Abe Lincoln concluded the Gettysburg Address with these words:
“…and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”
Abe would wonder today if that government had perished. As citizens of the United States, we wrestle with assertions that our government is corrupt on a daily basis. We the people want to believe in America. We want to believe that the United States government is an organization that works for the betterment of the people. We waive flags, We sing the national anthem. We wear patriotic clothing. We champion the members of the armed forces. We pay our taxes. We follow the laws. But today it seems that corruption within the government has reached epic and unprecedented levels. Donald Trump owes his ascension in the Presidential race to this unprecedented level of dissatisfaction with our government. It is not only the failure of government to protect Americans from gun violence when a majority of Americans favor stricter gun controls that causes Americans to lose faith in our government. Americans are disillusioned that we fail to educate our children. We have fallen to 14th in education of our children, behind, South Korea, Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong, Finland, United Kingdom, Canada, Netherlands, Ireland, and Poland. It is not only the failure of our government to address and curb global warming, when 97%of scientists agree that man is contributing to the problem, that causes Americans to be apoplectic. It is not only the failure of our government to curb the national debt, when everyone agrees we can’t sustain the debt, that angers us. One out of every six women in the United States will be the victim of an attempted or completed rape during her lifetime. Yet it takes multiple complaints of sexual harassment, discrimination, or even rape before women are believed. Bill Cosby is just one example. Fifty women have now come forward to confirm the allegations. In spite of the Constitutional protections afforded to all Americans, hate crimes in the United States is still common. In 2014 5,479 hate crime incidents involving 6,418 offenses were reported in America. Just in the last few days, since the U.K. voted to leave the European Union, there have already been over 100 incidents of racial abuse and hate crimes. We could only imagine the increase that would follow if Trump were to be the next President of the United States.
With government corruption out of control, it is easy to believe that a single individual can affect no change. However the truth is that if everyone in America took the position that corruption in government was someone else’s problem, there would never be an improvement. Gandhi said:
Because I am an attorney, I am home-bound due to my Multiple Sclerosis, and because I am not required to financially support myself, I believed that it was my obligation to address the corruption in government, the use and abuse of women, and the government’s attempts to cover-up the rampant corruption. I picked the scandalous behavior of Secret Service agents, the attempts to cover-up that corruption by Mark Sullivan,the Director of the Secret Service and Janet Napolitano, the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security , and the coercive behavior of A.T. Smith, the second in command at the Secret Service under the past three Secret Service directors.
A. Corrupt Behavior
The scandalous behavior of the Secret Service was documented in the thousands of pages produced as a result of the Court order issued on Feb. 26, 2016 in this suit. Example of the documented behavior of Secret Service agents referenced in these documents, included some incidents that were never before reported, but will be the subject of a publication this week in the national media. That story is the direct result of my efforts to obtain and disseminate the information produced in this case. By way of preview, the documents produced include references to (1) a polygraph examiner who had himself used prostitutes, (2) marital rape,(3) assault, (4)multiple claims of DWI, (5) second degree domestic assault, (6) sexual abuse, (7) sexual harassment, (8) drugs, (9) attempted rape, (10) unwanted touching in an elevator, (11) aggravated sexual battery, (12) indecent liberties with a minor, (13) Secret Service agents forcing employees to consume alcohol on the job so he could “trust them” (14) reference to agents referring to female colleges as “my little whore bitches” (15) inappropriate kick backs to friendly companies awarded government contracts (15) use of government computers to transmit pictures of nude women and nude Secret Service agents, (16) assistance from Secret Service agents in obtaining a visa in exchange for sexual encounters and exchange of sexually explicit photographs, (17) bar fights between Secret Service agents wherein the agents bit off “the tip of a local’s ear”(18) solicitation of a male prostitute with a government computer who stole the agent’s gun, (19) an agent was arrested for soliciting sexual services from a Washington D.C. undercover agent while driving a marked Secret Service vehicle, and (20) a Secret Service agent who was caught masturbating in his office and asek a woman walking by if she wanted to “finish him off”.
