8th Annual Whistleblower Summit & Film Festival


Howard University, “The Mecca,” has a reputation for producing leaders and activists. Today we lay to rest, The Honorable U.S. Representative Elijah Cummings, one of our beloved sons. As a fellow Howard alum, I followed or tradition of servant leadership and activism, when I blew the whistle on $40 Million at USDA during the Clinton Administration. Now I co-host the annual Whistleblower Summit & Film Festival along with ACORN Whistleblower Marcel Reid. Perhaps our fondest memory of Representative Cummings was his acceptance speech when we honored him with a Pillar Award in 2015. He told the story of how his sharecropper father was amazed to see his son get elected to congress and lead a life that he never had the opportunity to pursue. However, the crescendo was when he lambasted the time and delay in perusing civil rights cases like the class action at Social Security Administration. Elijah exclaimed, “They’re dead!” with a tear in his eyes, “And they died with a case unresolved.”


There are some who consider “whistleblower” a term of art and will only recognize people who fall within strict statutory or regulatory definitions, e.g, intelligence community whistleblowers. Other people view whistleblowing as limited to “public health and safety,” they think that only disclosures protecting others, the public at large, constitute whistleblowing. These advocates eschew civil rights claimants from the whistleblower community. Likewise, there are civil rights proponents who do not support the “whistleblower” moniker. Our view of whistleblowing is as a fundamental civil and human right. We are thankful that Representative Cummings agreed with our view of whistleblowing. Elijah Cummings supported the Whistleblower Summit for Civil & Human Rights. The summit has sponsored a TEDx Salon on Whistleblowers and the First Amendment. While, Representative Cummings did not participate in our TEDx Salon he did participate in another one where he give prophetic remarks about his life/death and the state of our democracy.


Wake Up America — We Are Better Than This! (Elijah Cummings | TEDxMidAtlantic)





On this solemn day, we thank Elijah Cummings for his tireless support for whistleblowers, black farmers, women fire fighters in the U.S. Forest Service, and minority employees at U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Social Security Administration; and his support for summit host-committee member, Coalition For Change (C4C) and their members Tanya Ward Jordan and Paulette Taylor:


Paulette Taylor (Civil Rights Chair) and I had the pleasure of watching the House members vote on measures to provide for better transparency and accountability in the EEO program. During the Congressman's reading of the bill on the House floor, he personally thanked C4C for standing up for whistleblowers who expose civil rights violation.  The Congressman also discussed some of the measures within the pending bill. Later, in a private meeting with the Representative Elijah Cummings, we thanked him on behalf of our membership and all federal workers for incorporating recommendations we shared to better improve federal sector workplace culture.  Representative Elijah Cummings has truly been a champion in advocating better protections for civil servants who seek to uphold the public trust. 




The bill passed the House 403-0 and went to the Senate. https://youtu.be/IATLKiO7i5Y


The passing of Congressman Elijah Cummings (D-MD) marks a tremendous loss for the whistleblower community. The Make It Safe Coalition (MISC), a nonpartisan network of more than 75 organizations and individual whistleblowers dedicated to strengthening protections for whistleblowers in the private and public sector, commemorates Congressman Cummings for his tireless commitment to protect our most courageous civil servants.


Throughout the Congressman’s career in the House of Representatives, he conducted himself with integrity and grace, building alliances across the aisle to advance good government reforms. He honored the nonpartisan nature of whistleblowing and worked in close partnership with his Republican colleagues to strengthen protections for our nation’s truth-tellers. As co-chair of the House Whistleblower Protection Caucus, he partnered with co-chair Congressman Mark Meadows (R-NC) and other Caucus members to foster a more positive culture around whistleblowing.

In the Congressman’s capacity as Ranking Member and then Chairman of the House Oversight Committee, he set Congress’ gold-standard for safely working with whistleblowers to conduct its oversight responsibilities. Indeed, he understood that whistleblowers come forward at great personal risk, and Congress must do everything in its power to protect its most valuable sources against government waste, fraud, abuse and other misconduct. 


In 2012, as Ranking Member of the House Oversight Reform Committee, he led the House of Representative’s unanimous support for the landmark Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act – the primary whistleblower law for federal employees outside of the intelligence community. Even after that victory, he continued to pave the way for stronger reforms.   


For the 2019 National Whistleblower Appreciation Day, Representative Cummings provided the following statement to honor whistleblowers and remind Congress that there is more work to be done:



On this day, I’d like to on a very special group of individuals within the federal community — the men and women who risk everything to disclose waste fraud and abuse in the federal government. Without legal protections, whistleblowers would suffer retaliation and without these courageous individuals, Congress would not be able to fulfill its constitutional duty to serve as a check and balance on the executive branch, the very foundation of our democracy… Although Congress has made significant progress in protecting the brave souls who shine a light on corruption in the federal government, we cannot rest on our laurels. That’s why I’m working on introducing legislation in this Congress that would further strengthen protections for whistleblowers and improve enforcement of existing law to prevent and address retaliation.


