------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Dishonesty in government is the business of every citizen.... It is not enough to do your own job. There's no particular virtue in that. Democracy isn't a gift. It's a responsibility. - Dalton Trumbo (1905-1976) - from the 1942 film: The Remarkable Andrew --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Dr. Frank Kardasz, January 7, 2009
A whistle blower is an individual who discloses unlawful acts against the wishes of vested interests who seek to cover them up. (Vernon-Wortzel, 1994) Reporting the misconduct of peers is difficult for some law enforcement officers.
Laws to protect whistle blowers began in the 1980's. According to Vernon-Wortzel:
The first legislation to protect whistle blowers was passed by the State of Michigan in 1981. The law came out of Michigan's PBB (polybrominated biphenyl) tragedy in the 1970's. Michigan Chemical Company accidentally shipped poisonous fire retardant to a state feed grain cooperative. The PBB's were fed to livestock and contaminated their milk and meat. When farm animals began dying in large numbers, Michigan Chemical employees were warned not to tell investigators about the accident or they would be fired (ibid.).
Many states now have laws to protect whistle blowers. The State of Utah Supervisor's Liability Management Reference Manual states:
The Whistle Blower Law prohibits an employer from taking adverse action against an employee who acted in good faith to report the waste of public funds, property, manpower, or a violation or suspected violation of a legally adopted rule or law. Good faith is assumed if the person has communicated the information to the State Auditor. (2).
One of Arizona's whistle blower laws is contained in Arizona Revised Statutes 38-532. It states, in part,
It is a prohibited personnel practice for an employee who has control over personnel actions to take reprisal against an employee for a disclosure of information of a matter of public concern by the employee to a public body which the employee reasonably believes evidences:
1. A violation of any law. 2. Mismanagement, a gross waste of monies or an abuse of authority (3).
Informing on a fellow employee is a difficult and often lonely choice. It is unfortunate that whistleblowers are often ostracized and ridiculed. According to Vernon-Wortzel, (p.151):
Sanctions against whistle blowers do deter some employees from reporting wrongdoing. Others, however, are so outraged about a situation that their personal ethical codes demand action. In today's society, many whistle blowers become both victims and heros at the same time (4).
(1) Vernon-Wortzel, H. (1994). Business and society: A managerial approach. (5th ed). Burr Ridge, Illinois: Irwin.149.
(2) State of Utah, Supervisor's Liability Management Reference Manual. (1997, October). Ethics and WhistleBlowing Laws, Utah Public Officers? and Employers Ethics Act and Protection of Employees. Retrieved May 16, 2003 from http://www.dhrm.state.ut.us/Policies/slmrm/documents/section6.htm
(3) Arizona Revised Statutes. (2003). Title 38, Public Officers and Employees, Chapter 3, Conduct in Office, Article 9 - Disclosure of Information by Public Employees, 38-532. Prohibited personnel practice; violation; reinstatement; exceptions; civil penalty. Retrieved May 17, 2003 from http://www.azleg.state.az. us/ars/38/00532.htm
(4) Vernon-Wortzel, 151.
(5) Lacayo, R. & Ripley, A. (2002, December 22). Persons of the year, 2002, Cynthia Cooper, Coleen Rowley and Sherron Watkins. Time Magazine (on-line). Posted Sunday, December 22, 2002; 4:31 a.m. EST, Retrieved May 17, 2003 from http://www.time.com/time/personoftheyear/2002/poyintro.html# ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Here is an interesting story from Australia where whistle-blowing is referred to as "dobbing".
Dob in a Copper
From the Herald Sun, Victoria, Australia. by Keith Moor, November 16, 2005
Every Victorian (Australia) will be urged to dob in bent police officers. The Office of Police Integrity revealed plans for a 24-hour hotline so people can report police for alleged corruption and misconduct. The Office also revealed evidence of corruption and sloppy management in the Victoria Police force.
The Office wants Victorians to use the new hotline and vowed to provide more protection for police who want to inform on fellow officers. Director George Brouwer said, "I do not believe that most honest and ethical police members deliberately turn a blind eye to signs of corruption and serious misconduct," said in the OPI annual report. "However, it is clear that many members are fearful and reluctant to report incidents. Corrupt police play on such fears of retribution. Corrupt members often cultivate an aura of menace, some are ruthless. Such conduct is one of the reasons they can often continue their activities for so long."
