tv National Whistleblower Day on Capitol Hill CSPAN July 30, 2018 11:09am-1:31pm EDT
one of the greatest honors i have gotten to introduce a man i he isfor four times, the patron saint of whistleblowers. i would say it comes in his bones in terms of supporting whistleblowers. he has been there great champion supporter all of his time in the congress and even before when he was in the iowa statehouse. he was active with whistleblowers send. part of who charles is a, is his great support for whistleblowers. i will never forget when fitzgerald was on the phone, the senator was rushing off to a vote. to pass on to the senator, just one thing. he said till the senator john
832. he went to sunday school more than i have, and said you shall know the truth and the truth us that you free. [applause} that is the senator's guiding light. as you look to the right you may i came in her a lot, there is a plaque with all the senator's names on it, i would tell you this building is from the 50's. , all senators names even for me, are pretty faded and long gone in terms of what they did. grassley, more than
close up his work with whistleblowers and whistleblower protection,l the that work in his work will live on for this republic. child -- every time a cop is protected from a bullet , all of those types of things. and nursing home providing could that is due to his tremendous work for whistleblowers. the coulter that he put an of alebrating whistleblowers is change from when i first came to washington. we didn't have the rose garden ceremony yet buried -- yet. they will dot that it. i want to get a rough up.
you, the say i give sultan of senators, the heavyweight world champion for whistleblowers, the undefeated champion, charles grassley. [applause} >> can give. -- thank you. i just tweeted to the real doll trump -- real donald trump, by having a rose garden ceremony. . thank you for the introduction. in more important for the warm welcome you have given me, not
only at this meeting but so many meetings where i've had a chance to address people one-on-one or a small group of people. it is always a pleasure to be with you. that the, i am proud senate national whistleblower appreciation day resolution is cosponsored by the entire senate whistleblower protection caucus heard -- caucus. a much earlier one, can you believe it? dated july 30, 1778 from the content of congress. on that date, the representatives of the 13 colonies recognized the courageous contribution of whistleblowers aboard the warship. he was a blower headset one of to -- set one of their own
-- described wrongdoing by the commander of the continental navy. responded by suspending andcommodore from his post bypassing the first whistleblower protection law. said, it is the duty of all persons in the service of the united states, to give the earliest information to congress or other proper authority of any misconduct, fraud, or misdemeanors committed by any officers or persons in the service of the states. honoring people like you or advocates for whistleblowers like you, it is not new. it is a time honored american tradition and as old as the republic.
timelysee time honored, but not always honored. we have this gathering here today to honor whistleblowers as we should. 1778,that time in congress has sought to protect honor and reward whistleblowers. not enough. the right thing to do but the sensible thing to do. whistleblowers like those , know where to find the waste fraud and corruption. history has shown us over and over again how much are country needs whistleblowers. years through your first resolution, congress passed in
1863 the lincoln law was passed to help find fraud on the union army. during the civil war. it -- call it the false claims act. on theorrupt contractors taxpayer's behalf. for their pain, the citizen whistleblowers would receive a portion of what the government recovered from the wrong doer. and it works. and these whistleblowers to prosecute fraud proved to be smarter, faster, and more effective than relying on government. that should not surprise anyone us. in 1986, those provisions inspired modern amendments to the false claims act. ofrestore the power whistleblowers to help the government fight fraud. themselvesspeak for
and speak loudly. 1987 to 2017, as 30 years of that law, the federal government has recovered more than 56 billion dollars. came from actions initiated by whistleblowers. so you know how important whistleblowing is what comes to saving the taxpayers money. in the false claims act, being administered by early departments. how many of them took every opportunity they could to say that this whistleblower might not be entitled to the money? one important case the late 80's or early 90's, a district judge called in somebody that was for the u.s. attorney and said something along the lines of
whether this attorney was arguing that this whistleblower should not be allowed to give a certain number of dollars or as much. would -- rely that he would not a case person can ford. after a. of time, i do not find fault with the justice department on whistleblower --. but from the point of view, i still find fault. the administration or the department of justice. somehow, somebody doesn't want to give credit where credit is due. figure makes it clear that people like you and some advocates are not a
whistleblower. that is or the information comes from and it should be encouraged . billions of dollars in other words. have been returned to the federal treasury, all because the whistleblowers. you'll hear from one of them today. he would tell you about how he saw his bosses knowingly put police officers in danger. story onell you his body armor manufacturers. these the best way think but bulletproof. within two weeks of each other 2003, two police officers were critically wounded when vestment readies companies failed heard one officer died.
the other was permanently injured. year, his case finally came to an end. all the defendant settled. why should it take that long when something is so obviously wrong. finally getting justice to a person that wants to save people's lives. when that happened, dr. wester said i lost my job and career, i have no regrets, i would blow the whistle again. when you don't listen to whistleblowers like him, that is when the regrets come. because of his remarkable courage, the product was pulled from the market and no doubt, countless lives saved. what is his company had listened to him in the first place? turned out very
differently from the two brave officers whose vests failed them. because of his case, the government recovered more than $67 million in lost funds and damages. because of whistleblowers like dr. wester, the false claims act is the most effective tool we have to fight government fraud. over the last 10 or 15 years out of the 30 it has been in effect, is justice department sending press releases. they assume that whistleblowers, opponents, opponents of false claim lot tend to be very
skeptical about whether these were wards -- rewards were justified. these people that are opponents assume whistleblowers are motivators myself interest or greed. the resorts encourage that behavior. the reward programs are not about what whistleblowers gain blowing a whistle, but about everything whistleblowers stand to lose. is, with so -- whistleblowers are so ostracized they suffer retaliation for speaking out. you have heard me use these words, whistleblowers are about as welcome as a skunk at a picnic. in lost cases, it cost them
their livelihood. fired, they cannot go out and get another job. often times, they are blacklisted. legal cause at the same time. their income for a long. of time. let me digress. i told you i tweeted about this. you, whistleblowers would have what they problem is the president of the united president, iny have this conversation with eight presidents, from the top , thee bureaucracy president of the united states to the lowest levels, maybe
there is no low levels because there's all public service. whatever it is, from the president on down, wouldn't everybody managing people and government understand that whistleblowing is important and what not be better off if we had more people who know her the skeletons are buried if they would do it. [applause} i won't tell you which present this was, but i was on air force one more than once. this time we had opportunity that beyond one was the president. i said, we have to have a rose garden ceremony. honoring these people. that,swer was, if we did
we would have 3000 whistleblowers coming out of the woodwork. that is the purpose of my suggestive authority. more of the people coming out of the woodwork. let me get back to my text. if i remember where i left off. hugeese people encourage legal cause at the same time they lose their income and maybe for a long time. the whistleblower reward provisions don't just provide an incentive for them to set forward, and many cases, the reward is there to make a hole for the region -- retaliation. the government would never know, all the ways it is getting ripped off without these whistleblowers. whatever the government recovers because of their information, whistleblowers ought to receive their share of that. that is the model behind the
whistleblower program. and it works. since their creation, these programs have more than $975 million. in recovery sanctions, and revenue loss, to their tax fraud. when he's agencies work with whistleblowers, they succeeded. there is always room for improvement, that is what congress is supposed to doing. every step of the way, i have been doing oversight on these programs and pushing them to do even better. they need to complete their investigation and make timely determinations. that being, i am pleased the earlier this year, congress passed my amendment to ensure irs whistleblowers have not
changed. my amendment clarifies that they recovered funds the irs uses is the basis for whistleblower awards known as collective proceeds, including unpaid taxes and collect26 penalties collected under civil cases. none of these proceeds would have been collected without the whistleblowers help. congress also prove my amendment to end the double taxation of --. now whistleblowers don't have to wear about paying taxes on their legal fees. even with these changes, our oversight works is never done. i am still pursuing much-needed improvements. believe this month, provisions i offered were included in legislation.