Representative Cummings words ring truer now more than ever. The inherent tragedy of a person dying with a case unresolved. While he dances with the angels, Cummings died with perhaps the most important case in America yet unresolved; but like a true Bison, he fought to the end (even with his last breath) for freedom and democracy. Now it is our turn to honor the Congressman. We will do this, in part, by continuing his life’s work to strengthen protections for federal whistleblowers. He will be deeply missed, but his legacy will continue to be felt by the countless federal employees who can more safety speak truth to power.

WASHINGTON, DC — Over the course of four days, whistleblowers, advocates and film enthusiasts descended upon Washington, DC, filling the halls of Congress, the Library of Congress, local theaters and landmark social establishments with educational panels and films educating lawmakers, influencers and the general public on the latest movements in the Civil & Human Rights arena. Over the last twelve years members from the Make It Safe Coalition have arranged an assembly of whistleblowers in Washington, DC each year for an annual conference originally known as Washington Whistleblower’s Week. ACORN 8, a Washington, D.C. based organization hosted its eighth annual event, the Whistleblower Summit & Film Festival on Capitol Hill from July 29 to August 1, 2019. The historic event coincides with D.C. City Government’s proclamation supporting National Whistleblower Appreciation Day.

This DC based summit and film festival is the latest in a series of smaller conferences the organization has previously hosted inside and outside of the Beltway. Organizers co-hosted free lectures and events open to the public that celebrate the important role of whistleblowers and their advocates. Beginning on July 29th, consistent with the theme "True North — Persevering in the Pursuit of Justice," attendees were treated to an array of finely tuned panel presentations featuring those most knowledgeable and impactful in their fields of expertise on wide-ranging civil and human rights topics spanning the globe. Film, including international film submissions, were showcased in conjunction with panel presentations to enhance the concentration of issues surrounding threats to citizens' rights and efforts seek accountability for abuses having gone unaddressed. Social events were also peppered throughout enabling participants the opportunity to mix, mingle, share, gather and synthesize subject-matter. Personal and professional associations were formed as a result of the united effort to provide and take part in a platform dedicated to shedding light upon the journey, obstacles, successes and laws encompassing the Whistleblower experience.

The film festival festivities took pace at various capitol hill locations including, the National Press Club, Busboy’s & Poets, Landmark E. Street Cinema and the Library of Congress. The Whistleblower Summit recognizes that cinema is a powerful medium for highlighting civil and human rights violations across the globe. It seeks to shine a light on stories of courage and perseverance in the face of injustice, and to encourage individuals to stand together to achieve human rights for all. 2019 Pillar Film Awards:


Gladys Louise Smith “Mary Pickford” Award — John Singleton

Best Whistleblower Portrayal — Official Secrets

Best Documentary — The Kids We Lose

Best Feature — The Guardians

Tank Man — Best Short

Audience Choice — The Great Hack

Other notable Pillar Award Winners included Ralph Nader and Richard “Dick” Gregory. 

“We are looking for films about whistleblowers, the First Amendment or that touch on one or several human rights issues that are connected to our areas of work this includes freedom of expression, women’s rights, discrimination, communal violence, human rights defenders, among other issues” said Marcel Reid, Summit co-organizer and Festival Director.

“We are very pleased with the response from the film community. We are a boutique film festival that received nearly 200 film submission from 48 countries. These submissions were culled down to 15 films touching on free speech, civil and human rights, and social justice themes” said Michael McCray, Summit co-organizer and Managing Director.

The pre-summit publicity rollout began with an advanced screening of “Official Secrets” which opens in August, at the National Press Club on July 16th at 6:00 pm. The summit officially opened with a DC Proclamation followed by a symposium at the Hart Senate Office Building. Among the other events was a July 30th luncheon to honor National Whistleblower Day hosted by the National Whistleblower Center; followed by a Pillar Awards Reception with book signings and author events later that day at the Mott House from 5:00 to 7:00 pm sponsored by Public Citizen, Government Accountability Project (GAP) and Project on Government Oversight (POGO).

Authors, publishers and filmmakers all attended the summit. Tom Mueller the author of Crisis of Conscience—Whistleblowing In An Age of Fraud attended the event. Michael McCray and Marcia Mitchell the author of the book the film was based on introduced the Official Secrets screening on National Whistleblowers Day. Finally, Brittany Kaiser the Cambridge Analytica Whistleblower introduced her “Own Your Data Campaign” to the summit during a screening of Netflix’s The Great Hack on National Whistleblower Day.

# # #


The Whistleblower Summit & Film Festival is the first and only film festival dedicated to whistleblowers and the First Amendment. It pairs four days of film screenings and professional symposiums that bring together whistleblowers, advocates, policy makers, journalists and filmmakers venturing into investigative storytelling about free speech, Civil & Human Rights and social justice. For more information on the Whistleblower Summit& Film Festival (www.WhistleblowerSummit.com), contact Michael McCray, 870-543-0024; mccray.michael@gmail.com.

Scottsdale Independent


Thanks for this opportunity for me to continue with my pursuit of justice. 





