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FBI Silences Former Specialist for Whistleblowing
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FBI Silences Former Specialist for Whistleblowing

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It’s better to keep your mouth shut if you encounter lawlessness sown by the authorities who are too powerful and untouchable to obey the law. Speaking truth in the US may be really harmful, of which the ruined life of Darin Jones, a former FBI contract specialist, is a proof. Having reported evidence of serious procurement improprieties of the FBI and having lost everything, he is still struggling for justice.

Cost of Telling the Truth

In 2012, at the time when Darin Jones was an FBI supervisory contract specialist, he made whistleblower disclosures about the improper awarding of a $40 million contract and seven other cases of improper procurement spending at the FBI to his superior. Jones maintained that Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC) had been awarded a $40 million contract improperly because the former FBI official with responsibility for granting the contract at that time was hired as a consultant at CSC.

“Jones said that FBI bigwigs had blown $234,000 of the taxpayers’ money on an awards ceremony for themselves, they had improperly spent taxpayer money without going through proper channels, and that a former FBI assistant director had had a conflict of interest related to a computer help-desk contract,” writes John Kiriakou, who is himself a CIA whistleblower, having served 23 months in prison as a result of his attempts to oppose the Bush administration’s torture program.

consortiumnews.com

“The problem is that we are the exception to the rule. Most whistleblowers either suffer in anonymity or are personally, professionally, socially and financially ruined for speaking truth to power. Darin Jones is one of those people. He’s one of the people silenced in Barack Obama’s war on whistleblowers. And he continues to suffer under Donald Trump,” says Kiriakou.

In the aftermath of what Jones “committed,” his life would never be the same: The FBI promptly fired him from his position as a Supervisory Contract Specialist, friends and family members have walked away from him and, like other federal whistleblowers, he’s ruined financially, not being able to find a job.

Jones’ dismissal which he alleges was done as an act of retaliation for his whistleblowing, violates both the Procurement Integrity Act and the Whistleblower Protection Act (WPA). Any federal employee who brings to light evidence of waste, fraud, abuse, illegality, or threats to public health or public safety is protected under federal statute.

The FBI didn’t care, though.

Jones was a troublemaker who shouldn’t have talked about his fellow FBI agents. He definitely had to be silenced.

Whistleblower Treated Like a Wrongdoer

Immediately upon his firing, Jones appealed. However, he was not reinstated, which was explicable: His whistleblowing didn’t adhere to the FBI’s rules. He took his allegations to the wrong place. Instead of making his revelation to one of the nine people on the FBI leadership-approved list (which Jones’s boss wasn’t on) who could hear a whistleblower complaint, he went to his supervisor.

“In Jones’s case the FBI officials who fired him were acting on behalf of the Attorney General and they were the very same officials to whom he reported his whistleblower disclosures,” National Whistleblower Legal Defense and Education Fund reported.

Jones appealed again… It was only the beginning of his more than four-year odyssey.

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), who supported Jones, wrote three separate letters to then-FBI director James Comey and then-Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates.

judiciary.senate.gov

None were answered.

On December 6th, 2016, the National Whistleblower Center (NWC) filed an amicus brief in support of Darin Jones.

“The National Whistleblower Center has testified about the dysfunction in the FBI whistleblower protection system before. Fortunately, the Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously approved the FBI Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act this past April. This bill would fix many of the issues preventing FBI whistleblowers from receiving protection, including the absurdity at play in Darin Jones’s case,” was written on the NWC’s website.

Grassley urged the Justice Department to reinstate Jones, saying that his dismissal was a violation of the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act of 2016, which strengthened the original whistleblower protection law.

He added that when Yates appeared before his Senate Judiciary Committee for her confirmation hearings earlier in the year, she promised “to improve the process for adjudicating claims of retaliation, including expanding the list of persons to whom a protected disclosure may be made.”  

She never did that.

In fact, Yates ordered the director of the Justice Department’s “Professional Misconduct Review Unit” to write to Jones and to tell him,

“The Deputy Attorney General’s review is complete and her decision is final. Your case is no longer pending. You should not expect to receive any future communications that you or any other organization or individuals may submit with regard to your whistleblower reprisal case.”

John Kiriakou, who wasn’t indifferent to Jones’ case and kept track of it, called the Justice Department’s ignoring of the law “the middle finger” to the Senate Judiciary Committee and the whistleblower himself.

FBI’s Response

The FBI’s response was equally bad, albeit predictable. The FBI’s Office of the General Counsel wrote to Jones:

The FBI has advised you that it will not conduct further investigation into your allegations that the FBI removed you from employment because you reported a compliance concern and retaliated against you in violation of applicable whistleblower retaliation protection regulations. The FBI has met its legal obligations and considers this matter closed without any basis for further review or reopening. Please be advised that the FBI will not respond to any additional correspondence or emails related to or arising from the termination of your employment.

This is very telling that the FBI refers to “whistleblower regulations” though it’s not a regulation but a law. Apparently, there’re no laws for the FBI.

The Last Whistleblower Treated This Way?

Even though Darin Jones did the right thing, he had to pay for it with his career.

Jones’ friends and supporters are creating a GoFundMe campaign to help him through this horrible period.

“It’s very challenging, very difficult, very painful and very stressful,” Jones told the Washington Post in 2016. “It’s been that way from the day of my wrongful termination to the present day.”

What is “very sad,” he added, is “whistleblowers become radioactive.”

No one should experience what Jones has had to go through. The whole nation should unite to fight the authorities’ indifference, lies, and bribery.

Wake up, Americans.

Author: USA Really