The how and why of whistleblower smears

Gathered together in one place, for easy access, an agglomeration of writings and images relevant to the Rapeutation phenomenon.

Re: The how and why of whistleblower smears

Postby admin » Mon Mar 28, 2016 7:18 am

Russell Tice
by History Commons
3/28/16

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Russell Tice was a participant or observer in the following events:

Late 2002-Early 2003: AT&T Constructs Secret Surveillance Facility in Main Operations Center

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An aerial view of the AT&T Easylink Service building in Bridgeton, Missouri, where the NSA allegedly has secret facilities. [Source: USGS via Microsoft]

On behalf of the National Security Agency (NSA), AT&T constructs a secret, highly secured room in its network operations center in Bridgeton, Missouri, used to conduct secret government wiretapping operations. This is a larger and more elaborate “data mining” center than the one AT&T has constructed in San Francisco (see January 2003). Salon’s Kim Zetter will later write that the Bridgeton facility “had the earmarks of a National Security Agency operation,” including a sophisticated “mantrap” entrance using retinal and fingerprint scanners. Sometime in early 2003, AT&T technician Mark Klein (see July 7, 2009) discusses the Bridgeton facility with a senior AT&T manager, whom he will only identify as “Morgan.” The manager tells Klein that he considers the Bridgeton facility “creepy,” very secretive and with access restricted to only a few personnel. Morgan tells Klein that the secure room at Bridgeton features a logo on the door, which Klein will describe as “the eye-on-the-pyramid logo which is on the back of the dollar bill—and that got my attention because I knew that was for awhile the logo of the Total Awareness Program” (TIA-see Mid-January 2002, March 2002 and November 9, 2002). Klein notes that the logo “became such a laughingstock that they [the US government] withdrew it.” However, neither Klein nor Morgan find the NSA secure room at Bridgeton amusing. In June 2006, two AT&T workers will tell Zetter that the 100 or so employees who work in the room are “monitoring network traffic” for “a government agency,” later determined to be the NSA. Only government officials or AT&T employees with top-secret security clearance are admitted to the room, which is secured with a biometric “mantrap” or highly sophisticated double door, secured with retinal and fingerprint scanners. The few AT&T employees allowed into the room have undergone exhaustive security clearance procedures. “It was very hush-hush,” one of the AT&T workers will recall. “We were told there was going to be some government personnel working in that room. We were told: ‘Do not try to speak to them. Do not hamper their work. Do not impede anything that they’re doing.’” (Neither of Zetter’s sources is Klein, who by the time Zetter’s article is published in 2006, will have made his concerns about the NSA and AT&T public.) The Bridgeton facility is the central “command center” for AT&T’s management of all routers and circuits carrying domestic and international Internet traffic. Hence, it is the ideal location for conducting surveillance or collecting data. AT&T controls about a third of all bandwidth carrying Internet traffic to and from homes and businesses throughout the US. The two employees, who both will leave AT&T to work with other telecommunications firms, will say they cannot be sure what kinds of activities actually take place within the secret room. The allegations follow those made by Klein, who after his retirement (see May 2004) will submit an affidavit stating his knowledge of other, similar facilities in San Francisco and other West Coast switching centers, whose construction and operations were overseen by the NSA (see January 16, 2004 and January 2003); the two AT&T employees say that the orders for the San Francisco facility came from Bridgeton. NSA expert Matthew Aid will say of the Bridgeton facility, “I’m not a betting man, but if I had to plunk $100 down, I’d say it’s safe that it’s NSA.” Aid will say the Bridgeton facility is most likely part of “what is obviously a much larger operation, or series of interrelated operations” combining foreign intelligence gathering with domestic eavesdropping and data collection. Former high-level NSA intelligence officer Russell Tice will say bluntly: “You’re talking about a backbone for computer communications, and that’s NSA.… Whatever is happening there with the security you’re talking about is a whole lot more closely held than what’s going on with the Klein case.” The kind of vetting that the Bridgeton AT&T employees underwent points to the NSA, both Aid and Tice will say; one of the two AT&T employees who will reveal the existence of the Bridgeton facility will add, “Although they work for AT&T, they’re actually doing a job for the government.” Aid will add that, while it is possible that the Bridgeton facility is actually a center for legal FBI operations, it is unlikely due to the stringent security safeguards in place: “The FBI, which is probably the least technical agency in the US government, doesn’t use mantraps. But virtually every area of the NSA’s buildings that contain sensitive operations require you to go through a mantrap with retinal and fingerprint scanners. All of the sensitive offices in NSA buildings have them.” The American Civil Liberties Union’s Jameel Jaffer will add that when the FBI wants information from a telecom such as AT&T, it would merely show up at the firm with a warrant and have a wiretap placed. And both the NSA and FBI can legally, with warrants, tap into communications data using existing technological infrastructure, without the need for such sophisticated surveillance and data-mining facilities as the ones in Bridgeton and San Francisco. Both AT&T and the NSA will refuse to comment on the facilities in Bridgeton, citing national security concerns. [SALON, 6/21/2006; KLEIN, 2009, PP. 28-30]

January 10, 2006: Whistleblower Says NSA Spied Illegally on American Citizens

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Russell Tice. [Source: ABC News]

Former National Security Agency (NSA) official Russell Tice says that many of the wiretapping operations he once helped run were illegal. “I specialized in what’s called special access programs,” Tice tells ABC News. “We called them ‘black world’ programs and operations.” Tice is ready to testify before Congress about what he calls the illegal wrongdoings that are part of the Defense Department and the NSA’s wiretapping programs enacted after the 9/11 attacks. Many of these programs were targeted at innocent US citizens. “The mentality was we need to get these guys, and we’re going to do whatever it takes to get them,” he says. The technology used to track and sort through every domestic and international telephone center is impressive. “If you picked the word ‘jihad’ out of a conversation, the technology exists that you focus in on that conversation, and you pull it out of the system for processing.” Intelligence analysts use the information to develop graphs that resemble spiderwebs linking one suspect’s phone number to hundreds or even thousands more. While the president has admitted giving orders that allowed the NSA to eavesdrop on a small number of Americans without warrants, Tice says says the number of Americans subject to eavesdropping by the NSA could be in the millions if the full range of secret NSA programs is used. “That would mean for most Americans that if they conducted, or you know, placed an overseas communication, more than likely they were sucked into that vacuum.” Tice has been subjected to what appears to be bureaucratic punishment for his willingness to blow the whistle on the nation’s warrantless wiretapping programs; last year the NSA revoked his security clearance based on what it calls "psychological concerns," and later fired him. Tice says that is the way the NSA often deals with employees it considers troublemakers and whistleblowers (see January 25-26, 2006). [ABC NEWS, 1/10/2006; ABC, 1/10/2006]

January 25-26, 2006: NSA Allegedly Uses False Psychological Characterizations to Curb Whistleblowers

Current and former National Security Agency (NSA) employees say that the agency often retaliates against whistleblowers by labeling them “delusional,” “paranoid,” or “psychotic.” They say such labeling protects powerful superiors who might be incriminated by potentially criminal evidence provided by such whistleblowers, and helps to keep employees in line through fear and intimidation. One NSA whistleblower, former intelligence analyst Russell Tice, is currently the victim of such agency allegations. Tice, along with three other former analysts, Diane Ring, Thomas Reinbold, and another analyst who wishes to remain anonymous, make the allegations of unfounded psychological labeling by the agency; their allegations are corroborated by a current NSA officer who also wishes to remain anonymous. [CYBERCAST NEWS SERVICE, 1/25/2006]

Identifying a Potential Spy -- Tice, a former signals intelligence (SIGINT) officer, is the first NSA whistleblower to capture the media’s attention, when in 2004, the Pentagon investigated possible NSA retaliation against him. In 2001, Tice reported that a co-worker at the Pentagon’s Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) was possibly engaged in espionage for China, possibly connected to California Republican official and Chinese double agent Katrina Leung. [DEMOCRACY NOW!, 1/3/2006; CYBERCAST NEWS SERVICE, 1/25/2006] Tice says, “I saw all the classic signs” in the DIA employee. After transferring to the NSA in November 2002, he reported his concerns again, this time adding criticisms of incompetence for the FBI, who in Tice’s view failed to properly investigate his allegations. Instead, Tice was ordered by NSA Security to undergo psychiatric evaluation. He was labeled “paranoid” and “psychotic” by NSA forensic psychologist Dr. John Michael Schmidt; Tice lost his top-secret security clearance as a result. [CYBERCAST NEWS SERVICE, 1/25/2006]

Fired -- He was fired from the NSA in 2005 after spending his last years at the agency pumping gas and working in an agency warehouse. “I reported my suspicion and got blown off,” he says. “I pushed the issue and that ticked them off, the fact that I questioned their almighty wisdom.” [COX NEWS SERVICE, 5/5/2005] Tice again made news on January 10, 2006 (see January 10, 2006), when he admitted to being a source for the New York Times’s article about a secret NSA electronic surveillance program against American citizens, a program carried out in the name of combating terrrorism. [ABC NEWS, 1/10/2006]

No Evidence of Mental Instability -- As for Tice’s own psychological evaluation by Schmidt, according to three other clinical psychologists, there is “no evidence” of either of the disorders in Tice’s mental makeup. And another NSA psychologist pronounced Tice mentally sound in 2002, though having a “somewhat rigid approach to situations.” Tice is described by five retired NSA and intelligence officials as “congenial,” “enthusiastic,” and “a scholar of high intellectual rigor [with] sound judgment [and] unparalleled professionalism.” Tice says of the NSA’s attempts to smear whistleblowers with apparently baseless psychological allegations, “This nonsense has to stop. It’s like Soviet-era torture. These people are vicious and sadistic. They’re destroying the lives of good people, and defrauding the public of good analysts and linguists.” But it has been effective in cowing others who were, in Tice’s words, “too afraid or ashamed to come forward.” [CYBERCAST NEWS SERVICE, 1/25/2006]

Further Allegations -- Another former analyst, now employed by another federal agency and who only allows himself to be identified as “J,” describes similar targeting by the NSA. J is fluent in an unusually high number of languages, and is described by former colleagues as “brilliant” and possessed of “amazing” critical skills. “I believe the abuse is very widespread,” J says. “The targeted person suddenly is described as ‘not being a team player,’ as ‘disgruntled,’ and then they’re accused of all sorts of bizarre things. Soon they’re sent to the psych people.” J himself was targeted in September 1993 (see September 11, 1993) when he and other analysts concluded that the United States was being targeted by Islamic terrorists, and then again in early 2001 after predicting a terrorist attack using planes as weapons (see May 2001).

NSA Like the 'Gestapo' -- A third whistleblower, a current NSA officer who refuses to be identified, confirms the allegations and says that baseless psychiatric allegations as a form of retaliation are “commonplace” at the agency. He says, “A lot of people who work there are going through the same thing. People live in fear here. They run it like some kind of Gestapo.” Those identified as “problems” are “yelled at, badgered and abused.…These are really good people, who start to be labeled crazy, but they’re telling the truth.” The official adds that the NSA often plants false evidence in personnel files as part of the intimidation campaign. Tice says the NSA maintains what he calls a “dirt database” of inconsequential but potentially embarrassing information on employees, gathered during routine clearance investigations and used as a form of leverage. The current officer says that an “underground network” has developed to discuss these issues. “It’s like the Nazis have taken over,” he says. [CYBERCAST NEWS SERVICE, 1/25/2006]

Personal Vendettas -- Diane Ring is another former NSA official targeted by her superiors. Unlike Tice, a self-described conservative who believes President Bush should be impeached over the NSA’s illegal wiretapping program, Ring is a Bush supporter who believes the surveillance program is entirely proper. Ring, a former NSA computer scientist, says she was ordered to undergo psychiatric evaluations after coming into conflict with a colonel at the Pentagon. Ring is not a whistleblower per se like the others, but says she was targeted for retaliation because of a personal vendetta against her. The colonel “blew up” at Ring after she missed a meeting and explained that her branch chief had her working on a classified program that took priority over the meeting. Ring also was evaluated by Dr. Schmidt. When she complained about the apparent retaliation, her security clearance was, like Tice’s, revoked, and she was “red-badged,” or put on restricted access within the NSA offices. Ring says she received an excellent job evaluation just three months prior to the actions taken against her. She says her colleagues at the time were told not to talk to her, and she was restricted to working in a room filled with other red-badgers. She thinks she was isolated as part of an intentional campaign to force her to leave the agency. “They had these red-badgers spread out all over the place.” she recalls. “Some were sent to pump gas in the motor pool and chauffeur people around. In our room, some people brought sleeping bags in and slept all day long. Others read. I would think that would incense the taxpaying public.” Schmidt eventually reported that another doctor diagnosed Ring with a “personality disorder,” but Ring has a July 21, 2005 letter from that doctor, Lawrence Breslau, which reads in part, “On mental status examination including cognitive assessment she performs extremely well.” In the letter, Breslau says he never made such a diagnosis. She, like others in her position, went to the NSA Employee Assistance Service (EAS) for confidential counseling, but the current NSA officer says that though those sessions are supposed to be confidential, NSA officials can and do obtain “confidential” sessions for retaliatory purposes. “Their goal is to freak you out, to get inside your mind,” that officer says. Rice claims that NSA General Counsel Paul Caminos lied about her case before a judge, denying that he had sent an internal e-mail forbidding anyone from supporting Ring. Ring says she was “floored” by Caminos’s actions: “I served in Bosnia. We had mines going off all around us, all day long. That was nothing compared to this.” She is currently working on clearing her name with the NSA’s new director, Lieutenant General Keith Alexander. Ring believes that the problem at NSA involves a small number of people, “The whole lot of them is corrupt though. There is zero integrity in the process. And zero accountability.”

MR. WALTERS: Rehabilitation Project Force. That is a disciplinarian level. When a person is not following the written policy and intentions of L. Ron Hubbard, or they failed in any way to either get people's money or to brainwash them or handle somebody who goes to an official, he is then put in a very degraded position, which will be, like, being stripped of, you know, what ever titles he has. He has to wear dirty old clothes, a dirty rag. He must clean floors and sewers and things like that until he realizes how degraded he is. And when he does that, he is allowed, then, to come back. During that time, he is not allowed to talk to anyone; no Scientologist can talk to him. He is treated in a degraded manner; it's technology.

***

MS. TAVERNA: When I was at the Fort Harrison, there was a thing called the RPF, which is the Rehabilitation Project Force. I never felt good about this. There's a lot of things in Scientology that I never felt good about. I saw them and kind of just didn't understand them, especially, when I saw some of my friends in this RPF, very nice, good people. One day they would be fine and smiling and, then a good friend of mine, the next day, she was in this RPF. She was -- everyone in it has to wear blue. They wear blue shorts and shirts. They're not allowed to speak to anyone. They had to always run; you're never allowed to stop. If you stopped running, you're punished or put into something more severe, which is called the RPF's RPF, if you break the rules. That's something that most Scientologists don't know about. I didn't know that much about it at the time. But all I know is what I saw. I saw a few people who looked very sick. One woman had sores all over her body, open sores. I went into my friend. I asked her if I'm allowed to speak to her. She said, "You can speak to your friend, but in the RPF they're not allowed to communicate to anyone outside the RPF." So, I went to her, and she kept her head down. And when I addressed her, I said -- her eyes were all swollen, she had been crying. And I said, "What happened?" She said she couldn't talk about it, and she said -- she called me "Sir." As a matter of fact, this is the person who recruited me for that Operation Z, a very bright, beautiful, young girl. And in the RPF, if anyone speaks to you, you have to address them as "Sir." And I felt very upset for her. I cried, thinking that she was calling me "Sir." But she just said, "It's going to be fine," you know, through tears in her eyes. And I don't know the details of why she got in there. People in the RPF are not allowed to eat with the rest of the people. After we finished eating, they would come and eat whatever, you know, was left, you know, same food, though, but never sit at the table with another person. They're considered a lower -- you know, a lower level. And the purpose of it is to rehabilitate them because they have become so degraded and so psychotic that they have to be separated and go through this particular physical work. They work for half a day and get audited or processed for half a day until they come up to the next level.

***

MR. RAY: I went to talk to my supervisor and the second I — that I mentioned that I was sick, okay, he got extremely violent in his tone of voice to me and started yelling at me and screaming at me, saying, you know, "Don't get sick. We need you to work. You can't have any time off, period. There's no way we're going to let you have any time off." And I just said, "Wait a minute." I was just too tired to argue. So, I would go up with my cart, like I was cleaning rooms, and I would open up one of the rooms that was empty and I'd lay down and go to sleep. I was just so tired; There was — I could barely carry myself up the stairs, just barely make it. And I'd go in there and go to sleep. And I did that several times. And eventually — this was right before I left — I wound up in the RPF, Rehabilitation Project Force. And was I in for a surprise. What it is is a group of people that have done something, what they consider, against the Church of Scientology, okay? The Rehabilitation Project Force is the last thing they do to try to save your being before they kick you out, okay? And I was scared to death to be kicked out, because me, along with everybody else who's there, has a basic need inside to do something good for somebody else, okay? And we were led to believe that we were doing something good for a whole lot of people, and — we didn't want to lose that. I didn't want to lose that. So, I said, "Okay. I'll go into the RPF." So, I went in there. And basically, what it is is emptying all the garbage out of the restaurants, okay? Restaurant garbage is wet; it's old food; it's got flies and all kinds of bugs crawling around in it. And we would pick up the cans, take them down to the garbage dump, dump them into the garbage dump. And then, at the end of the day, we'd have to go in there in our shoes and stomp it down. And I don't know what kind of diseases we were exposed to, but we were getting some really weird ones, okay? ...And you'd get inside there and this restaurant garbage would be just like quicksand. You'd go all the way to the bottom. You'd be, you know, more than waist deep in this stuff, all right, and it smelled awful. And then, you'd have to go back and clean up, okay? And the food that they served the RPFers was just rotten. They served all the leftovers after all of the staff on the whole base, all the buildings, ate, okay? Then, we ate alone, whatever was left over. And it wasn't very good. And it didn't give us the nourishment that we needed to keep our bodies going....Good grief. It would be pieces — sometimes, pieces of meat, pieces of beef or chicken or pork, usually a salad and a drink. But the salad was wilted and it smelled rotten, like, it had been — you know, somebody had dumped sour milk on it. The cheese was no good. It was all molded, but molded to the point it was fuzzy, you know, like a peach. And one time they had french fries there, and I picked up a handful of french fries and started eating them and I found a french fried palmetto bug in my french fries. And I wondered how many I had eaten, you know, when I saw that one. So, I threw that out.

-- City of Clearwater Commission Hearings Re: The Church of Scientology, State of Florida, City of Clearwater


'Psychiatric Abuse' 'Very Widespread' -- Like his fellow whistleblowers, former NSA officer Thomas Reinbold says the practice of “psychiatric abuse” inside the NSA is “very widespread.” Reinbold, who recelved 26 commendations and awards during his career at the NSA, including a medal for the intelligence he provided during the 1991 Gulf War, says, “They call it ‘doing a mental’ on someone.” Such practices have a “chilling effect” on other potential whistleblowers: “They fear for their careers because they fear someone will write up bad [psychological] fitness reports on them.” Reinhold was labeled “paranoid” and “delusional” by Schmidt after he complained to an inspector general on February 25, 1994, that the federal government was guilty of contract tampering; Schmidt’s evaluation contradicts a psychological evaluation he conducted on Reinbold eight months before that found he was mentally sound. At the time, Reinbold worked as a contracting officer representative for the Naval Security Group (NAVSECGRU) in Virginia. Reinbold had his high-level security clearance revoked, and was escorted off the grounds by armed security officers. Reinbold says NSA officials fabricated evidence in his personnel file to force him out; that evidence included allegations that he was a danger to himself and others, and that he had said “if [he] was going down, [he] would take everyone with him.” In September 1995, an administrative hearing found that the revocation of Reinbold’s security clearance was unjustified and recommended restoring his clearance, but did not allow the damaging information to be removed from his personnel file. He later sued the agency, and then retired because of diabetes. “I gave 29 years of my life to the intelligence community,” he recalls. “They couldn’t get me out the door fast enough. There are very good people, getting screwed and going through hell.”

Helping Those Who Come After -- Some of the whistleblowers hope to gain the assistance of politicians to help their cases. But Tice is less optimistic. “Our time is over,” Tice says he told Ring. “But we can make a difference for those who come behind us.” The five whistleblowers have the support of the whistleblower advocacy group Integrity International. Its founder and director, Dr. Don Soeken, himself a whistleblower while he was with the US Public Health Service in the 1970s, says, “When this retaliation first starts, there’s a tendency by bosses to use code words like ‘delusional,’ ‘paranoid’ and ‘disgruntled’. Then they use psychiatric exams to destroy them. They kill the messenger and hope the PR spin will be bought by the public.” Tom Devine of the Government Accountability Project says that “psychiatric retaliation” is a knee-jerk reaction against whistleblowers: “It’s a classic way to implement the first rule of retaliation: shift the spotlight from the message to the messenger. We call it the ‘Smokescreen Syndrome.’” Superiors investigate and smear the whistleblower for anything from financial irregularities to family problems, sexual practices, bad driving records, or even failure to return library books, Devine says. “It’s a form of abuse of power.” The Whistleblower Protection Act was written to protect those like Tice, Ring, Reinbold, and Soeken, but, says Beth Daly of the Project on Government Oversight (POGO), the act has serious flaws. “You have to go through the inspector general or the director of the CIA to let them know if you’re going to Congress and what you’re going to disclose,” she says. “And inspector generals are notorious for revealing who whistleblowers are.”

Entity Tags: Paul Caminos, Project for Government Oversight, Naval Security Group, Russell Tice, Tom Devine, Thomas Reinbold, National Security Agency, US Public Health Service, Keith Alexander, Lawrence Breslau, Diane Ring, Defense Intelligence Agency, Beth Daly, Don Soeken, House National Security Subcommittee, Government Accountability Project, John Michael Schmidt, Integrity International, “J”

February 14, 2006: NSA Official Says Agency Has More Extensive Surveillance Program Than Previously Reported

Former National Security Agency (NSA) intelligence analyst and current whistleblower Russell Tice tells the House Government Reform Subcommittee on National Security, Emerging Threats, and International Relations that he worries about what he calls a “special access” electronic surveillance program that is far more wide-ranging than the warrantless wiretapping recently exposed by the New York Times. However, Tice says he is forbidden by law to reveal specifics of the program to Congress. Tice says he believes the program violates the Constitution’s protection against unlawful search and seizures, but for him to discuss it with anyone in Congress or even with the NSA’s inspector general would violate classification laws. A spokesman for Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) says both Kucinich and committee chairman Christopher Shays (R-CT) believe that a few members of the Armed Services Committee have high enough security clearances for Tice’s information: “Congressman Kucinich wants Congressman Shays to hold a hearing [on the program]. Obviously it would have to take place in some kind of a closed hearing. But Congress has a role to play in oversight. The [Bush] administration does not get to decide what Congress can and can not hear.” In January 2006, it emerged Tice was one of the sources for the New York Times’s revelation that the NSA is engaged in possibly illegal wiretapping of American civilians as part of the war on terror (see January 10, 2006). Tice was fired from the NSA in 2005 and labeled “paranoid,” a classification Tice says was pasted on him in retaliation for his whistleblowing both inside the agency and to the public (see January 25-26, 2006). [UNITED PRESS INTERNATIONAL, 2/14/2006] Author James Bamford, an expert on US intelligence, says, “The congressional intelligence committees have lost total control over the intelligence communities. You can’t get any oversight or checks and balances; the Congress is protecting the White House and the White House can do whatever it wants.” [IN THESE TIMES, 5/15/2006]
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Re: The how and why of whistleblower smears

Postby admin » Mon Mar 28, 2016 8:17 am

Interview with Whistleblower Russell Tice with Russia Today's Anchor Abby Martin
July 19, 2013

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Abby Martin talks to Russell Tice, former intelligence analyst and original NSA whistleblower, about how the recent NSA scandal only scratches the surface of a massive surveillance apparatus, citing specific targets the he saw spying orders for including former senators Hilary Clinton and Barack Obama.
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Re: The how and why of whistleblower smears

Postby admin » Mon Mar 28, 2016 8:36 am

Part 1 of 2

The Man Who Knew Too Much
by Marie Brenner
Vanity Fair Magazine
May 1996

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Angrily, painfully, Jeffrey Wigand emerged from the sealed world of Big Tobacco to confront the nation’s third-largest cigarette company, Brown & Williamson. Hailed as a hero by anti-smoking forces and vilified by the tobacco industry, Wigand is at the center of an epic multi-billion-dollar struggle that reaches from Capitol Hill to the hallowed journalistic halls of CBS’s 60 Minutes.