Throughout last week I posted a series of blogs on the whistleblower summit.

They are compiled into one blog at the following link - https://www.citizenvox.org/2018/08/13/2018-whistleblower-summit/.

Dear Whistleblower Summit attendees,

At last week's summit, we learned about whistleblower stories and successes, and we also learned that we have far to go before whistleblowers are afforded the rights they deserve. During his opening statement, Tom Devine from the Government Accountability Project outlined several legislative priorities that will advance whistleblower rights by closing loopholes in the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act. Those priorities include ensuring that whistleblowers have access to jury trials and allowing them to challenge retaliatory investigations.

At GAP, we are collecting signatures for a petition (attached to this email) to send to Congress and the administration outlining the priorities. Please email legislationintern@whistleblower.org if you are interested in adding your name to the letter. All we need is your name, the organization you're signing on behalf of (if applicable), and your position in the organization (if applicable). In addition, feel free to reach out with any questions you have about the petition. Each sign-on increases our chances of being able to effect change in the current whistleblower laws.


Thank you,

It’s now a week after the start of the 2018 Summit.

I’d like thank once again the organizers of the event and the whistleblowers whom I met for creating such an important and successful event. I’ve blind-copied above those whom I met.

In a column linked below, I sought to summarize a few of the highlights. But any such effort is doomed to incompleteness. That’s because of such a varied and important agenda and the inevitable limits of space, at least for an op-ed length article. That said, I hope it helps keep our discussions going.

Justice Integrity Project, Focus Is On Solutions As 2018 Whistleblower Summit Begins Monday In DC

Andrew Kreig, July 30, 2018

The annual 2 1/2-day Whistleblowers Summit for Civil and Human Rights began on July 30 with a preview tailored to showcase the vital contributions that courageous, expert informants are making under difficult conditions to solve the nation's problems.

Among highlights of the first day was a luncheon featuring Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, an Iowa Republican who has voiced strong support through the years for government whistleblowers helping to expose waste, fraud and abuse hurting taxpayers. Details: https://www.justice-integrity.org/1530-focus-is-on-solutions-as-2018-whistleblower-summit-begins-monday-in-dc

This column contains an appendix with links to major news articles and commentaries written by others about the Summit. Kindly let me know (with a publication/broadcaster name, headline, and link) if you know of a major treatment that I overlooked. I’ll try to add to the appendix that that are most newsworthy.


Whatever the case on that, again congratulations and thank you making the event such a success.   

#MeToo Aids US Forest Service Whistleblowers and Representative Jackie Speier’s Battle for Investigations into Sexual Harassment at USDA

WASHINGTON – The Whistleblower Summit for Civil & Human Rights congratulates the brave and courageous Women in the U.S. Forest Service and the members of the USDA Coalition of Minority Employees. The resignation of U.S. Forest Service Chief Tony Tooke highlights the need for transparency and accountability in the Forest Service and across USDA. In 2012, the ACORN8 and the USDA Coalition of Minority Employees co-hosted the 1st Whistleblower Summit for Civil & Human Rights on Capitol Hill—and the women of the U.S. Forest Service were prominent participants. Ironically, USDA Forest Service Officials started retaliating against the woman for participating in the conference—while they were still on Capitol Hill!

This victory—while sudden—did not occur overnight. These Women have been battling racism, sexism and harassment at USDA for over a decade. This grievous on-going, sexual abuse, threatens not only their reputations and livelihoods but ultimately our national security. “A seldom appreciated fact these women are an integral and vital part of our domestic national security grid.” Marcel Reid, co-organizer of the Whistleblower Summit adds, “How many of these women are struggling with PTSD while fighting fires when uncontrolled—could have looming domestic and national security implications?”


Public Television (PBS News Hour) is running a multi-part investigative report on the brave Women in the Forest Service, and while this is the latest media exposure of this travesty—it was not the first.


A quick chronology of USDA press coverage since the 2012 Whistleblower Summit. Coverage started with WPFW (Pacifica Radio) and Gloria Minott, host of “Metro Beat” and moderator of the Whistleblower Summit. The radio coverage continued with Mickey Huff of Project Censored on (KPFA). Cable television coverage began with “Breaking the Set” with Abby Martin on RT-Television. Print coverage included Mike Volpe for the Daily Caller, followed by Ron Nixon with the New York Times (special thanks to Stephanie Strom). Finally, Sharyl Attkisson host of “Full Measure” did a story reporting the plight of the Forest Service women and boarder cover up of discrimination cases and corruption at USDA (Michael McCray vs Secretary Vilsack) on broadcast television. 12/11/16   BURNED--History of Harassment (at USDA / Forest Service)  

As a result of these continuous and coordinated efforts the whistleblowers were able to illicit the support of Congress Woman Jackie Speier (CA-14) who recently released the following statement after U.S. Forest Service (FS) Chief Tony Tooke announced his resignation following allegations of misconduct. Tooke’s announcement comes after reports revealed numerous incidents of sexual harassment and sexual misconduct within the agency. Congresswoman Speier has been calling for reform in the Forest Service since 2014, when she requested that the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Office of Inspector General (Ag OIG) initiate an investigation of allegations of sexual misconduct and retaliation in Region 5 (California). After bipartisan and bicameral calls for reform and a 2016 hearing in the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, the Ag OIG is due to release an audit at the end of April.