The Herald Sun last week revealed the OPI had uncovered evidence of police involvement in various corrupt activities. The report detailed some of the areas of concern, including: The prevalence of allegations of theft by police during the execution of search warrants. Improper association by police with unregistered informers. Inappropriate associations of police with private investigators and the private security industry. Continuing and significant inappropriate access to LEAP and other police computerised information systems. Allegations some police are involved in drug dealing or green-lighting the activities of drug dealers. The incidence of bullying, predatory behaviour or other intimidation by some individual police members towards other police and to members of the public.
"Convincing evidence illustrating these problems has emerged from investigations of specific cases," the OPI report said. "They are being, or will be, addressed in OPI's work on systemic issues and on the prevention of corruption and serious misconduct."
The OPI report is critical of Victoria Police management practices. "Questions about the quality of police investigations have arisen from a number of complaints, many of which have been well-founded," it said. "Heavy work loads, limited guidance and supervision of less experienced detectives and poor investigative methodology generally emerge as central issues with those complaints which are substantiated.
Director Brouwer said, "I have observed a tolerance on the part of some senior police for management processes and equipment which are long out of date. "They can make corrupt conduct difficult to detect, even more so to investigate.
The OPI was created in 2004 in response to calls for a royal commission into police corruption and a permanent anti-corruption body. A Victoria Police spokesman said the force took allegations of misconduct against its staff very seriously and had effective internal processes to deal with any allegations. "Victoria Police launched its ethical health strategy. It is an ongoing strategy which focuses on professional standards, ethics and the eradication of unethical behaviour and corruption through a number of programs."
Retrieved November 16, 2005 from http://www.heraldsun.news.com.au/common/story_page/0, 5478,17259866%255E2862,00.html --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Rookie Oakland California Police Officer "Demonized" for Reporting Wrongdoing ‘Riders’ Prosecutor Angry at Attack on his Ethics
Bay City News Wire, 04/01/05, Oakland, California
The lead prosecutor in the trial of three former Oakland police officers accused of beating and framing suspected drug dealers in West Oakland in the summer of 2000 told jurors today he's "angry'' that defense lawyers have attacked the prosecution's integrity. In closing arguments in the so-called "Riders'' case, Alameda County Deputy District Attorney Terry Wiley alleged that defense lawyers for the former officers attacked the credibility of the prosecution and its witnesses because they don't want the officers to be held accountable for their alleged misconduct. "The pope could be here and they would attack him,'' Wiley said in a booming voice, asserting that the defense would attack anyone who had the courage to speak out against the three officers and their tactics.
Referring to repeated claims by defense lawyers that the prosecution engaged in a win-at-all-costs strategy to try to get the former officers convicted, Wiley said, "I'm angry and I don't care what anyone thinks.'' Former officers Jude Siapno, 36, Clarence "Chuck'' Mabanag, 39, and Matthew Hornung, 33, are standing trial a second time on charges that they beat and framed suspected drug dealers in West Oakland in the summer of 2000. They face a total of 15 felony counts: conspiracy to obstruct justice, filing false police reports, assault and battery, kidnapping and false imprisonment. A fourth officer, Frank Vasquez, also has been charged in the case but he fled the country to avoid prosecution.
The Riders' first trial was one of the longest criminal trials in California history, lasting more than a year and including 56 days of jury deliberations. It ended on Sept. 30, 2003, with jurors acquitting the former officers of eight charges and deadlocking on the remaining 27 counts. In his closing argument on Wednesday, Mabanag's attorney, Michael Rains, alleged that a rookie officer Keith Batt, who accused the Riders officers of wrongdoing, was a liar. But Wiley said today the defense lawyers "demonized Keith Batt because they believe he was honest.'' Wiley told jurors, "Don't forget Keith Batt and the courage it took to face this onslaught'' of allegations by defense lawyers that he lied. On Wednesday, Rains said that in 1999, shortly before the alleged offenses in the case, Mabanag, who was Batt's field training officer, was named officer of the year and best preliminary investigator among Oakland police officers who worked the overnight shift.
Rains asked jurors, "Do you think Chuck Mabanag just kissed it all off, turned his back on the law after upholding it for 11 years and said I'm going to be a criminal now?'' Jurors will begin contemplating their answer next week, when they finally begin deliberations. Closing arguments are expected to conclude on Monday and jurors will get the case either late Monday or early Tuesday after getting lengthy legal instructions from Alameda County Superior Court Jeffrey Horner.
Retrieved April 2, 2005 from http://www2.cbs5. com/localwire/localfsnews/bcn/2005/04/01/n/HeadlineNews/PROSECUTOR- ANGRY/resources_bcn_html --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
The following story is an interesting discussion of the ethics surrounding "deep throat", the name given to former FBI agent Mark Felt who revealed information related to the famous Watergate scandal associated with former President Richard Nixon’s resignation.
Was Deep Throat Ethical? by Rushworth Kidder
From Global Ethics Web Site: June 7, 2005 - http://www.globalethics.org/
So now we know. Deep Throat, whose leaks to Bob Woodward of the Washington Post eventually helped unseat the Nixon administration, is officially W. Mark Felt, the No. 2 at the FBI during Watergate. An article published last week in Vanity Fair by the Felt family's lawyer, John D. O'Connor, makes the identification, now confirmed by Woodward and his journalistic partner, Carl Bernstein.
Thus ends one of the most compelling mysteries of the twentieth century. Ended, too, is an entire cottage industry of speculation about Deep Throat's identity. Left behind, however, are three ethical questions. The first two are modest and immediate, while the third has so much moral gravity that it may never be fully settled:
1. Felt maintained rigorous silence for decades. To their credit, so have Woodward and Bernstein. But the Deep Throat story has generated a small fortune in books, film, and the sale of the journalists' Watergate papers to the University of Texas Library for $5 million. Felt never made a penny. Should he? Is there an ethic of fairness that should compel the journalists to give him a share of the wealth that, without him, never would have been generated?
2. Was there in fact a Deep Throat? Or was the character a fictional composite of several sources, conflated by Bernstein and Woodward into one person for the sake of literary economy in All the President's Men? Some students of Watergate question whether one person could know all that Deep Throat knew. More intriguing is the book's report that whenever Felt had something to share, a clock would appear drawn on page 20 of Woodward's home-delivered copy of the New York Times. How, skeptics ask, could a high-visibility FBI official regularly make his way unseen to Woodward's door before dawn to do that -- especially since he dared bring no one else into his plot? Felt may indeed be some part of Deep Throat, but are there other Deep Throats out there, still undivulged? If so, what are the ethics of passing off a composite character as a real person -- the kind of journalistic malfeasance for which Washington Post writer Janet Cooke had her Pulitzer Prize revoked in 1981?
3. The tough question, however, lies in Felt's own ethics. Was he a hero or a traitor? His case revolves around a classic right-versus-right dilemma of the loyalty-versus-truth variety. As an agent of the FBI, his loyalty lay in upholding the Constitution. His duty was to protect the justice system, keep confidences, and support the presidency. His fidelity, in other words, was to the established chain of command, and any wrongdoing needing exposure or redress should have been worked out within that chain. It was ethical, in other words, not to speak up.
But as a citizen in possession of some appalling truths -- regarding corruption at the highest levels in the White House -- he had an obligation to protect justice itself from a perverted justice system. As the FBI developed information suggesting that the Constitution was being subverted, his integrity compelled him to act. But with the Watergate investigation being squelched by the White House and with his superiors resistant to his ideas, he turned to the media as the only channel he could trust to get the truth to the public. It was ethical, in other words, to leak.
Two sides, two moral cases. Which is the higher right? If you're an ends-based utilitarian, you'll agree that ethics happens when you do the greatest good for the greatest number. That may mean that some smaller bad happens along the way -- in this case, by disregarding the oath he took on joining the FBI. The greater good for the nation, the utilitarian will reason, was to flush out Richard Nixon's wrongdoing.
If you're a rule-based Kantian, however, you'll feel that ethics happens only when the rule you're following can be universalized – when you feel that everyone in the world ought to do as you're doing. Should the rule be that every investigator must leak confidential information whenever those above him or her are suspected of abusing their power by concealing criminal acts? Hardly. The resulting vigilante mentality would subject every investigative process to second-guessing and every insider to media pressure. Best, then, to protect the system itself by keeping quiet, even though crooks sometimes go free.
To those in the former, ends-based camp, Felt remains a hero. Those choosing the latter argument will forever see him as a traitor -- with one reservation. If the rule to be universalized is, "Always support principles rather than personalities," then protecting the Constitution can mean protecting the presidency from the president -- something even a strict rule-based thinker could countenance.
Felt himself endured the weight of this dilemma for more than three decades -- believing he had done the right thing, yet feeling too that he had done something terribly wrong along the way. Even in the face of his doubts -- the danger of betrayal, the risk that Nixon would survive the allegations, the soul- searching about whether his own motives were to protect the Constitution or simply to get back at his superiors -- he persevered. There's a term for that: moral courage. It often operates in the midst of ambiguity. It frequently remains anonymous. It sometimes goes unrewarded. Yet it can change the history of nations, as Mark Felt surely did. For this we owe him our gratitude. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Deep Throat Revelations Raise Ethical and Legal Issues - Did Mark Felt owe duty to FBI or were leaks part of 'higher calling'?
June 7, 2005 - http://www.globalethics.org/ Special to Newsline from Editor Carl Hausman
The stunning disclosure that the former No. 2 man in the FBI was the legendary Watergate source Deep Throat has provoked a national debate on the ethics of whistle-blowing, with some characterizing 91- year-old Mark Felt as a civic-minded hero while others say he betrayed a public trust.
Writing in the New York Times, political reporter Katharine Seelye noted that while many observers say that Felt played an honorable role in helping expose government misconduct, Felt's "role as a newspaper informer raises questions about the obligations of officials at institutions like the FBI."
"Should those obligations be defined as adhering to the regulations of the bureau and the laws about releasing secret information?" Seelye wrote. "Or is there a higher calling when law enforcement officials think that they are being obstructed at the highest levels of government?"
Retired FBI agents interviewed by USA Today expressed mixed emotions about Felt's actions. James DeSarno, former head of the FBI's Los Angeles office, said that by divulging information to Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward, Felt broke a law against releasing information being heard by a grand jury.
"The government's trust that was placed in him was somewhat tarnished," DeSarno said. "Isn't that why there are three separate branches of government? And one of the branches of government isn't the press."
Others are reserving judgment until Felt's motives are clarified. Presidential historian Robert Dallek noted that Felt expected to be named head of the FBI after the death of J. Edgar Hoover, and was resentful that Nixon passed him over and appointed an outsider to oversee the agency.
"If this was a vendetta, then that would devalue what he did," Dallek told the New York Times. "But people never operate strictly out of one motive or another. He was clearly offended by the constitutional breaches that had occurred, but he was probably fueled by a certain amount of resentment at the politicization of the FBI."
Money issues also clouded the issues swirling around the revelation. NBC News Washington Bureau Chief Tim Russert noted that Felt and his family were motivated to reveal his identity not only so Felt could have his "day in the sun," but also for profit. "They do think they also can make some money," Russert told MSNBC. "They've been very open about that. They can pay off tuition bills. Mr. Felt said that the other day. I don't think there's any other dark secret behind it."
In any event, Felt probably will not be prosecuted for releasing the information, according to U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. "It happened a long time ago," Gonzales told the Associated Press. "The department has a lot of other priorities."
Gonzales would not comment on whether Felt was a hero or criminal, saying he would "leave it to history to make that determination," echoing comments by President Bush, who also declined to weigh in on the matter. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Army Specialist Joseph Darby to Receive Special Profile in Courage Award
March 10, 2005, Tom McNaught
BOSTON — U.S. Army Specialist Joseph M. Darby has been awarded a Special John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award. Darby is recognized for standing up for the principles imbedded in the rule of law when he took action to expose the torture and humiliation of Iraqi prisoners at the Abu Ghraib prison. The Profile in Courage Award Committee recognized that although the courage demonstrated by Darby was somewhat different than that required by elective office, it was nonetheless deserving of recognition.
Darby will be formally presented with the Profile in Courage Award by Caroline Kennedy and Senator Edward Kennedy at a ceremony at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston on Monday, May 16.
Of Darby’s recognition, Ms. Kennedy said, “Individuals who are willing to take personal risk to further the national interest and uphold the values of American democracy should be recognized and encouraged in all parts of government. Our nation is indebted to U.S. Army Specialist Joseph Darby for standing up for the rule of law that we embrace as a nation.”
The John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award is presented annually to public servants who have withstood strong opposition to follow what they believe is the right course of action. The award is named for President Kennedy’s 1957 Pulitzer Prize-winning book, Profiles in Courage, which recounts the stories of eight U.S. senators who risked their careers to fight for what they believed in.