I: The Witness

“I am a whistle-blower,” he says. “I am notorious. It is a kind of infamy doing what I am doing, isn’t that what they say?”

Wigand is trapped in a war between the government and its attempts to regulate the $50 billion tobacco industry and the tobacco companies themselves, which insist that the government has no place in their affairs. Wigand is under a temporary restraining order from a Kentucky state judge not to speak of his experiences at Brown & Williamson (B&W). He is mired in a swamp of charges and countercharges hurled at him by his former employer, the third-largest tobacco company in the nation, the manufacturer of Kool, Viceroy, and Capri cigarettes.

In the bar, Wigand sits with his security man, Doug Sykes, a former Secret Service agent. Wigand is worn out, a fighter on the ropes. He has reached that moment when he understands that circumstances are catapulting him into history, and he is frightened, off his moorings. He wears silver-rimmed aviator glasses, which he takes off frequently to rub his eyes. Although he has been on the CBS Evening News twice in the last five days, no one in the bar recognizes him. Wigand is 53. He has coarse silver hair, a small nose, and a fighter’s thick neck from his days as a black belt in judo. There is a wary quality in his face, a mysterious darkness that reminds me of photographs of the writer John Irving. Wigand wears the same clothes I have seen him in for days—jeans and a red plaid flannel shirt, his basic wardrobe for a $30,000-a-year job teaching chemistry and Japanese.

In front of us, on a large screen, a basketball game is in progress. “They kept me up until two a.m. last night. Just when I thought I was going to get some sleep, the investigators called me at midnight. At six a.m. I was gotten up again by someone from 60 Minutes telling me I should relax. How am I supposed to relax?” Wigand stares at the TV screen. “You are becoming a national figure,” I say. Wigand suddenly sputters with rage. “I am a national figure instead of having a family. O.K.? I am going to lose economically and I am going to lose my family. They are going to use the trump cards on me.”

I follow Wigand out of the Hyatt and down the street to a restaurant called Kunz’s. A light snow is falling. By this time, Jeff Wigand and I have spent several days together, and I am accustomed to his outbursts. A form of moral outrage seems to have driven him from B&W, and he is often irascible and sometimes, on personal matters, relentlessly negative: “What does your brother think?” “Ask him.” “Is your wife a good mother?” His expression hardens; he retreats into an inner zone.

“When you were in your 30s, how did you think your life was going to turn out?” I ask him. Wigand is no longer belligerent. His voice is quiet, modulated. “I thought I would be very successful. Affluent. I started at $20,000 a year and wound up at $300,000 a year. That was pretty nice.”

All through dinner, Wigand keeps his cellular phone on the table. It rings as we are having coffee. He explodes in anger into the receiver: “Why do you want to know where I am? What do you want? What do you mean, what am I doing? It’s 10 o’clock at night.… What do you need to connect with me for? I am not a trained dog. You are going to have to explain to me what you are doing and why you are doing it so I can participate.” Wigand narrows his eyes and shakes his head at me as if to signal that he is talking to a fool. He is beyond snappish now. I realize that he is speaking to one of his legal investigators, who has been putting in 16-hour days on his behalf, mounting a counterattack against his accusers. “You can’t just drop into Louisville and have me drop what I am doing. No, you can’t! i am not listening, o.k.? fine. you tell him to find somebody else.”

Wigand slams the telephone on the table. “Everyone on the legal team is pissed off because I am in Louisville. You know what the team can do! If he was going to come down today, why didn’t he tell me he was coming?” We walk out of Kunz’s and trudge back through the snow toward the Hyatt. Across from the hotel is the B&W Tower, where Wigand used to be a figure of prestige, a vice president with a wardrobe of crisp white shirts and dark suits. “I am sick of it. Sick of hiding in a hotel and living like an animal. I want to go home,” he says with desperation in his voice.

Jeffrey Wigand and I met at an anti-smoking-awards ceremony in New York on January 18. Wigand was receiving an honorarium of $5,000, and former surgeon general C. Everett Koop was going to introduce him. Wigand radiated glumness, an unsettling affect for a man who was in New York to be honored along with such other anti-smoking activists as California congressman Henry Waxman and Victor Crawford, the former Tobacco Institute lobbyist, who died soon after of throat cancer. “I am not sure I should be here,” Wigand told me moments after we met. “Something terrible has happened to me. Brown & Williamson has gotten private records from the Louisville courthouse. A local TV reporter has come to my school to ask about my marriage. They are trying to ruin my life. When I get back to Louisville, I may not have a job. A public-relations man in New York named John Scanlon is trying to smear me. I have five sets of lawyers who are representing me, and no one can agree on a strategy.” Then he said, without any special emphasis, “If they are successful in ruining my credibility, no other whistle-blower will ever come out of tobacco and do what I have done.” One hour later he was on the stage accepting his award and giving a halting history of his conflict with B&W. “My children have received death threats, my reputation and character have been attacked systematically in an organized smear campaign,” he said, his voice breaking.

When I saw Jeffrey Wigand for the first time in Louisville, he was at the end of one crisis and the beginning of another. We had been scheduled to meet for our first formal interview that evening, and I waited for him to call me. Out of necessity, Wigand has become a man of secret telephone numbers and relayed phone messages; there is an atmosphere of conspiracy around any meeting with him, with tense instructions and harried intermediaries. On my voice mail in the hotel, the messages grew increasingly dramatic. “This is Dr Wigand’s security man. He will call you at four p.m.” “Marie, this is Dr. Wigand. Some problems have developed. I am not sure I can have dinner.” At one point I picked up the telephone. “How are you?” I asked. “Let’s put it this way: I’ve had better days.” Then: “The F.B.I. is coming to check out a death threat.” Later: “My wife, Lucretia, wants me to leave the house. I am trying not to be served with papers.” Finally: “I don’t have a place to go.”

By the time Wigand decided to move temporarily into the Hyatt, it was 10:30 p.m. I walked downstairs and knocked on his door. I was surprised by the change in his appearance in just one week. He leaned against the TV on the wall, diminished and badly shaken. “I have lost my family. I don’t know what I am going to do,” he said.

He had hurriedly packed a few shirts; he was missing even the lesson plans for his classes the next day at the high school. Before coming to the Hyatt, Wigand had broken down at home in the presence of an F.B.I. agent who had come to investigate a death threat and a bullet that had been placed in the Wigands’ mailbox the night before. Wigand said his wife told him, “You have put us all in danger, and I want you out of the house.”

Over the next two weeks, he would hide in Room 1108 at the Hyatt, registered under another name. On January 26, his second night in exile, I joined him to watch himself as the lead story on the CBS Evening News. Wigand was fraught, particularly sour with one of his lawyers, Todd Thompson, when he walked into the room. “Don’t you say hello to me, Jeff?” he asked. “I am angry at the world,” Wigand answered. He was sitting at a small table. On his shirt was a button that read: if you think education is expensive, try ignorance. “I have no idea where my wallet and diary are!” he said. “Why should she have my assets? Why should I continue to pay her expenses?”

That same day The Wall Street Journal had published a front-page, 3,300-word story with an extract from a lengthy deposition Wigand had given in late November about his experiences at B&W. The deposition would be used in a massive lawsuit filed by Michael Moore, the attorney general of Mississippi, against the major American tobacco companies. Wigand is a key witness in a singular legal attempt by seven states to seek reimbursement of Medicaid expenses resulting from smoking-related illnesses. Each year, 425,000 Americans die of such illnesses; through tax money that goes to Medicaid, the general population pays for a significant portion of the billions of dollars of health costs. If the state attorney general, with an assist from Jeffrey Wigand, were to succeed in proving that cigarettes are addictive, the cigarette companies could be forced into settling the hundreds of thousands of plaintiff actions that would result. A number of the lawyers representing the states are working on contingency—in some cases hoping to earn fees of 33 percent—and recently The Wall Street Journal raised the question “Should state governments be getting into bed with the contingency fee bar?”

Wigand is tentatively scheduled to testify late this spring. In his deposition, Wigand had talked about the dangers of a number of additives in cigarettes and pipe tobacco, the addictive properties of nicotine, and the alleged attempts at B&W to camouflage such information. The Wall Street Journal rested on the bed, as did a copy of the most recent death threat Wigand had received: “We want you to know that we have not forgotten you or your little brats. If you think we are going to let you ruin our lives, you are in for a big surprise! You cannot keep the bodyguards forever, asshole.”

Wigand looked up to see his own face on TV. Mike Wallace was interviewing him.

wallace: Last August we talked with Jeffrey Wigand, previously the $300,000 research chief at Brown & Williamson. He is the highest-ranking executive ever to reveal what goes on behind the scenes at the highest level of a tobacco company.

wigand: We’re in a nicotine-delivery business.

wallace: And that’s what cigarettes are for?

wigand: Most certainly. It’s a delivery device for nicotine.

The telephone rang. It was Wigand’s father, and Wigand told him he was on CBS. There was no pleasure in his voice. Suddenly, a copy of the death threat that I had just read was on the screen. Wigand shouted, “How the hell did they get that? Don’t I have any privacy at all?”

That night we had dinner at the revolving restaurant at the top of the Hyatt. As we sat down at the table, Wigand looked out the window. “I don’t believe this,” he said. “We are directly across from the Brown & Williamson Tower.” I could see fluorescent light glowing on a single floor in the otherwise darkened building. “What is that?” I asked. “That’s the 18th floor. The legal department. That is where they are all working, trying to destroy my life.”

The restaurant revolves slowly, and each time the B&W Tower came into view, Wigand would grimace. “Look at that,” he said. “They are still there, and they will be there tomorrow and the they will be there on Sunday.… You can’t schmooze with these guys. You kick them in the balls. You don’t maim them. Don’t take prisoners.”

The anti-tobacco forces depict Jeffrey Wigand as a portrait in courage, a Marlon Brando taking on the powers in On the Waterfront. The pro-tobacco lobbies have been equally vociferous in their campaign to turn Wigand into a demon, a Mark Fuhrman who could cause potentially devastating cases against the tobacco industry to dissolve over issues that have little to do with the dangers of smoking. According to New York public-relations man John Scanlon, who was hired by B&W’s law firm to help discredit Wigand, “Wigand is a habitual liar, a bad, bad guy.” It was Scanlon’s assignment to disseminate a wide range of damaging charges against Wigand, such as shoplifting, fraud, and spousal abuse. Scanlon himself, along with B&W, is now the subject of an unprecedented Justice Department investigation for possible intimidation of a witness. For First Amendment specialist James Goodale, the charges and countercharges B&W has attempted to level against Wigand represent “the most important press issue since the Pentagon Papers.” Goodale, who represented The New York Times during that period, said, “You counteract these tactics by a courageous press and big balls.”

The B&W executives appear to be convinced that they can break Wigand by a steady drumbeat of harassment and litigation, but they underestimate the stubborn nature of his character and the depth of his rage at what he says he observed as their employee. A part of his motivation is the need for personal vindication: Wigand is not proud that he was once attracted to the situation he came to find intolerable. According to Wigand’s brother James, a Richmond, Virginia, endocrinologist, “If they think they can intimidate and threaten him, they have picked on the wrong person!”

It has become a dramatic convention to project onto whistle-blowers our need for heroism, when revenge and anger are often what drive them. There is a powerful temptation to see Jeffrey Wigand as a symbol: the little guy against the cartel, a good man caught in a vise. However, Wigand defies easy categorization. As a personality, he is prickly, isolated, and fragile—“peculiar as hell” in Mike Wallace’s phrase—but there seems to be little doubt about the quality of his scientific information. Wigand is the most sophisticated source who has ever come forward from the tobacco industry, a fact which has motivated B&W to mount a multi-million-dollar campaign to destroy him. National reporters arrive in Louisville daily with questions for Wigand: How lethal are tobacco additives such as coumarin? What did B&W officials know and when? And what does it feel like, Dr. Wigand, to lose your wife and children and have every aspect of your personal life up for grabs and interpretation in the middle of a smear?

When Jeffrey Wigand tells the story of his life, he does not begin with his childhood. Instead, he starts with the events surrounding his forced exit from B&W and doesn’t veer too far from that theme. For most of his life, Wigand defined himself as a man of science, but a scientist in the ethos of middle management, “a workaholic,” and a hard-driving businessman. He is a corporate Everyman, part of a world of subsidiaries and spin-offs, golf on weekends and rides on the company plane. He uses phrases right out of the lexicon of business—“game plan,” “troubleshooter.” He was “director of corporate development at Pfizer,” then a “general manager and marketing director” at Union Carbide in Japan. Later, as a senior vice president of marketing at Technicon Instruments, he was responsible for “a state-of-the-art plant” that “optimized” the “manufacturing facility” for biological compounds.

The son of a mechanical engineer, Jeffrey Wigand grew up in a strict Catholic home in the Bronx, the oldest of five children. When he was a teenager, the family moved to Pleasant Valley, a town in upstate New York near Poughkeepsie. Wigand’s father stressed independence and insisted that his sons help build their new house. Wigand had to control his anger at his parents’ strictness. According to James, their mother was “a cold individual” who had little understanding of children. “I am sure that my father will kill me if he reads this,” James said, “but I felt that my parents believed that children were more to be tolerated. I always had the feeling how much was being done for us, how much we owed for this opportunity!”

A gifted chemistry and biology student, Jeff flourished in the quiet atmosphere of the science labs and hoped to study medicine. As a freshman at Dutchess Community College, he ran cross-country track and “worked as a scrub nurse at Vassar Brothers Hospital,” James recalled. Then he suddenly announced to his parents that he was dropping out of college and joining the air force. “It was a rebellion to get away,” James said. “My mother just about freaked out.… But if you make someone so suppressed, the anger kind of builds up.”

It was 1961. Wigand was sent to Misawa, an American air base in Japan, where he ran an operating room. “I got hooked on the language and on martial arts,” he said. He volunteered as an English teacher at a Catholic orphanage. He was sent briefly to Vietnam, he told me, although he brushed off the experience: “It was 1963, and nothing was going on.” I wondered at the defensive tone in his voice. Later B&W would challenge whether he had been in Vietnam at all. (According to one investigator, he was there for about a month.)

When he came back to the States, he wrote a master’s thesis on vitamin B12 and later earned a doctorate in biochemistry at the State University of New York at Buffalo. He was offered a $20,000-a-year job with the Boehringer Mannheim Corporation, a German health-care company. In 1970, at a judo class, Wigand met Linda, his first wife, a legal secretary from Eden, New York. Seven months after they married, in 1971, Linda developed multiple sclerosis. At the time, Wigand was still working for Boehringer Manheim in New York, but he moved on to Pfizer and then was recruited for a lucrative position at Union Carbide. He was to form a subsidiary to test medical equipment in clinical trials in Japan. He was 34 years old, fluent in Japanese, basking in his new status.

Wigand is proud of his time at Union Carbide—“I was right at the top,” he said—but Linda grew progressively weaker. “Jeff searched the world for specialists,” recalled Conrad Kotrady, a Salt Lake City doctor who has known him since graduate school. “He attacked the problem as if it were an assignment, but then her condition became increasingly difficult for him.” Wigand burrowed into his work, withdrawing from the agony of watching his wife disintegrate physically. In 1973 their daughter, Gretchen, was born.

Wigand has a quality his brother recalled as a kind of personal shutdown—an ability to close off his emotions when things get difficult. As Linda’s condition worsened, Wigand distanced himself from her and his baby. “I really did not have a marriage,” he told me. “If I said I didn’t play around, I would be lying. Linda came back to the States, and something happened in my parents’ house. She went home to Buffalo.” Several years passed before he saw her or his daughter again, and eventually the marriage unraveled. Linda’s parents believed that Wigand had abandoned their daughter, one friend recalled. “I thought Linda was dead,” Wigand said quickly. “That’s what a friend said.” Wigand made little attempt to communicate with his daughter. It is Kotrady’s belief that Wigand did not want to upset her by taking her away from a stable home with loving grandparents.

Wigand met his second wife, Lucretia, in 1981 at a sales conference at Ortho Diagnostic Systems, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, where he was a director of marketing. She was a sales rep. He was, he later remembered, attracted to her cool demeanor and willowy good looks. Lucretia had spent part of her childhood in Louisville, the daughter of two doctors who separated when she was eight. Lucretia’s mother, at one time on the staff of the National Cancer Institute, used to tease Jeff about Lucretia’s expensive tastes. They married in 1986.

Soon Wigand moved on to a grander position as a senior vice president at Technicon, responsible for marketing blood-testing equipment. Wigand was filled with ideas, but he was often testy. Bob Karlson, his mentor at Ortho, recalled pulling on his ear at meetings to tell Wigand to pipe down when he got out of hand. “I have a very bad problem—saying what’s on my mind,” Wigand told me. “I don’t take too much crap from anybody.”

He was a perfectionist who kept a file of correspondence with businesses he dealt with whose products were flawed. In one instance, he returned some hardware to a catalogue company. In another, he demanded reimbursement for a cleaning bill for water-damaged items. Later this file would be detailed and used against him as evidence in B&W’s private investigation, suggesting that he had committed fraud. Wigand had a tendency not to share information, even with Lucretia. On the day before her 30th birthday, Wigand called her from the office: “My friends and I are coming home to celebrate.” Later that afternoon, Lucretia used his car to go for pizza. “All of his office was in the backseat.” She recalled asking, “Is there something you want to tell me?” As it happened, some of Technicon’s upper-management team, including Wigand, had been dismissed. In 1987 he was made president of a small medical-equipment company called Biosonics in Fort Washington, Pennsylvania. Wigand recalled a power struggle with the owner of the company, who recently wrote an article in Philadelphia Forum about his experience with Wigand, accusing him of having bullied female employees and in one instance of having shined a light on his subordinates while he was asking about a company matter. Wigand denies both charges.

For one year Jeff Wigand did consulting work. He finally decided to pursue his dream of being a doctor, but Lucretia convinced him he was too old. Then he approached a headhunter, who asked if he would consider working for Brown & Williamson, the tobacco company. Lucretia was puzzled by the offer: “I said, ‘Why do they want you? You know nothing about tobacco. You had—what?—17 years of health care.’ It did not make sense.”

From his first meetings with Alan Heard, the head of R&D for bat Industries (formerly British American Tobacco), the conglomerate with $3 billion in annual profits that owns B&W, Wigand shut his eyes and ignored the Faustian arrangement. Heard said he wanted to develop a new cigarette to compete with Premier, a product made by the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company (RJR) which had little tar. The appeal was seductive for a man who prided himself on his research skills, and Wigand’s title would be impressive: head of R&D. He would soon be paid more than he had ever earned in his life—$300,000 a year. His department would have a budget of more than $30 million and a staff of 243. Shortly after he began the interviews, Wigand took up smoking. He later said, “I was buying the routine. I wanted to understand the science of how it made you feel.”

From the beginning, Lucretia encouraged the move to Louisville. Since her parents’ divorce, her father had remarried a couple of times. Along with his medical practice, he owned tobacco land. A move back to Louisville with Wigand in an important position in that industry would probably impress Lucretia’s father and might draw the family closer together. Besides, she had just had a baby, and she believed that life in Louisville would be a boon for the child. “I thought if I made big bucks she would be happy,” Wigand told me.

When Wigand told his brother he was going to work for a tobacco conglomerate, James said, “You’ve got to be kidding.” But Wigand was optimistic. “I thought I would have an opportunity to make a difference and work on a safer cigarette. I talked to a lot of my friends from college. They said, ‘You know, you’re never going to be able to come back. You can’t go from tobacco back into health care.’”

II: The Firm

From Wigand’s first days at B&W, it was apparent to him that there was a contradiction in his situation. On his good days he believed he was helping the world. On the other days he was a guy with a family who earned a large salary. He had a feisty, urban, go-getter personality in an unusual city; Louisville was a Velveeta town, clannish and sophisticated, once ruled by old families such as the Bingham publishing dynasty. At B&W, Wigand’s intensity and uncongenial personality grated on many of his southern colleagues. Wigand believed that he was there to shake up the ossified atmosphere. Three months after he was hired, RJR withdrew Premier from the market because the taste was unpleasant, acrid, and synthetic. Had Wigand been shrewder, he might have thought that he was now in a trap. There was no real reason for a non-tobacco man to remain at the company. But he attempted to keep his contrarian nature under wraps. He went to company parties, and Lucretia volunteered to help at the Hard Scruffle steeplechase, a charity event. It is conceivable that B&W had sized Wigand up psychologically. He surely appeared to be highly ambitious, money-hungry, a potential captive to the firm.

In Louisville, the Wigands bought a two-story, red brick house in a pleasant suburb. There was an allée of trees in the middle of the road, giving a sense of affluence. Wigand had two offices at B&W, one at the R&D laboratory and one in the office tower. When he toured the lab for the first time, he was startled, he told me, to observe how antiquated it seemed. “The place looked like a high-school chemistry lab from the 1950s with all sorts of old-fashioned smoking machines. There was no fundamental science being done.” There was neither a toxicologist nor a physicist on staff, a fact which Wigand found very unsettling. How, he thought, could you be serious about studying the health aspects of tobacco or fire safety without the proper experts? According to documents that later wound up in the University of California at San Francisco library, even in the 1960s research had been done for B&W which tobacco activists say proved that cigarettes were addictive and caused cancer. However, Wigand says that he did not learn of those studies until after he left the company.

Shortly after Wigand was hired, he was sent to an orientation session on tobacco-litigation matters at Shook, Hardy & Bacon, a Kansas City law firm that specializes in defending lawsuits for the industry. The firm is reputed to have its own in-house scientists and tobacco researchers. Shook, Hardy & Bacon and B&W lawyers were aware of the dangers that the company’s research could pose in a lawsuit. B&W lawyers had devised an ingenious method for avoiding discovery of sensitive information: have it “shipped offshore”—a practice one attorney referred to as “document management.” It was the suggestion of Kendrick Wells, an attorney in B&W’s legal department, that staff be told that this effort was “to remove deadwood,” and that no one “should make any notes, memos or lists.” Wigand later testified that another law firm, Covington & Burling, sometimes edited scientific information on additives.

Nine months after Wigand went to work, he attended a meeting of bat scientists in Vancouver, British Columbia. The top R&D executives from bat’s worldwide tobacco subsidiaries were there to discuss health matters and the possibility of a nicotine substitute. There was a feeling of excitement among the scientists that they could reduce health risks for smokers. By then Wigand had grown used to the euphemisms of his new industry. He understood that “increased biological activity” in reports was code for cancer and other diseases. At the meeting, Wigand would later testify, roughly 15 pages of minutes were taken by Ray Thornton, a British scientist. A copy was sent to Wigand, who circulated copies to upper management.