“Every time we turn our heads the other way when we see the law flouted, when we tolerate what we know to be wrong, when we close our eyes and ears to the corrupt because we are too busy or too frightened, when we fail to speak up and speak out, we strike a blow against freedom and decency and justice.”― Robert F. Kennedy

Fifty years after his death, the life of Robert F. Kennedy remains a beacon of hope and inspiration for yet another generation of Americans, more necessary today perhaps than at any time since June 5, 1968. Much of what is written in 2018 focuses on the epic legislative, bureaucratic and street battles of the 1960s, on Kennedy’s “transformation” as a political figure central to the wrenching debates, and the need for healing—both home and abroad. The fight for civil rights, the role of military might in foreign policy and national security, and the crying need for “radical inclusion,” the latter promoted by the most prescient in U.S. leadership now, are but the most important issues that form the cornerstone of Bobby’s legacy.

At the same time, it is important to remember the earlier life and times of RFK, for his basic values and moral compass set the stage for all that came after. During the heyday of anti-communist witch-hunter Joe McCarthy, it was young Bobby who went to war with the Wisconsin Republican’s vicious, calculating and self-promoting aide Roy Cohen. Cohen later became a lawyer for a Mafia whose deadly tentacles and reach affected vast swathes of American life, as well as for New York City glitterati. It was in that fight against organized crime that Kennedy took on corrupt (“Every man has his price”) Teamster labor leader Jimmy Hoffa. In his book, The Enemy Within, the emerging crusader rightly put both business and labor on notice that, “The tyrant, the bully, the corrupter and corrupted are figures of shame.” It was RFK’s values and his moral compass that led him to remind his readers, and those today who also appear to need reminding, of the central role played by the “toughness and idealism that guided our nation in the past,” a “spirit of adventure, a will to fight what is evil, and a desire to serve.”

Less known to the public is the specific role played by Robert Kennedy’s leadership in promoting modern-day whistleblowers and the rights of public employee free speech. Toughness, idealism, fighting evil and a desire to serve is what unites real whistleblowers across the political and ideological spectrum, those who confront violations of law, rule or regulation, gross mismanagement, gross waste of funds or abuse of authority.

The role played by Kennedy’s former assistant at the U.S. Department of Justice, John E. Nolan, Jr., and those whistleblowers who Nolan later defended, forms the underlying narrative. The story pulls together both later legislative battles and the most effective advocacy by both Democrats and Republicans in fighting for the right to speak truth to power.

A Korean War veteran and a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, Nolan, who had worked on John Kennedy’s 1960 presidential campaign, came to public attention as a negotiator with Cuban dictator Fidel Castro for the return of CIA officers and more than 1,100 other men captured in the abortive 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion. In 1963, he took a leave of absence from the prestigious Steptoe & Johnson law firm to become Attorney General Kennedy’s administrative assistant. It was in that position that Nolan spent much of that summer in the Deep South working with top RFK aides Burke Marshall and John Doar. Those crucial efforts of the first White House ever to promote civil rights is more than half a century later so stunningly well captured in Steven Levingston’s Kennedy and King: The President, the Pastor, and the Battle Over Civil Rights.

Robert Kennedy, Nolan remembered in an interview with the Washington Lawyer, “had the qualities of natural leaders that exceeded those of anybody else I have seen. He was very direct, and I thought he had extraordinarily good judgment. He made a lot of quick judgments and was pretty good on that.”

Of particular importance was how Nolan addressed questions of federal employee free speech rights: “The more significant or more complex an issue was, the more he studied it, sometimes with the benefit of conflicting views and large groups that he would probe with questions. … He was more likely to get the right answer under those circumstances than anybody else I know or have heard of.” (Italics added.)

It was just months after Kennedy was shot the night that he won the California and South Dakota primaries that Nolan came to represent the famed Department of Defense whistleblower A. Ernest Fitzgerald. The DoD official, he rightly noted, “you might say … was the father of whistleblowers.” It was fighting for Fitzgerald and the fundamental good government issues that his case represented that led Nolan to make his first appearance before the Supreme Court.

On November 13, 1968 civilian analyst Ernie Fitzgerald testified before the Subcommittee on Economy in Government of the Joint Economic Committee of the U.S. Congress about the Pentagon’s order for the C-5A jumbo cargo transport plane, designed and built by the military-industrial giant Lockheed. Already the scuttlebutt of rumors, Fitzgerald was asked by a senator about the cost overruns in the bureaucratic fix. He testified under oath that there were some $2.3 billion (approximately$14 billion in today’s dollars) in unexpected costs, in 1968 considered an incredible sum. As Nolan remembered, Fitzgerald’s world “blew up with that single answer.”