were and increasing communication. with whistleblowers. they are the right status updates. irs can share information with whistleblowers to advance investigations. most importantly, the reforms would provide protection for irs whistleblowers. from employer retaliation for the first time. i am also actively engaged in getting the bottom of the security exchange commission -- it is that whistleblowers are making the difference in the investigations every day, are awarded what congress has determined they are entitled to. decidennot arbitrarily what is appropriate.
you've heard the old saying, let the punishment for the crime. fit the cases, truly whistleblowers contribution. they are no recoveries in these cases if there were no whistleblowers. .hat is how the system works the opposite is true. going after waste fraud and abuse without whistleblowers is about as useful as harvesting and anger of corn. i am a farmer's you know where i'm coming from with a rusty pair of scissors. that applies across the board. as -- ourns as well own government. here have also blown the whistle on waste fraud and abuse agencies. some of the very same agencies they go after fraud in the
private sector worried your cordage has helped us in congress to fill our duty of oversight and ensure government is truly accountable to the people we are supposed to serving. no matter the source of the wrongdoing, whistleblowers who give the earliest information as togress said in 1778, congress and other proper authorities, -- resolution, continental congress recognize the true value of whistleblowers under our democracy. resolutions, today, the senate will proclaim exactly the same thing. that is not enough. i have been asking every president since ronald reagan, it is written down here.
i have been asking every president since ronald reagan to have a rose garden's are these men and women. my single one of them have taken me up on it. untold amounts of government waste and misconduct have been uncovered. it is all about whistleblowers doing their job. it is a bout time the president join the rest of us in saying thank you. this president should be willing to do it because he is come to washington to make changes. there is nobody that can help drain the swamp anybody more than people like you, who are whistleblowers, willing to say something is wrong because you are as politically conscience, very proud to be an american.
you want government to do what the government is supposed to be doing and spending the money the way they are supposed to be spending it. [applause} i'm going to say thank you. i am taking some of your papers with me. thank you very much. [applause} >> that man is a hero. he stared down in my case, the fbi. that takes courage.
anniversaryhe 240th of whistleblower day. whistleblower law on july 30, 1778. my name is jane turner and i am an fbi whistleblower. in the last 240 years, i cannot say we have come a long way. 40 years, the laws have changed but not much has changed for the whistleblowers. mention, myo daughter and i came in for many so to -- minnesota, and throughout the few hours today, i'm going to point out some people who come a longer distance. from -- the resident of
the hellenic anticorruption organization. he flew in from greece on his own time and money. kelly mccauley, he is a member parliament.ian welcome. parliament. welcome. encountered the following, harassment, sometimes not only you, your family members. today, we have cheryl whitehurst was marty fred whitehurst, his wife, she was harassed, intimidated, and eventually discharged from the fbi because her husband blew the whistle.
we have sons and daughters, here.s, all all who have suffered also a long with the whistleblower. we suffered allegations of our mental health. we suffered allegations about areas where having to go for fitness for duty. ostracized, separated from coworkers. we have endured open hostility. alienation. i will work has been discredited. we've had jobs and performance reports. we have had undercutting of our work. downgrading. blatantly, insufficient, and we are tired. whistleblowers have been subjected to lengthy and difficult processes.
time was over 10 years. years and still fighting the fbi in terms of my retirement. when i was discharged. ocean thrown into an where we can see no lan -- no land. no son. no stars. the only compass a whistleblower possesses, is our integrity and our bravery. but we face, true north. and we stay on a torturous journey. we have made life changing decisions that have effect it is deeply. , thatave cleaved our soul ,ave damaged and it sometimes
destroyed our families. divorces, we've seen kids have been alienated because their mothers or fathers were not there. critical to answer questions, if not me, who question mark if not now, when question mark -- mark twain said the two most important days in your life on the day you were born and the day you find out why. whistleblowers have to stand up for the truth. they have to stand up for justice. we are, the human in the arena. we are bloody but unbowed. i know the price has been too high. i know the damage has been severe.
where are we headed? can we head toward the light? where we are in control of our own narrative. will you hear somebody at the end of our time together than we not have control of her narratives, and almost destroyed her. those that and shame do is wrong? can we network and support, can we heal? point is is critical and history as now. we must not allow others to control our narratives. what is a narrative about whistleblowers? ex-employeesntled or just after money. , i was ugly,said smelled, and my mama just me funny. question some of
my dresses when i worked in indian country. every year, the national whistleblower center celebrates whistleblowers on this day. courage,ate their those who of raise their voices in the name of combating fraud, corruption, and other crime, even facing adversity hurried -- adversity. was a blur strength in the conviction, and the dedication to truth. we have some muscle blowers out in the audience, it is my distinct pleasure to welcome over 60 whistleblowers in attendance today. [applause} if we could have you stand quickly.
i'm going back to you. michael horwitz is here. he is the inspector general of the department of justice. he is responsible for the oversight of the fbi. since 2015, he is also served as chair of the council of the inspectors general on integrity and efficiency. an organization comprised of all 73 federal inspectors general. this is a very important man. he is one of the good guys. please, come forward. >> thank you for the very kind introduction. thank you for having me today.
this is tremendously important, steve makingate time available so i could be here today. i had agreed to speak down the street. at a judge's invitation. very much appreciate steve making time in the soft me to be here. seven iimportant and want to be here to speak to you about. follownown as going to the senator, i am not sure i would've come back even later to speak. what great presentations and discussions. do aslue all that you whistleblowers to come forward. this is the 40th anniversary of the passage of the -- in 1978.
we had an event here in the capital. has been herehe since 1978 and is one of four wasers of congress who voted on everything a piece of legislation at the same time, he is moved forward so many important pieces -- in the whistleblower area and they go hand-in-hand. it is important for us as ig's to have all of you be willing to come forward and report to us on what you seeduct, and organizations, that you worked with and worked for, whether they are within the agency, i often speak about this with the folks in my office. we oversee the justice department over 100,000 employees. have one of the largest
offices with 475 people. for hundred 35 people oversee 100,000 people. that doesn't touch grant recipients in contractors. given us a responsibility can be overwhelming at times. to do that job most effectively, we need employees at the justice department to be willing to come in and speak to us. we need employees of the just department contract recipients, grantees to the come in and speak with us. that is how oversight gets done effectively. that is how it is rooted out. it is made more effective and efficient. all have fought for over the years. as the senator mentioned, you are not in it for the money, you're in it because you want to see justice. you want to see what is right or do you want to see government work the right way.
to see people cheating and stealing and lying their way through the taxpayers money. that is why it is so important that we work on these issues and further these issues. things thate of the i've been proud to see in the community or the last couple of years as we work forward to advance issues of importance on whistleblowers and whistleblowing. we're close it was senator grassley's staff and a house in the senate whistleblower caucuses. with organizations like the national whistleblower center. they've heard their voices and your voices speak to us on issues that are important, issues that we've to work for. the to make sure that people like you all perform such a vital and important public forward,coming
speaking the truth, speaking about what needs to change. and making sure that you all never get retaliated for doing so. it is easier said than done. and i know for my career as a i was familiar with some the cases he referenced. we did a lot of police corruption work. we oversee law enforcement agencies. courage for anybody to come forward in any organization , i have to say it takes tremendous courage and a law enforcement organization for people to come forward and speak truth to power. telling what is really going on. times, it is the only way we learn about what is going on. it is because of people's
willingness to come forward. so, the couple of things i want to mention that we are moving g community.n the ig -- is here from the nsa, the new inspector general. [applause} i had the good fortune of having him as my deputy. as many of you know, he expanded community.g tois now working for the ig develop a similar program. we worked on training. we've had to training programs for them, standing remotely. we are moving forward with the senate. we were to them in recent legislations and make office --
permanent. these are all critical steps forward. the most important thing is to work with the community with whistleblowers for the next 40 years as we continue. making it more effective and to make sure that you all have a safe place to go. making sure that you're not is theted against her .ray then it was a good staying [applause} >> i would like to mention that
robert already got a ruling in at nsa. a whistleblower good job, keep it up. we also have lee martin in the audience, who is the director of virus whistleblower, welcome. glad to have you here. i'm going to go back to all , sheila was a plaintiff in the burlington railroad case. and her concern was to you have to be fired in order to be successful. it took nine years to get that. what is interesting in this case, it came to direct play
into my case. we build on each other. whether it is your body, your bones, your money, whatever it takes, we are building on each other. we need each other, we need to support each other. and we need to network. to continue because we have some incredible whistleblowers in this office, marshal, ig, u.s. know you are here. matthew has been with us for several years. the department of defense. the city of alexandria, virginia.
a whistleblower on oklahoma state. fbi whistleblower. ronald kavanaugh, federal drug administration whistleblower. family court corruption. the army corps of engineers. stand up your here. a whistleblower with the veterans administration, we need whistleblowers like you. the fbi. robber also was in the
adjudication in his case was tied up for over 10 years. california national guard whistleblower. intelligence community. she is with the intelligence community for she cannot stand up. michelle mcdonald, civil rights violations and family court. -- acting inspector general usaid. the department of defense whistleblower. discrimination against african americans in federal government.
michelle parker, pension benefit guaranty corporation whistleblower. nancy paul blew the risks -- whistle on high risk can the patients. the department of homeland security. the department of energy. marcel reid, the acorn whistleblower. dan richardson, bristol-myers whistleblower. the missouri national guard whistleblower.
body armor whistleblower. fbi. kenneth williams, law enforcement whistleblower. stephen zanowick, u.s. marshal service. it.i do believe that is is there anyone i missed? if there is, please stand up. do not be embarrassed. do not be embarrassed to be a whistleblower. if i missed your name, stand up and announce yourself. [applause]
[inaudible] linda: thank you. thank you. you are all in the arena. won, butot have you are in doubt. thank you. unbowed.e thank you. right now, we're going to have lipinto introduce the grandfather of the fbi whistleblower. dave, who is a whistleblower , please introduce fred. toe: it is an honor introduce fred, who blew the whistle on the fbi crime lab. he told me when he came up last we started
representing him 26 years ago. had a celebrated case, high profile, testified in the o.j. simpson case, the world trade center one case. he made a lot of news, but wanted 1 --nly well, actually two things. to thing he wanted to do was ensure that fbi agents from the fbi lab when they went into court would tell the truth. the second thing he wanted was to find out who got hurt. he has spent the last 20 something years since his settlement at the fbi searching for those who got hurt, and it has taken that long, and people are finally being released from prison today because of dna technology and other things that actually enable people -- but he
upgoing to, p or -- to come here. he is going to tell us about what he has been doing. [applause] aboutyou know, jane talks how bad we hurt. and we hurt, and then i say oh darn. the people who have spent time in prison make our hurt pale. i am going to tell you about a case that highlights what i am talking about. on a thursday in august of 1989 an fbi agent of the name of william tobin reported that one of his fellow agents had given false and misleading testimony in hearings involving then u.s. district -- a then sitting u.s. district judge. 27 times is what mr. tobin said. agent tobin said.
managers,at to his and this is what they did with it. at that point, that agent should have been taken off-line and everything he did reviewed. human lives, people on death row, people in prison at that point, yes. of december,ay , judge bud adelman, in a memorandum opinion order dictating the conviction of mr. terry nelson. mr. gary nelson, stand up. [applause] -- mr. nelson spent 33 years in prison because
no one would listen. this is what judge adelman said. trial was this testimony founded on lies and exaggerations. there is a human face to this tragedy. this is a real story. cried, and our families got hurt, oh darn. move on. he just got out the first of march and he cannot stand here and rant and rave because he is under a gag order. he cannot say anything to you. he is under a gag order. and we will respect that gag order. but i am not. i am not. [applause] i will hush in just a minute.
the fellow that put him down is living off a nice retirement check in virginia. there is no accountability for i have comeat least to that conclusion. if there is no accountability, there has to be maximum oversight, and that oversight comes from the courage of the kind of people in this room. the worldnelsons of should not have to go through this. i gave him a computer. i should have given him a boat anchor. he had no idea what to do with that computer. 1985 is when he went down. you remember how bad you are hurt, remember this man. what this man went through pales in comparison to what we went through. thank you. [applause]
linda: it takes your breath away, doesn't it? you wouldn't have whistleblowers without whistleblower attorneys. stephen m gone is the executive stephen m cohen has authored eight books on whistleblowing law, is known as andwhistleblowing expert, it also includes the whistleblower's handbook, a step-by-step guide in doing what is right. his historical research led to discovery -- led to
the discovery of the first whistleblower law passed by the founding fathers in 1778. stephen is a history buff. he will recount the history of this landmark legislation for stephen,, but before there was his mother, karen -- corrine. stand up. [applause] 92 years old. keep on chugging. stephen, thank you for all you have done for whistleblowers. stephen: first, i want to thank everyone for coming, for caring, for doing what you have done. i want to mention a little bit about jane.
she was one of the first fbi agents who was a woman. she had jurisdiction in what was known as indian country in north dakota. she was the only agent in that jurisdiction and the only woman agent all around. the charge on fighting child sex abuse, violence against women, and essentially was the champion of all women and child victims on those reservations. she created a revolution there. she filed a discrimination suit. she became a whistleblower. her career was destroyed. -- and itd her trial was in front of a jury, which many whistleblowers will never have that ability. but we were able to get it to a jury, the jury heard her story, they gave it to fbi witnesses,
and they gave her the largest award permitted by law. in fact, even larger, it had to be cut down. reasons she won was because to united states attorneys took the stand and and thet she did contributions she made, and they were just -- when you read her it's unbelievable. for approximately 14 years, she was that woman agent. one quick story. when she busted a guy for a rape of a child -- inconceivable, i cannot go into the details, but many of these crimes had been ignored. when she showed up to do the interrogation and got the confession, the rate best would not talk to anybody, -- rapist would not talk to anybody. but when he heard that jane was at the jail and she said i've
got cigarettes, he said i will talk to the woman fbi agent, and she got the confession that day, and he went to jail for life. [applause] . footnote when she stood up for her rights, the bureau went after her. we must have thought that case for -- how many years? 15 years. she won every case. but the resources the bureau put in to destroy her -- it's just unforgivable. many of you lived that yourself. we do this event on whistleblower day because this is the day for whistleblowers. we must reclaim our history. 240 years ago today, our founding fathers passed the first whistleblower law. is significant is because these are the people who created the united states of
america. they wrote our constitution. they created the basic framework of our government. months of the signing of the declaration of independence, at the height of the revolutionary war, they were confronted with whistleblowers who were exposing misconduct by the commander of the new u.s. the mistreatment of british prisoners, charges that would be considered embarrassing to the u.s. government. one of the whistleblowers, and there were 10 on the ship outside of the providence harbor, one jumped ship, made it to congress with the petition and said please help us. day, that moment, our founding fathers had to deal with whistleblowers. and how is our government going to view them for the future?
as you heard from senator grassley, they suspended back -- that commander of the navy. they listened to the whistleblower. but the commander was not through with them. he was a powerful person. his brother had been the governor of rhode island. he came from a very powerful family. judicious libel lawsuits against the whistleblower in rhode island court and they caught two of them and threw them into jail. and from jail, they wrote to congress. i'm going to read you a letter. we dug it up out of the archives. it is pretty much -- having represented whistleblowers for 34 years -- this is what i hear daily. going to quote from their letter from providence jail, written on july 8, 1778.
your petitioners, not being persons of affluent fortunes, but young men who have spent most of their time in service of their country, in arms against its cruel enemies, finding themselves arrested for doing what they believed and still believe was nothing but their bail in a space where they were strangers without connections, without the ability to defend themselves against a powerful, artful person, without the advantages of the wealth amassed in the congressar, humbly ask for their intervention. that, in my view, was the turning point.
on july 30, congress again convened. they heard the evidence. ctedthey and acted -- ena america's first whistleblower law, calling on every inhabitant of the united states to call to the appropriate attention of the .uthorities crimes copies of that resolution are on the table. but they did two other things. money to pay for the in rhode island. they hired an attorney general, a brilliant young lawyer. they wanted the best. that lawyer defended them in the criminal case, and they won that case. they also released all the
documents. there was no freedom of information act. they didn't care if the british read those documents. because ithe archives wanted to see if it was true. after reading the resolution. out the check from the continental congress for the $1400 written to the lawyer. . was dumbfounded that was at the height of the american revolution. the continental congress was broke. they needed every penny for the revolution. the founding fathers would be hung for treason if they lost the revolution. they were not going to be embarrassed or appalled. they would be hung. andthey took that money gave it to defend the whistleblower. and it's clear why. toy were giving that money
defend their vision of democracy that thomas jefferson had put in the declaration of independence. what would be worth winning the revolution if the people did not have the right to expose misconduct? why win? they stood up for you. we must remember this. we must fight for this. we must be sure that this incredible act of democracy is remembered. thank you. [applause] >> and now the great honor to theoduce a person i had incredible honor to represent.
it took us 14 years to win his case. has been a police officer since the 1980's. he is now a professor and part-time police. when a young officer was shot in the chest right above the heart by a criminal, he would have died before the bullet-proof vest -- but for the bullet-proof wearing.as he understood what body armor means not just to law enforcement, but to all first responders. he became the director of research for the largest body armor company in the united states and he learned that they were selling tens of thousands to every police department across the country and in the federal government that were defective. the company was making millions,
and he had to make a choice. he was the only person in the entire body armor industry, in ,he entire country, to stand up to get those vests off the market, and to hold every single company accountable. dr. aaron westra. >> i am truly humbled to be here. i recall writing my speech on the airplane. i am from northern michigan, right on the canadian border. .0% of my students are canadian they said, it's a little get together. senator grassley will probably say something about you. and i am in the company of all these people.
i worked with fred in roundabout ways. i teach forensics. some of the things he brought out in the crime lab situation of the fbi are remarkable. i am completely taken back. i am honored to be in such good company. things,een called many officer, sergeant, dr., and rat. ima whistleblower. i exposed fraud in just about every district. in there some companies body armor industry that did not participate in using defective nylon products, but most did. and i was the only one who stood
up. this luncheon is significant to me for many reasons. late in 2003, my wife and i made a trip to talk to attorney: and cohentorney -- attorney and the attorneys at the national whistleblower center, great people. little did i know, that it would be 15 years later that i would be called up. we appreciate that. it doesn't always work out this way. i would like to see around of applause for the spouses of whistleblowers. my wife kim is here.
we have been married 35 years. .e will see how today goes our oldest son has been a police officer for 11 years now. my brother is a police officer. our whistleblower journey did begin in 1982. to a be any in progress. a breaking and entering in progress. as we arrived on scene, my saw the suspect fleeing and i gave chase. he lay down. i fully believe he would get up and run again. he opened fire on me with a 350
magnum, striking me in the hand and just below the bag in my body armor. i returned fire. flashes in the night, as we would say. -- igents and marshals hate when this happens, right? that started my whole believe started my that f -- i got a masters degree in psychology studying the factors of being struck in body armor. officers, our agents, our marines, our soldiers need weaponry.
weaponry, armor, it's very important. very, very important. you have to know it's going to perform to standard. you have to know it's going to do what it is supposed to do. a warrior's worst nightmare is his or her picking up their firearm and having it not work. it became very important -- it became a mission as i went through my studies. , i became a director at the world's most successful body armor company. i noticed degradation in the the main profit making product from the company. it was called kevlar on steroids. it was not kevlar, so we are correct.
i notice that after i made it clear through inner channels that there was a problem, i was excluded from many things. i had to go eat lunch by myself. they wanted to keep me around, i think. haveimes it is worse to whistleblower outside the tent. ,e placed the complaint in 2003 2000 four, and the complaint was filed in federal district court. it was put under seal. i recall coming to washington dc
-- washington, d.c. and meeting with federal agents from many, many agencies. federal agent pulled me aside and said you understand what you're doing? he was supportive. i said yes. he said are you sure you understand? this is going to be tough. he was right. but we went forward. thank you. for all the lives that have been saved. here who arens whistleblowers. grassley to senator and all those who make this happen. this is the only way it's going to happen. we have to have whistleblowers. . am truly humbled i felt a sinking feeling when the gentleman, the marine indicated that his case didn't
>> i am now going to ask the chair of our board, gina green, wedescribe a new initiative are using for whistleblower protection to stop the extinction crisis. we have them in the united states. they also have them where the poaching's and the extinctions begin. gina. gina: good afternoon. thank you. i am super honored to be a cochair of the national whistleblower center. i first want to say, i tremendously admire and respect all of you whistleblowers. [applause] you are amazing and brave. my lifepent most of protecting -- i am an
environmentalist and a scientist. i have been protecting the world's natural resources. i mostly work in the tropics in developing countries on wildlife protection and management. as well as protecting the management of the oceans. we know that the world is under increasing threat from organized crime. the $500 billion wild suffering under illegal fishing. decimateds are being for lundberg. endangered species are being trafficked into extinction for medicinal, jewelry, and clothing consumption. it's a real problem. witnessed thatve whistleblowers have been incredibly effective in
other types of crimes. thank you. you have set the trend. you have set a model. it is time to bring the power of whistleblowers into the wildlife and environmental seer. wildlife crimes often originate utside the u.s. this is an international problem and needs an international solution. informants and whistleblowers , especially in. developing countries where the , dealf law is problematic with tremendous hardships. make every. should possible effort to incentivize them, to come forward to law enforcement authorities and to ensure their confidentiality and
safety. we need to take whistleblowing outside the u.s. and today, i have the great pleasure of introducing our wildlife speakers. i'm going to introduce two and a row, and ask that , former director of the u.s. fish and wildlife service, now chief director -- chief executive officer of the association of zoos and aquariums which represents more than 230 facilities in the u.s. internationally. overpresents and overseas 180 6 million annual visitors. he was previously the director of the u.s. fish and wildlife services where he works to protect -- worked to protect endangered species, restore
wildlife habitat, and enforce federal wildlife laws. welcome, dan. but before dan, we have another very special guest, beth all the united states director of the international fund of animal welfare. beth ensures the strategic development and implementation of u.s. projects and campaigns with special emphasis on the ivory trade, wildlife trafficking and wildlife security issues. beth oversaw the strategic development and implementation of u.s. campaigns to protect , addressom threats global wildlife crime, and protect elephants. so first, welcome dan. then beth will proceed. and we have a new subject, a new area we would like to bring whistleblowing too. welcome.
[applause] dan: thank you. an honor to share a podium with the director of the fund for international animal welfare. i want you to picture an tiger,t, a rhinoceros, a . grizzly bear if you know what a pangolin penguin.e -- not a if you don't know what a pangolin looks like, it's kind of a cross between an armadillo and an aunt eater. anteater. trafficked animal
on the face of the planet. wildlife trafficking is one of .he big four trafficking crimes drugs, arms, humans, wildlife. it is having a devastating impact on wildlife and on communities, people, indigenous people, people who are dependent on wildlife for subsistence. it's a threat to our world heritage as we see wildlife populations diminishing before our eyes. and the problem is us, the 7.5 billion people who share the planet today. and by the middle of the century, that will be 10 billion people. number ofust the people, it's the affluence as we lift people from poverty
worldwide. wildlife trafficking is a crime of the middle-class and upper-class. it's a crime that is difficult to detect. at catchinggood poachers, but we are not so good at catching people who are profiting from the poaching. is a highrafficking profit, low risk endeavor. as director of the u.s. wildlife service, i was proud as our forest rectors helped turn the tide and took the battle to the people making the profits. helped turnrectors the tide and took the battle to the people making the profits. it was called operation crash because a group of rhinoceroses is called a crash. we decided to let poachers go,
let product moves, and try to catch people profiting from the crime, and it was successful our imagination. we crushed ivory twice, in in timesolorado, and square. we raised the issue to a worldwide audience. ivory herehe sale of in the united states and we challenged china to do the same, and they have. we have recently seen ivory bands in the u.k. eu., hopefully, in the that was impossible without u.s. leadership. 230 members are engaging in this issue. the modern zoological institution is a purposeful institution. they are powerful. a collectivet opportunity.
they invest more than $200 million a year into direct support for field conservation. they have more than $200 million -- more than 200 million annual visitors. we have recently joined forces with the u.s. wildlife trafficking alliance, now a ofgram of the association sue's and aquariums. we are working with partners to bring a voice to this issue worldwide. expression of that voice in congress was the end wildlife trafficking act. it was the most unusual thing in the world today, a bipartisan act of concern, republicans and democrats coming together to say we need to end wildlife trafficking. international
tiger day. we joined forces with the world wildlife fund and the world association of zoos and theriums to bring force to issue of tiger farming and the trafficking of tigers and tiger products. congress, the effort continues. we have hr 5697. the wildlife conservation and trafficking act of 1918 gives us -- of 2018 gives us new tools to prosecute traffickers, making wildlife trafficking and offense under rico and the travel act. froming for funds prosecution to be recovered and committed to conservation. we have an opportunity to work toh you and your community
bring force to this issue, to uncover wildlife trafficking at its roots, to empower people to report and protect them when they do report, turn the table on traffickers, make wildlife trafficking a low profit, high risk endeavor. ve have the opportunity to sa animals from extinction and to save a future for our children and grandchildren. thank you very much. [applause] >> thank you, dan. thank you so much for allowing me to be here today. it is really inspirational. i know many of you personally. a few of you may know this, but a few of you may not. poachers are slaughtering elephants faster than elephants
can reproduce. tens of thousands of elephants are cruelly killed each year to meet the insatiable demand for ivory. the people and communities that live closest to them, in fact, are the ones that pay the highest price for this illegal activity. this is just one example of the urgent need to protect animals from illegal killings and to protect the brave people who come forward with information on wildlife crime before it happens. name is beth allgood, i am the u.s. director for the international fund for animal welfare and i am happy to join you today to talk about the connection between wildlife crime and whistleblower protections. is a global nonprofit that identifies and combats threats globe.als across the for nearly 50 years, our organization has provided global leadership and assistance to animals and to communities in
need. we envision a world where all animals are respected and protected, and we strive to achieve the delicate balance between human and animal coefficients. we recognize that our mission begins with understanding and empowering people and communities. because these communities often interact with threatened species, they possess invaluable field experience and wisdom. it is a fundamental spirit of collaboration and cooperation in multiple communities around the world that has driven our success over 50 years. and our work would not be possible without the essential component of trust. that includes trust in the community and trust in the system, especially where government corruption is right -- rife. this can be quite difficult. we are reminded of the fundamental role whistleblower laws play and the reason we are
here today. our half-century of experience has shown us that there is a insideal safety risk these communities and inside the government for people who have urgent information to share. and people understand the greater good of the environment and animal conservation and actr moral imperative to regardless of their own circumstances. information more urgent than that held by a whistleblower because that real-time information can literally mean life or death for those animals. it is often the only key to stopping a crime such as poaching before it begins. need to protect these whistleblowers and to take further steps all the way through the chain from poaching to the smuggling of wildlife products, to ultimately the markets where the demand happens. this year we were delighted to welcome national whistleblower
cohenr executive director to wildlife security training on the kenya-tanzania border. the module on applying whistleblower laws to assist authorities, customs personnel, policymakers was particularly innovative. we are also pleased to announce and the whistleblower center signed a strategic agreement to combat what life trafficking around the world. this is just the beginning. through these efforts, we will continue to disrupt wildlife crimes. as long as the demand for toegal wildlife continues keep the trade alive, we will need innovation, collaboration, and mutual trust to resolve the problem.
whistleblower laws have proven effective at combating other forms of crime and we believe the time is right to integrate these protections fully to the wildlife crime sphere and we support efforts to bring laws into the dust whistleblower laws into the field of wildlife trafficking -- to bring whistleblower laws into the field of wildlife trafficking. just want to conclude my remarks with a reminder that animals and the environment are truly a fundamental component of our well-being and the value we place on them cannot be effectively quantified or in any way overstated. the need for stewardship of our resources begins at the individual level and connects us with the global community. it is when we join together and build that element of trust, and give the brave and caring individual the chance to safely act for the benefit of the greater good that we can safely
achieve a sustainable and peaceful coexistence with the natural world. i thank the whistleblower center for inviting me and all of you for all that you do. thank you. [applause] linda: next, we have something very special. we have representative madeleine bordallo from guam who will be addressing us by video. all right. lights. >> i am congresswoman madeleine bordallo you, representing the u.s. territory of guam, and i
want to wish everyone a happy whistleblower day as we celebrate the 240th anniversary of our nation's first law to protect whistleblowers. unfortunately, i am heading back to guam, and i am unable to attend this years event in person, but i do want to thank the national whistleblower center as we recognize the contributions of whistleblowers to good governance. the rule ofrnance, law, and for their commitment to the truth. there is bipartisan support in congress for empowering whistleblowers to not just tackle the global wildlife .rafficking and poaching crisis wildlife trafficking and illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing rank among the top global crimes. these criminal activities generate billions in illicit
profits each year for transnational criminal extraneousns and groups. these same groups are responsible for human rights violations and narcotics, weapons, and human trafficking. in trafficking the global wildlife trafficking trade, congress can help to conserve iconic wildlife and cut off illicit financing for groups responsible for these human rights abuses. global political corruption, and even terrorism. whistleblowers are a proven resource for law enforcement, and we should engage them in the fight to prosecute wildlife poachers and takedown trafficking rings. by encouraging whistleblowers on wildlife trafficking and related crimes to come forward, congress andincrease enforcement
leverage existing federal resources. marine wildlife issues often go overlooked but are increasingly targeted. , we arethe pacific increasingly seeing foreign fishing fleets smuggled out of their own countries and taking illegal narcotics as stimulants to fish around the clock without rest out of fear for their very lives. the seafood products are largely untraceable. without help from whistleblowers, they end up in your grocery store aisle, on the menu at your favorite restaurant, or on your dinner table. whistleblowers can provide the actionable intelligence needed to prosecute these crimes and advance american leadership in illegal trade of
wildlife and seafood products harvested with slave labor. all this with existing federal resources at no cost to taxpayers. again, i want to thank the national whistleblower center for highlighting these critical issues. these are concrete steps we can to tackle these horrible problems. all it takes is the will to act. thank you. [applause] linda: just a quick note, there is a whistleblowers documentary going on-site between 6:00-10:00 at busboys in washington, d.c. i was told to mention by cathy cole that there would be free
food. calapinto is general counsel of the national whistleblower center, the co-author of whistleblower law, a guide to legal protections for corporate employees, and he is a really great guy. david, do you want to come up and introduce the next couple of speakers? david: thank you, jane, for those kind words. , therers ago today wasn't just a bipartisan consensus to protect whistleblowers. a unanimous consensus in the continental congress to do so. upon at least a bipartisan consensus to protect
whistleblowers. it gives us some hope and when there are dedicated people who work in some of these government offices that have been created by congress to protect whistleblowers. withy not always agree what these agencies do, but we can take some pride in solace in the fact that there are who believe ine whistleblower rights at some of these agencies, and one such person's tristan, who was here today to represent the office of , the printable deputy of the osc. will you please give him a warm welcome. [applause] tristan: it is a great honor and privilege for me to be with you
today. this is the 40th anniversary of the ig act. it also happens to be the 40th anniversary of the civil service reform act in 1978. i think it's quite significant that both of those acts were passed exactly 200 years after the resolution that highlighted whistleblowers. i think it is a good recognition of the significance of that time for our government. koernercounsel henry spoke at this luncheon last year. he sends his warm regards as well. hisre very grateful for contribution to the community. i worked on capitol hill for
eight years. four years of that were for the patron saint of whistleblowers, chuck grassley, a time for which i'm extremely grateful. i am grateful for those of you in this room, both whistleblowers and those that help with whistleblower advocacy. those of you who know henry koerner know we are very passionate about protecting whistleblowers. coming to osc was really a dream job. i am grateful to henry koerner and his predecessor for giving me the opportunity. part of what i love most about staffing whistleblower hotlines was i have the opportunity to interact with people all the time. many of them are people i felt a could help in some way. , it led to people being investigated and being heard. it led to congressional investigations. sometimes, we were able to
direct them to the right place and explain the process, how things worked. sometimes -- and these are often the most difficult -- even if i could not do anything else, i felt like it was meaningful in some cases just to be able to hear someone out. to say from one human being to another, i am sorry this happened to you. it sounds like a horrible thing you have experienced. sometimes, everybody needs that kind of year. even if i thought their case stood a pretty good chance of success, i tried hard to manage their expectations. anstleblowers do not have easy road, as you can imagine. understandhelp them that being a whistleblower did not give one a shield or an umbrella. just because there are
protections it did mean that no federal manager would have a lack of respect for those protections. and even with rights and remedies, it takes times for those remedies to be vindicated and for the process to take it -- to play itself out. a lot may happen in the time before someone is vindicated. nevertheless, i was always touched by the courage of those who came forward. so, as much as i miss those day to day interactions, i am grateful for the work of those at osc who handle the work day today. one of the things i found most difficult is that out of the thousands of individuals who come to osc -- and we receive about 6000 claims a year -- there are only a small part 10 -- small percentage we are able to do something with. some of that comes down to the limits of the law. things areen those
not able to be followed up on, i hope people feel heard by osc. , we areitical appointee focused on doing all we can to shorten our process, to ensure that operations are more efficient. even if the answer we come back with is negative, people feel like they are heard. i feel i do work we are doing is meaningful for people. people feel they are being punished for the crime of telling the truth. for so many people, blowing the whistle is an act of conscience. for all of you who have helped ensure that taxpayer dollars are protected, who have drawn attention to eminent threats to public health, to all of you, i thank you.
i owe you a great debt. thank you very much. >> all right. we want to make sure we get this right. guest is dan meyer. many of you may know him. we want to make sure we get the right title, he is the former chief of the intelligence community whistleblowing and source protection office. i believe. did i get that right? all right. we will take that. he was the executive director of one of these offices in the government that was set up to help whistleblowers in the
intelligence community. not an easy job. we have known dan for many years. been dedicated to extending and protecting whistleblowers in the intelligence community. he spoke here last year at our luncheon, and he has spoken at many other whistleblower day events. since he was last here, dan was removed from his position as executive director of the program in retaliation for blowing the whistle. as observers at the whistleblowers center, we believe that dan's case is really shaping as one of the most important federal employee whistleblower cases in recent veryy, and it reminds us much of the struggles that fred whitehurst faced taking on the
fbi. and really, the outcome of dan's determinevery much what type of whistleblower rights employees in the intelligence community will have or whether they will have any at all. all andd concern us please give him a warm welcome and support. [no audio] -- [applause] >> well, it's good to be back. this is my first public appearance since my untimely departure from my job last november. i promised the dni i would not talk about my experience directly. that is all going to have to wait for a while. as a former intelligence officer speechll under restrictions. all of us who serve in the intelligence community make a lifetime commitment to keeping
under wraps the secrets that we learn on the job. remarks.s are my own they are not those of dan coats or michael atkinson. it i have some thoughts for you today on where we have been and where we are going. to thank two democrats in two republicans who have been very helpful in the past year. senators grassley, senator paul, senator warner, senator white, they have all been very helpful in shaping this question is that will move us forward as we go to the next level of intelligence community whistleblower protection. think about it. it's required to blow the whistle as a federal employee. you shall report corruption. it's not optional. it's not a discretionary. this is a mandatory. it's a shall. lawful disclosures, that's why we have these procedures. we should get to a point for
federal employees can put on their performance evaluations how many times they blew the whistle. i do that in mind. [laughter] -- in mine. [applause] your supervisor should be able to look at your record and see that joe bag of doughnuts, you blew the whistle four times last time, we will give you a five for that item. it's part of our job as federal employees and supporters of federal employees to support a system of bringing that wrongdoing forward. i do think that senator grassley is that on target in that there needs to be a white house event to book and this event. i think it should be in february of every year. as soon as everyone comes back from winter break they get geared up to blow the whistle. the executive branch, it's not a ,artisan of the -- observation has a challenge with such an event, because let's face it, most of the whistleblowing is about activities in the
executive branch. no matter how well-intentioned president trump is or president whistleblowing, by the time they get into office, the swamp creatures start to emerge and drag him down. that's what happens. i have sat in national action plan committee meetings and i listened to government attorneys primarily who have talked about the ill advise it nature of bringing together people at a conference to talk about roles and responsibilities. but really, the white house is optimally situated to do that. i want to get back to steve's anecdote about the u.s. navy and the whistleblowers on the maltreatment of prisoners of war. there was an event 16 years later call the xyz affair, another naval problem for us. a clause i problem with france on the caribbean. three of our diplomats have been told that they needed to give tribes for actions to take place in paris. it became a nasty mess back in the united states, pitting americans who were pro-french
against americans who were pro-english. i highlight this because there was a significant act of whistleblowing when president adams, through a process not unlike our intelligence community, informed the congress of this wrongdoing. the solicitation of bribes. that's the type of process that our intelligence community needs to use to give themselves safe and from being reprised against my supervisors and managers. the other path that occurred in the xyz affair was leaking. future president jefferson, working his network in the federal government, was leaking material out of the federal government to his media contacts. one of them became the secretary of treasury a few years later. that started a dynamic in our society between whistleblowing is unhelpfulhat for whistleblowers inside the intelligence community. our supervisors and managers need to help us create a system
that allows for the employees to safely bring the information forward and we need to do it now in this environment because unlike a few years ago, we are now in a situation where we are being divided by our international ties. we have pro-russia elements in the government, pro-europe elements in the government. our whistleblowers are needed now to expose the security that make our senior officials leverage of all antics voidable by foreign sides,on either of those trying to shift the public opinion in a way that the american pinion -- american people may not want it to go. thank you very much. [applause] amazing, the people that we have here, isn't it? absolutely amazing. michael d cohn is a whistleblowing attorney and since 1985 he has successfully
represented numerous high cases inetaliation several cases. he is going to introduce the next speaker and i think that he will be blown away. michael, you stately whistleblowing attorney, you. [laughter] [applause] if i may, could we have linda tripp, please, p are? -- please come up here? [applause] >> all right, as you know, my name is michael cohen and i'm the proud cofounder of the national whistleblower center, along with my brother, stephen, and my law partner. in 1988 the national whistleblower center became the first national organization to
use the word whistleblower in its title. back then people had no understanding of what that term meant. so, we wanted to define what it meant for us and for anyone who came to our organization. and that definition began, begins, a whistleblower is someone whose loyalty is to the truth. the truth cannot pick a side. it's neither democrat nor republican. and it's most certainly not beholden to the powerful. i guess it was some 20 years ago that one particular whistleblower asked us for help. she was in real trouble. she had been removed from federal service. her reputation destroyed. a criminal indictment was looming over her head. the walls of post-traumatic
stress were closing in. that whistleblower was linda tripp. my first introduction to linda screen.me on the tv some extremely unflattering images appeared again and again and again. it was always the same image. and i got a very uncomfortable feeling in the way that the whistleblower was continuously being presented. i didn't know anyone involved in that endeavor and i thought about that. something that just bothered me. until she came to my law office, seeking help. that point i was free to ask her any question i wanted answered.
and i wanted to find out the answers to why that video image bothered me so much. outi wanted to really find whether she had loyalty to the truth. before anyone ever knew her name , before anyone ever knew her -- lindadner trip tripp was ostracized. government officials entered into her privacy areas that were supposed to be protected by law. and they released it to destroy her reputation before anyone knew her name. we pursued those privacy act violations on her behalf and we forced the government to admit to having intentionally violated the privacy act. linda tripp help to cement the
cornerstone of our democracy. that even the president of the united states is not above the law. her story is timely and important. it is time that the larger whistleblower community has an opportunity to hear from her. [applause] >> thank you. thank you. normally a root canal would be preferable to speaking publicly. i tend to not do it. i wanted to say that my daughter, allison is with us today. [applause] absolutely unwavering support and i will never forget that.