Soon after that, Wigand says, he was called into Kendrick Wells’s office and asked to sign off on a 3-page synopsis of the minutes—a reduction of about 12 pages. In a recent deposition Wells testified that Raymond Pritchard, the then C.E.O. of the company, had assigned Wigand to produce a revised set of minutes.

Within the industry, bat is known as “the tough guy” for its ferocious litigation strategy. As a foreign corporation it has never enjoyed quite as much political influence as the American tobacco companies, which donate vast sums of money to organizations as diverse as the African-American political caucuses, the Whitney Museum, and the political-action committees of dozens of candidates, especially Bob Dole. In the late 1970s the Federal Trade Commission (F.T.C.) investigated the advertising practices of all the tobacco companies. In a non-public report later read at a congressional-committee meeting, B&W’s Viceroy cigarette was mentioned for a proposed test-marketing campaign that appeared to target minors. Several years later, a CBS anchorman in Chicago, Walter Jacobson, broadcast a segment about the report. B&W sued CBS, which paid a $3 million judgment after the case went all the way to the Supreme Court. B&W also clashed with RJR and Philip Morris over Barclay cigarettes and a false-advertising charge brought by the F.T.C. In 1987, B&W withdrew from the Tobacco Institute, an American tobacco lobbying group, for several years.

Although B&W employed 500 people in Louisville, Wigand chafed at the bunker mentality. “It was an incestuous society,” he said. “Wherever you went—to dinners, to parties—the B&W people stayed together. They never mixed.” Many of the executives smoked, although in private they often talked about the risks. “Their whole corporate philosophy was ‘Shit flows downhill.’ You get paid very well. You have lots of nice benefits.” Later he recalled, “I didn’t trust anyone at B&W. I was a different animal.”

Wigand felt that the scientific data at B&W was Stone Age, as he later told a friend. He brought new computers into the R&D facility and hired a physicist and a toxicologist. He worked on reverse engineering on Marlboros, attempting to discern their unique properties; he studied fire safety and ignition propensity.

After Vancouver, Wigand continued to push for more information. He began to hear mysterious names at company dinners—“Ariel” and “Hippo.” “I did not drink at all then—only Diet Pepsi—and I would ask, ‘What is that?’ And suddenly people would clam up.” As the head of R&D at B&W, he should logically have been aware of every aspect of the company’s research. “There were essentially two research-and-development departments. They did the work on nicotine overseas.” Wigand says he did not discover that Ariel and Hippo were research studies on health-related issues conducted in the 1970s at bat in Switzerland until he read thousands of pages of documents taken from a law firm in downtown Louisville by a concerned paralegal named Merrell Williams, a Faulknerian personality with a doctorate in drama. “My perspective was like night and day,” Wigand told me. “It was like being aware and not being aware. You look back on things that happened when you were present and you say, ‘Hell, they knew about that all along.’”

Wigand began to keep an extensive scientific diary, both in his computer and in a red leather book. “I kept it day by day, month by month. I saw two faces, the outside face and the inside face. It bothered me. I didn’t know the diary was going to be valuable.” In one early entry, Wigand recalled, he recorded a promise made to him that he would be able to hire “a scientific and medical advisory committee.” “Then, all of a sudden—poof!—it’s gone.”

Wigand’s scientific ethics had been shaped during his years working for Johnson & Johnson; he admired particularly the stringent standards enforced by C.E.O James Burke during the recall of shipments of Tylenol after a poisoning scare in 1982. At first he believed that Ray Pritchard was a man of honor like Burke. At lunch from time to time, he complained in private to Pritchard about Thomas Sandefur, then the company president. Wigand had come to believe that his safe-cigarette project was being canceled. He told 60 Minutes that he had gone to ask Sandefur about it and that Sandefur had been harsh: “I don’t want to hear any more discussion about a safe cigarette.… We pursue a safer cigarette, it would put us at extreme exposure with every other project.” (On 60 Minutes, B&W said this was false.)

Wigand made no secret of his lack of respect for Sandefur: “I wouldn’t consider them all intellectual titans. Sandefur used to beat on me for using big words. I never found anybody as stupid as Sandefur in terms of his ability to read or communicate.… In terms of his understanding something and his intellectual capacity, Sandefur was just like a farm boy.”

According to Wigand, Sandefur had a particular interest in B&W’s manufacture of snuff. There were problems with bacterial fermentation, Wigand told me. “They could never get it fermented correctly. They could not get a consistent taste or particle size. They could not understand the tactility of soil bacteria and how it worked on the natural flora. What was the effect of ammonia to flora? Most moist snuff deteriorates after packaging. If you could find a way to sterilize it, you would slow up bacterial fermentation and have a safer product. No one had done this for four years.”

Snuff was a critical product for B&W, Wigand said, because it is “start-up stuff for kids.… It was Sandefur’s baby. You have to look at the age somebody starts smoking. If you don’t get them before they are 18 or 20, you never get them.” (Thomas Sandefur declined to make any comment for this article.)

According to The Journal of the American Medical Association, 3 million Americans under the age of 18 consume one billion packs of cigarettes and 26 million containers of snuff ever year. For a cigarette company, the potential for profits from these sales—illegal in all 50 states—is immense, more than $200 million a year.

Wigand came to feel increasingly that there was “no sense of responsibility” on the subject of teenagers and smoking. He was disturbed by a report that on the average children begin to smoke by 14. He was surprised, he told me, by Sandefur’s lack of interest in such matters, and he grew visibly testy. “I used to come home tied in a knot. My kids would say to me, ‘Hey, Daddy, do you kill people?’ I didn’t like some of the things I saw. I felt uncomfortable. I felt dirty.

“The last year and a half I was there, Brown & Williamson used to keep me isolated. How did they know I was trouble? I was asking some pretty difficult questions: How come there was no research file?… When they drink, they talk. I know a lot. My diary will reflect those meetings. I was not Thomas Sandefur’s fair-haired boy.”

He withdrew into a stolid isolation. Lucretia knew something was wrong, she later told me. When she asked him how things were going at the office, he would say, “Fine.” If she pressed him, he would answer, “That’s work, and I leave that at the office.” His need to control his emotions caused him frequently to lose his temper at home, Lucretia remembered.

There was also a major additional problem at home, a hole in the center of his life. His older daughter with Lucretia had serious medical problems. According to Wigand, “Rachel was not diagnosed correctly from birth. Both specialists and general practitioners, including Lucretia’s father, unequivocally stated that Rachel did not have any problem, even after substantive testing. I finally sought out a respected adult urologist, who made the diagnosis of spina bifida. This required spinal surgery.” In a rage, Wigand threatened to sue the doctors who had not diagnosed her earlier. It is Wigand’s opinion that his father-in-law never forgave him. (Neither Lucretia nor her father would comment on this subject.)

At work he grew increasingly vocal. After 1991, B&W’s evaluations of him contained new corporate euphemisms. Wigand had “a difficulty in communication.” He was becoming, as he later described it, a problem for Sandefur by sounding off at meetings. For Wigand, the critical moment occurred when he read a report from the National Toxicology Program. The subject was coumarin, an additive that had been shown to have a carcinogenic property which caused tumors in rats and mice. The makeup of coumarin was close to that of a compound found in rat poison, but until 1992 no one understood the possible dangers. The new report described its carcinogenic effect. When Wigand read this in late 1992, his first reaction was “We have got to get this stuff out of the pipe tobacco.” One of B&W’s products was Sir Walter Raleigh. Wigand told 60 Minutes that when he went to a meeting with Sandefur, Sandefur told him that removing it would impact sales. Wigand got the impression that Sandefur would do nothing immediately to alter the product, so he sought out his toxicologist, Scott Appleton. Wigand says he asked him to write a memo backing him up, but Appleton refused, perhaps afraid for his job. (Appleton declined to comment.)

Driven by anger now, Wigand says, he determined to examine what happens when other additives are burned. He focused on glycerol, an additive used to keep the tobacco in cigarettes moist. He was involved in discussions about the nicotine patch and studied a genetically engineered, high-nicotine Brazilian tobacco called Y-1.

Wigand also began attending meetings of a commission on fire safety in cigarettes in Washington. He observed Andrew McGuire, an expert on burn trauma from San Francisco, who had won a MacArthur grant following his campaign for fire-retardant clothing for children. The commission met approximately 40 times and had four R&D scientists from tobacco companies as members, including Alexander W. Spears, the future head of Lorillard. As far as McGuire knew, B&W was not represented. “I would look out and I would see all these men in suits listening to our discussions. I assumed that they were tobacco-company lawyers, monitoring what we were doing,” McGuire said. Wigand had several conversations about his experiments with additives with other tobacco men attending the meetings, but he never met McGuire.

In the summer of 1992 Earl Kohnhorst, a senior executive at B&W, called Wigand into his office. Wigand had considered him a friend, and had urged him to stop smoking—as Wigand had. According to a memo Kohnhorst later wrote, the meeting was not friendly. Wigand apparently learned he was on notice, and Kohnhorst is said to have implied that he was difficult to work with and was talking too much.

Wigand says that his anger made it impossible for him to censor himself; he had come to believe his worth as a scientist was being violated by his association with the tobacco company. He also believed that the other scientists in the company would share his values. Wigand was determined to be on the record with his research on additives. He recalled writing a memo for the files on the dangers of coumarin. He felt, he later said, that he was being diligent. In January 1993, it was announced that Thomas Sandefur, Wigand’s nemesis, had been named C.E.O. of B&W. On March 24, Wigand was fired and escorted from the building. He has testified that B&W never returned his scientific diary.

III: The Journalist and the Whistle-Blower

In the early spring of 1993, Lowell Bergman, an award-winning news producer at 60 Minutes, found a crate of papers on the front steps of his house in Berkeley, California. Bergman’s specialty at CBS was investigative reporting; he possessed a Rolodex of peerless snitches, C.I.A. operatives, and corporate informants. The grandson of one of the first female leaders of the International Ladies Garment Workers Union, Bergman had a bemused, compassionate nature. He was close to 50 and had come to understand that life was a series of murky compromises. At the University of California at San Diego, he had studied with the political philosopher Herbert Marcuse and lived in a commune. Bergman’s wife, Sharon Tiller, was a Frontline producer, and they had five grown sons between them.

Bergman often received anonymous letters and sealed court documents in his mailbox; it did not surprise him in the least, he told me, to find the box of papers on his porch. As always, Bergman was developing several pieces for Mike Wallace, the correspondent he worked with almost exclusively. They were close friends and confidants, but they argued ferociously and intimately, like a father and son. “Lowell can drive me crazy,” Wallace told me. “Lowell would like to be the producer, the reporter, the correspondent, and the head of CBS News.” Screaming messages and six a.m. phone calls were their standard operating techniques, but they shared a passion for corporate intrigue, and together had helped break the Iraq-gate bank scandal in 1992 and examine the accusations of child abuse at McMartin Pre-School in Los Angeles in 1986. Shortly after the mysterious papers appeared on his steps, Bergman won a Peabody Award for a program on cocaine trafficking in the C.I.A.

At 60 Minutes, the on-air personalities were involved in six or seven stories at the same time and took a deserved share of the credit for the show’s singular productions, but the staff was well aware that the producers actually did the backbreaking reporting. In most cases, the producers had complete freedom to develop stories, and it was they, not the correspondents, who were in hotel rooms in Third World countries at all hours bringing along reluctant sources. Later, the correspondents stepped in. Only rarely did correspondents know the explicit details of stories other teams were developing.

When Bergman received the box of papers, he took a look at the hundreds of pages of material. “They were a shambles,” he recalled, “but clearly from a nonpublic file.” The papers were very technical and came from the Philip Morris company. The phrase “ignition propensity” was repeated often in them. “I had never heard that phrase before,” Bergman said. He called his friend Andrew McGuire, the only person he knew who had ever studied tobacco and fire. “Do you know anyone who can make sense of these papers for me?” Bergman asked. “I might have just the guy,” McGuire said.

After being fired by B&W, Jeffrey Wigand remained optimistic for some time, Lucretia recalled. He came close to finding a lucrative job through a headhunter in Chicago. He gave as references Alan Heard and Ray Pritchard. He was surprised not to be hired immediately by another corporation, and soon he began to worry. He reportedly groused about his severance package to a friend at B&W, who repeated his remarks to his former boss. Several months later, Wigand learned that B&W was suing him for breach of contract. According to the suit, his medical benefits would be taken from him, a display of corporate hardball which would subsequently rebound. “If Brown & Williamson had just left me alone, I probably would have gotten a new job,” Wigand said. He reluctantly signed an onerous, lifelong confidentiality agreement so stringent that he could be in violation if he discussed anything about the corporation. Wigand felt trapped, and he did not know what to do.

When I spoke with Lucretia Wigand in Louisville, she used an unusual phrase, “skeletons in the closet,” to describe her fear of what would happen if Jeff went public with his experiences at B&W. “What do you mean, ‘skeletons in the closet’?” I asked. In repose, Lucretia is elegant and steely. She looked at her divorce lawyer, Steven Kriegshaber, who shook his head as if to warn her not to speak. “The so-called spousal abuse—you were worried about that?” I asked. “Sure,” she said softly.

Alcohol and rage are at the center of what happened on a bad night in the Wigand marriage in October 1994. The tension in the family had become overwhelming while Wigand was negotiating the punitive confidentiality agreement. Since Rachel had been diagnosed with spina bifida, the marriage had suffered enormous strain. “I felt that during Lucretia’s pregnancy with Rachel she somewhat overabused alcohol,” Wigand said. “She drinks quite heavily.” (Lucretia denies this.) Wigand himself had at one time been a drinker, but he had stopped when he felt out of control. After he was fired, he told me, it was not surprising that he began to drink again. Lucretia, he said, was “stunned” when she heard that he had once again lost a job. She raged that he had not told even her of his growing unhappiness in the company. She was frightened that he would lose any claim to their medical package.

Wigand recalled her mood as sometimes dismissive and unsympathetic. There are contradictory versions of the evening. According to Wigand, Lucretia “hit me in the back with a wooden coat hanger and ran upstairs into the bedroom.” Furious, he chased her and then called the police. According to Lucretia, “Because of the amount he drank, he does not remember most of the evening.… I tried to leave. He took my keys away and was grabbing me.… I picked up the phone to dial 911. He ripped the cord out of the wall. He smashed my nose with the palm of his hand. The kids were screaming, I was screaming. I ran down the hall and picked up another phone and dialed 911. Jeff left the house before the police arrived.” Whatever happened that night, Lucretia and Jeffrey Wigand both blame B&W for placing an unbearable strain on their marriage, and say that this episode played no part in their later divorce. Soon after, according to a lawyer close to the case, Wigand became concerned enough about his drinking that he checked into a clinic for four days of evaluation—which would later, in a 500-page dossier of allegations about his character, be reported as two weeks of hospitalization for treatment of anger.

Through an intermediary in the government, Wigand reached out tentatively to Andrew McGuire, whom he had observed in Washington. McGuire got a phone call: would he speak to a former R&D executive? McGuire was intrigued. A tobacco-industry witness could be invaluable to him, since he was then pressing Congress to regulate fire safety. “I don’t know if this guy is for real,” the government official told McGuire, “but here is his home number. Call him.” Wigand’s voice on the phone was so strained and wary that McGuire wondered if he might not be a tobacco-industry spy. Nevertheless, he passed his name along to Lowell Bergman.

For weeks Bergman tried to get Wigand on the telephone. Each time a woman answered, and she would tell him, “He is not home.” Finally she said, “He doesn’t want to talk to you.” Bergman had become fascinated by the court papers involving Philip Morris, and was convinced he needed this particular chemist to make sense of them. He wanted a scientist, not an anti-tobacco advocate. In February 1994, he decided to go to Louisville. “I did the old ‘call him at midnight’ maneuver. He answered the phone and I said, ‘If you are curious to meet me, I’ll be sitting in the lobby at the Seelbach Hotel tomorrow morning at 11 a.m.’”

At 11 a.m. a gray-haired man in a windbreaker appeared and said, “Are you Lowell?” Bergman looked up to see a portrait of middle-aged anxiety. “I said to him, ‘Let’s go have a coffee.’”

It was the beginning of an extraordinary relationship. Bergman’s presence in Wigand’s life would eventually inspire him to come forward as a whistle-blower. For Bergman, Wigand would become a source who needed unusual protection and hand-holding—a fact which would ultimately jeopardize his position at CBS. “As a person, the guy I met had been raped and violated,” Bergman said. Wigand told Bergman that he was suffering a “moral crisis.” He said that he had always considered himself a scientist, and he called the type of research that went on at B&W “a display of craft.”

“‘O.K.,’” Bergman recalled saying after their first day together, “‘you can’t talk to me about Brown & Williamson because of your severance agreement, but I have a problem. Can you analyze these documents for me?” He looked at two pages and said, “Wow!” After reading a few more pages about fire experiments, Wigand exclaimed, “Hey, they are way ahead of where we were.”

Wigand agreed to examine the Philip Morris papers for Bergman. He was to be paid like any other consultant, about $1,000 a day. “I was bothered. Everything I had seen at the joint-venture meetings said it was not technologically feasible,” he later told me. “I was pissed off! They had a fire-safe-product study on the shelf in 1986 and 1987, and they knew it!” (A spokesman for Philip Morris says the company has been unsuccessful in this so far but continues to do research.)

Wigand flew to New York for a day to attend a screening of a version of the projected program at CBS. At the end of March, CBS broadcast an exposé of the Hamlet project, which involved a fire-safe cigarette developed at Philip Morris. “I was angry when I saw it,” said Wigand. “They knew all along it was possible to develop a fire-safe cigarette, and they even gave it a code name: Hamlet. Get it? ‘To burn or not to burn.’”

At the end of the 60 Minutes episode, Mike Wallace questioned on-camera a Philip Morris executive who had announced that his company was filing a $10 billion lawsuit against ABC for a Day One broadcast about alleged manipulation of nicotine levels in its cigarettes. ABC had problems: one of them was a source nicknamed Deep Cough, who was an executive at RJR. If Deep Cough’s identity was to be kept a secret, she could not testify in a libel suit.

In April 1994, Henry Waxman, the California congressman, was holding public hearings on tobacco in Washington. Wigand watched the live coverage on C-SPAN of the testimony of top executives of the seven largest tobacco companies. He was in his den with Lucretia when he watched Andrew Tisch, the chairman of Lorillard, testify, “I believe nicotine is not addictive.” Then he heard Thomas Sandefur say the same thing. Wigand was furious. “I realized they were all liars. They lied with a straight face. Sandefur was arrogant! And that really irked me.” Wigand, however, was hamstrung; he had the threat of a lawsuit hanging over his head. He could not criticize Sandefur publicly or his child might lose her medical insurance.

After Wigand started working as a confidential expert for CBS, his name began to circulate in anti-tobacco circles. He was soon called by the Food and Drug Administration. Would he consider advising F.D.A. experts on cigarette chemistry? His identity would be protected. For Wigand, the invitation to Washington was a major step toward regaining his self-respect. By the time F.D.A. commissioner David Kessler appeared before Congress in June 1994, he had reportedly been tutored by Wigand on ammonia additives and nicotine-impact boosting.

Wigand was invaluable; he even helped the F.D.A. circumvent a standard tobacco-industry tactic—“document dumping.” If a company is subpoenaed for documents related to nicotine studies, it is common in the industry to respond “by driving a tractor-trailer to Washington and leaving 10 tons of documents at your door,” according to a close associate of the F.D.A. In this case, perhaps with an assist from Wigand, the F.D.A. was able to ask B&W for specific papers.

That month, Wigand said, he received a threatening phone call. “Leave or else you’ll find your kids hurt,” the caller said. Wigand called Bergman in a panic. “I thought it could be a crank call,” Bergman told me. “I knew Wigand was in a great quandary. He was bound up because of his contracts and yet he was filled with moral outrage.” Bergman had been through this before with whistle-blowers. He even had a name for Wigand’s mental state: “transition time.” He remained patient and faxed amusing drawings to Wigand’s children.

Soon Wigand told Bergman another death threat had come. Wigand was becoming distracted, unable to concentrate. He had started to drink again. “I used to come home and drink three fingers of booze every night,” he told me. One day when he had his two young daughters in the car, he stopped to buy a bottle of liquor. “I am no goddamned angel. I can’t hide what happened. I had one of those big jackets with the big pockets. Instead of getting a basket, I grabbed it and put it in my pocket. And then I realized I didn’t have cash. And I said, ‘Wait a minute,’ and I ran out. And then somebody came running after me. They said, ‘Somebody has been stealing in here before.’ The truth of the matter is that I had the bottle in my pocket. Was it hidden? No. Was it exposed? Yes. My children, Rachel and Nikki, were in the car. I had $300 in cash in the car. I said, ‘I have money. Look.’ I made sure that I showed the cop the money. Was it intentional? It was two days after the death threat. I wasn’t thinking. Why would I want to steal a $10 bottle of booze? Give me a break. The whole thing was dismissed without adjudication. You can be arrested and charged with a lot of things in your life. Did you know that even Thomas Sandefur was once arrested and pleaded guilty on a D.W.I.?”
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Re: The how and why of whistleblower smears

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Part 2 of 2

Wigand did not tell Bergman about the episode, but Bergman sensed that something was very wrong. He worried about Wigand’s state of mind. He was at the beginning of a long dance to create a sense of trust in his source, who he felt had an incredible story to tell. “Other whistle-blowers had come out of the tobacco industry to tell what they knew, but Wigand was singular. As an explorer, I felt, Wigand was Christopher Columbus,” Bergman told me. The bottom line is that this was a man with significant information, but it wasn’t just that he had to worry about the obvious, which is Brown & Williamson crushing him, but he had to worry about what would happen in his personal life.”

A lawyer from the Justice Department went to Louisville in April to take Wigand’s deposition on cigarette ignition. Privately, he complained that the lawyer did not ask the right questions. He also worried about his signed agreement with B&W and claims he took its legal department’s advice to stick to the company line. He testified that there was no possibility of developing a safe cigarette and that, as far as he knew, B&W had never committed fraud—testimony that would later be used to challenge his credibility. By this time Wigand had become a shadow expert on the tobacco industry. He was hired by ABC’s law firm Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering to give technical advice in the $10 billion lawsuit Philip Morris had filed against ABC.

Wigand continued to tell Bergman that he could not talk about B&W until his severance package was completed, in March 1995. Wigand did not tell Bergman that he had signed a confidentiality agreement, but several of Bergman’s finest pieces had been with sources who had been bound by such contracts. “The idea of somebody having a confidentiality agreement didn’t even occur to me as a problem! That was my job, to get people to talk!”

In January 1995, Wigand began teaching school, much to Lucretia’s surprise. He was making one-tenth the salary he had made at B&W, but he seemed quite happy. Meanwhile, Bergman had been feeling the heat from New York. Mike Wallace was getting antsy: “For God’s sake, Lowell, when are you going to get this guy on tape?” In March, Bergman met with Wigand and his wife in Louisville. If Jeff went on-camera, Lucretia asked, what would they do if they got sued? Bergman said, “There may be anti-tobacco lawyers who would agree to represent you for free. But we don’t even know yet if there is a story.” Was there anything new to say on 60 Minutes? Bergman next sent his associate producer to Louisville to do a preliminary interview with Wigand. She called Bergman after the interview and mentioned that Wigand had given her a copy of his B&W settlement agreement with the confidentiality clause. “He needs a lawyer,” Bergman said.

In June 1994, The New York Times had run long articles based on thousands of pages taken from B&W—the cache of papers copied at a Louisville law office by Merrell Williams. Only in July 1995 did the University of California and tobacco expert Stanton Glantz put the documents on the Internet after successfully fighting off a serious lawsuit brought by B&W.

According to Bergman, “It took Jeff a long time to come out and decide that he wanted to tell his story. He used to say, ‘Lowell, I want to do this, but I need support. I need my wife there. We can’t do it yet, because Lucretia is not there.’” Wigand had continued to keep secrets from her: In May, the Wigands had come to New York as guests of 60 Minutes. It was not obvious to Bergman that Wigand had not told Lucretia that he intended to be interviewed. “He expected me to explain it to her,” Bergman told me. All summer long Wigand debated about his public role, and Lucretia grew increasingly panicky. Meanwhile, he continued to advise Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering regarding Philip Morris’s suit against ABC. He was even asked to testify for ABC if the case should ever go to court. Bergman read his name on a wire-service story. “I called him and went ballistic! I said, ‘Do you understand that B&W will now go to court to keep you from testifying? Soon every news outlet in America will be calling you.’” Bergman had begun to corroborate Wigand’s story from the taped interview he had made; he knew that the Merrell Williams B&W documents supported Wigand’s assertions about addiction, disease, and the role of various individuals. “I wasn’t doing a personality profile. I wanted to find out what he knew that was different.”

In July, Bergman began to get concerned. “I could see right up front that Jeff was going to wind up testifying. Philip Morris knew about him, the Justice Department knew about him, and so did the F.D.A. I called up Ephraim [Margolin, a lawyer friend who was advising Wigand by this time] and said, ‘Your client may wind up with a court order not to speak. Let’s get the guy’s story on-camera and lock it up!’ Ephraim had my verbal understanding that we wouldn’t run it until he was ready. Jeff was worried about homesteading his house in case he lost a breach-of-contract suit. He showed up in New York and said, ‘Ephraim wants you to write him a note.’ So I did.” The note stated that CBS would not run the interview without Wigand’s permission, and that they would reconsider the matter on September 3. It was a harmless exercise, Mike Wallace later told me he believed, intended to keep a source happy and calm.

Bergman told me, “I knew it was going to take months to check out what he had to say. And I thought, Fuck! If he is going to testify in the ABC case, then it will be out there on Court TV in October or November. I had already yelled and screamed about him listing his name. I said, ‘Great, you want to trust these people at ABC. What about this talk about ABC settling the lawsuit with Philip Morris?’ I told him, ‘The difference between ABC and CBS is that I will raise holy fucking hell if anything happens at CBS.”

On September 12, Mike Wallace was asked to attend a meeting with Ellen Kaden, the CBS general counsel, Bergman, then president of CBS News Eric Ober, 60 Minutes executive producer Don Hewitt, and Phil Scheffler, Hewitt’s second-in-command. “I think we have a problem,” Kaden said, and used the phrase “tortious interference,” which she said involved persuading someone to break a contract with another party. Because Wigand had a confidentiality agreement with B&W, she said, CBS could be “at a grave, grave risk.” She was proposing something unprecedented in the history of CBS News—stopping an important history in midstream for fear of a lawsuit that hadn’t been threatened. Someone at the meeting voiced concern about an aspect of the story that showed Andrew Tisch, the chairman of Lorillard and the son of CBS chairman Laurence Tisch, with Thomas Sandefur swearing before Congress that nicotine was not addictive. “How do you expect us to go on the air with a piece that might put the chairman’s son in jail?” someone said. Hewitt, by disposition noisy and opinionated, was muted, as were Ober and Wallace. Hewitt later recalled that he had had no intention of “playing cards with a stacked deck.” He advanced none of the First Amendment arguments considered routine, such as: How could you have a confidentiality agreement when there were thousands of pages of supporting documents on the Internet? And Hewitt made no offer to press the issue with his boss, Larry Tisch. Bergman, who was on his way to London to interview bat executives, was told to cancel the trip.

Don Hewitt’s relationship with Larry Tisch soured after Tisch got control of CBS in 1986. “I am not proud of it anymore, but Mike Wallace, Walter Cronkite, and I were the cheerleaders for Larry buying the network,” he said. “The night Tisch bought CBS, we were all up at our friend Mollie Parnis’s slapping him on the back.” A week later, Hewitt went to see him. “I said, ‘Larry, we have been pretty good friends, and now I need a favor.’ I said, ‘You have handed me all of this money. Tell me what to do with it. Lead me to a good financial advisor. Who knows better than you?’ I got the brush-off. Later I heard he said, ‘I not only pay the son of a bitch all that money—now he wants free business advice!’”

The relationship between Hewitt and Tisch, who are both 73, grew icy, according to Hewitt, when Tisch realized that he could have no editorial influence on 60 Minutes—an assertion that Tisch denies. In fact, the two men shared certain personality quirks: Hewitt was as voluble as Tisch and, like his new boss, had a desire for respectability. Hewitt’s peppery letters and messages were famous in the city, as was Tisch’s pose of modest conviviality. A few years after Tisch became C.E.O., 60 Minutes produced a searing report on the American Israel Public Affairs Committee that Tisch didn’t like. “He stopped talking to me at that point,” Hewitt recalled. “I went to a reception that Warren Phillips [publisher of The Wall Street Journal] had at the River House, a room full of people like Punch Sulzberger and Kay Graham. I walked in and said to Larry, ‘Hey, boss, how are you?’ He said, ‘Don’t you “Hey, boss” me.’ He turned his back and walked away! We next did a story on Temple Mount in which we say that the Jerusalem police got out of hand, and somebody tells me that when Larry was asked about it his answer was ‘Don’t ask me. Ask Horowitz and Wallach, the two self-hating Jews who changed their names.’… We were the most profitable broadcast in the history of television. The fucker got out of here with all that money only because we kept his company afloat.” According to Tisch, “This is nonsense! Jesus! This poor fellow has a complex. So many things have been attributed to me that I never said. What would I care what Don Hewitt’s last name was originally?”

In the midst of the furor over the Temple Mount piece, Hewitt said to Tisch, “Larry, you are, in effect, our publisher. It is up to you to defend us.” Tisch answered, “I am not your publisher.” “That episode with Temple Mount unsettled Larry,” a close friend of his recalled. “He had no idea that as the new proprietor of CBS News he had to respect his news division and their editorial judgment.”

After Tisch took over CBS, the news division was stripped of a good deal of its power and reputation. At a time when ABC was expanding its news operation, Tisch cut the CBS budget drastically. He sold off the lucrative CBS record company, refused to invest in cable, and was outbid on broadcast rights to the N.F.L. football games that were the lead-in to 60 Minutes. “You have to understand,” a friend of Tisch’s told me, “Larry likes money. Money is a game for him!”

The relationship between CBS and Tisch’s tobacco company, Lorillard, became a vexing problem for the news division. According to someone who knows Tisch well, when he bought Lorillard, in 1968, he viewed it only as a potential investment. “Years ago, the Tisch family was not afraid of liability. If he had asked his technical people, ‘Am I in any danger?’ he would have gotten the typical answer back: ‘You can’t prove anything in a liability case since the surgeon general forced the companies to put a warning on the packs.’” Tisch could not have forecast then the sweeping change in tort litigation, the possibility of immense jury awards. There was no imagining in 1968 how medical costs would soar in a few years. “None of this was on the horizon,” Tisch told me. “I couldn’t tell you today whether or not I would have bought Lorillard 30 years ago.… There is no clear-cut proof about addiction. I am not a scientist. I never smoked. I take a drink, but am I an addict? Liability suits? This is all pure speculation. I hate it when people tell me what I have been thinking.”

Lorillard became an immense cash bonanza for the Loews Corporation—the parent company controlled by Tisch and his brother, Robert—earning approximately $700 million a year. For several of Tisch’s friends, a key to his personality can be found in the controversy that tore apart New York University Medical Center in 1989. Tisch was the chairman of the university’s board of trustees, and it was believed that he would give a substantial gift. He announced that he and his brother would donate $30 million but with one proviso: the hospital would have to be renamed in their honor—a proposal which caused an outcry in the press. “Naming a hospital after tobacco men is just too ironic,” Dr. William Cahan, a prominent surgeon at Sloan-Kettering, said in May 1989. “Around town, the University Hospital is becoming known as Lorillard General.” But the hospital gave in to Tisch’s demand. According to Tisch, “There was not a great a deal of negative feeling. I only received one or two letters about it. I thought the family was doing the right thing.

Lowell Bergman arrived at the Wigands’ red brick house late in the afternoon on September 15. He was deeply concerned about the New York meeting and its ominous implications. His inner radar told him something was way off in the CBS decision, but he was a corporate employee. If he stormed out in a rage of protest, Wigand would be left unprotected. In the wake of ABC’s recent settlement in the Philip Morris suit, Wigand felt doubly vulnerable and exposed, because his name was on the witness list. He said, “They’re going to sue me, and I don’t have any money.” During dinner that night, Bergman received a phone call from Jonathan Sternberg, a CBS lawyer. “Leave that house right now,” he told him.

At the end of September, Bergman spent a long weekend cutting a version of the B&W exposé. “I wanted to show Mike, Don, and Eric Ober exactly what it was CBS News wanted to kill.” Bergman screened it for the three men that Monday. He recalled, “Hewitt was jumping up and down, yelling, ‘Pulitzer Prize!’”

Soon after, Bergman ran into Phil Scheffler in the hall. The show’s managing editor looked somber. “All he said to me was ‘Stop!’ in a loud, booming voice,” referring to Bergman’s reporting on Wigand.

In the research files of Nexis, the information-retrieval service, there are 220 newspaper and magazine stories that have mentioned “tortious interference” since CBS News made the decision not to allow the Wigand segment to go on the air. It is commonly believed that Tisch, who was in the midst of talks with Westinghouse concerning a merger with CBS, would not entertain the possibility of the threat of a tobacco-company lawsuit. Tisch had witnessed personally the consequences of tortious interference. In 1983 he had been brought onto the board of Getty Oil by Gordon Getty. Several months later he and Getty toasted a bid from Pennzoil to acquire Getty—a bid that would later be topped by Texaco. Pennzoil sued in a famous case in which Tisch testified, but Texaco was forced into temporary bankruptcy when Pennzoil won a record-breaking settlement. Still, Tisch denies that this experience had anything to do with the CBS decision. “What I went through had nothing to do with the B&W episode. I read about it in the paper, the same way you did,” Tisch told me.

It was not widely known that a complex financial deal was going on at Lorillard about the time Bergman was trying to salvage the Wigand interview. At the end of 1994, the Federal Trade Commission had ruled that B&W had to sell off its discount, or value-brand, cigarettes—Montclair, Malibu, Crown’s, Special 10’s, Riviera, and Bull Durham—for anti-trust reasons. Lorillard was a logical buyer because, although it controlled close to 8 percent of the tobacco market with brands such as Kent, Newport, and True, it was decidedly weak in the area of discount cigarettes. The potential acquisition of Montclair and the other brands would round out the Lorillard product line and increase cigarette sales by more than five billion units. While the acquisition was being studied inside Lorillard, Westinghouse was negotiating for a merger with CBS, and speculation within 60 Minutes was focused on the effect a possible lawsuit would have on the merger.

By mid-October, the Liggett Group believed it was the high bidder for the B&W cigarettes, according to a source close to the case. Just before the deal was ready to close, the general counsel for Liggett suddenly could not get the B&W lawyers on the telephone. He was stunned when he discovered that B&W had sold the cigarette brands to Lorillard. George Lowy, an attorney who represented B&W in the divestiture, has said, “Lorillard’s deal was financially superior.” Liggett is considering bringing legal action against B&W. The F.T.C. filing on the sale is unusual; some nine pages have been blanked out. The price of purchase and number of bidders are deleted. The deal was announced in late November, three weeks after 60 Minutes killed its original story. But Tisch recently told me, “I don’t know anything about it. I have nothing to do with Lorillard. I was spending my full time at CBS.” Ironically, it is possible that the suit Liggett may bring would be for tortious interference.

In November, no one at 60 Minutes was aware of the shuffle that was going on behind the scenes with the B&W brands. “I knew all kinds of litigation was possible,” Bergman told me. “I kept saying to people, ‘You are making news decisions in a corporate atmosphere where there is no appetite for this kind of story. There is possible perjury on the part of the son of the owner trying to sell an asset at a premium price where the consequences of the story might affect the stock price. Think how history might record this!’”

By brushing against Big Tobacco, Tisch, Wigand, Bergman, Hewitt, and Wallace were all soon lost in a thicket of hidden dangers. Wigand was still oblivious to the gathering perplexities and the corporate forces arrayed against him. As far as Wigand was concerned, said Bergman, “I was the face of 60 Minutes. I was there holding his hand when his wife freaked out.” As for Bergman, he had worked for a year and a half to bring in one of the most important stories of his career, and by doing so he had put his employer and his future in jeopardy. Hewitt and Wallace were millionaires many times over, yet their public acquiescence to CBS’s reluctance to air their story threatened to tarnish their distinguished careers.

“In the end, I made the call to Wigand to tell him that management had made the decision to kill the show,” Mike Wallace told me. “Lowell did not have the heart to do it.” Bergman was distraught: “My work depends on my word. We had never indicated to Jeff that there would be any problem.” The decision to kill the segment, Wallace said, marked the “the first time in 28 years that Don and I saw something differently.” Hewitt, according to 60 Minutes sources, was attempting both to please the authorities and to act like a newsman, a position that became known as “the Hewitt straddle” in the office. However angry Wallace was, he told friends he was too old to quit on principle, and he did not understand why Hewitt was siding with management.

Hewitt called a meeting of the staff. “This is not a First Amendment issue,” he said, but several people in the room strongly disagreed with him. “General counsel believes we have broken the law.” Suddenly Mike Wallace burst in and screamed at Hewitt, “I understand you have just said we should not have pursued the story!”—which Hewitt had not in fact said. “Who told you that? If that is what you think, I am quitting!” Hewitt said and stormed out of the room.

In November, Hewitt decided to run a version of the B&W story without a Wigand interview. Wallace prepared a news piece for the Friday before the show was to run. It was Wallace’s intention to broadcast management’s decision, but when he saw the show, he realized his work had been cut by the CBS lawyers. In the hall he confronted Ellen Kaden. “Did you tell Larry Tisch about the Wigand interview? Is that why the piece was killed?” Kaden denied it. Wallace was relentless. “It doesn’t make sense. You are his general counsel. Why would you not have told him?” Wallace later recalled that Kaden started to cry, a story she has denied. Kaden had sought advice from an outside counsel, First Amendment specialist Cameron DeVore, but she refused to show Wallace any of the memos he had written her. One former CBS executive surmised that no one at CBS management was willing to take responsibility for killing the Wigand interview, and Kaden was left to take the fall.

Hewitt told a New York Times reporter that the new version was “better, I think, than what we had before.” When an Associated Press reporter called Bergman for comment, Bergman told him angrily, “The versions are apples and oranges.” Wallace was enraged when he read a Times editorial accusing the program of betraying the legacy of Edward R. Murrow. “I don’t know if things will ever go back to normal,” one correspondent said. “The fact is,” Wallace told me, “that Don and I had a difference of opinion about whether we should or should not push to get this thing on the air. It turned bloody and icy from time to time.”

Except for Wallace, not one correspondent picked up the telephone to call Bergman. Wallace and Morley Safer were raging at each other. Safer even issued a statement to the press attacking Wallace and Bergman for making an agreement with Wigand. The feud at 60 Minutes offered a rare view inside the psychodynamics of TV news. “It became poisonous and contagious, with many people wanting to hang Lowell,” CBS producer George Crile said. In a fit of pique, Don Hewitt told several staffers to distance themselves from Bergman. Soon a reaction developed within the office. The staff felt as if it were living in a Potemkin village. Their very integrity rested on their ability to tell a story accurately, despite confidentiality agreements. Ellen Kaden would later tell friends that she was furious that Wigand’s identity had been leaked to the Daily News. She blamed 60 Minutes for it and for the attacks against her in the press. It was Kaden’s belief that she was only doing her job, trying to prevent CBS from entering the nightmare of tobacco litigation that ABC had endured. She later recalled learning of the million pages of red paper that Philip Morris had delivered to ABC—the color red could not be photocopied—and noted with alarm that a Virginia judge had ruled that this was not an abusive tactic.

In Washington for an interview with President Clinton in mid-December, five 60 Minutes correspondents rehearsed in a hotel room. Everyone agreed on areas and questions, but when the president arrived, the reporters started shouting as if it were a free-for-all. Mike Wallace demanded of one, “Why did you steal all of my lines?” The issue was Clinton, but the undercurrent was lethal, a shared understanding that tobacco and its implications were driving them apart. Soon after, the news of the CBS sale to Westinghouse was announced. Larry Tisch’s Loews Corporation made nearly $1 billion on the sale. CBS general counsel Ellen Kaden made close to $5 million. And Eric Ober would receive around $4 million from severance and stock options.

‘At Christmastime, I was disinvited from going to Lucretia’s father’s place,” said Wigand. The debacle at 60 Minutes was all that was needed to make their marriage collapse. A few weeks earlier, in late November, Wigand was leaving school when he noticed a car coming at him across the parking lot. “I thought it was the end,” he later told me. In fact, it was another subpoena from B&W, demanding that he appear in court for violating his confidentiality agreement. Soon after, he flew to Mississippi to give a deposition in the state’s case. “Are you aware that when you get back to Kentucky you could very well go to jail?” his lawyer Ephraim Margolin, a criminal-defense expert, reportedly asked him. “I better think about this,” Wigand said. That afternoon Wigand was very late arriving at the courthouse in Pascagoula. Approximately 15 lawyers from the tobacco companies were waiting, betting that he would not show up. Wigand took some time to make up his mind. “Fuck it. Let’s do it,” he finally said to Margolin. It was the real beginning of his new life, but Wigand worried about Lucretia. “She didn’t understand what I was doing. All she cared about was that it disrupted her economic system.”

‘We were a quiet little company before all this happened,” an executive for B&W’s Kool brand tells me on a plane ride to Louisville. “Then we wound up on page one.” I ask him the standard question in Tobacco Land: “Do you want your children to smoke?” He responds irritably, “I see where you are going with this. You are going to say that an unnamed Kool spokesman doesn’t want his daughter to smoke.… I think tobacco has been singled out unfairly.”

IV: The Attack

In late November, the litigator Stanley Arkin, one of more than a dozen lawyers working for B&W to head off the Justice Department’s investigation into the tobacco industry, recommended that B&W hire public-relations man John Scanlon and Terry Lenzner, the former Watergate deputy counsel who is the head of Investigative Group Inc., a firm that specializes in legal work for corporate takeovers. Since his days as a liberal Republican lawyer, Lenzner has traveled philosophically from being someone who out of principle forced the Nixon administration to fire him to being an ambitious investigator in his 50s who would like to compete with Jules Kroll, a leader in the field. Like Arkin, Lenzner is attracted to the game of big-time corporate litigation, but, according to several former partners, his business has suffered recently. Lenzner’s assignment was to prepare a lengthy dossier that B&W could use to torpedo Wigand’s reputation with Jimmie Warren, the innovative Justice Department prosecutor running the investigation into the tobacco executives at Central Justice, the elite unit of the Justice Department which monitors national policies. “Wigand is the major witness against them in the federal grand jury both in Washington and New York,” John Scanlon told me.

Scanlon and Arkin had worked together before. In 1989 they volunteered to help Covenant House, a shelter for teenage runaways in New York, defend Father Bruce Ritter, the director, against sexual- and financial-misconduct allegations—an ironic assignment for Scanlon, who at one time had wanted to be a priest. As part of the public-relations campaign, Covenant House held a press conference in which confidential information about Ritter’s 26-year-old male accuser was made public—a classic destroy-the-accuser technique. According to Newsday, the ploy backfired, however, in a groundswell of revulsion from New York social workers and resulted in more than five other boys’ coming forward to make similar accusations against Father Ritter.

Scanlon is the foremost practitioner of what he calls “guerrilla P.R.” For columnist Murray Kempton, Scanlon is this generation’s Roy Cohn—“a man proud of his infamies.” During the McCarthy period, Roy Cohn was considered a master of the art of using false statements and exaggerations to impugn someone’s reputation. As a young man, Scanlon was a passionate defender of left-wing causes, as far from the ethics of Cohn as it is possible to get. As he has gotten older, he has developed expensive tastes; he owns a million-dollar house in the Hamptons and another retreat in Ireland. Twenty years ago he began to build a business in corporate public relations. At first Scanlon’s campaigns were a model of corporate responsibility: he helped create the gentle Mobil ads in the lower corner of The New York Times’s op-ed page in the 1970s. His fees have always been high—he now charges $350 an hour—but his clients became increasingly controversial. He represented both Philip Morris and Lorillard in the landmark case of the late Rose Cipollone, whose husband sued, arguing that her death had been related to cigarette smoking.

Scanlon’s friends do not pass judgment publicly on his clients, although in private many are strongly critical. “Loyalty is the vice of the New York establishment,” columnist Liz Smith explained. For some reporters, Scanlon is an unreliable apologist. For others he is a bon vivant whose motivations are not so different from Jeffrey Wigand’s when he signed up to work for B&W. (Scanlon has acted as a consultant for this magazine, but is on a mutually agreed-upon leave of absence because of his relationship with B&W.)

Scanlon is part of the social network of prominent New Yorkers with country houses in the Hamptons. He occasionally hops a ride on a helicopter owned by financier Pete Peterson; the other passengers are Don Hewitt and his wife, Marilyn Berger. Very often on Sunday mornings, Scanlon, Peterson, and Hewitt have met for a catch-up conversation at the Candy Kitchen, a restaurant in Bridgehampton. Scanlon’s clients find this access attractive.

B&W’s campaign against Wigand surfaced in late December, when a Washington Post reporter phoned the office of Richard Scruggs in Pascagoula, Mississippi, and asked for a comment on Wigand’s alleged history of spousal abuse and shoplifting as well as on his contradictory statements regarding fire safety and cigarettes. Scruggs, a law-school classmate of Michael Moore, the attorney general of Mississippi, made a fortune as an architect of the plaintiffs’ suit against the asbestos companies in 1991. He flies a Lear jet and has an estate in Pascagoula near his childhood home. As one of the chief lawyers representing Mississippi’s case against the tobacco companies, he has taken an interest in Wigand as a bonus witness and has become his personal lawyer, working pro bono at the invitation of Ephraim Margolin. Scruggs met Wigand in late October. “I was astonished when he told me his story,” he recalled. Until he heard from The Washington Post, he told me, “I had never been engaged in a case involving a smear.”

From Key West, Scruggs called Wigand, who was in Washington at the Justice Department. “Jeff was very, very upset,” Scruggs recalled. On the telephone, Wigand gave Scruggs his account of the “abuse” and “shoplifting” episodes, but still Scruggs realized that he had a potential catastrophe on his hands. There was nothing that would be admissible in a court, but Scruggs dreaded the sound bite “Wigand is a wife beater” and knew it could potentially scare off the Justice Department. “There is no bigger lie than a half-truth,” he later told me. Scruggs knew Wigand had few close friends, and was concerned about his growing isolated. Wigand had shut himself in his bedroom for 16 hours. He believed he would lose his job because of The Washington Post. Later, Scruggs would say, “Jeff was despondent. I was worried he would unravel, and I didn’t know what to do.”

In New York, it was obvious to Mike Wallace and Lowell Bergman that a calculated attempt was being made to ruin Wigand’s reputation. Over the Christmas holidays, Scanlon took Don Hewitt aside at a party at the writer Avery Corman’s and told him that Wigand was “a bad guy.” Hewitt and Scanlon were not just longtime friends; Scanlon had advised CBS during the libel case brought against the network and Mike Wallace by General William Westmoreland in 1985. For weeks on the helicopter, Scanlon bombarded Hewitt and the Petersons with allegations against Wigand—he was a shoplifter, a wife beater. Hewitt was at first strongly influenced by Scanlon, he later recalled. “I hear that Wigand is a bad guy,” Hewitt told Wallace. Scanlon had temporarily succeeded in diverting the story of B&W to a narrative about Wigand’s personality. Months earlier, Bergman had run a crime check on Wigand, but since he had not been convicted of anything, neither incident had shown up on the computer. In January, Scanlon visited Wallace at 60 Minutes. “He sat in my office and told me, ‘Mike, don’t worry—B&W is not going to sue you,’” Wallace recalled. “That is when I knew John was working for them.” Wallace and Bergman motivated Hewitt by stoking his competitive streak. “Dateline is going to put Wigand on the air, and he is our guy,” Wallace recalled telling Hewitt. “How can we let our guy appear on NBC?”