These are only a representative sample of many examples of the Secret Service’s inappropriate conduct and debauchery that had not been heretofore been reported.
B. Attempt to Cover Up by Those in Charge
On April 26th of 2012, immediately after the Colombia scandal, Janet Napolitano testified in the last 2 1/2 years the Department of Homeland Security had received NO misconduct complaints similar to those about some personnel ahead of President Obama’s recent trip to Colombia. “There was nothing in the record to suggest that this behavior would happen” Napolitano testified.
Mark Sullivan testified “I never one time had any supervisor or any other agent tell me that this type of behavior is condoned.” (OIG 2014-123-0001613) Sullivan further stated that “we have zero tolerance for this type of behavior.” (OIG-2014-123-0001620)
Documents produced indicated that “General misconduct is”swept under the rug”. If USSS management like you and they want to promote you, allegations against you actually help. The allegations will be held against you as coercion to do activities at the senior management’s direction. The phrase in the USSS is “if you don’t want anything, they can’t do anything to you.”
…PEOPLE ARE PAID OFF NOT TO REPORT IT. (OIG-2014-123-0003244)
An agent reported that the “USSS routinely covers up issues involving agents including criminal activity or violations of policy or regulation. CS described it as, “they take care of those they want to take care of and get rid of those they don’t.” (OIG-2014-123-0003358)
C. Coercive Behavior
According to documents produced in the suit, the Secret Service received my FOIA request in February of 2013. It was processed, according to the document, in one hour. Within days I received a letter indicating that my FOIA requests were being processed and would be produced after being evaluated for any appropriate exemptions. Within days, the decision to produce documents was reversed due to the assertion of an “ongoing enforcement proceeding.” That assertion was made in February of 2013. That was also the month that the Secret Service required agents to sign a non-disclosure agreement, agreeing not to tell DHS of anything that might be viewed as unfavorable to the Secret Service.
A.T. Smith suggested that he would produce the sworn statement of David Chaney for withdrawal of all my outstanding FOIA requests. I agreed, assuming that the previous assertions of an “ongoing enforcement proceeding” was truthful. It was not. Later specific FOIA requests to identify the “ongoing enforcement proceeding” resulted in not a single document to indicate that assertion was made in good faith. Moreover, it appears from several of the documents produced that some of the agents involved in the Colombia scandal, who originally left the Secret Service, returned. Because none of the documents produced contained the name of any agents, I was unable to identify the identity of those agents who returned.
Thus the documents that should have originally been produced in July of 2012, were not produced, and no explanation was even given. In Feb. of 2013 DHS lied to me when it said there was an “ongoing enforcement proceeding.” When A. T. Smith agreed to produce a single statement of David Chaney to me in exchange for relinquishing my right to obtain all responsive records, he coerced me to forfeit my right to receive thousands of pages of responsive records in exchange for a single document that he was already required by law to produce. When he produced that single statement, over half was redacted without explanation, justification,or even the assertion of an exemption. Worse yet the settlement agreement Smith coerced me to sign required me to waive my right to obtain documents that would shown how much money was being paid in retirement benefits to the people who had lied to Congress (I didn’t know at the time they had lied to Congress).
Since I sent my first FOIA request, the following people have resigned:
- Janet Napolitano, Secretary of Homeland Security
2. Mark Sullivan, Director of the Secret Service
3. A.T. Smith, Deputy director of the Secret Service
4. Julia Pierson, Director of the Secret Service
5. David Chaney, Secret Service agent, involved with prostitute in Colombia, assigned to guard Sarah Palin during the’08 campaign, and the agent that was introduced to Shailey Tripp by Todd Palin.
6. Charles Edwards, the acting Director of the Office of Inspector General, assigned to oversee the investigation of the agents involved in Colombia, and who was himself suspected of corruption. He routinely shared drinks and dinner with department leaders and gave them inside information about the timing and findings of investigations, according to the report from an oversight panel of the Homeland Security and Government Operations Committee. A year-long bipartisan investigation by the panel also found that Edwards improperly relied on the advice of top political advisers to then-Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and acquiesced to their suggestions about the wording and timing of three separate reports.
