quantico, Virginia. Teaching materials for FBI counterterrorism agents were replete with portrayals of American Muslims in a negative light. The article noted “…FBI whistleblowers provided Danger Room with these materials.”

My immediate attention went to the FBI employees who are still brave enough to put their careers on the line to speak the truth. The Director of the FBI, Robert S. Mueller III, has positioned himself in public and private as a leader who will not retaliate against FBI whistleblowers.

The reality, however, has been that Director Mueller and his senior managers have done their best to discredit, retaliate, humiliate, threaten, and launch reprisals against FBI personnel who try to bring misconduct or criminal behavior to light. Previously, two of Mueller’s closest senior management team, Assistant Director Robert Jordan and Executive Assistant Director W. Wilson Lowry took retaliatory action against Unit Chief John Roberts. They advised Roberts that they considered his whistle blowing activities a personal insult. They invoked the well worn screed about the “FBI family” which is code for keeping everything in house, and noted Director Mueller agreed with their assessment. This is the modern version of the “code of silence” that has long kept the public in the dark about police misconduct.


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