by John Hnatio
When the story of NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden broke a debate started in America. A large group of people labelled Snowden as a traitor because he failed to follow the chain of command and report the problems he found to his bosses at the National Security Agency (NSA). If that didn’t work many people say that Snowden should have gone directly to the Congress to fix the problem without going public.
Others have touted Snowden as a whistleblower and a hero who had no choice but to do exactly what he did. These people contend that Snowden’s bosses in the NSA would have simply covered up their own wrongdoing and Congress would have done nothing.
Well, for over three years now, we have reported on the activities of the U.S. intelligence community to conduct unlawful domestic collection activities against its own citizens in the most egregious violation of the Constitution the country has ever experienced.
Three years ago, we discovered a small business where the U.S. Army and the NSA worked together to steal the company’s technology for secret government black programs. The technology, microwire, is a glass coated metal wire that is thinner than a human hair. When you move microwire in the earth’s electromagnetic field it gives off a burst of energy that can be detected at near and far distances—even in space. Microwire is now being used by the military and the intelligence community for highly classified uses.
The Army and the NSA went so far as to conduct special intelligence operations that involved the theft of munitions off the Picatinny Arsenal to conduct secret tests of the small company’s microwire technology. But the intelligence community got caught when one of the people actually involved in the intelligence operation came forward to report what was going on. The witness gave the government a sworn deposition of exactly what happened. We have pictures of the actual weapons that were stolen by the Army and NSA intelligence agents.
But when we reported the clandestine intelligence operation to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) they refused to investigate the matter. When the witness asked the FBI agents who picked up the bombs stolen from off the Picatinny Arsenal if they were even going to ask him where the munitions came from he was told, “We were told not to ask.” No one needs to be reminded that the FBI itself is a member of the intelligence community. So, how likely is it that they would actually investigate themselves. ICM has hounded the FBI for years with absolutely no response.
When the FBI failed to do anything, we were so concerned that we turned to the Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) in the Department of Justice (DOJ). When the FBI itself becomes corrupted the OPR-DOJ is supposed to take over and make sure that the FBI does its job. But in this case, OPR-DOJ didn’t even bother to answer our repeated telephone calls, e-mails and letters asking for an investigation.
Over the past three years we have written and copied letters explaining that the U.S. Government itself was violating the Constitution to every inspector general in the intelligence community. Again, with absolutely no response.
From here we turned to our Congressional delegations. Letter after letter, hundreds of e-mails and telephone calls all with no action whatsoever to look into the astounding story we were sharing. No one—not even one person asked how they could help us.
When we contacted Senator Barbara Mikulski she told us to go away because she did not get involved in “legal matters.” Senator Benjamin Cardin refused to meet with us. Representative Chris Van Hollen told us that it was just our tough luck that the FBI refused to investigate what was going on. He too refused to meet with us.
In Texas it was the same thing. Senator Ted Cruz ran us around the flagpole telling us to write letters and send reports to the inspector general of the Department of Defense. We were told that we had to go through this process first before he would help us. We did exactly as we were told to do and when the system failed to respond Senator Cruz simply abandoned his constituent. When we contacted Senator John Cornyn his office didn’t even bother to respond. Then we turned to Representative Sam Johnson of the Texas 3rd District. Just like Senator Cruz we were given the run around for well over a year. Again, we were told that we must file a complaint with the inspector general of the Department of Defense. We did exactly as we were told but when the DOD refused to respond Representative Johnson dropped us like a hot potato.
Next, we turned to Senators Bob Menendez and Cory Booker of New Jersey who did absolutely nothing. Representative Scott Garrett of the 5th District in New Jersey refused to even sign a letter to the General Accounting office (GAO) asking for an investigation.
But our efforts did not stop there. Over the past three years we have contacted key Congressman and spoke with their staff members explaining the situation. Senator Chuck Grassley, Chairman, Senate Judiciary Committee never responded to our numerous letters and phone calls. His staff when we asked for help said, “What’s in it for us?” On other occasions they hung up the phone in our ears. Representative Bob Goodlatte, Chairman, House Judiciary Committee never answered our letters or pleas for help either. Senator Burr, Chairman, Senate Select Committee on Intelligence referred the matter back to the intelligence community inspector general to investigate themselves with no action. Representative Nunes, Chairman, House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence was too busy to deal with the issue. All of our letters and calls to the House Small Business Committee were ignored. The House Committees on Oversight and Government Reform and Energy and Commerce never responded to our calls, e-mails and letters.
Two weeks ago, the small company was forced to abandon its legal cases in the Federal Courts because the U.S. Government defense counsel engaged in the obstruction of justice with the help of the Executive Branch. He worked with federal agencies to withhold evidence from the Court about the use of microwire in nuclear weapons by the Department of Energy, the fact that the U.S. Navy was secretly contracting out to buy microwire for classified programs, that the U.S. Government was spending millions of dollars in microwire research and development and conducting secret intelligence operations to steal the microwire trade secrets owned by the small company.
But what makes this story so bad is that the Federal Judges in both cases knew exactly what was going on but did nothing to assure the integrity of the system of justice we all rely on to help hold the power of the Executive Branch in check. In fact, both judges aided and abetted the government by placing court documents under seal and allowing the U.S. Government to hide behind classification to cover up the real facts of the matter.
All of this leaves us with a few crucial questions about the future of the United States. When government employees who are sworn to defend and protect the Constitution violate their oaths of office what are we supposed to do? If you know that your own government is violating the Constitution don’t you have an obligation to report it? Don’t government employees and members of Congress have to uphold and defend the Constitution too?
So, was Edward Snowden right in just spilling the beans? No. In spite of the potential consequences, his first stop should have been the FBI. If the FBI refused to do their job, then he should have informed Congress. If Congress failed to do their job, then it was Snowden’s responsibility to go public. Unfortunately, Mr. Snowden failed to follow the process. A hero would have followed the process. A coward would have run away to Russia.
The most frightening lesson we have learned is that the entire system is broken and broken badly. If you follow the process it no longer works. In our case, the FBI refused to do its job in the face of overwhelming evidence that the U.S. Government itself was violating the constitutional rights of its own citizens. The federal court system acted to obstruct the very justice it is supposed to mete out. And, Congress failed to conduct the oversight of the Executive Branch that is essential if we are to preserve our democracy. Thus, we are left with no choice but to turn directly to the American people to help us demand that the situation be corrected.
Last week, we made the most significant release of documents in a single day in the history of the John Galt Program for Investigative Studies. We were pleased that so many of you visited our web site and we thank each of you for being a concerned citizen. But under the circumstances the number of hits at our web site is simply not enough.
We desperately need your help to create a national groundswell of concern about what is happening to our government. Government employees, judges and members of Congress who violate their oaths to protect and defend the Constitution represent a real and present danger to our democracy. A government that dictates its own will upon the people is not a democracy.
Please send the http://jgpis.org link to our website to every person you know to get the word out as far and as wide as you possibly can. Encourage them to contribute to making the government accountable to the people. Thank-you.
John Hnatio is the Executive Director of the Institute for Complexity Management and the Principal Investigator of the John Galt Program for Investigative Studies. He has over 40 years of experience working in the U.S. Government, on Capitol Hill and in private industry.