As Nolan recalled in the interview with the Washington Lawyer, when then-President Lyndon Johnson’s outgoing secretary of the air force met with the person taking that position in the Republican administration of Richard M. Nixon, the Democratic appointee “had an agenda of the eight most important issues to take up. This was pretty close to the height of the Cold War, and you can imagine the momentous issues of nuclear war or peace that might have been included. Nonetheless, Ernie Fitzgerald was number two on his list.”

At the beginning of 1970, the administration of a supposedly “new” Nixon reorganized the Department of the Air Force and ordered a unique “reduction in force” whose only victim was Ernie Fitzgerald, an action for which Nixon took responsibility. (Transcripts of White House tapes made public years later showed that Nixon ordered one of his aides to get “rid of that son of a bitch.") After the Civil Service Commission concluded that Fitzgerald’s dismissal was unjust and the newly-minted whistleblower was able to get his old job back in a lawsuit, he found that he no longer had a phone in his office, nor a secretary, or even anything to do.

The ghost employee then sued Nixon himself and two presidential aides whose names would be forever enshrined in the coming Watergate scandal—Bryce Harlow, the first person appointed to the White House staff after Nixon was elected president, and Alexander Butterfield, who revealed the existence of the White House tapes during the scandal investigation.

Fitzgerald’s lawsuits provide insight into some of the hottest questions faced today in our nation’s capital. Argued in late 1981, the Supreme Court held, 5-4, in Nixon v. Fitzgerald the following year that presidential immunity was absolute. However, in the second case, Fitzgerald claimed that Harlow and Butterfield were involved in a conspiracy that resulted in his wrongful dismissal—a charge that they denied—and asked for damages. Nolan pointed out, “the issue was derivative absolute immunity: if the president has absolute immunity, the argument was that his special assistants should have derivative absolute immunity.”

“That case was remanded to the District Court and it was settled under circumstances that were favorable to Fitzgerald.”

Even before that—as the media had fun with Fitzgerald’s on-going whistleblowing about widespread fraud at the Pentagon, including $400 hammers and $600 toilet seats—according to Senator Chuck Grassley, now the chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Fitzgerald “was instrumental in helping get the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978 passed.”

What is certain is that some of the other most important figures in the second half of the 20th century were linked to the Kennedy promise and, frequently the Kennedy Administration, and were also in their own way whistleblowers, speaking truth to power. They too, are examples that showed a “toughness … that guided our nation in the past,” a “spirit of adventure, a will to fight what is evil, and a desire to serve.”

Patricia A. “Patt” Derian served as a brave civil rights champion in brutally racist Mississippi, comforting the family of martyred civil rights leader Medgar Evers the day after his murder by the Klu Klux Klan. She later went on to work for Bobby’s brother-in-law Sargent Shriver in the war on poverty. According to Ellen B. Meacham’s, moving Delta Epipheny; Robert F. Kennedy in Mississippi, in April 1967, following Senator Kennedy’s hearing in Jackson on allegations that the Head Start program in Mississippi was misusing federal funds—refuted in the testimony of the young civil rights attorney Marian Wright, who later married Kennedy aide Peter Edelman—Patt fêted Bobby at a cocktail party in her own home.

When Jimmy Carter became president in 1977, as The Times of London recalled upon her own passing two years ago, Patt was "a courageous champion of civil rights who took on some of the world’s most brutal dictators in her role as a senior American diplomat.” Those defenders in Washington of notorious strongmen, those who today form a bipartisan gallery of international perp apologists, sought to discredit Patt in every way possible as she blew the whistle as only those with real moral fiber can.

Truth to power was her strong suit. It was as the first assistant secretary of state for human rights that Patt underscored that when it came to efforts to restore and promote human rights “you always have to play it straight.” As a member of the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Foundation (now RFK Human Rights) awards committee, Patt brought that laser-like focus to leading the fight against an Orwellian State Department decision to deny visas-- for “terrorist activities”—to four Salvadoran human rights advocates who were to receive $30,000 as part of that year’s foundation award. A year later, her testimony in a civilian court in Buenos Aires about Argentina’s so-called dirty “war” electrified the mini-Nuremberg proceedings. The trial of the military junta members resulted in their being put behind bars for orchestrating a clandestine campaign of state terror, of mass torture and murder.

Former CIA Director William Colby was arguably the most important national security whistleblower in modern times. When he took over the post, the United States was reeling from humiliation in Southeast Asia, the Watergate scandal, revelations about Nixon Administration support for the military overthrow of an elected democracy in the Americas, and the fact the Soviet Union—the pre-Putins—appeared on the ascendancy. It was Colby, a “soldier-priest” in the clandestine service, who told truth to power, a list of 693 single-spaced pages known as “the family jewels” given to Congress, showed how the Agency had violated its charter by spying on Americans, reading their tax returns, tapping their telephones, and opening their mail. It had conducted LSD experiments on unwitting human guinea pigs. It had plotted to murder foreign leaders. As crusading journalist Daniel Schorr noted in his autobiography, Stay Tuned: A Life in Journalism,

At Tulane University, I had been scheduled to debate (former CIA Director) Bill Colby. He defended me better than I could have defended myself, telling the ... audience, “Schorr carried out his obligation to the First Amendment and to himself as a newsman, and he should not be punished for the publication of the Pike (intelligence investigation) report."

By disclosing some of America’s darkest secrets, and ensuring meaningful Congressional oversight, Colby was able to save an Agency most needed post-9/11, especially after revelations of Vladimir Putin’s direct involvement in trying to subvert the American democratic process. 

At a time of great and frequently destructive hyper-politicization in the United States today, it is important to note that those at the forefront on Capitol Hill in promoting and protecting whistleblower rights span the Republican-Democratic and liberal-conservative divides. Senators Charles Grassley (R), Ben Cardin (D), Ron Johnson (R), Ron Wyden (D), Joni Ernst (R), Patrick Leahy (D), and Tammy Baldwin (D) and Members of the House Jackie Speier (D), Ron Coffman (R), Hank Johnson (D), and Ron Blum (R) are just some of the most fierce and effective champions of federal employee First Amendment rights.

Jackie Speier has noted:

“Whistleblowers are on the front lines, working to uncover waste, fraud, and abuse. Throughout my career, whistleblowers have been central to my work in oversight and reform. They’ve brought to light wasteful spending, hostile workplaces, and dangerous practices from the Pentagon to the pipelines beneath our feet. We must provide them with the protections they need to work with Congress and the Inspectors General to conduct genuine oversight. I look forward to working with my colleagues to fight for strong whistleblower protections across all departments and agencies.”

Being able to unite people of diverse backgrounds and experiences in difficult times was one of Robert Kennedy’s most important contributions to American politics. Whistleblowers honor not only his advocacy of change through law, but also the fact that today—when America needs it most—they serve and protect both the interests of the American taxpayer and our common values.

It was one of RFK’s favorite philosophers, Albert Camus, who said, “A man without ethics is a wild beast loose upon this world.” And as Kennedy said in his Law Day Address at the University of Georgia Law School, delivered 6 May 1961 in Athens, Georgia, “In the United States, we are striving to establish a rule of law instead of a rule of force. In that forum and elsewhere around the world our deeds will speak for us.”

Martin Edwin Andersen has been a national security and human rights whistleblower at both the Departments of Justice and Defense.  In 2001, he was the first national security whistleblower to receive the U.S. Office of Special Counsel’s “Public Servant Award” for fighting against Criminal Division failures to protect CIA classified information, senior DoJ management’s leaving themselves open to blackmail in proto-Putin Russia, and myriad issues of waste, fraud and abuse. In his most recent case involving U.S. Southern Command, Andersen has filed three Congressional Disclosures to the Intelligence Community Office of the Inspector General, the latest of which was forwarded by the Director of National Intelligence to the House and Senate Intelligence Committees on Thursday.

Artist Statement

            In my painting I am expressing my feelings of disturbance, rage, and upset toward our obscenely corrupt government in New York State. I never expected the corrupt politicians and leaders of New York would have such a personal, negative impact on my life. My mom was deemed a “whistleblower” after uncovering and reporting wrong doing in the New York State school system that put student’s lives in danger. I chose to paint the Statue of Liberty because it is not only an icon of New York State, but also the epitome of freedom.

In my painting, Lady Liberty holds up a speaker that plays just a few audio recordings out of the thousands that exemplify what a whistleblower has to endure. I want to make the viewer aware of what is going on not only politically, but also the years of constant stress and affliction it has caused my family. My mom is certainly not the only whistleblower in the state of New York whose career and family life were basically destroyed. I want to make it apparent what people will do for money, and how far they are willing to go if someone gets in their way. This painting is dedicated to my mom.

Examining Sexual Harassment and Gender Discrimination at the U.S. Department of Agriculture

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  • Harassment and discrimination at USDA has gotten worse under the Obama Administration. Witnesses testified sexual assault, harassment, discrimination, and resulting retaliation has increased at the Agency since 2008.
  • Whistleblowers shared personal heartbreaking accounts of sexual harassment, hostile work environments, and discrimination.
  • FS has shown a lack of accountability and a poor record of investigating allegations of sexual harassment with perpetrators often escaping discipline by retiring, moving, or seeking a promotion.
  • The Office of Special Counsel found that the USDA Office of Civil Rights (OASCR) is “seriously mismanaged, thereby compromising the civil rights of USDA employees.”
  • FS requested Congressional assistance to simplify the process of firing federal employees.




Clinton School of Public Service Co-hosts Free Whistleblower Summit Lecture Series at Clinton Presidential Library, April 21-23


Historic event coincides with State Reps. Vivian Flowers and Ken Ferguson’s proclamation supporting National Whistleblower Appreciation Day


Little Rock, Ark— On April 21-23 The University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service will co-host free lectures and events open to the public that celebrate the important role of whistleblowers and their advocates. The events, which will take place at the Clinton Presidential Library and other nearby locations, are cosponsored by The Whistleblower Summit® for Civil & Human Rights; a Washington, D.C.-based organization that will host its fifth annual event on Capitol Hill in July. The Arkansas mini-conference is the first in a series of smaller conferences the organization intends to host outside of the District of Columbia.

Conference organizer Michael McCray, a native Arkansan who moved to Washington, D.C. with the Clinton administration, says his hometown was selected to host the lecture series for a number of reasons including that its state legislature is expected to be the first to support a National Whistleblower Appreciation Day on July 30. State Reps. Vivian Flowers and Ken Ferguson will introduce their proclamation during a 9 a.m. April 22 press conference at the Clinton Presidential Center. The press conference will also address the Flint, Michigan water contamination crisis. Other participants in the conference include McCray, Stephen Kohn of the National Whistleblower Center and Carlton Winfrey, who covers politics for the Detroit Free Press.

"There is no Free Press without confidential sources. There can be no Congressional Oversight without government informants. Whistleblowers are the ‘Fifth Estate’ protecting freedom, liberty and Democracy.”

--Michael McCray, Esq., CPA (inactive)

Among the other events is a April 22 movie night in which the documentary “The Seven Five” will be shown with a discussion led by (Ret) U.S. Chief Deputy Marshall Matthew Fogg. Movie night will take place from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. at Little Rock, River Market Pavilion. April 23, there will be a book signing and discussion group from 10 a.m. to noon at Pyramid Book Store, 1001 Wright Av., Suite C. Authors participating in the signing include McCray (“ACORN 8: Race, Power & Politics”), Stephen W. Kohn (“The Whistleblower’s Handbook”), Tom Devine (“Corporate Whistleblowers Survival Guide”) and Michael Volpe (The Definitive Dossier on PTSD in Whistleblowers).



Over the last eight years members from the Make it Safe Coalition (MISC) have arranged an assembly of whistleblowers in Washington, DC each year for an annual conference originally known as Washington Whistleblower’s Week. Host committee members—ACORN 8, Coalition for Change (C4C), Project Censored, Justice Integrity Project and Federally Employed Women Legal Education Fund (FEW-LEF), will co-host this year’s Whistle Blower Summit for Civil & Human Rights on Capitol Hill. The theme for the annual conference this year is Black Lives Matter—This Is The Movement!

We are a coalition of individual whistle-blowers, grassroots activists, public interest advocates and policy makers. We provide a sense of community and mutual support for whistle-blowers or civil and human rights activists. During the conference, we also present the Pillar Award for Human Rights. The Pillar is awarded to notable civil and human rights champions; previous recipients include Representative Elijah Cummings (D-MD), Senator Charles “Chuck” Grassley (R-IA) and Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO). The Pillar is awarded to politicians, community activists and journalists—including documentary filmmakers.

In light of the recent interest in Hollywood films and documentaries about whistleblowers; this year we will present a Pillar Award for filmmakers at the Whistle Blower Summit for Civil & Human Rights. This award will highlight important whistleblower films—from documentaries to feature films. Our goal is to draw attention to important films about whistleblowers or investigative journalists, which may have been overlooked by traditional film festivals. Participant Media screened “The Fifth Estate” to the whistleblower community at the National Press Club during the Whistle Blower Summit in 2013.

The Pillar Award Nominees for “Best Whistle Blower Film” 2015 finalists are

(Listed In Alphabetical Order)


Ian Thomas Ash  A2-B-C. Director / Cinematographer.

A2-B-C: (Censored Fukushima Film)


Eighteen months after the nuclear meltdown in Fukushima, children who were not evacuated are found to have thyroid cysts and low white blood cell counts. What will this mean for their future?


  • Winner—Castell Award: Barcelona International Film Festival (2014)
  • Winner—Best of Festival Award: Guam International Film Festival (2013)
  • Nominated—Grand Jury Award: Best Documentary Feature (2013)




Michael Cuesta-- Kill the Messenger. Director / Producer.


Kill the Messenger


A reporter becomes the target of a vicious smear campaign that drives him to the point of suicide after he exposes the CIA's role in arming Contra rebels in Nicaragua and importing cocaine into California. Based on the true story of journalist Gary Webb.


  • Nominated—Joe Barber Award / Best Portrayal of Washington, DC: Washington DC Area Film Critics Association Awards  (2014)
  • Nominated—Best Actor (Jeremy Renner): Women Film Critics Circle Awards  (2014)
  • Nominated—Best Male Images in a Movie:Women Film Critics Circle Awards (2014)





James Spione—Silenced. Director / Producer. 






Three National Security whistleblowers fight to reveal the darkest corners of America's war on terror, challenging a government that is increasingly determined to maintain secrecy.


  • Nominated—Greg Gund Memorial Standing Up Award: Cleveland International Film Festival (2015)
  • Winner—Founders Prize / Documentary Feature: Traverse City Film Festival (2014)






Randall Stith--The Hidden Enemy. Director / Producer.


The Hidden Enemy: Inside Psychiatry's Covert Agenda



Today, with militaries of the world awash in psychiatry and psychiatric drugs, 23 soldiers and veterans are committing suicide everyday. Psychiatrists say we need more psychiatry. But should we trust them? Or is psychiatry the hidden enemy? Featuring interviews with over 80 soldiers and experts, this penetrating documentary shatters the facade to reveal the real culprit who are destroying our world's militaries from within. The most dangerous enemy is the one you never suspect...





Kristina Borjesson  (filmmaker and journalist) 


TWA Flight 800



A thought-provoking documentary about the ill-fated Trans World Airline Flight 800 to Paris, France, which exploded on July 17, 1996 just 12 minutes after takeoff from JFK International Airport, killing all 230 people on board. The special features six former members of the official crash investigation breaking their silence to refute the officially proposed cause of the jetliner's demise and reveal how the investigation was systematically undermined.





The Whistle Blower Summit includes a historic panel discussion with distinguished authors of whistleblower books who will be present to autograph and discuss their books. The book signing will be followed by film screenings of “Pillar Award” nominated whistleblower films. Thus “Movie Night” with the whistle-blowers is one of the highlights of our annual summit, because it gives whistleblowers, advocates and conference attendees an opportunity to interact with the general public in a relaxed atmosphere that promotes camaraderie and builds broad community support.

Teaching for Change's Busboys and Poets Bookstore and Zinn Education Project have sponsored venues for whistleblowers and authors during the Whistle Blower Summit over the last few years. By drawing direct connections to real world issues, Teaching for Change encourages teachers and students to question and re-think the world inside and outside their classrooms, build a more equitable, multicultural society, and become active global citizens.

Last year we launched our own Whistle Blower / Social Justice children’s education initiative, which encourages young people to learn about, appreciate and respect the contributions that ordinary citizens make to society—everyday. We have sponsored a ”whistleblower” essay contest, given out college scholarships to the essay contest winners, and have developed a K-12 / college curriculum that teaches social integrity and corporate responsibility.


The “Legal Justice for Servicemembers Act” Would Provide Military Whistleblowers with the Same Protections as Civilians

WASHINGTON – The Whistleblower Protection Caucus is adding two new members, according to the Caucus’ Chairman Chuck Grassley of Iowa and Vice-Chairman Ron Wyden of Oregon. Senators John Boozman (R-Ark.) and Tom Carper (D-Del.) are joining the bipartisan caucus, a group of senators committed to raising awareness of the value and need to protect individuals who call attention to fraud, waste and misconduct.

Senator Charles Grassley announced the official formation of a Senate Whistleblower Protection Caucus during a press conference held in the Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing Room.  The founding members of the caucus are Senators Chuck Grassley (R-IA) (chairman), Ron Wyden (D-OR) (vice-chairman), Ron Johnson (R-WI), Mark Kirk (R-IL), Deb Fischer (R-NE) Thom Tillis (R-NC), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), and Ed Markey (D-MA).


On the eve of a major Whistleblower Summit in the nation's capital, a federal judge issued a shocking pro-CIA ruling that has the effect of discouraging disclosure about the 1963 murder of President John F. Kennedy in Dallas.

U.S. District Judge Richard Leon denied attorneys fees under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to truth-seekers whose decade-long litigation against the CIA unearthed one of the most important disclosures during recent years in the murder investigation.

One revelation from the litigation was that a CIA psychological warfare expert, George Joannides, may have met accused assassin Lee Harvey Oswald before the killing -- and then failed to disclose that fact in the 1970s to congressional investigators reexamining the case. Joannides was the CIA's official liaison to congressional investigators. 

CIA LogoLeon has issued three previous pro-CIA rulings, all reversed by the federal appellate court. His pattern of pro-agency rulings helps underscore the importance of the annual Whistleblower Summit for Civil and Human Rights, which began Monday, July 28 and extended for four highly successful days at several locations in Washington, DC. Details are here.

At the Summit, I examined Leon's role during my panel discussion about FOIA litigation on the opening day 28. I did so so earlier during the day also during a radio interview by Gloria Minott of WPFW-FM, which was syndicated nationally by the Pacifica Network and locally at 89.3 FM.

Minott was the main moderator of the Summit, which honored, among others, U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and former Qwest CEO Joseph Nacchio. Nacchio was imprisoned on dubious financial fraud charges after he refused a Bush-Cheney administration demand before 9/11 to help the NSA undertake illegal surveillance of Qwest customers. My information from expert sources for years has has been that Nacchio was targeted by prosecutors as reprisal for being the only major telco CEO to refuse the government's then-illegal spying orders.  

More generally, whistleblowers should know that Leon's decision discouraging investigation of President Kennedy's murder helps illustrate how truth-seekers can face hidden obstacles that motivate biased judges and other supposedly independent watchdogs to use their skills to fight disclosure even -- or especially -- when the stakes are high.

Truth-seekers should thus press forward with litigation and other tactics, but should be prepared also to fight in the court of public opinion.

Details: http://ow.ly/zDXmk

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