March Against Torture/Justice Department Takes Hit in "War on Whistleblowers"
I will be going to D.C. on Sunday, June 24 to participate in the “March Against Torture, Guantanamo and the NDAA.” Join the National Religious Campaign Against Torture (NRCAT) and the Washington Region Religious Campaign Against Torture (WRRCAT) and a national coalition of groups on Sun., June 24, for a demonstration and march, beginning at 1 PM at the reflecting pool in front of the U.S. Capitol. Call Max at 410-366-1637.
Justice Department Takes Hit in "War on Whistleblowers"
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 22, 2012
CONTACT: National Whistleblowers Center
Phone: (202) 342-1902
WASHINGTON - June 22 - In a dramatic setback for the U.S. Department of Justice’s “War on Whistleblowers,” the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia today reversed a district court decision that had thrown out the Privacy Act case of former U.S. prosecutor Richard Convertino.
The Privacy Act case, which accused the former Bush Administration of illegally leaking information to smear the reputation of Mr. Convertino, was reinstated by the Appeals Court. The Appeals Court opinion permits Mr. Convertino to continue to conduct discovery in order to learn which current and/or former Justice Department officials violated the Privacy Act with their actions against Mr. Convertino.
Mr. Convertino is a former award-winning prosecutor who led several complex terrorism cases at the Department of Justice. In 2003, Mr. Convertino blew the whistle on former Attorney General Ashcroft’s handling of terrorism prosecutions. Shortly thereafter, high-ranking Justice Department officials retaliated by leaking highly disparaging and untrue information about Mr. Convertino to Detroit Free Press reporter David Ashenfelter. In 2004, Mr. Convertino filed a Privacy Act complaint to protect his rights as a whistleblower and sanction the official(s) who illegally leaked the information about him.
Stephen M. Kohn, Executive Director of the National Whistleblowers Center and lead counsel for Mr. Convertino, stated:
The Justice Department’s policy of criminally investigating whistleblowers who ‘leak’ information, while at the same time aggressively defending its own ‘leakers,’ is hypocritical. In Mr. Convertino’s case, the Justice Department intentionally leaked information to destroy the reputation of the distinguished prosecutor who had the courage to challenge the Attorney General’s conduct in the ‘War on Terror.’ Moreover, the Justice Department has, for years, aggressively stood in the way of Mr. Convertino’s attempts to discover which official(s) retaliated against him.
The Appeals Court’s decision in Mr. Convertino’s case is a monumental victory for whistleblowers.
The Justice Department’s double standard in the treatment of ‘leakers’ is intolerable. The Attorney General should not protect those who leak information at the government’s request and simultaneously prosecute whistleblowers trying to alert the public about waste, fraud and abuse.
Attorney General Holder must immediately reverse its position in the Convertino case and join with the whistleblower in finding out who violated the Privacy Act and the laws prohibiting retaliation against whistleblowers.
Since 1988, the NWC and attorneys associated with it have supported whistleblowers in the courts and before Congress and achieved victories for environmental protection, government contract fraud, nuclear safety and government and corporate accountability.
National Whistleblowers Center Links:
HomePress CenterAction Center
Source URL: http://www.commondreams.org/newswire/2012/06/22-1
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"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs