Their identities have been a well-guarded secret, known only to their high-powered lawyers and a handful of House lawmakers and staff. But now Fox News has learned the names of the self-described Benghazi “whistleblowers” who are set to testify before a widely anticipated congressional hearing on Wednesday.
Appearing before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee will be three career State Department officials: Gregory N. Hicks, the deputy chief of mission at the U.S. Embassy in Libya at the time of the Benghazi terrorist attacks; Mark I. Thompson, a former Marine and now the deputy coordinator for Operations in the agency’s Counterterrorism Bureau; and Eric Nordstrom, a diplomatic security officer who was the regional security officer in Libya, the top security officer in the country in the months leading up to the attacks.
U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans were killed in the Sept. 11, 2012, attacks on the U.S. outpost in Benghazi, Libya.
Hicks was at the time of the highest-ranking American diplomat in the country.
Nordstrom previously testified before the oversight committee, which is chaired by Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., in October 2012. At that time, Nordstrom made headlines by detailing for lawmakers the series of requests that he, Ambassador Stevens, and others made for enhanced security at the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, most of which were rejected by State Department superiors.
“For me the Taliban is on the inside of the [State Department] building,” Nordstrom testified, angry over inadequate staffing at a time when the threat environment in Benghazi was deteriorating,
The other two witnesses have not been heard from publicly before.
We want to inform you, that the new Leak Prevention platform POPULEAKS has sent the following request to the Prime Minister of the Arab Republic of Egypt a few minutes ago.
Note: As soon as this e-mail is sent, we have in addition, and in accordance with the new POPULEAKS concept, informed the media representatives listed in our international press mailing list (4,567 direct-contact journalists) about the inquiry addressed to you. Only 4 days ago we reached about 60 million people in Germany with a large customer protection scandal populeaks.org.
To the Prime Minister of the Arab Republic of Egypt
Dear Dr. Hisham Kandil,
POPULEAKS confronts governments, corporations and non-governmental organizations with the assertions made by our whistleblowers - and demands substantiated replies or information within a time window of ten days. POPULEAKS itself furthermore functions as an inquirer in respect of current affairs and public policy issues, events and decisions.
Question: Do you think the current anti-government protests in Egypt are only a temporary irritation or a longer process? Do you want the immediate introduction of sharia? We request your much appreciated answer by latest, 28.11.2012.
Bloomberg Blows the Whistle on the IRS: The agency hamstrings a program designed to bring in tips on tax evasion
Bloomberg News has an eye-opening investigation into what we now know is the failed IRS Whistleblowers Program.
That program is supposed to pay people who tip the IRS off to tax fraud 30 percent of any recovery, but Jesse Drucker and Peter S. Green report that just three of 1,300 whistleblowers have been given awards since it was created six years ago. Not all or maybe even most whistleblowing claims actually point to real fraud, but it’s implausible that 99.8 percent of them don’t. Bloomberg gives us a good idea of why the success rate is so low by tracing the story of one complaint.
That anecdote involves former employees of a tax firm called Alliantgroup who say the company helped its clients evade taxes. The IRS’s agents wanted to impanel a grand jury to investigate the case, but agency brass shut them down without ever even talking to the whistleblowers, Bloomberg reports.
What makes this case smell particularly bad is Alliantgroup isn’t some run-of-the-mill firm. It’s vice chairman is Mark W. Everson, who ran the IRS under George W. Bush (and was later fired as CEO of the American Red Cross for an affair with a subordinate), and several former members of Congress and congressional staffers.
The IRS was well aware of the political connections, as Bloomberg shows by getting hold of internal documents (though we’re not told how it got them):
A new documentary by director Kirby Dick, The Invisible War, about systemic rape of women in the military and the retaliations and coverups victims face, has won awards in many film festivals, and recently even triggered congressional response. The examples of what happens to women soldiers who are raped in the military are stunning, both in the violence that these often young women face, and in the viciousness they encounter after attacks.
In December 2005, for instance, Kori Cioca was serving in the US Coast Guard, and was raped by a commanding officer. In the assault, her jaw was broken. When she sought to move forward with her case, her own commanding officer told her that if she pursued the issue, she would face court martial for lying; her assailant, who admitted to the assault while denying that rape was part of it, was “punished” by being restricted to the base for 30 days and docked some pay.
Cioca now has PTSD, along with nerve damage to her face. She is fighting the Veterans Administration (VA) to receive approval for surgery she urgently needs; she has also become a plaintiff in a class action civil suit against the Department of Defense.
Combine the culture of checkbook journalism with the culture of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. and you get one of the biggest media scandals of all time.
Paying for news is at the root of News Corp.’s hacking and bribery scandals, and the reaction by tabloid hacks to the revelations about The Sun is revealing about the journalistic environment that gave rise to them.
Here’s Murdoch’s former Sun editor Kelvin MacKenzie, writing in the Daily Mail (emphasis mine) :
If the whistle-blower asks for money, so what? It’s better that we know, for example, that our local hospital is killing its elderly patients through lack of care than have the Press ignore a nurse or an ambulance driver who is asking for payment for such information.
I suspect you, as a reader, will be pleased that newspapers report such scandals, even if they have to pay money to find out about them. How, otherwise, would we discover what’s really happening?
By reporting, I reckon. U.S. newspapers have frequently exposed abusive nursing homes and defective hospitals over the years, using conventional reporting methods. In fact, that story is something of a staple of U.S. journalism. And, really, does there exist an ambulance driver or nurse so callous as to demand a payoff before blowing the whistle on a “local hospital killing its elderly patients through lack of care?” Or is that just a made-up example? And besides, we’re not talking about killer-hospital stories. These is basically about gossip, isn’t it?
Nice try, MacKenzie.
Here’s Sun deputy editor Trevor Kavanagh attacking the police raids on his colleagues a couple of weeks ago (emphasis his):
These stories sometimes involve whistleblowers. Sometimes money changes hands. This has been standard procedure as long as newspapers have existed, here and abroad.
There is nothing disreputable about it. And, as far as we know at this point, nothing illegal.
The Sun is accused of getting stories by systematically bribing police and other government officials with hundreds of thousands of pounds—something Rupert Murdoch has all but admitted. Some officials were effectively on retainer to provide what the cops say was mostly “salacious gossip.”
More good stuff from Glen Greenwald. This is the sort of situation which proves to progressives that Obama isn’t really “one of them (us)”.
The Obama administration’s war on whistleblowers — whose disclosures are one of the very few remaining avenues for learning what our government actually does — continues to intensify. Last month, the DOJ announced it had obtained an indictment against NSA whistleblower Thomas Drake, who exposed serious waste, abuse and possible illegality. Then, the DOJ re-issued a Bush era subpoena to Jim Risen of The New York Times, demanding the identity of his source who revealed an extremely inept and damaging CIA effort to infiltrate the Iranian nuclear program. And now, as Politico’s Josh Gerstein reports, an FBI linguist who leaked what he believed to be evidence of lawbreaking is to receive a prison term that is “likely to become the longest ever served by a government employee accused of passing national security secrets to a member of the media.”