her eldest daughter, one of our seven grandchildren is with us as well. so, welcome. [applause] i think my five granddaughters out of the seven would benefit from hearing this one day. they are too little, now. you are almost there. look, we have heard today amazing stories. thats really close my mind a whistleblower armed with the truth wields enormous pressure. on wrongdoers. believe that they have a way to do whatever it is they want to do. doesn't matter if it's civilian or military. it's a norm us we bring to the table. over time, we have forged a path leading to much greater accountability and industry in
politics. in a more safe, anonymous world. in a norm ismes at price for the whistleblower. we are compelled to act. there comes a point where it's no longer a choice. and despite the hardships and the personal pain, not only to us, but to our families, when asked, most of us say we would do it all again. in my case, had the circumstances been similar, and had the sitting incumbent been a republican, i would have acted no differently at all. simply at its core about left and right or rather, it was always about right and left -- no, no, no. [laughter]
wrong. right and wrong, never left or right. .nd i will say this this became so polarizing globally, really, with everyone having an opinion. do yet it had nothing to with politics. which is hard for anyone to understand if they remember the story. many years ago. its -- was about was exposing perjury and obstruction of justice. it simply was never about politics. we talk a lot about whistleblower protections and i think that enhanced protections are long overdue. for instance, i believe that all will notwhistleblowers be fully protected until those who actively perpetrate retaliation are individually, personally held accountable. [applause]
i know that you all in your own walks of life and your experiences know what i'm saying. it's not just the company or the agency that needs to be held accountable. that it should be the individual one who does the bidding of those positions. if there is no pain on a personal level to those individuals, then there is no deterrence to follow. all of us sitting in this room can identify with this statement. of us are ever made whole again. it is virtually impossible to get your good name back. the vitriolic, the attacks, the slander, remain in the public peoplesnd sort of color
thoughts forevermore -- people's thoughts forevermore. i'm not sure they ever really dissipate, regardless of what you say or how loudly you say it. we must do better. i know what it's like to be in the crosshairs of the most powerful person in the world. to be attacked viciously. not because i said something untrue. but because i said something people did not want to hear. and it was about a popular president. to politicians, only sides matter and the truth comes the casualty. bitink we are all a different. whistleblowers believe that truth is not disposable, not dispensable. integrity and honor mean something. betrayersho see us as
, if we are seen through a lens , then my question to them is -- if i am not a team team?, whose team, whose in my case, my duty -- steve talked about duty. my oath was to the office of the presidency. to the institution. not to the sitting incumbent. and i was true to the oath. i told the truth. i do fault myself for not having the gumption or the courage to do it sooner. i was faced with a culture of corruption and, again, this is not partisan in any way. it was infecting the office of the presidency. i was quiet for many years. i was afraid on many levels to
speak up. there was a quote and i will give you the quote. "we will just have to destroy them. i first heard these startling words in the west wing of the white house. , they werehilling not directed at me. 1998, i began to fully comprehend what the politics of personal destruction really, really means. you know, they say forewarned is forearmed. so, i knew what was coming. but i was ill-prepared for the and, in the fury end, the overwhelming effectiveness of the smear campaign.
,hat had seemed abstract to me we'll just have to destroy them, was now personal. and i was the target. i know what a real high-tech lynching feels like. i felt like that's exactly what happened. it began with the smoke and ,irrors that you saw on your tv which turned a sitting president into a victim of a vast conspiracy areas -- conspiracy. it was a full frontal attack on anyone who would there speak against him. the destruction of another human discouragement, belittling, and ridiculing for political gain. villain is magically victimized, which is essentially what happened, the wrongdoer became the victim.
that is when in my case, the whistleblower was essentially destroyed through all of these allegations. the ridicule and the humiliation that i suffered at the hands of a complicit media, certainly a willing energy industry. .- entertainment industry it was not pleasant and it was very unpleasant for my family and for that i will always be sorry. you know, there are two things that i think we got out of today. with a lot of the speakers, actually. we all ended up sharing a couple of things. know how to't even quantify this, but it's a feeling of sheer loneliness. a feeling of an utter sense of isolation until you meet them.
a feeling that you are on your own and that no one really is on your side. there's nothing quite like it. and there's nothing that can prepare you for it. this -- the second phase and we have all faced this on some level. the retaliation, the retribution , the personal and the professional attacks. when you speak truth to power, the powerful push back. broke, the 24y hour news cycle was in its infancy. back then it was normal news at wasal times a day and there just so much they could fit in. however, that changed. my story was tailor-made for this very thing.
for me it was the birth of advocacy journalism, a time when reporting to a backseat to opinion journalism and slant. it was all filtered, most importantly, through a political lens. so, while i was watching this, as everyone else was, i was pretty stunned at the portrayal. it colored the national dialogue. it formed national opinion based on very little fact at all. and in my opinion, victimized the wrong person. i hope that my being here today can help to change that dynamic, even if just a little bit. so that future whistleblowers with just causes can adjourn -- avoid the harsh reality i faced. i blew the whistle on not just a powerful person, but the most
powerful person in the world. it was not until i became aware that the president was informed " that iknew everything decided to act. to this day, i regret that -- regret that i didn't do so sooner. in july of 97, when i became aware of what he knew, i threw caution to the wind and accepted that my career, my livelihood, my pension, and by then i think it had spanned a good 26, 7 , irs, federal civil service knew that all of it would be a casualty of the action i was going to take. to those out there who say that i did this for personal gain, i say, standing here 20 years ,ater, what did i stand to gain
then or now? i stood to lose everything and in fact, i did. yet, if i had to do it all over again, i would. [applause] >> thank you. i will say i simply couldn't have lived with myself that i failed to act. it was poorly done. you know, there was no handbook. there was no manual that says that this is how you take on the sitting president as a lowly civil servant. thathad i done things might have been better for me in terms of gathering evidence, like taking contemporary -- contemporaneous notes, documenting evidence two years before i finally did the
catch-up to re-create on celluloid what i had been hearing in a horrifying fashion for two years. if i had done all of that, perhaps the end result would have been different. it might have been the removal of a president from office. again, what i have provided to the independent counsel was insufficient. had i had the proof that i , the resulthad would have been different. you know, a woman that i once knew white well famously said that it takes a village. [laughter] i couldn't have navigated the shark infested waters without the passion, dedication, determination, and brilliance of my incredible attorneys, who are here, right there. thethree cofounders of
national whistleblowers center. these are important names. steve cohen, michael cohen, and david, thank you so much for all that you do. they broke the mold with these visionaries and we are all better for it. inc. you. [applause] -- thank you. [applause] >> that was incredibly powerful, thank you, linda. that was amazing. and thank her family for standing by her. because -- [applause]
i remember a special agent in charge that said to me, when i was blowing the whistle. he did not want me to continue forward with it and he said -- you have a kid of your own to think about. and i knew that was a threat and i know that linda had to be thinking of you when she made some of the decisions that she did. and that takes incredible courage. thank you, linda tripp, for your courage. [applause] i would like, real quickly, because we are going to wind it up, i would like real quickly for you to meet my daughter, victoria turner, who -- [applause] who survived while i was off to the desert. i would like to thank stephen end of ec.der of
michael cohen. dave della pinto. and the secretary-treasurer of the nwc. [applause] k.ive a nod to her mother, thank you for a wonderful daughter. [applause] together, these four amazing attorneys have over 100 years serving for whistleblowers. that's amazing. julia andt to thank my -- [indiscernible] who put this together. they did a wonderful job. the whole crew of the national whistleblowers center staff and interns. i want the whistleblowers to remember to network. and to take care of yourself.
physically, emotionally. to see you next year and i want to hear how you are controlling your narrative. thank you. have a great year. thank you for coming. [applause] wife that was wonderful. thank you very much. >> thank you. >> there may still be some food out there. please get it. cookies, there's definitely cookies. >> no more food? oh. well, at least there are cookies and coffee. >> there's a book coming out by david tenenbaum. light armor describe ability. it was about what to do with ied's [inaudible] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2018]
>> italian prime minister withppe condi is meeting president trump and washington, d.c.. they have a news conference scheduled for 2 p.m. eastern and you will be able to watch it live, here on c-span. supreme court nominee brett to meet withtinues senators on capitol hill. follow the confirmation process on c-span, leading up to the senate confirmation hearings and the boat. watch live, on c-span. watch anytime on c-span.org. or listen with the free c-span radio app.