Scanlon made a blunder by overplaying his hand. Hewitt’s and Wallace’s sense of fair play was aroused. They are known for never allowing their personal histories to get in the way of a story, but after weeks of Scanlon’s hammering at Wigand’s credibility, his strategy backfired completely, Hewitt later told me. Once, on the helicopter, Hewitt had told him, “John, you are full of shit.” Hewitt later remarked, “What I should have said to him was ‘Look, John, if you want to go out and work for tobacco companies defending people’s right to smoke, more power to you. The next time someone calls you and asks you to break a guy’s legs, tell them to hire a capo.’” By mid-January, Hewitt had made up his mind that Scanlon’s campaign against Wigand had to be part of any coming 60 Minutes report. “Mike and I never even discussed whether or not we should report it,” Hewitt said.

“John was feeding me stuff all the time,” Hewitt later told me. “He called me and told me the man was on a watch list at the liquor store.… He sent me two depositions done by Wigand. One of them, to the best of my knowledge, was under lock and key and sealed.… I kept egging him on. He was my pipeline to Brown & Williamson.”

One night in January, I telephoned Scanlon at his house in Sag Harbor. “What can you tell me about Wigand?” I asked. Scanlon mentioned the contradictions in Wigand’s testimony about fire-safe cigarettes, then warmed to his theme: Wigand, he said, “had been arrested for wife beating” and had been “shoplifting for a long period of time.” He continued, “And then there’s about 25 instances which he filed … insurance claims on lost luggage and hotel rooms broken into.… He’s got a very, very shaky record.” It seemed obvious that he was recalling the details of a written memo, although at that time I did not know of the 500-page dossier.

“Who has dug this up?” I asked. “Terry Lenzner’s group?”

“Yes,” he said. “They’re the investigators for B&W.… I have been hired to do what I always do, which is to try to find out what the story is and broker the story, and I’m convinced that without a single iota of doubt he is a liar.”

I asked Scanlon if he had ever met Wigand or posed these allegations to him. “No. I’ve read his testimony. I don’t have to ask him the questions.” Scanlon paused. “You know, I have seen tape in which he says that he was an Olympic wrestler and a Vietnam fighter pilot.” I asked him if I could see the tape. “Only off the record, and we wouldn’t want it tied to us. We would have to have that firm agreement,” he said. I said I could not enter into such an arrangement. “We may not be able to talk, then, because what they are trying to say is that this is a smear campaign.” I said I was troubled by the implications of our conversation, the way the people who had compiled the allegations about Wigand were disseminating them to destroy his credibility. “Of course they are,” Scanlon said. “I mean, he is an incredible witness. Why wouldn’t they? I mean, if you had somebody testifying against you, and you knew they weren’t credible, what would you do?”

V: The Counterattack

The investigator Jack Palladino met Wigand at his house on the Colonel Anderson Parkway. In the world of hardball litigation, Palladino and his wife, Sandra Sutherland, are the Nick and Nora Charles of modern criminal investigation. Palladino wears $2,000 suits and splashy Balenciaga ties and speaks with a rapid-fire polish that hints of his childhood in Boston. At one time Palladino wanted to be a psychiatrist, and he has a persuasive narrative gift. Sutherland is the daughter of an Australian academic; her strength as an investigator is an intuitive sense of when something is amiss. They operate from the former I. Magnin mansion in San Francisco; they investigated the People’s Temple in Jonestown in the 1980s and ran the counterattack against American Express’s 1988 attempt to smear the banker Edmond Safra. They worked as well for the Clinton campaign in 1992, investigating accusations of Clinton’s infidelities. The irony was that the couple usually work for Stanley Arkin, but this time they were on the other side. “I think Arkin would explain our working for Wigand as my 60s radical sympathies,” Palladino said.

He was hired by Richard Scruggs to mount a counterattack, to disprove the charges in the dossier that B&W had hired Scanlon to disseminate to reporters. Palladino and his staff of seven investigators had to move quickly. An anonymous tip had already been sent to Joe Ward of the Louisville Courier-Journal and to Doug Proffitt, a TV personality in Louisville who specializes in tabloid investigations. The letter to Ward had a “gossipy tone,” Ward told me, and said that Wigand had beat up his wife. Ward immediately suspected that it had come from the tobacco industry, and he chose to investigate further. Ward told me that even the police report had no context that he was comfortable with. Doug Proffitt, however, was less concerned. On the evening he was preparing a report on Wigand’s marital problems, I telephoned him. He sounded elated that he had a scoop. “I got an anonymous tip which I’m sure came from the tobacco industry.… There’s a side of this man that has never been told before.”

Palladino met Wigand after Proffitt had aired his report. He was surprised, he told me later, that Wigand asked him to explain to his 22-year-old daughter, Gretchen, the circumstances of the case, exactly how much was at stake. “He was in a paradoxical situation. At a time when the anti-tobacco forces wanted to make him a hero, he had isolated himself from everyone, including his own family,” Palladino said. “Lock up all these papers and diaries before someone steals them,” Palladino told him when he visted his home office. When Palladino relayed to Wigand the charges about him being detailed in phone calls to reporters, Wigand responded angrily, “What kind of bullshit is this?” Once Palladino realized what was happening to Wigand, he instructed the entire staff to put aside whatever they were working on and check every aspect of Wigand’s past. “This is a war,” Palladino said.

When Wigand meets me in the Hyatt coffee shop on Saturday morning, January 27, he is carrying a stack of newspapers. The testimony from his deposition about B&W is page-one news for The Courier-Journal, The Lexington Herald-Leader, and The New York Times. “You were on CNN this morning, Jeff,” his security man says. “I bet you never thought, growing up on Bruckner Boulevard, that you would wind up on page one of the Times,” I say. “That is bullshit,” he says. “I don’t care about front pages.”

I am flying with Wigand to New York, where he will be interviewed again for 60 Minutes. “Wallace and Hewitt outed me, all right?” he says angrily—a reference to the fact that his identity was leaked to the New York Daily News—as we walk toward he Hyatt parking garage. “And I intend to tell Mike what I think of him on the air.” (“We are mystified that he thinks that,” Wallace later said.) In the hotel driveway, as we wait in the car for the security man to join us, Wigand sees a man crossing quickly in front of us. “Holy shit, there is Kendrick Wells!” he yells. It is eight a.m., and Wells, B&W’s assistant general counsel for product litigation, is heading toward the company tower. “What in the world could they be doing so early on a Saturday?” Wigand asks nervously as we leave for the airport.

As Wigand and I were having dinner at the Hyatt the night before, the B&W lawyers apparently made a decision to attempt to counteract the publication of parts of the leaked deposition in The Wall Street Journal. Someone on the B&W legal team suggested that their entire 500-page confidential dossier be sent immediately to the Journal’s reporter, Suein Hwang. That would turn out to be a disastrous strategic error. No one at B&W had checked the accuracy of Lenzner’s report, titled The Misconduct of Jeffrey S. Wigand Available in the Public Record. The list of allegations is dense and for most reporters immediately suspect. On the Sunday that Wigand taped at 60 Minutes, Palladino met with Suein Hwang for seven hours, going over every charge in the report. “We didn’t leave the Empire Diner until the early hours of the morning,” Palladino later recalled. “The Journal editors decided they would investigate every allegation. When I got back to the hotel, I faxed my office: ‘Drop everything and work on these charges.’”

The summary is divided into categories—Unlawful Activity; Possible False or Fraudulent Claims for Stolen, Lost or Damaged Property; Lies on Wigand’s Résumés; Wigand’s Lies Under Oath; Other Lies by Wigand; Mental Illness. The document is a smorgasbord of allegations, large and small. “On November 18, 1991, Wigand wrote to Coast Cutlery Company and returned an allegedly damaged knife for repair.” “On March 19, 1992, Wigand wrote to Coach for Business requesting credit to his American Express card for two returned items.” More serious for the Justice Department, the contradictions in his testimony on fire-safe cigarettes are detailed, which Wigand explains by the fact that time elapsed between his testimony in Washington, while he was still under a severance agreement with B&W, and what he was about to say about fire safety after analyzing the Hamlet-project papers.

In Washington, even President Clinton has started to grapple with the problem of Jeffrey Wigand. Does he reach out and embrace him as he did the late Tobacco Institute lobbyist Victor Crawford? At the moment, Clinton is battle-weary, according to one source close to him. He has survived the controversy surrounding David Kessler, the vigorous head of the F.D.A., an inside battle in which Health and Human Services Secretary Donna Shalala and White House Deputy Chief of Staff Harold Ickes lined up for Kessler, and Patrick Griffin, the president’s liaison to Congress, and Erskine Bowles, a deputy chief of staff, questioned Clinton’s continued support of Kessler. Griffin pointed out that Kessler would bring down on Clinton the possible loss of four tobacco states—Kentucky, Virginia, and the Carolinas—and the enmity of the tobacco lobbies. Last year B&W hired the Whitewater special prosecutor, Kenneth Starr, to represent the company in its fight to prevent dissemination of the Merrell Williams documents. Recently a top White House official called the hiring of Kenneth Starr “a travesty” because of the possible conflict of interest in investigating the president as he attempts to regulate the tobacco industry.

If Clinton were to embrace Wigand, it would signal that the Justice Department had no reservations about his credibility, but as yet there has been no clear signal from Washington. David Kessler would not be interviewed for 60 Minutes concerning his relationship with Wigand, perhaps because the F.D.A. is careful to appear neutral as it attempts to change the laws and force tobacco to be regulated as a drug.

In New York we go to dinner at a Japanese restaurant with Jack Palladino. Wigand sits in a tatami room and orders baby eel in fluent Japanese. Palladino tells him, “You are a very important man at the moment. You have got to get out of Louisville. You should be at a major foundation that is doing tobacco research.” For Palladino, there is little about Wigand that reminds him of Edmond Safra, the banker—and the client of Stanley Arkin—he worked for who was also the victim of a smear. Safra was motivated by a sense of moral outrage, Palladino tells me, whereas Wigand’s level of tension is a sign of pure fear. At dinner, he is without defenses. He says, “The only thing I have is my teaching. I will not give it up. I owe the kids.” In the car on the way back to the hotel, Wigand is irritable. “I feel I am being corralled by these guys.”

Wigand is tired in New York, and complains of chest pains. It is his intention to get a physical, including an EKG. He checks into the Shelburne, a modest hotel at 37th Street, although 60 Minutes has offered to put him up at the more posh Essex House, on Central Park South. “Do you know what it would be like if I were there with them?” he says. “They would be down my throat every second.”

Wigand is scheduled for his second 60 Minutes interview Sunday afternoon. In the morning he calls and says, “I have to have a Save the Children tie. This is what the whole thing is about—smoking and kids. Where can I get one?” His tone is intense, serious. “I won’t go on the air without it,” he says. I meet Wigand in his room at the Shelburne. Palladino has already arrived, and paces back and forth trying to boost Wigand’s sense of self before he is filmed. “You are a man who is trying to tell the truth. They are trying to ruin your life. It is your story. You have to tell it the way you see it.” Palladino coaches Wigand on TV technique: “Don’t use too many nouns or proper names. Don’t be too technical. What you want is for them—the TV audience—to suddenly look up from their cheese puffs and say, ‘He is telling the truth.’” “I am a scientist,” Wigand responds churlishly. “That is how I speak.” “Yes,” says Palladino, “but consider it this way: you are getting a chance to tell your story in front of an audience.” While Palladino speaks, Wigand puts on a fresh shirt and takes a Save the Children tie from a Bloomingdale’s box. He knots it while looking in the mirror and then visibly relaxes. “O.K., Jack,” he says. “I feel better now.”

“It’s simple,” Palladino says. “Just tell the truth. That is all you have.”

On one occasion in Louisville, I go to see the B&W public-relations man Joe Helewicz, a former reporter for the Baltimore Sun. I am brought to a reception area, a large room filled with smoke. On several tables there are containers of B&W cigarettes, Kools and Capris. Near me a salesman from Pitney Bowes smokes a Kool and says, “I am supposed to be quitting, but I like coming here, because the cigarettes are free.” After some time I am taken up to the 18th floor to wait for Helewicz. This is the inner sanctum of the B&W legal department, the floor that was lit until midnight five days earlier. The tension is palpable; men in suits are huddled in several corner offices. I am shown to an empty office to wait. The Wall Street Journal has scheduled an exposé of the Wigand investigation for the next day’s paper. The publication of the B&W deposition excerpt in the Journal has also lifted any restriction on CBS—now owned by Westinghouse—to air its long-delayed report. In private, the new CBS News president, Andrew Heyward, tells Wallace that the story is “a priority.” In New York, Bergman is scrambling with a CBS crew, freed at last by Ellen Kaden to complete a process he began in 1994. The crew has waited outside Scanlon’s apartment building to ambush him. Scanlon stood in the snow and said, “Wigand is a habitual liar.” Earlier, he had shouted at Bergman on the telephone, “You guys are going to hose me.”

While I wait for Helewicz, I review my notes from the dinner I had with Wigand the night before. Wigand had been to see a divorce lawyer that afternoon, a fact that would be known 12 hours later at B&W headquarters.

From a window I look down at the exact table where Wigand and I had dinner in the Hyatt’s revolving restaurant. Suddenly I hear loud voices coming from Room 1821, then occupied by John Kiser, a B&W lawyer:

“Things have been a little hectic here.”

“We need a divorce specialist … “

“Wigand said no to child support.”

“Let’s do it all!”

“This will be blazed in the streets and the back alleys!”

“It has nothing to do with the law-books!”

Sometime later I see Joe Helewicz. Within moments of our meeting, he tells me that, as far as he is concerned, Wigand is a liar and cheats at golf. “He’s a paid mercenary,” he says. “Is he talking to any other media besides CBS?” I do not answer, and he continues. “Why? Because they’re not paying him. I don’t know why you and a lot of others don’t see it. Our business is out of favor. It’s not politically correct. If somebody stands up to the tobacco business, they’re a hero. Forget about the other side of the story.”

I read to Helewicz parts of the conversation I have just overheard and ask him if that language does not indicate a smear or unethical corporate behavior. “You picked up part of a conversation, and that’s a characterization of a campaign, because you picked up a couple of sentences out of context!” he says, but he refuses to allow me to interview the lawyer whose office the conversation was held in. “I would take issue with the word ‘smear’ when what you are doing is putting out fact about a person who is lying about you and making vast allegations.”

Japanese class begins at eight a.m. in Room 312 at DuPont Manual in downtown Louisville. Wigand teaches a group of 32 students, who sit quietly after the bell and the Pledge of Allegiance on a closed-circuit TV. Wigand is adamant about not wanting to talk to his students about what he is going through. “I happen to love teaching,” he says, “and I don’t want to concern them.” “Hajime masu!” he tells them. “Let’s begin! We are going to do some sumi today—calligraphy. How many of you have brought brushes?” In front of his class, Jeff Wigand is transformed. He is open and generous, and the class responds with noisy delight. At the end of the session, Wigand’s students surround him at a small table as he dips a special Japanese brush into calligraphy ink. “The maneuver is very loose, all from the shoulder—you have to relax to do it right,” he says. “It is about flow.” His shoulder loosens, and his hand begins moving the brush across a page. He makes a small box, a long line, a special dot, a flourish. “You see this symbol in Japanese restaurants. Does anyone know what it is? This is known as ‘happiness forever,’” he tells them. “It is all a matter of control.”

Soon after The Wall Street Journal published its front-page article harshly skeptical of the 500-page dossier, Wigand moved into a two-bedroom apartment in Louisville. “I will feel better when I have my things around me,” he said. He was particularly concerned about his computer, which contained one version of his B&W scientific diary. During a routine F.B.I. investigation of his most recent death threat, Wigand grew outraged that his privacy was being invaded. He had words with one agent, who reacted by obtaining a search warrant and impounding his computer, telling lawyers close to the case that Wigand was “a suspect” in the matter, although there was no evidence of any kind to suggest that Wigand had sent himself a death threat.

“They are not going to leave me alone,” Wigand told me in early February. It was the day after the most recent episode—a break-in at the office of Joe Mobley, his divorce lawyer. “There have been a few fireworks,” Mobley told me. “Four days after my employment, I did have a ‘toss,’ as they say in the vernacular. Nothing was taken, but the contents of my desk were thrown all over the floor.” For Palladino, the break-in was “clearly a message.” The clue, he said, was unmistakable: a pile of burned matches near the door.

According to The American Lawyer, there are now nearly 200 law firms working on more than 25 major tobacco cases, and Wigand could be an expert witness in all of them. His testimony has been sought for five ongoing investigations in the Justice Department. Wigand’s lawyers announced in early February that he is countersuing B&W for invading his privacy, and he has charged that B&W abused the legal process by seeking to block his testimony. Like a Mob witness, Wigand has entered a shadowland of litigation. For investigators and lawyers, he has lost his former identity and is now referred to as “the client”: “I am having dinner with the client.” “The client has to be in New York for a meeting.” There was recently a bomb threat at DuPont Manual.

There is no question that Wigand’s presence in the middle of the tobacco wars is an accident, without grand design. “I just wanted to get the story out,” he told Lowell Bergman after the 60 Minutes segment aired. It is possible that his testimony could cause several former C.E.O.’s to be indicted for perjury, including Thomas Sandefur and Andrew Tisch. “I can’t give you 25 reasons why I did it,” he told me recently, but since Wigand appeared in the arena, there has been a revolution in tobacco history. Over St. Patrick’s Day weekend, he was back in New York, far more sanguine than he had been in late January. That week Richard Scruggs had negotiated a remarkable settlement with the Liggett Group, which, in an unprecedented move, broke ranks with the other four U.S. tobacco giants and agree to settle the states’ claims and to accept proposed F.D.A. marketing regulations. The Liggett breakthrough was the inspiration of majority shareholder Bennett LeBow, a Wall Street buccaneer who, in alliance with corporate raider Carl Icahn, is hoping to take over RJR Nabisco. Liggett’s settlement created a selling frenzy on Wall Street, and Philip Morris’s stock plunged 16 percent in five days. Big Tobacco was suddenly like South Africa in the 1980s, as the giant structure began to crack. In March three more whistle-blowers came forward—former employees of Philip Morris. Shortly before Scruggs began negotiating with LeBow’s lawyers, Ian Uydess, a scientist, was in Washington at the F.D.A. alleging in a 24-page affidavit that Philip Morris had routinely adjusted nicotine levels. Meanwhile, The Courier-Journal reported that of the seven top executives who testified before Congress in 1994 that nicotine was nonaddictive, only one remains in place. Recently, Governor Kirk Fordice of Mississippi has gone to court to try to stop his own attorney general, Michael Moore, from pursuing anti-tobacco litigation, implying he was opportunistic, a captive of plaintiffs’ lawyers.

While Scruggs was fielding calls about the Liggett settlement, Wigand learned that the drawers in his home office had been jimmied open and his 1993 diary had vanished. Wigand was in New York to meet with Scruggs and Margolin to discuss an unusual tort suit—the intentional infliction of emotional harm—they are considering filing against John Scanlon and others involved in the B&W dossier. Scanlon, meanwhile, soldiered on for B&W. “There will be a third act, and Jeff Wigand will be unmasked,” he told me. Ellen Kaden remained angry; she could not see that she had set off a historic process by being concerned about tortious interference. In Washington, D.C., at the end of March, a U.S. district judge seemed to override the Kentucky restraining order by granting an emergency order allowing Wigand to testify before a federal grand jury without briefing B&W first.

Wigand reached a point where nothing surprised him anymore, so he hardly reacted when he looked across the dining room at the Essex House and noticed Ian Uydess, the tall, balding new whistle-blower from Philip Morris, having breakfast. The two men nodded at each other—Uydess had once applied to Wigand for a job—but they avoided direct conversation, perhaps in order to prevent any suggestion of conspiracy. Later, Uydess told me that he believed his own role was relatively minor, and that Wigand was the person “with real courage.”

“None of this would have happened without Jeff and Merrell Williams,” Scruggs told me. “In early November it looked like Big Tobacco had silenced the press. Now who knows what will happen?” At Hatsuhana, a smart Japanese restaurant in midtown Manhattan, Scruggs toasted Wigand. “You are an important man. I salute you.” Wigand smiled, but his response was muted. I thought of a remark he had made to me on a plane in January: “I wish I could see the horizon.” When we got to New York that day, there was a driving rain, with gales of wind. Wigand and I ran through the parking lot to a car. He was suddenly released, laughing convulsively. “Maybe this is a sign,” he told me.

Marie Brenner is Vanity Fair’s writer-at-large.
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Re: The how and why of whistleblower smears

Postby admin » Mon Mar 28, 2016 8:40 am

Kentucky court gags tobacco researcher, Mississippi court orders him to testify
by Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press
December 18, 1995

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KENTUCKY--In early December, the Kentucky Supreme Court agreed to hear an appeal by former tobacco researcher Jeffrey Wigand and stayed a temporary injunction barring him from disclosing certain information designated "trade secrets." While the Kentucky order was still in effect, Wigand disclosed information subject to the order in depositions to the Mississippi state attorney general.

The Kentucky hearing will be held before the court in mid-December, just one day before Wigand is scheduled to testify in a Department of Justice investigation concerning whether top tobacco industry officials may have committed perjury before a congressional committee last year.

The disputed testimony concerns internal company information and stems from a lawsuit brought by Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corporation that alleges Wigand divulged sensitive product information to the television show "60 Minutes." Brown & Williamson has said Wigand signed non-disclosure agreements when he was employed by the company as a vice president in charge of research.

In a related case in early December, a Mississippi state trial court judge in Jackson County allowed Wigand to testify in depositions in a lawsuit filed by that state against Brown & Williamson. The tobacco company immediately filed a motion to find Wigand in contempt of the Kentucky court's order.

Several news organizations petitioned the court to open the rest of the proceedings and unseal testimony already given by Wigand. The organizations include The New York Times, the Gannett Company, the National Broadcasting Company, Cable News Network, the American Broadcasting Companies and CBS Inc. (Brown & Williamson Tobacco v. Wigand; Counsel for Media Intervenors: H. Rodger Wilder, Gulfport, Mississippi)
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Re: The how and why of whistleblower smears

Postby admin » Tue Mar 29, 2016 8:12 am

NYPD Tapes 3: A Detective Comes Forward About Downgraded Sexual Assaults
by Graham Rayman
June 8, 2010

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Photo illustration by Chad Griffith

As a result of The Village Voice releasing audiotapes that capture NYPD superior officers encouraging street cops to manipulate crime statistics by downgrading crimes and intimidating crime victims, numerous current and former police officers have come forward to tell their own tales of questionable NYPD practices. (See "The NYPD Tapes: Inside Bed-Stuy's 81st Precinct" from May 5, 2010 and "The NYPD Tapes, Part 2" from May 12, 2010.)

But none is more alarming than the story being made public by retired NYPD Detective First Grade Harold Hernandez.

Responding to the ongoing Voice series "NYPD Tapes," Hernandez reveals publicly for the first time that the downgrading of crimes to manipulate statistics allowed a man to commit six sexual assaults in a Washington Heights neighborhood in 2002 before he was finally caught after his seventh attack.