U.S. Army Specialist Joseph M. Darby, of Corriganville, Md., is credited with alerting officials to the alleged torture of Iraqi prisoners by members of his 372nd Military Police Company, based in Cumberland, Md. Darby was commended in a military report for promptly alerting superiors in January after discovering photographs of fellow 372nd Military Police Company personnel taking part in abuse of prisoners at the Abu Ghraib prison. Darby's tip led to an investigation of practices at the facility that have outraged people around the world and changed the tenor of America's war effort in Iraq. Darby wrestled with the consequences of reporting the abuse in Abu Ghraib and finally spoke out, he said, because what he saw was so "morally wrong." In August 2004, Darby and his family were forced to move out of their Maryland home and into protective custody due to death threats against them.
Darby’s wife, Bernadette, says her husband’s act of whistle blowing angered many people in their Western Maryland community. "People were mean, saying he was a walking dead man, he was walking around with a bull's eye on his head. It was scary," she told Reuters.
Despite the threats, she believed her husband made the right choice exposing the torture and abuse. "Joe is the type of person to take what is going on around him and be like, 'How would I feel if that was my wife?'... He just could not live with himself knowing that that was happening and he did not do anything about it," she said.
In selecting a recipient, the Profile in Courage Award Committee considers public servants who have demonstrated the kind of political courage described by John F. Kennedy in Profiles in Courage. In his Pulitzer Prize-winning book, Kennedy wrote:
In whatever arena of life one may meet the challenge of courage, whatever may be the sacrifices he faces if he follows his conscience –the loss of his friends, his fortune, his contentment, even the esteem of his fellow men – each man must decide for himself the course he will follow. The stories of past courage can define that ingredient – they can teach, they can offer hope, they can provide inspiration. But they cannot supply courage itself. For this each man must look into his own soul.
Georgia Prison Guard Who Exposed Beatings of Handcuffed Inmates Back on Job
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 05/24/05, By Carlos Campos
A former prison guard who said he was fired for exposing alleged beatings of handcuffed inmates at a southeast Georgia prison will start getting a paycheck again. Tommy Cardell, 52, was placed on suspension with pay on Monday while the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and the state Department of Corrections look into allegations that officers at Rogers State Prison in Reidsville routinely beat inmates with the knowledge of their superiors.
Cardell said he was fired May 11 after blowing the whistle on alleged beatings to his superiors and internal investigators for the Department of Corrections. Scheree Lipscomb, a spokeswoman for the Department of Corrections, said putting Cardell back on the payroll was "the right thing to do," given the serious nature of his allegations. Five other employees at Rogers, including the warden and deputy warden, have been suspended with pay while authorities check out Cardell's claims.
"I think it's only right that it should happen," Cardell said Monday when told his firing had been temporarily reversed. "I didn't expect it. I think Commissioner [James] Donald and his staff are truly trying to rehabilitate the system."Cardell's allegations also claimed the job of the department's official in charge of managing the prisons, Alan Adams, who has been removed from his post pending further possible action.
Cardell has said he witnessed from 20 to 30 beatings of handcuffed inmates during his three years of working at Rogers, a medium- security facility where prisoners work in farm and dairy operations that produce food for the prison system. Cardell said handcuffed inmates were taken into showers by guards and supervisors and severely punched and kicked in a manner that would not leave cuts or serious bruises.
Cardell said the warden and other prison administrators were aware of the beatings. He also claims medical officials were involved in ensuring that the severity or source of inmate injuries were covered up.
Corrections officials launched an investigation after The Atlanta Journal-Constitution inquired about Cardell's story. Prison system officials have emphasized that none of the suspended employees has been found guilty of wrongdoing.
Recently, there has been a trend towards honoring and recognizing whistle blowers. Time magazine named three prominent whistle blowers as their persons of the year in 2002. (5) One of the three was Coleen Rowley, an FBI staff attorney whose authored a controversial memo to FBI Director Robert Mueller about how the bureau disregarded information that Zacarias Moussaoui, a Sept. 11, co- conspirator, was someone who required investigation.
According to Time magazine:
These were ordinary people who did not wait for higher authorities to do what needed to be done. Literature's great statement on unwelcome truth telling is Ibsen's play, An Enemy of the People. Something said by one of his characters reminds us of what we admire about our Dynamic Trio. "A community is like a ship," he observes. "Everyone ought to be prepared to take the helm." When the time came, these women saw the ship in citizenship. And they stepped up to that wheel. (5)
It is fitting that whistle blowing is now being recognized and protected as an act of courage and honor. Employees should be encouraged to report wrongdoing instead of being criticized and ridiculed.