7. David Neiland,resigned after himself being caught coming out of a house of prostitution. He was the agent charged by Edwards to do the actual investigation of the Cartagena scandal.
None of these seven agents have been fired. All are currently drawing salary or retirement benefits from the Federal Government. Although I would like to report to you how much money these seven are being paid at taxpayer expense, those documents have never been produced. I feel confident that the amounts we are paying these criminals every month, exceeds the total fees I’ve incurred in this suit.
E. Taxpayer expenses
In addition to the retirement benefits we are paying to these corrupt individuals, we the people have also paid for:
- A media relations firm was hired to convince taxpayers that the corruption that did exist in the Secret Service, did not. I requested documents to reveal how much was paid to that firm,but it hasn’t been provided.
2. Large quantities of alcohol consumed by agents, including some who reported drinking 8-10 alcoholic beverages.
3. Over one-hundred cars where damaged just last year by agents that were careless with their government issued cars, including those who were involved in driving while intoxicated.
4. All of the agents involved in the Colombia scandal were required to check their guests into the hotel, and pay an ‘overnight” fee for their guests. Some of the agents paid the fee personally. Some of the agents charged the fee to their hotel bill which was eventually paid by the government. That means we ,the taxpayers, paid for agents to sleep with prostitutes.
5. Worse yet, is the fact that the hotel bills were submitted to the government for payment AFTER the government KNEW of the Colombia scandal, and the overnight fees were still paid.
F. Federal judge denied reimbursement of attorney fees
Yesterday, to my dismay and shock, the Court denied an interim request for reimbursement of my attorney fees and expenses associated with this suit. The Court summarily concluded that I had not shown a “legitimate public benefit” in this case. In spite of the corruption, cover-up at the highest levels of DHS, coercion, and inappropriate expense charged to taxpayers, the Court has ensured that individuals will NEVER bring FOIA actions. In spite of the fact that the Court had to order production of thousands of pages of responsive records, in spite of thousands of hours of time I spent, in spite of the Congressional report finding that Mark Sullivan lied in his testimony, in spite of the hundreds of documents confirming a multitude of reports of corrupt behavior of the Secret Service, in spite of the lies told by A.T. Smith and his coercive behavior, in spite of the corruption and resignation of the very people charged with investigating corruption within the Secret Service, and in spite of over one-hundred thousand dollars in attorney fees I’ve paid, the Court determined that there was not a legitimate public benefit to uncovering this unforgivable behavior on the part of the Secret Service. If exposing corruption in government is not exactly the reason for the Freedom of Information, then there is none. If there is not a legitimate public benefit to exposing corruption, the cover-up of corruption, and the coercion by federal officials of attempts by citizens to uncover the corruption then there is nothing that could satisfy the definition of a “legitimate public benefit.”
Famous patriots have identified the importance ofpublic disclosure of corruption in government:
“A popular Government, without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a Prologue to a Farce or a Tragedy; or, perhaps both. Knowledge will forever govern ignorance: And a people who mean to be their own Governors, must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives.”
“Liberty cannot be preserved without a general knowledge among the people, who have a right… and a desire to know; but besides this, they have a right, an indisputable, unalienable, indefeasible, divine right to that most dreaded and envied kind of knowledge, I mean of the characters and conduct of their rulers.”
“The liberties of people never were, nor ever will be, secure, when the transactions of their rulers may be concealed from them.”
Whenever the people are well informed, they can be trusted with their own government; that whenever things get so far wrong as to attract their notice, they may be relied on to set them to rights.”
Information is the currency of democracy.”
Publicity is justly commended as a remedy for social and industrial diseases. Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants; electric light the most efficient policeman.”
Louis D. Brandeis
“Publicity is one of the purifying elements of politics. Nothing checks all the bad practices of politics like pubic exposure.”
The only sure bulwark of continuing liberty is a government strong enough to protect the interests of its people, and a people strong enough and well informed enough to maintain its sovereign control over its government.”
Franklin Delano Roosevelt