The initial six crimes, committed over a two-month period, went unnoticed by 33rd Precinct detectives, Hernandez says, because patrol supervisors had improperly labeled most of them as misdemeanors. It was only through a lucky break—an alert neighbor spotted the suspect pushing his seventh victim into her apartment—that the rapist, Daryl Thomas, was finally captured.


After his arrest, Hernandez persuaded Thomas to detail his earlier crimes. The detective then combed through stacks of crime complaint reports to identify the pattern of violence.

Hernandez learned that most of the victims' complaints in the prior assaults had been classified as criminal trespassing, so the incidents never reached the detective squad and, in turn, were never declared a pattern, which would have triggered an intense campaign to capture the perpetrator.

He says Thomas told him that with each new assault, his brazenness and level of violence increased: "I asked him, 'Weren't you ever afraid that you would get caught in any of these locations?' He goes 'Nah. I looked around, I never saw any cops,' " Hernandez says. "What they do is continue to hide these complaint reports, and what happens is no one is alerted that they have a serious crime pattern in those areas."

A Manhattan jury convicted Thomas in five cases on first-degree attempted rape, robbery, burglary, and sexual assault charges. He is currently serving a 50-year sentence in a state prison in Romulus, New York.

No police official was ever disciplined for misclassifying the complaints. Not only did Police Commissioner Ray Kelly allow the precinct commander, then Captain Jason Wilcox, to stay on, but he promoted him twice: Wilcox is now an Inspector and the commanding officer of the Manhattan Transit Bureau.

The Thomas case is a troubling example of the effect of downgrading crime complaints, which the Voice has exposed in its series, based on recordings made inside Brooklyn's 81st Precinct.

One of Thomas's victims, Jennifer Krupa, was stunned when the Voice told her what happened to the earlier complaints. She was attacked toward the end of the two-month period. "If there was a chance they could have caught him earlier, that is absolutely infuriating," says Krupa, a musician who now lives out of state and willingly allowed her name to be used.

Thomas's attack on her resulted in a brutal battle. Shortly after 2 a.m., he accosted her as she was entering her apartment. He grabbed her and put a knife to her throat. She screamed and struggled, and they both fell. He snatched her purse and ran, but she chased him down and grabbed the purse. He punched her in the face, but she held on to her purse, and he fled. Krupa wound up with a bruised face and a small cut on her throat.

She knew it could have been worse: "He was trying to get me into my apartment," she says. "This turned my life upside down for more than a year. I had panic attacks. I didn't sleep. There were days I couldn't leave my apartment."

Over time, the trauma faded, but she says, "Anytime I'm in a corner or in an elevator, I'm very aware of what's going on around me."

In addition to the Thomas case, the Voice series has documented a policy of refusing to take robbery complaints from some victims, and includes references to a dozen instances of crime complaint manipulation in the 81st Precinct. Subsequent Web reports have contained evidence of additional manipulations. Other Voice Web reports document an attempted rape of the journalist Debbie Nathan that was downgraded to forcible touching in the 34th Precinct, and an attempted armed robbery report that disappeared in the 94th Precinct. The Voice asked the Police Department for comment on the handling of the Thomas case, but did not receive a response. The Voice has also asked for comment on the other issues raised in the NYPD Tapes series, but none has been forthcoming from police headquarters or the Mayor's office.

At 4 a.m., on November 3, 2002, a woman heard a commotion in the hallway of her Washington Heights building and looked through her peephole. She spotted a man, later identified as Daryl Thomas, 32, pushing a victim into her apartment. She called the police.

Patrol officers Luke Sullivan and Patrick Tanner burst into the apartment, and found Thomas hiding in a closet—he had a knife in his pocket, and the victim had handcuffs on her wrists. His backpack contained two pairs of women's panties and a length of rope.

Thomas was brought to an interview room at the precinct. A few hours later, Hernandez arrived to debrief him.

The man sitting across from Hernandez didn't fit the stereotype of a sex offender. Thomas helped manage a computer system at a Manhattan law firm. He had a wife and a daughter, and they all lived in the same neighborhood where the attack had taken place.

The detective gave Thomas breakfast and drew him into conversation. Thomas waived his right to remain silent, and never asked for a lawyer, records show.

"He starts telling me the story of one particular victim," Hernandez says. "I say, 'Listen, you've done this in the past, haven't you?' He says, 'Yeah.' 'How many times?' He goes, 'I don't know, seven or eight times.' "

The detective then asked Thomas for the general area where the attacks took place: "He says, 'Pretty much in this area, along the Fort Washington section of Washington Heights.' "

Hernandez was now puzzled. Why hadn't the 33rd Precinct Detective Squad heard anything about this pattern of violence? Surely the victims had filed reports about the previous incidents. But he could find no record.

He was aware of a sexual assault and robbery that had occurred on September 23, because he had done the interview himself. That case had been properly classified as a robbery and attempted rape, and it had been sent to the Manhattan Special Victims Unit for further investigation. But where were the others?

"I'm thinking, if there have been other cases, maybe Special Victims forgot to notify the precinct that they have a pattern," Hernandez says. "There should be a pattern sheet. But no. Sex Crimes says there's only the one case."

What should have happened is that all six of the earlier cases—not just the one Hernandez investigated—should have been classified as serious crimes and a pattern declared. When that happens, patrol, plainclothes anti-crime units, Sex Crimes, and the Robbery units would all be on alert for a man fitting the description of the attacker.

"It made no sense that there was no pattern," Hernandez says. "Then it dawned on me. They [precinct supervisors] are fudging numbers, misclassifying cases. So I start looking."

Thomas provided the detective with general dates and times and locations. Hernandez and a fellow detective, Barry Felder, drove him through the neighborhood and had him point out the crime scenes, records show: 647 West 172nd Street. 779 Riverside Drive. 156-08 Riverside Drive. 560 West 170th Street. 620 West 171st Street. Two others.

Hernandez then returned to the precinct, paged through all of the complaint reports, and hit pay dirt. Precinct patrol supervisors, he says, had classified the prior incidents as criminal trespassing, a misdemeanor, except in one case, criminal possession of a weapon.

"They used every non-felony you could think of," he says. "If you read the narrative, the minimum they should have been classified as was burglary 1. The minute he grabs you in the hallway, armed, that makes it a burglary in the first degree."

To a dedicated investigator like Hernandez, that was shocking enough. That meant that for nearly two months, a serial robber-rapist was attacking women in Washington Heights, but the police didn't have the information that would have helped catch him.

"If you read the narrative, they are describing some kind of sexual assault or attempt," Hernandez says. "He came up behind them, grabbed them, placed the knife to the neck, or displayed it. He would demand money or their cell phones. If they didn't put up resistance, he was either going to fondle them or commit some other kind of sex crime to them."

Thomas lived in the neighborhood, which made it even more likely that he would have been caught had a pattern been announced.

"None of us were aware of it until he showed us the locations, and I was able to piece it together," Hernandez says. But supervisors had made sure that the early reports were shaded to keep them from being filed as serious, felonious crimes. "They look to eliminate certain elements in the narrative. One word or two words can make the charge into a misdemeanor."

Thomas estimated that his crime spree started in late August, a little over two months before he was arrested. He targeted white or Asian woman because he believed they were less likely to fight back. Some of the victims were on their way home from the subway station late at night. He would accost them at the door of their building, show a knife from behind, grab them, and try to force his way into the building. If they screamed or showed resistance, he fled.

One victim was a light-skinned Hispanic woman who worked as a waitress in a pub frequented by cops. Another was a German tourist on an extended stay in the city. A third was a Japanese woman. A fourth was a musician.

After Thomas was caught, the District Attorney charged the same cases that had originally been classified as misdemeanor trespass as first-degree robbery, burglary, sexual assault, and attempted rape.

Hernandez found out sometime later that a detective sergeant in the squad had noticed the similarity of the incidents, but when he brought it to the attention of the squad commander and the precinct commander, he was rebuffed.

"He told them, 'You have a predator out there,' and they said, 'Keep your mouth shut,' " Hernandez says. "He told them, 'You keep on believing that, it's going to blow up in your face. And it would get ugly if people found out about it.' They didn't listen."


The detective lays the responsibility for the downgrading at the feet of the precinct commander, then Captain Jason Wilcox, and his crime analysis sergeant.

In the wake of Thomas's arrest, Wilcox was concerned that he would be disciplined for the handling of those complaints.

"He was able to dance his way out of the situation," Hernandez says. "The upper echelon praised my work. Everybody overlooked the fact that they allowed this predator to remain on the loose."

Prosecutors from the Manhattan District Attorney's Office were very upset about the mishandling of those earlier incidents, and complained to their supervisor. The Assistant D.A. who handled the case, Nicole Blumberg, did not return Voice phone calls, and Thomas's defense attorney, Christopher Renfroe, declined comment.

"Once this thing blew up, the job made sure the press did not find out about this case," Hernandez says. "It was very high-profile within the department because they thought the women were going to run to the press."

No one was ever disciplined for misclassifying the attacks, he says. The case never made the newspapers or the electronic media.

Wilcox was promoted twice. A captain at the 33rd Precinct in 2002, he is now an Inspector in charge of the Manhattan Transit Bureau, which deals with subway crime in the borough. He has not responded to a request for comment.

A Manhattan grand jury indicted Thomas in five of the incidents, charging him with multiple counts of first-degree attempted rape, robbery, sexual abuse, and burglary. Despite the evidence against him, Thomas rejected plea deals of 20 years and 30 years and went to trial in November 2003. He testified that he had been in some kind of dream state during his crime spree, but the jury didn't buy it and convicted him of all 18 counts in the indictment.

In February 2004, he was sentenced to 50 years in prison. The earliest date he can be released is 2045. He will be 75 years old.

"Anybody who continues to allow this stuff to go on is pathetic," Hernandez says of the NYPD, which has become more concerned with crime statistics than actually solving crime itself. "They've lost sight of what they were supposed to be doing out there. They've lost sight of their oath."

Since the "NYPD Tapes" series began on May 5, the Voice has heard from more than a dozen current and retired police officers of various ranks who offered their own stories and expressed concern about the downgrading of complaints, the quota system, and how the statistical demand for stop-and-frisks was leading to potential civil rights violations.

So far, neither Mayor Michael Bloomberg nor Police Commissioner Ray Kelly has responded to Voice queries about these issues.

Retired Sergeant Sean McCafferty says that each precinct has a so-called crime analysis unit, and that is where the manipulation of complaints takes place. "They get the reports before the detective squad, and they would call the complainant and question them about their complaint," he says.

McCafferty says that the crime analysis unit doesn't work weekends, so if a complaint comes in late on a Friday, the detective squad won't see it until the following Monday. "That would stop the investigation for two days," he says. "CompStat has helped the department, but some people use it as a weapon. The commanding officers—their future depends on it."

Retired police officer Bobby Marin, who left the NYPD in 1985, says that the orders that precinct commanders gave to officers in the campaign to "clear corners" [highlighted in Part 2 of the Voice series] sounded like civil rights violations: "Those tapes should be brought to the federal prosecutors," he says.

Marin added that the obsession with numbers has altered the police officer's job. "The main thing is handling the jobs—that's what makes you a good police officer," he says. "All they see is business, quotas, numbers, money."

An officer currently in a Manhattan precinct told the Voice: "Over the past two years, the cop writing a report is now cross-examining the victim. This insane CompStat pressure has turned a police officer who shouldn't care about what the complaint is into a defense attorney. I'm all about letting the paperwork reflect the reality. Let's just get it done and go on to the next job."

Professors John Eterno of Molloy College and Eli Silverman of John Jay College have released a new study based on a survey of hundreds of retired NYPD supervisors, which offers yet more evidence of the practice of downgrading criminal complaints. The study, to be published in the International Journal of Police Science and Management, found that pressure to downgrade crime complaints grew as a result of the CompStat model, which holds precinct commanders accountable for crime in their areas. The CompStat model has four major elements: timely and accurate intelligence (crime statistics), effective tactics, swift deployment of cops to troubled areas, and relentless follow-up. The model has been adopted throughout the United States, as well as in England and Australia.

Of the supervisors who saw a crime complaint altered, half of them thought it was unethical. (Technically, altering a crime complaint is itself a crime, known as falsifying business records.) Supervisors spoke of precinct commanders going to crime scenes to get the victim to change his story, the survey found.

"As crime goes down, the pressure to maintain [it] got great," one retired supervisor told the professors. "It was a numbers game."

The professors conclude: "Based on our findings, crime statistics in CompStat-like jurisdictions, at a minimum, warrant careful scrutiny."

For his part, Hernandez, 43, now retired and living outside of New York, says he loved the job and would have stayed in the NYPD for 30 years or more, but the constant struggle over classifying crime complaints, like the Thomas case, convinced him to retire in 2007 after 20 years.

'I gained the most coveted position in the detective bureau, but I couldn't deal with it anymore," he says. "It was battling on a daily basis. You are providing a disservice to New Yorkers when you do this stuff. I used to think, 'What if it happened to a family member or a friend?' " But changing things, he says, is too difficult for any one officer. "God forbid that someone could have stopped this, but was worried about careers and numbers and percentages."

Hernandez made more than 400 arrests in his distinguished 20-year career. In 2006, he was promoted to Detective First Grade, a highly coveted and honored position in the NYPD. (At any time, there are fewer than 150 detectives first grade in a department of more than 30,000 officers.) He earned 19 Excellent Police Duty medals, four Meritorious Police Duty awards, and three commendations.

In Hernandez's view, the CompStat model made great strides in policing New York City, but at some point along the way, particularly during the long tenure of Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, the system became distorted into more of a contest for the right statistics—a drop in major crime complaints with a corresponding rise in quotas for summonses, arrests, and stop-and-frisks: "As time passed, there came a time for upper-management officers to attain higher rank, and they began to demand higher quotas to beat the next guy's decrease in crime," he says. "They began to make their demands known and force officers to make these quotas with the promises of choice assignments or better working conditions."

The Thomas case, Hernandez says, was just one of many questionable things he observed during his career.

He says he had a robbery case that someone downgraded to petit larceny and his signature was forged to make it appear that he himself had downgraded the crime. The forgery was discovered after a paralegal from the Manhattan D.A.'s Office obtained the case file from Police Headquarters in preparation for the trial.


In the file, there is a detective's memo, which re-classifies the robbery to a petit larceny. At the bottom of the document was a signature purporting to be Hernandez's: "It was a robbery, but when it goes downtown, it shows up as a petit larceny," he says. "The D.A. is pissed at me. She asks me, 'Are you perjuring yourself?' "

Hernandez examined the report, and was able to prove that it was not his signature by showing his true signature on other reports he had filed: "I'm saying, 'What are you talking about? This isn't my handwriting. Look at all my reports,' " he says. "Somebody forged my name. That's a crime. She agreed with me, and she was livid. And I was livid because my integrity had been questioned."

The sergeants and lieutenants in patrol now have so much influence on what is written in a criminal complaint that the detective squad may never find out about a major felony that has been misclassified. And it won't count in the seven major crimes, which are the only crime complaint numbers made publicly available. "If you classify a robbery as a petit larceny and mark it closed, it won't be assigned to the squad, and I'll never see it," Hernandez says.

It got to the point, he says, that he would enter the complaints himself into the computer system. But that still didn't solve the problem because precinct supervisors would go back into the system and alter the reports. "Or they would come to me and tell me to change it, and I would refuse because that's not a lawful order," he says. "If that didn't work, they would complain to the squad lieutenant and try to manipulate him."

Hernandez also recalls seeing grand larcenies classified as something called "theft by deception," which isn't even an actual charge in the penal code.

Every precinct has a crime analysis unit, which is yet another layer in the crime reporting process. In the old system, the complaint went from the cop to the desk sergeant to the clerks to the squad. Now, the crime analysis sergeant intervenes and has to sign off on it before it goes to the squad.

Hernandez says the crime analysis sergeant's job was to look for ways to downgrade as many complaints on the seven major crimes as possible. It happened in the so-called "124 room," a locked room in every precinct that contains the complaint files.

Sometimes, he says, crime analysis would hold a complaint until the following week so it wouldn't count against that week's statistics. "Sometimes you would get a robbery or a burglary or one of the seven majors a week later because they do their stats on a weekly basis," he says. "If one week was too high, they would hold onto it and push it to the next week. The thing is, they are supposed to be assigned on a daily basis. That's a week of a case sitting dead, no one running down leads."

Patrol bosses would call the victim and try to get her to change her complaint: "If that didn't work, they would send it to the squad, and by then, it could be a week old," he says.

Countless times, he says, he received calls from victims about lost reports: "The victim says, 'I've been calling for a week,' and I have to say, 'I understand you're upset.' "

The NYPD has long said that manipulation of crime complaints occurs very rarely. But Hernandez and other detectives who spoke with the Voice disagree. "This is going on in all 75 precincts," he says. "Unfortunately, this is the culture for the young cop coming into the department. He doesn't see the bigger picture. If it's going to allow him to have a day off, and they won't ride him or harass him, he'll go along with it. And New Yorkers are being victimized, and no one responds to their complaints."

grayman@villagevoice.com

Next week, "NYPD Tapes" continues with the story of Adrian Schoolcraft, the police officer who secretly recorded roll calls at the 81st Precinct in Bed-Stuy, and who was put in a mental ward after bringing up his concerns about downgrading crime reports to superior officers.
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Re: The how and why of whistleblower smears

Postby admin » Tue Mar 29, 2016 8:18 am

The NYPD Tapes, Part 2
by Graham Rayman
May 11, 2010

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Both of Rhonda Scott’s wrists were broken when she was arrested for standing outside her house without ID.

This program emerges on the remarkable audio recordings the Voice began making public last week. Over a 17-month period ending in October 2009, police officer Adrian Schoolcraft secretly recorded conversations at Bedford-Stuyvesant's 81st Precinct, including 117 roll calls, during which superior officers like precinct commander Steven Mauriello can be heard instructing cops to arrest people for things like "blocking the sidewalk."

Supervisors told officers to make an arrest and "articulate" a charge later, or haul someone in with the intent of voiding the arrest at the end of a shift, or detain people for hours on minor charges like disorderly conduct—all for the purpose of getting citizens off the street. People were arrested for not showing identification, even if they were just a few feet from their homes. Mental health worker Rhonda Scott suffered two broken wrists during a 2008 arrest for not having her ID card while standing on her own stoop.

The precinct's campaign led to a 900 percent increase in stop-and-frisks in the neighborhood, which commanders demanded from officers in order to hit statistical quotas. It also resulted in several dozen gun arrests, hundreds of arrests on other charges, and thousands of summonses for things like disorderly conduct, trespassing, and loitering.


Defense attorneys and civil rights groups say Mauriello's instructions to his troops appear to have strained the limits of probable cause, and raise questions about the legality of the many arrests. The tactics, which are used in many other parts of the city, also caused an undercurrent of resentment among residents.

"The Police Department is using these numbers to portray themselves as being effective," says Marquez Claxton, a retired NYPD detective and the director of the Black Law Enforcement Alliance, which studies police issues. "In portraying that illusion, they have pushed these illegal quotas which force police officers to engage in illegal acts."

And all of it—the questionable arrests, the campaign of aggression—occurred with the added pressure of severe shortages in manpower and patrol cars. The tapes show that the shortages got so bad that some days the most effective way to fight crime was just to pray for rain.

In the first installment of "The NYPD Tapes," the Voice showed that police in this city are under enormous pressure from their superiors to meet quotas for writing tickets and collaring suspects on minor charges—and these pressures seemed to have nothing to do with what was actually happening in the precinct itself.

Bed-Stuy, for example, is a lot better off now than it was in the early- to mid-1990s. In 1995, there were 35 murders in the 81st Precinct. Last year, there were 13.

In recent years, the neighborhood has experienced gentrification and new construction. There are still sectors of the precinct, however, that are prone to shootings, robberies, and other types of street crime.

So precinct commander Mauriello ordered that certain street corners be cleared of people. Officers were told to ask people to move, and if they refused, to arrest them on some minor charge, such as disorderly conduct, hold them in the precinct cells for a few hours, and then release them.


Mauriello would often roam the precinct in his car. When he saw groups on particular corners, he would call in officers to arrest the people on low-level charges. These collars came to be called "Mauriello Specials."

On June 12, 2008, a sergeant tells the precinct's officers to make the arrests even if they have to cancel the charges at the end of their shift. "Guy's on the corner? You gotta leave. Bounce. Get lost," he says. "You'll void it later on in the night so you'll all go home on time."

On July 1, 2008, a sergeant tells his cops: "Be an asshole. They gonna do something, shine a light in their face. Inconvenience them. It saves trouble later on. Some of you with good activity are going to be moving up."

The following day, a precinct supervisor orders cops to make an arrest, when in the past, a dispute might have been talked out.

"The days of mediating between a perp and a store owner are over," a sergeant says on July 2, 2008. "If the guy is in the back with five sticks of deodorant, you gotta collar him," the sergeant says. "There's no more mediating."

By that July, Mauriello was a fixture in the roll calls at the start of the evening tour. "They wise off, they fucking push you, I expect them handcuffed, all right?" he says in a July 15, 2008, roll call, adding later, "Anybody gets stopped and it's a summonsable offense, I want them handcuffed and brought into the precinct. . . . zero tolerance."

Mauriello tells them that day that he wants block parties shut down after 8:30 p.m. "After 8:30, it's all on me and my officers, and we're undermanned," he says. "The good people go inside. The others stay outside."

Mauriello also targeted certain troubled buildings, such as 120 Chauncey Street, which he repeatedly said he wanted "blown up."

"I'm getting rocked today," Mauriello says on another day. "Since the midnight [shift], I've got five fucking robberies already and burglary assaults. So the game plan tonight is Operation Zero Tolerance. If they fuckin' break the law on the corner, I'm scooping them all up, putting them in the cells."

In the roll call on Halloween night 2008, Mauriello ordered the troops to pay special attention to 120 Chauncey. "Everybody goes. I don't care. You're on 120 Chauncey and they're popping champagne? Yoke 'em. Put them through the system. They got bandannas on, arrest them. Everybody goes tonight. They're underage? Fuck it."

He added: "You're on a foot post, fuck it. Take the first guy you got and lock them all up from 120 Chauncey. Boom. Bring 'em in. Lodge them. You're going to go back out and process it later on."

Later in the roll call, a lieutenant adds, "Jump out, ground-and-pound, 'cuff 'em up, and hand 'em off to somebody."


As the campaign went on into the winter of 2008, Mauriello seemed to be aware that there was some resentment in the community, but he justified the campaign by saying the "good people" were supportive.

"Fuck 'em, I don't give a shit," he says on November 8, 2008. "They are going to come to a community council meeting, yell at me, whatever, I know the good people over there are happy we have officers there."

A lieutenant follows up, telling the cops to be more aggressive. "If they don't move, they are going to get out of control and think that they own the block. They don't own the block. We own the block. They might live there, but we own the block. We own the streets here."

A similar order was given by a sergeant on November 23, 2008: "If they're on a corner, make 'em move. If they don't want to move, lock 'em up. Done deal. You can always articulate [a charge] later."

On December 9, 2008, Mauriello orders the officers to focus on a pizzeria. "No one hangs out there. Nobody. I want a ghost town. I want to hear the echo from one end of the street to the other. . . . That's your mission."

On March 13, 2009, a sergeant says, "Make 'em move. If they won't move, call me up, and lock them up, discon [disorderly conduct], no big deal. Leave them out there all night and come get them. The less people on the street, the easier our job will be."


On April 27, 2009, Mauriello tells officers to make the arrest, drop suspects at the precinct, go back out, and then come back later to process the arrests. "You bring 'em in here, leave 'em in the cells for a little while, go back out, do your job, and come back and release them outta there," he says. "If they're acting like assholes on the street, why should I rush them out of here?"

On July 21, 2009, Mauriello once again talks about destroying a troubled building: "I'm gonna burn that motherfucking place down. . . . Listen, let them shoot each other and we'll go clean up."

Judging by what superior officers say on the tapes, the rank-and-file cops weren't entirely happy with the policy of mass arrests.

"I know you don't want to take these shitty collars, but you can't let the CO [commanding officer] go over the air and no one answers the radio," a lieutenant tells the officers on February 27, 2009. "It's disrespectful and also could be a safety factor. . . . Unfortunately, he likes to work the majority of our tour because it's the busiest so you gotta do what you gotta do."

On March 28, 2009, a day after five robberies, a sergeant reminds officers that if Mauriello calls, they have to go to the scene and arrest people. "If you don't want the collar, too bad," a sergeant says. "If he calls for a car, somebody's gotta go. That's the way it is."

One problem with the "Mauriello Specials" was that the officers were at times being ordered to make arrests for misconduct that they hadn't actually witnessed—legally, a questionable practice.

In an October 14, 2009, roll call, a police union delegate warns officers about this: "Make sure you don't sign anything that says you witnessed the arrest if you didn't," he says. "There's been a lot of cases overturned, and officers now being brought up on perjury charges."

In another roll call from October 31, 2009, an officer warns other officers: "The D.A.'s Office is watching supporting depositions. They have one cop up on, like, eight counts of forging."

The larger problem with the precinct's strategy, however, was that it seemed to stretch the legal definition of the "probable cause" standard. Police officers need to witness illegal conduct to justify placing someone in handcuffs and detaining them for hours. An arrest without a clear justification under the penal code is illegal.

Grabbing someone for "blocking the sidewalk," for example, requires that the person actually block the sidewalk—not just stand on it.

Instead, officers were being asked to arrest citizens after having witnessed them doing nothing more than standing around, just to let them go a few hours later with no charges filed.

Defense attorneys question the legality of that strategy.

"Some of those statements are very damning," says Dino Lombardi, a defense attorney and former prosecutor. "I don't know how any commanding officer explains that in any way that passes muster. It's just 'Arrest them and we'll sort it out later.'

"No police expert or prosecutor is going to say it's permissible to arrest someone without a clearly articulated basis, and then articulate it later on," Lombardi adds. "It's absolutely a violation of criminal procedure law."

Donna Lieberman, executive director of the New York Civil Liberties Union, says officers can ask pedestrians their name, but they can't pat them down without suspicion of a crime, nor can they haul them into the precinct just to clear a corner.

"Standing on the corner doesn't become wrong because of which corner you're on and the color of your skin," she says. "And locking a guy up just to get him off the street is a flagrant violation of constitutional rights. Turning a community of color into a ghost town is not a law enforcement objective. The department opens itself up to massive civil rights lawsuits when it engages in this type of abusive policing."

Now two weeks into this series, the Voice still awaits a response from the NYPD.

A key tactic in the 81st Precinct's aggressive campaign was the stop-and-frisk, known to cops as a "UF-250," for the title of the form officers use to record them.

The "250" has become a ubiquitous tool used by police in New York City. More New Yorkers have been stopped and frisked each of the past three years—rising from 468,000 in 2007 to 575,000 last year.

The department justifies those numbers by saying stopping and frisking people is an effective way to fight crime. Officers are sent to do stop-and-frisks in troubled areas to respond to a rash of street crime.

However, close to 90 percent of those stopped are black or Hispanic, and a very small percentage of arrests—only 6 percent in 2009—result from them.

The 81st Precinct's stop-and-frisks more than quintupled from 774 in 2004 to 4,088 in 2006, and then doubled again to 8,108 in 2009—an 800 percent increase in six years.

Stops were used to move loiterers off corners and away from troubled buildings, the tapes indicate, but they were also done for the sake of getting the numbers, pleasing the bosses, and avoiding "negative attention."

In an October 12 roll call, a sergeant tells her troops: "If y'all try to do a canvass, try to get at least a couple of 250s and put robbery down just to say that we was out there. You stop somebody, get a 250. Go over, let them see y'all doing something about it or whatever. OK?"

She makes another reference to 250s in the roll call: "Just stop a couple of people, you know that," she says.

"Anybody walking around, shake them up, stop them, 250 them, no matter what the explanation is," a sergeant says in a December 8, 2008, roll call. "If they're walking, it doesn't matter."

Another sergeant on March 13, 2009: "How hard is a 250? I'm not saying make it up, but you can always articulate robbery, burglary, whatever the case may be. . . . It's still a number. It keeps the hounds off."

In another roll call, the officers are told that if they don't write more summonses and 250s, they will be moved. They are also told that when they do 250s, they should write a "C summons"—a citation for an actual crime—in order to justify the stop.

"When you do a 250, you should do C's and knock out both of those columns in your activity reports," a sergeant can be heard saying at a roll call. "Is that understood?"

The pressure for 250s was so great, Schoolcraft says, he witnessed officers in a patrol van at the end of the month simply filling in 250 forms just to hit the quota. He says officers would write that a person refused to give his name to avoid inventing a name. These were known in the precinct as "Ghost 250s." (A Bronx officer was once caught filing false 250s using names from gravestones in a cemetery near his precinct.)

In a July 2, 2008, roll call, a lieutenant is heard redressing officers for filing too many 250s without names. "We had ninety-six 250s, all refused," he says. "We can get some people refusing, but it can't be every 250 that you do."

Lieberman, the NYCLU's executive director, points out that as the number of stop-and-frisks has increased, the arrest rate from those stops has dropped. "When you demand a high stop rate, you get high stop rates, but the price is that hundreds of thousands of innocent New Yorkers are subjected to police interactions. This is an unfortunate example of what happens when you go for the data and not for the results.

"The police have no business stopping people to 'shake them up,' " she adds. "I believe that is unlawful. That's not policing in a democratic society."

A former high-ranking NYPD official says that an officer's number of 250s should not be taken as a measure of his activity.

"If that's going on, that's stupid," he says. "You should be stopping people when you have reasonable suspicion. You should not be making out as many of those reports as you can, or getting credit for doing more of them."

But he also cautions that block parties do get out of control, and people congregating to drink or play dice can be a flashpoint for violence.

"Cops don't like to do quality-of-life enforcement," he says. "They want to make the sexy arrest. But the lower-level stuff is very important because if you let it go, it will lead to more violent crime."

At the same time, supervisors have to be careful about what they say to officers. "You have to show you're in control of the streets, but you also have to constantly remind the officers to do it the right way, so that they're not being asked to stretch the law," he says.

City Councilman Peter Vallone has asked Commissioner Kelly to stop keeping a database of the people stopped on privacy grounds.

The 81st Precinct's aggressive campaign resulted in 3,882 total arrests in 2008, and 4,189 arrests in 2009, state figures show.

But if overall arrests went up, arrests for serious crimes—felonies—were actually down. Felony arrests in the precinct dropped from 1,428 in 2007 to 1,373 in 2009. (Misdemeanor arrests climbed by 22 percent—from 2,308 in 2007 to 2,816 in 2009.)

Not surprisingly, the campaign also led to an increase in complaints against police officers. The Civilian Complaint Review Board reports that complaints in the 81st jumped 60 percent, from 80 in 2005 to 127 in 2009.

Mental health worker Rhonda Scott, 39, of Chauncey Street, says that on one day in 2008, she had just come back from returning a plate she'd borrowed from a neighbor, and was stopped and challenged by officers. Her ensuing arrest left her with two broken wrists, which put her out of work for seven months.

The incident took place on August 2, 2008, on Chauncey, east of Howard Avenue, records show. It was a warm night. There were a lot of people socializing on their stoops and on the sidewalks. Police were already on the block, evidently trying to move people from a stoop across the street.

She crossed the street to return the plate, but was stopped by an officer who she says told her to "be quiet."

She returned to her home and asked her boyfriend to obtain the officer's name and shield number. By the time the boyfriend returned, many more officers had arrived on the block.

Scott went outside and stood behind the gate on her property to watch what was happening. Two police cars had stopped in front of the house.

They asked for her ID, which she didn't have with her. She says the officers demanded that she show them ID or they would arrest her. She told the officers that she lived there, and asked a friend to check her car, parked across the street, for her driver's license.

Scott says the police didn't believe her, and as she stepped onto the sidewalk to help her friend find the ID card, one of the officers told her, "I'm locking your ass up."

Three officers twisted her wrists behind her back, cuffed her, and put her in the back seat. But she wasn't all the way inside, so an officer grabbed her by the hair and pulled her all the way in. She denies that she struggled with the officers.

She repeatedly asked to be taken to the hospital. She instead was taken to central booking after about 14 hours in a precinct cell. She finally saw a doctor on her own two days later.

"I've lived here my whole life, and I'm a part owner of this building," Scott says. "Yes, there are problems in the neighborhood, but they're treating us all like criminals, and we're not all criminals."


Scott's criminal case was closed with an "adjournment in contemplation of dismissal," which is a provision to dismiss charges if a suspect is not rearrested in the following six months (which she was not). Her civilian complaint was closed, with the Civilian Complaint Review Board siding with the officers.

Scott adds that her boyfriend recently got a ticket for blocking the sidewalk after he was stopped on his way to the corner store.

"If you're walking to the store, and you run into two friends and you're talking on the sidewalk, they'll stop you, put you in handcuffs, and take you to the precinct," she says.


Her brother-in-law, Alston Storey, blames police for not working harder to develop relationships with the precinct's residents. "You can't find a cop who has a relationship with people in this community," he says. "They figure if you live on this block, you're a bad person. But you got hardworking people out here. [The police] come through on an eight-hour shift to dig in people's pockets. They live on Long Island or wherever. You've got to know people."

Walking through the precinct, it isn't hard to find residents with opinions about the rash of arrests.

Robert Jones, 19, of Chauncey Street, says he has been stopped 14 times since the beginning of the year. "This is home for me, but you're trying to go inside or walking to the store, and they ask if you live there, what you're doing, and you get a ticket for blocking the sidewalk," he says. "You can't stand on the sidewalk and talk or sit on someone's stoop."

A young woman named Monique, who lives one block west at Chauncey and Ralph, says she has been stopped and questioned so many times that she has lost count. "Something like 22 times in a month," she says. "They harass you for sitting on your own stoop, and they take you if you don't have your ID."

Kim Carter, a manager of the Unisex Barber Shop on Howard Avenue, showed the Voice a summons she received for having too much cut hair on the floor just after Thanksgiving last year.

"I'm still going to court for it," says Carter, who has worked in the shop for 10 years. "I think it was wrong, and I think it was total harassment. They mess with the people who are working in the neighborhood."

And a little ways west, along Malcolm X Boulevard, there's Henry Rebaza, a 57-year-old security guard, who says he was given a ticket for riding his bicycle on the sidewalk for less than half a block. He says he was on his way to work.


Business owner Butch Johnson, 51, however, says Mauriello has been a help. "His tactics are unorthodox, but it gets the job done," he says. "I don't have a problem getting searched if I did nothing wrong. I don't mind him bending the rules some, because it's a hot zone."

On the west side of the Brevoort Houses, the Voice spoke with several people at 120 Chauncey, a development named for Jackie Robinson. This is the complex the precinct wanted "blown up."

Once known as a home for middle-class families, the complex has sharply deteriorated in recent years. For at least the past two years, it has been targeted as a troubled location by the police, who routinely place a stationary post outside in the evenings.

Since January 1, 2009, the complex owners have been slapped with 39 building complaints and two dozen violations. The elevators break down constantly, and the complex is listed as one of the city's worst elevator offenders. On a recent visit, the odor of marijuana was strong in the hallway, and someone had spilled a beer in the elevator.

In addition, residents have filed 55 complaints for no heat, no hot water, leaks, cracked ceilings, mold, roaches, and flies in the past year. City inspectors have issued 52 violations on the complex since 2003, including leaks, cracks, mice, bugs, garbage in the hallways, and broken door locks.

A resident named Andre Wade reached into his pocket and pulled out a summons for an arrest outside the complex on April 20, 2010. The officer hadn't even written a specific charge on the ticket.

"They pulled up on the sidewalk, and took four of us down to the precinct for nothing," Wade says. "They say you have a warrant, but when you get to the precinct, there's no warrant."

Another resident, E. Jackson, says he recalls one occasion when a precinct supervisor sang "Danny Boy" as his officers cuffed eight young men for standing outside 120 Chauncey Street.

Ron Hayes, 32, a basketball star at Boys and Girls High School who went to SUNY Farmingdale and played overseas, opted to return to 120 Chauncey with his wife and kids. He runs a small rap recording label called Chauncity Music Group.

Hayes says the police campaign has been too aggressive, and has failed to discern between gangbangers and folks just trying to live their lives: "A lot of these kids end up with criminal backgrounds for no reason," he says. "You take a good kid who ends up getting caught up in a sweep, and that's going to show up in a background check when he goes for a summer job or something else."

The aggressive policing strategy should be coupled with an effort to connect with the community, he says. There aren't a lot of outlets for young people.

"They come here and write tickets all day," he says. "Why not have Community Affairs come and work with the kids?—maybe that will change things."

Even after two years of the aggressive campaign, crime has risen so far this year by 11 percent compared to 2008. There have been eight murders in the precinct so far this year, compared to four at this point last year. Moreover, on several recent nights, the corners were still not clear of people.

Given the increase in killings, Hayes wonders whether the campaign is working.

"Don't you think it's time to change the tactics?" he asks.

The punishment of criminals (or children, or anyone else) is the most effective way to ensure that they will not only continue to be violent, but will even become more violent, both while in prison (or at home, or in school) and after returning to, or entering into, the community at large. This is exactly the effect that both punitive prison conditions and punitive childrearing have been demonstrated to have, as I and many other observers have documented repeatedly (Gilligan, 2000).

-- Shame, Guilt, and Violence, by James Gilligan


The sheer number of arrests in the precinct's street-clearing campaign is all the more remarkable when you take into account just how shorthanded the 81st was.

Overall, the NYPD is down 6,000 officers since 2001. By one estimate, there are only half as many officers assigned to patrol than there were in 2001.

The decline has been caused by retirements and other attrition, and by shrinking budgets. But what also makes it tough to put cops on the street are the numerous work rules, special units, and special assignments and details, which draw officers away from their core duty of patrolling the precinct.

In 1999, the 81st Precinct had 201 uniformed officers. Last summer, that number was down to 171. But 47 of those officers were assigned to special units and 10 were executive staff, leaving 114 officers on patrol. Divided into three shifts, that leaves about 38 officers to work the streets at any one time.

But even that number is illusory. On any given shift, a third of the officers have the day off. Others have time off for other purposes, are on vacation, or are ill.

Plus, officers are constantly pulled away from their patrol duties to man parades, to work security at police headquarters, to write tickets for a special effort—like getting motorists to stop talking on their cell phones—and for many other reasons.

And they are pulled away to process arrests, transfer prisoners to central booking, meet with the district attorney, and babysit injured or sick prisoners at the hospital.

As a result, a typical day in the 81st Precinct had only three to nine officers patrolling the streets in an area of more than 60,000 people.

"Where is everybody?" a lieutenant wonders in an October 27 roll call. "This is going to be a bad month."

The tiny number of officers, the sergeant complains, means that they don't have enough people to spare two cops for the mobile surveillance tower known as Skywatch, compromising its law enforcement value. "We'd like to have two people assigned there," he says. "We don't have the luxury to do that. Today, once again, we have one, so the effectiveness of the Skywatch is not there."

And take October 19, 2009, for example, when a sergeant expresses his annoyance after his boss demands he send a cop to guard a vehicle where a gun had been found.

"He said, 'Put a body on it,' " the sergeant says. "He doesn't live in the real world. I didn't have any extra people to have them sit on a car."

In the same roll call, the sergeant says the precinct is so short-staffed that officers can't put in for time-off requests. "We don't have enough people, so it has to be," he says.

One way to deal with the shortage of bodies: pray for rain. "Hopefully, it will rain until 4 o'clock today," a sergeant is heard saying at one roll call. "That would be a big help to us, especially due to our limited manpower."

The shortage forced the precinct commanders to send out cops alone to staff some of the more dangerous corners in the precinct. During a recent visit to the precinct, the Voice observed a lone officer standing outside a bodega at Chauncey and Howard, considered one of the most dangerous intersections in the precinct. He stood there, looking uncomfortable, not saying a word to the people entering and leaving the bodega.

How do the sergeants counter the shortages? Usually, they just make do, and hope that nothing really bad happens. But they also pull bodies out of the plainclothes units, leave areas unpatrolled, issue blanket denials of time-off requests, and force officers to work overtime, the tapes show.

On October 13, 2009, a sergeant notes the lack of officers, and then says, "Don't bring bags of shit into the stationhouse. Does everybody understand that?"

A "bag of shit," in NYPD lingo, has a couple of definitions, but in this context, it means a minor arrest that takes a cop off the street for the rest of his shift. If the suspect is a drug addict in withdrawal or has a medical condition, that's even worse, because those require hospital visits, taking officers out of the rotation for more than one shift—again, straining patrol strength.

"If the guy murdered somebody, then that's a different story," the sergeant says. "If the guy is smoking a joint and his name is James Johnson, then you know what to do. I can't tell you not to write him a summons or don't collar him, but . . . that makes my freaking head explode."

He then adds: "Listen, don't bring Mr. Medicine into the stationhouse, because he's going to get free medical care from us that we all pay for, OK, and plus then he gets a nice police escort the whole time that he's there."

The shortages led to forced overtime, a practice that is lucrative but, over the long haul, exhausts officers. Police officers can easily earn close to $100,000 a year by working a lot of overtime, but all those hours take a toll.

On August 3, 2009, a lieutenant tells the cops that they have to give up one of their weekend days to work overtime. He shows them a sign-up list he has made. "What that means is as you are putting your name down, I cross your name off my list," he says. "That means you worked overtime. If your name is not crossed off the list, and there's an opening that day and you're off, you're working it. Whether you can or can't, you'll be here."

The shortages extend to cars. The precinct is constantly short of patrol cars, and at times, there may only be one or two cars patrolling the entire precinct.

Then, on October 25, there were none. "I brought it to the lieutenant's attention because we don't have no cars for the day tour," a sergeant says during the roll call. "It's just really, really bad. . . . So honestly, I'm going to call the borough [command]."

One reason that cars are short: The precinct always loses a car to Commissioner Ray Kelly's "Critical Response" program. Those entail a line of cop cars that drive around Manhattan with their lights flashing.

The Voice asked professors John Eterno of Molloy College and Eli Silverman of John Jay College about the effect of the staffing problems combined with the pressures of the job. They said that demanding increased arrests with fewer officers is a recipe for disaster.

"The public has been led to believe that the NYPD can 'do more with less,' " Silverman says. "But the public has been sold a bill of goods. By trying to do the same things with so many fewer officers, the department is in the midst of an enormous balancing act. Something's got to give. I don't think they can keep it up without additional funding."

They believe the increase in stop-and-frisks is driven by the department's obsession with its statistics program, CompStat. "The more 250s he has at those locations will help him get through those meetings," Eterno says. "Should they be focused on the numbers? It should be based on reasonable suspicion."

Silverman adds, "Supporters of the practice assert they are targeted, but the vast majority are for furtive movements. That hardly seems to be a targeted approach."

The precinct commander, they said, is likely repeating the message he got at CompStat meetings with bosses. "He's probably not being treated that well at CompStat, and he's probably treating his officers the same way. This is a culture of policing that has developed."

The commander is emulating a culture attempting to motivate its people through fear, rather than rewards, Eterno says. "This management by fear seems to be cultivated at CompStat, and it emanates throughout the department," he says.

In the next installment of "The NYPD Tapes," we'll examine the story of Officer Adrian Schoolcraft, his career, what led him to begin carrying a digital recorder, how he tried to report questionable activities in the precinct, and how his career effectively ended on the word of a deputy chief who was sitting on Schoolcraft's bed. The first installment of this series is here.

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Re: The how and why of whistleblower smears

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The NYPD Tapes: Inside Bed-Stuy's 81st Precinct
by Graham Rayman
May 4, 2010

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Chad Griffith

Two years ago, a police officer in a Brooklyn precinct became gravely concerned about how the public was being served. To document his concerns, he began carrying around a digital sound recorder, secretly recording his colleagues and superiors.

He recorded precinct roll calls. He recorded his precinct commander and other supervisors. He recorded street encounters. He recorded small talk and stationhouse banter. In all, he surreptitiously collected hundreds of hours of cops talking about their jobs.

Made without the knowledge or approval of the NYPD, the tapes—made between June 1, 2008, and October 31, 2009, in the 81st Precinct in Bedford-Stuyvesant and obtained exclusively by the Voice—provide an unprecedented portrait of what it's like to work as a cop in this city.

They reveal that precinct bosses threaten street cops if they don't make their quotas of arrests and stop-and-frisks, but also tell them not to take certain robbery reports in order to manipulate crime statistics. The tapes also refer to command officers calling crime victims directly to intimidate them about their complaints.

As a result, the tapes show, the rank-and-file NYPD street cop experiences enormous pressure in a strange catch-22: He or she is expected to maintain high "activity"—including stop-and-frisks—but, paradoxically, to record fewer actual crimes.

This pressure was accompanied by paranoia—from the precinct commander to the lieutenants to the sergeants to the line officers—of violating any of the seemingly endless bureaucratic rules and regulations that would bring in outside supervision.

The tapes also reveal the locker-room environment at the precinct. On a recording made in September, the subject being discussed at roll call is stationhouse graffiti (done by the cops themselves) and something called "cocking the memo book," a practical joke in which officers draw penises in each other's daily notebooks.

"As far as the defacing of department property—all right, the shit on the side of the building . . . and on people's lockers, and drawing penises in people's memo books, and whatever else is going on—just knock it off, all right?" a Sergeant A. can be heard saying. "If the wrong person sees this stuff coming in here, then IAB [the Internal Affairs Bureau] is going to be all over this place, all right? . . . You want to draw penises, draw them in your own memo book. . . And don't actually draw on the wall." He then adds that just before an inspection, a supervisor had to walk around the stationhouse and paint over all the graffiti.


The Voice is releasing portions of the tapes in batches on our website, villagevoice.com, and is also publishing several stories to deal with the issues that the recordings present. In this week's installment, we look at the roll calls at the Bed-Stuy precinct and the conflicting instructions given to street cops, who must look busy at all times, while actually suppressing crime reports. (Repeated attempts to get an official response from the police department have been met by silence.)

The Voice obtained the digital audio recordings from Police Officer Adrian Schoolcraft, an eight-year veteran of the NYPD. (The Voice has identified the NYPD bosses speaking at roll calls, but is using initials—different from their names—for most of them.)

Schoolcraft first made headlines in February, when the Daily News reported that he was speaking out about manipulation of crime reports at the 81st. His complaints, the Daily News wrote, had sparked an investigation that had put even the precinct's commander, Deputy Inspector Steven Mauriello, under suspicion. Those stories, however, gave no indication that Schoolcraft was also in possession of the remarkable audiotapes.

Schoolcraft tells the Voice he carried the audio recorder initially to protect himself from the civilian complaints that can result from street encounters. But then he began to document things happening in the precinct that bothered him. After he ran afoul of precinct politics, he recorded what he viewed as retaliation by his bosses.

"How else would you present the fraud being committed on the public?" he asks.

ON JANUARY 28, 2009, PATROL OFFICERS on the evening tour at the 81st Precinct gathered in the utilitarian muster room at the 30 Ralph Avenue stationhouse. They stood on white floors in ranks. The blue-and-white walls are decorated with old Wanted posters, two glass cupboards with crime maps, posters with warnings about sexual harassment and retaliation, and a flat-screen television. There are two tables, three chairs, and a podium used by supervisors to address the cops.

A roll call is the key moment in the workday of any police officer. Think Hill Street Blues and "Let's be careful out there." The sergeants, lieutenants, and, sometimes, the precinct commander relay orders to the rank-and-file. The officers are told about recent crimes and trouble spots in the neighborhood. Officers are subject to inspection and are given training. The language, naturally, is a mix of quasi-military jargon, street slang, rough epithets, and a fair bit of gallows humor—in other words, cop-speak.

The 81st Precinct covers Bedford-Stuyvesant, a densely populated, multiracial patchwork of low-income areas, public housing projects, and blocks going through gentrification. At just 1.7 square miles, Bed-Stuy is geographically small, but a place that, according to the tapes, the officers view as a "heavy precinct."

"You're not working in Midtown Manhattan, where people are walking around, smiling and being happy," a lieutenant tells officers in a November 1, 2008, roll call. "You're working in Bed-Stuy, where everyone's probably got a warrant."

On this particular day, the precinct commander, Deputy Inspector Steven Mauriello, a Lieutenant B., and a Sergeant C. are leading the session.

After attendance has been taken and assignments handed out, Mauriello, a hard-charging boss given to colorful language, exhorts the officers to disperse crowds away from certain buildings, and stop and question people.

"Listen, if it's micromanaging, it's micromanaging," he says. "Just do your job. If you see a large crowd, get out [of your car]. Just do what you gotta do. You know them, you stop them. Go somewhere else. Stay off the radar."

Mauriello then relates how a three-star chief, Michael Scagnelli, closely questioned him on the number of tickets the officers write, and warns them to make their numbers. "He says, 'How many superstars and how many losers do you have?' " Mauriello says. "And then he goes down and says, 'How many summonses does your squad write?' I want everyone to step up and be accountable and work. Don't get caught out there."

He then mentions the patrol borough commander, Marino, who is apparently examining the "activity" of every cop in the 10 precincts he oversees. "If you don't want to work, then, you know what, just do the old go-through-the-motions and get your numbers anyway," he says. "He's taking this very seriously, looking at everyone's evaluations. And he's yelling at every CO [commanding officer] about 'Who gave this guy points?' or 'This girl's no good.' "

Sergeant C. then says the cops should be able to hit their numbers' targets. "I told you guys last month: They are looking at these numbers, and people are going to get moved," he says. "It ain't about losing your job. They can make your job real uncomfortable, and we all know what that means."


Next, Lieutenant B. cites the declining numbers of officers in the department. "A lot of people are leaving the job," he says. "They aren't getting new recruits. Patrol is not getting new people. It's more accountability, it's less people. They got this catchphrase, 'Do more with less,' right? And they're looking at the numbers."

He adds that the top bosses are pressuring the precinct commander, who is pressuring his supervisors, who then have to pressure the cops.

"Unfortunately, at this level in your career, you're on the lowest level, so you're going to get some orders that you may not like," he says. "You're gonna get instructions. You're gonna get disciplinary action. You gotta just pick up your work. I don't wanna get my ass chewed out, in straight words. I'm sick of getting yelled at."


THE SAME THEMES—of shit rolling downhill, and that constant pressure to do more with less—appear again and again throughout the tapes dating back to June 1, 2008.

Bosses spend more time in the roll calls haranguing the officers for "activity"—or "paying the rent," as it was known—than anything else. In other words, writing summonses, doing stop-and-frisks (known as "250s"), doing community visits, and making arrests. Or else.

Officers were under constant pressure to keep those numbers high to prove that they were doing their jobs, even when there was little justification for it. Like a drumbeat, this mandate was hammered home again and again in almost every roll call.

"Again, it's all about the numbers," a Sergeant D. tells his officers on October 18, 2009.

Command often set up special summons duty to artificially increase the numbers of tickets issued. On December 13, 2008, there was this from a Sergeant E.: "In order to increase the amount of C summonses patrol is writing, they are going to try to, when they can, put out a quality-of-life auto. Your goal is to write C summonses, all right?"

A "C summons" requires a warrant check and covers a wide range of offenses, like public drinking, disorderly conduct, littering, blocking the sidewalk, and graffiti. An "A summons" is for illegal parking, and a "B summons" is for traffic violations like running a red light or using a cell phone while driving.

Certainly, there's enforcement value to issuing tickets and stopping people on the street, but the true value of this "activity," the tapes indicate, was that it offered proof that the precinct commander and his officers were doing their jobs. With those numbers, the precinct boss could go to police headquarters with ammunition. Low numbers meant criticism and demotion; high numbers meant praise and promotion.

The NYPD has always claimed that there are no specific numerical targets or quotas. Most recently, police spokesman Paul Browne denied the existence of quotas in early March, but said that "police officers, like others who receive compensation, are provided productivity goals, and they are expected to work."

The tapes show, however, that, of course, quotas exist.


On June 12, 2008, Lieutenant B. relayed the summons target: "The XO [second-in-command] was in the other day. He actually laid down a number. He wants at least three seat belts, one cell phone, and 11 others. All right, so if I was on patrol, I would be sure to get three seat belts, one cell phone, and 11 others.

"Pick it up a lot, if you have to," he says. "The CO gave me some names. I spoke to you."

While the NYPD can set "productivity targets," the department cannot tie those targets to disciplinary action: "What turns it into an illegal quota is when there is a punishment attached to not achieving, like a transfer or loss of assignment," says Al O'Leary, a spokesman for the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association.

In the 81st Precinct, however, the tapes indicate that "activity" was routinely tied to direct and implied threats of discipline. The message, relayed down the chain from headquarters, is repeated over and over again in the roll calls by the precinct commander, the lieutenants, and the sergeants.

On October 28, 2008, for example, the precinct commander, Mauriello, tells officers he will change their shifts if they don't make their numbers: "If I hear about disgruntled people moaning about getting thrown off their tours, it is what it is. Mess up, bring heat on the precinct—you know what, I'll give you tough love, but it doesn't mean you can't work your way back into good graces and get back to the detail and platoon you want."

He adds: "If you don't work, and I get the same names back again, I'm moving you. You're going to go to another platoon. I'm done. I don't want to be embarrassed no more."

On July 15, 2008, he says, "I don't want to see anyone get hurt. This job is all about hurting. Someone has to go. Step on a landmine, someone has to get hurt."

On December 8, 2008, he excoriates officers who failed to write enough tickets for double-parking, running red lights, and disorderly conduct, and who failed to stop-and-frisk enough people.

"I see eight fucking summonses for a 20-day period or a month," he says. "If you mess up, how the hell do you want me to do the right thing by you? You come in, five parkers, three A's, no C's, and the only 250 you do is when I force you to do overtime? I mean it's a two-way street out here."

Later, he adds, "In the end, I hate to say it—you need me more than I need you because I'm what separates the wolves from coming in here and chewing on your bones."

In the same roll call, Sergeant C. adds: "When I tell you to get your activity up, it's for a reason, because they are looking to move people, and he's serious. . . . There's people in here that may not be here next month."

The pressure is the worst at the end of the month and at the end of every quarter, because that's when the precinct has to file activity reports on each officer with the borough command and police headquarters. (Put another way: If you want to avoid getting a ticket, stay away from police officers during the last few days of the month, when the pressure for numbers is the highest.)

From the tapes, it's not hard to imagine an officer desperately driving to the precinct, looking for someone smoking pot on a stoop or double-parking to fill some gap in their productivity.

In a roll call from September 26, a Sergeant F. notes that the quarter is coming to an end, and a deadline is nearing for applying to take the sergeants' exam. "If your activity's been down, the last quarter is a good time to bring it up, because that's when your evaluation is going to be done," he says. "We all know this job is, 'What have you done for me lately?' "

He goes on to lay on the pressure for more numbers. "This is crunch time," he says. "This is Game Seven of the World Series, the bases are loaded, and you're at bat right now. . . . It's all a game, ladies and gentlemen. We do what we're supposed to, the negative attention goes somewhere else. That's what we want."

And take August 31, 2009. Sergeant Rogers tells his officers, "Today is the last day of the month. Get what you need to get."

Or as Sergeant F. says just a few days before that: "It's the 26th. If you don't have your activity, it would be a really good time to get it. . . . If I don't have to hear about it from a white shirt [a superior officer], that's the name of the game."

IT'S ALSO CLEAR FROM THE recordings that supervisors viewed the constant pressure for numbers as an annoyance, busy work to fill the demand from downtown. "We had a shooting on midnight on Chauncey, so do some community visits, C summonses over there, the usual bullshit," Sergeant A. says in an August 22, 2009, roll call.

The obsession with statistics at police headquarters bleeds out into the borough commands as well. In early 2009, the Brooklyn North patrol command started holding its own CompStat meetings, reviewing everything from crime stats to the number of tickets written by each officer to sick reports.

The move was seen in the precinct as yet another layer of unnecessary oversight. "This job is just getting tighter and tighter with accountability," Lieutenant B. says on January 13, 2009. "So there are certain things I'd like to get away with, but I can't anymore. It just goes down the line and, eventually, it falls on you."

Eight days later, he offers his view of these so-called Boro Stat meetings, on January 21, 2009: "Robbery spikes, crime spikes, on and on and on. It's a lot of horseshit I gotta sit through, but it's accountability, all right?"

As a result of this outside pressure, the precinct was constantly worried about violating bureaucratic rules that would result in even more scrutiny, and result in Command Disciplines (CDs), a penalty that could carry a loss of vacation days.

Take one example: A sergeant spends a roll call upbraiding his officers for not having the proper equipment. "Nobody's got your whistle holder, and half of you don't have your whistle," he says. "That's unacceptable. When I fall down the mine shaft, I'm the only one that's going to be able to call for help. The rest of you are going to have to fire off your gun, and they'll give you a CD for that."

The officers in Bed-Stuy viewed a unit called Brooklyn North Inspections with a particular measure of contempt. Inspections, known as "the hounds," would slip into the precinct, look for rules violations, and then hit officers with CDs.

"Inspections—they pull you over like a perp, and you know it's disrespectful to us, but this is what they're doing," Lieutenant B. says on June 12, 2008. "So Inspections is not really our friend. Let's leave it at that."

On November 12, 2008: "Brooklyn North Inspections is not our friend. I'm just going to lay it out there right on the line," he says. "If you see they're here, they're probably here to hurt someone."


Hurting someone means issuing a CD for, say, not having your shirt tucked in, or reading the newspaper on duty. In one instance, in October 2008, four officers were given CDs for leaving the precinct to have lunch. (81st Precinct officers seemed to believe there weren't any decent restaurants in the precinct itself.)

During a roll call on October 30, 2008, Sergeant C. upbraids the officers for their appearance. "It keeps the hounds off," he says, adding, "That includes smirks. One smirk cost the whole borough 13 CDs last week."

ONE OF THE MOST BASIC THINGS a police officer does is take crime complaints from victims. But that very simple edict evolved into something substantially different in the 81st Precinct.

Usually, an officer arrives at a crime scene and begins taking information. Then, either on the scene or at the precinct, the officer fills out a report known as a "61" and presents it to the desk officer, a sergeant, for his signature.

After the sergeant classifies the crime, the 61 is then entered into a computer system, making it official, and it's passed on to the detective squad for investigation. Police veterans say their standard was always, "Refer the complaint, not the complainant." In other words, if someone wants to make a report, you take it, and let the squad check it out. It was the squad's job to determine whether the complainant's story was worth checking further.

In the 81st Precinct, that traditional discretion of a street cop was being taken away from them, the tapes indicate. There was constant second-guessing and questioning of crime complaints and crime victims before cases were ever entered into the computer. The message to street cops was to exercise extreme skepticism with crime victims—unless you didn't mind getting yelled at.

Officers were told that, unlike in the past, their bosses would need to be present at the scene of a possible robbery, for example, to look over their shoulders. "There are certain jobs that I must be present on," Sergeant C. says on October 13, 2008. "If I'm not present, you gotta call me up. You can't come in here with a robbery, and I don't know anything about it."

Rank-and-file cops don't like the change, which is reflected on Internet bulletin boards, where they leave messages like this recent posting: "It used to be that a radio car turned out and two partners went from job to job making decisions, applying common (uncommon) sense to solve problems," an officer writes. "A Sgt. or Lt. was not called to the scene unless there was a death or serious incident. Patrol officers now have been indoctrinated that they are not qualified to make any decisions about anything."

During a September 12, 2009, roll call, a fellow cop tells Schoolcraft: "A lot of 61s—if it's a robbery, they'll make it a petty larceny. I saw a 61, at T/P/O [time and place of occurrence], a civilian punched in the face, menaced with a gun, and his wallet was removed, and they wrote 'lost property.' "

The practice of downgrading crimes has been the NYPD's scandal-in-waiting for years. The NYPD claims that downgrading happens only rarely, but in the course of reporting this story, the Voice was told anecdotally of burglaries rejected if the victim didn't have receipts for the items stolen; of felony thefts turned into misdemeanor thefts by lowballing the value of the property; of robberies turned into assaults; of assaults turned into harassments.


How widespread that kind of thing was in the 81st Precinct is unclear just from the recordings, but Schoolcraft claims it was common. Of course, caution in taking a complaint is prudent. But the fact that the precinct commander discourages the taking of robbery complaints has to influence other decisions down the chain.

So officers get marching orders like the following, which was recorded October 4: "If it's a little old lady, and I got my bag stolen, then she's probably telling the truth, all right?" Sergeant D. says. "If it's some young guy who looks strong and healthy and can maybe defend himself, and he got yoked up, and he's not injured, he's perfectly fine—question that. It's not about squashing numbers. You all know if it is what it is—if it smells like a rotten fish—then that's what it is. But question it. On the burglaries as well."

LAST OCTOBER 11, TWO PATROL officers made a terrible mistake: They took a robbery complaint. A man reported that some suspects had forcibly taken his cell phone, but the victim didn't want to immediately accompany officers to the precinct to talk to the detective squad. The victim, the tapes show, told the officers he didn't want to go back with them because he didn't want to be seen getting into a marked police car.

The next day, Mauriello took out his anger on what the officers had done on their sergeant, the tapes show. And she, in turn, took it out on the officers.

"OK, so he [Mauriello] was flippin' on me yesterday because they wrote a 61, and the guy talking about he not coming in to speak to nobody," says a Sergeant G. in the October 12 roll call. "He don't want nobody see him getting in the car."

While one of the core duties of a police officer is to take crime complaints, the 81st Precinct had a controversial policy that held that if a victim refused to come to the stationhouse and speak to the detective squad, officers should refuse to take the complaint.

"You know, we be popping up with these robberies out of nowhere, or whatever," Sergeant G. tells her officers in the roll call. "If the complainant does not want to go back and speak to the squad, then there is no 61 taken. That's it. They have to go back and speak to the squad."

In effect, under this policy, a robbery complaint would be rejected if the victim was unable to come to the stationhouse. It didn't matter if a victim was unable to come down because he or she had to work or take care of kids. Perhaps not coincidentally, that would also be one less robbery to count against the precinct's crime statistics.

The sergeant went on to suggest that the victim was lying: "How do we know this guy really got robbed?" she asked. "He said he had no description. Sometimes they just want a complaint number—you know what I'm saying?—so if he don't wanna come back and talk to the squad, then that's it."

This policy was mentioned repeatedly starting last August. The sergeant repeated the directive on October 24. "If the complainant says, 'I don't want to go to the squad, I don't want to go to the squad,' then there's no 61, right?" she says. "We not going to take it, and then they say they're going to come in later on, and then the squad speaks to them and usually they don't want to come in."

She repeats the admonition again on October 27, and this time, a Lieutenant K. adds, "Don't take that report. That's it. It's over."

There's no reference to this policy in the NYPD Patrol Guide, the department bible of practices and procedures.

Retired detectives tell the Voice that the practice is highly questionable: "I've never heard of something like that," says Greg Modica, who retired in 2002 as a Detective First Grade after 20 years with the Manhattan Robbery Squad. "And I don't think the commissioner would care for it. If the complainant couldn't come in on the spot, patrol would take the complaint, turn it over to us, and we'd follow up.

"If the victim can't come in for some reason—maybe they have a babysitter at home or they have to work—you take the report and tell them the detectives will make an appointment to see them," he adds.

Modica and other ex-detectives say it simply isn't patrol's job to determine whether or not a victim is lying. Their job is merely to take the report and turn it over to the detective squad.

"You might get a feeling on the street, but that doesn't mean you don't take it," he says. "It's the detective's job to determine that. And anyway, [a false report] didn't happen that many times. Robbery is a very serious crime."

ALL OF WHICH BRINGS UP something known as a "callback"—which occurs when an officer or a detective makes a follow-up call to a crime victim, usually when he needs another piece of information or has to check his information. That's the traditional definition.

In the 81st Precinct, it meant something substantially different, Schoolcraft says. It meant calling a crime victim and questioning them closely on the details of their complaint with an eye toward downgrading it or scrapping it.


"It's, 'Are you sure you want to do this?' " Schoolcraft says, describing the practice. "Sometimes, it's, 'Have you ever been arrested?' or 'We're going to know if you're lying or not.' "

Mauriello himself and at least two of his lieutenants were doing their own callbacks.

Mauriello's involvement in callbacks is confirmed in an October 4, 2009, roll call, during which Lieutenant K. tells the officers, "Whether it's CO, Lieutenant L., or [Sergeant] M., they always do callbacks. So a lot of time, we get early information and they do callbacks."

"And then we look silly," Sergeant D. adds. "A woman says, 'Hey, my boyfriend stole my phone.' He didn't really steal the phone. It's his phone, and he was taking it. Did he snatch it out of her hand? Yeah. Is it a grand larceny? No, because I'm telling you right now the D.A. is not going to entertain that."

Modica and other retired detectives say they're stunned that a precinct commander and his aides would be calling crime victims directly and asking about their complaints. "I don't think he should be doing it," Modica says. "It's the detectives' job. If the captain comes up and says, 'It's not a robbery,' I say, 'That's OK, but we have a case, and it's up to us to investigate it now.' It makes you wonder whether they are doing it to cut down on statistics."

It's also unclear why a patrol sergeant would worry about what a prosecutor would do with a complaint, unless he was looking for a reason to reject it before it reached the prosecutor's desk.

"Whether a district attorney decides to take a case or not is not something for a precinct supervisor to worry about," says John Eterno, a retired NYPD captain who is now a professor of criminal justice at Molloy College. "He is making a judgment call based on what he thinks the D.A. will do. But the person made a complaint. That complaint needs to be taken."

THE NYPD HAS A UNIT THAT audits precinct crime stats, known as the Quality Assurance Division (QAD). The unit operates something like Internal Affairs, but is actually attached to the management and planning office.

On October 7, Schoolcraft was ordered downtown by QAD for a nearly-three-hour formal, on-the-record interview with an inspector, a lieutenant, and three sergeants.

Schoolcraft was advised that he could have an attorney represent him in the meeting, but he chose not to. It's also important to note that if he had lied during the interview, he could have been brought up on department or criminal charges. Plus, he was laying his career on the line by discussing misconduct he claimed to witness. He also supplied documentation of his claims. And the interview took place prior to his controversial suspension, and months before he spoke to the media. In short, he had little to gain and a lot to lose by speaking with the investigators.

Once again, Schoolcraft had brought along his audio recorder, and recorded the meeting without the knowledge of the others in the room. During the meeting, the QAD officers make some interesting off-handed observations about the extent of crime statistic manipulation in the precincts.

After a long description of how he does investigations, one of the supervisors says, "You know, I've been doing this over eight years. I've seen a lot. The lengths people will go to try not to take a report, or not take a report for a seven major [crime]. So nothing surprises me anymore."

The supervisor notes such instances can be criminal [falsification of business records], but district attorneys typically "don't want to touch" cases of officers manipulating statistics. "They'll give it back to the department to handle it internally," he says.

He goes on to note that, yes, precincts do downgrade reports: "We look at grand larceny because, as you know, they don't want to take the robbery," he says. "They punch a lady in the face, and they took her pocketbook, but they don't want to take that robbery, so they'll make that a grand larceny."

Schoolcraft tells the QAD officers that sergeants and lieutenants were berated for taking major crime reports. "Just about all of them, if they work patrol," he says. "When they come out, they say, 'It is what it is. It was a robbery—what could I do about it?' "

During the meeting, Schoolcraft provides documentation on an incident from December 5, 2008, that was initially taken as an attempted robbery—a teen reported that he was attacked by a gang of thugs who beat him and tried to take his portable video game—and later downgraded by a sergeant to an misdemeanor assault.

In the meeting, the QAD officers check their computer files and find that, indeed, the incident was classified as a misdemeanor assault.

Schoolcraft also provides documents from a June 29, 2009, auto theft report, in which the victim came in to obtain the report number, but no report existed. A sergeant told Schoolcraft to do a new report.

Schoolcraft tells the QAD officers that Mauriello came to the desk and told him, "I'm not taking this. Have the guy come in. I've gotta talk to him."

A couple of days later, the man arrived and was ushered into Mauriello's office. Mauriello interrogated the victim and his cousin. "There was yelling," Schoolcraft says. "They were in there for about 40 minutes. The cousin stormed out of the office yelling and screaming."

The stolen car complaint became an unlawful use of a motor vehicle, Schoolcraft said.

In another incident, an elderly man walked in off the street to report that someone had broken the lock on the cash box in his apartment and had stolen $22,000. When he reported the incident at another precinct, he was told that it was a "civil matter" and to call 3-1-1, the city's complaint hotline.

The desk sergeant told Schoolcraft to send the victim back to the other precinct because he was "loopy."

The Voice asked a retired detective about this incident. If it had been handled properly, he replied, someone would have checked his apartment for signs of a burglary. "Even if they don't believe the guy, it's still a crime," the ex-detective says. "You take the report. The detectives investigate it. They determine whether he was lying."

Among many other incidents Schoolcraft discussed were:

* A man walked in to report that he was choked unconscious and robbed of his wallet. He left with a slip that would allow him to renew his driver's license. Then, a detective came down and said, "If that guy comes back, don't let him upstairs."

* Another downgraded robbery from October 23, 2008: Two officers responded to a robbery and found a guy beaten up and bleeding. A lieutenant responded to the scene and said, "We can't take this robbery." It came in as a lost property.


Schoolcraft says he contacted the victim, who sent him a written statement detailing what had happened.

By the end of the meeting, Schoolcraft seems to have their attention. "I'm not looking to burn anyone," he tells the investigators. "What this is doing is it's messing with the officers. They're losing track of what's real and what's not real, what their duties are and what their duties aren't."

The investigators are heard pledging a thorough examination of the precinct's crime reports. "We're very serious about this, and we will do a thorough investigation," an Inspector H. says. "That, I can promise you." Later, he adds, "Personally, I appreciate you coming in and bringing this to our attention. I know it's not an easy thing to do."

After the meeting ends, a supervisor makes a couple of other off-handed comments to Schoolcraft, noting that the pressure to artificially lower crime statistics is fueled by the bosses downtown. "The mayor's looking for it, the police commissioner's looking for it . . . every commanding officer wants to show it," he says. "So there's motivation not to classify the reports for the seven major crimes. Sometimes, people get agendas and try to do what they can to avoid taking the seven major crimes."

It is unclear what direction the QAD investigation has headed, but a law enforcement source assured the Voice that it is ongoing. The source declined to detail any findings.

Curiously, after questions were raised earlier this year about the 81st Precinct statistics, crime there jumped by 13 percent.

That increase has remained steady, fueled chiefly by a huge 76 percent jump in felony assaults. That jump in assaults is far ahead of the citywide increase of 4.6 percent.


In the 81st Precinct, at least, it appears that assaults are no longer being downgraded since Schoolcraft blew the whistle.

Schoolcraft decided to give the tapes to the Voice out of frustration that his attempts to report questionable activities went largely ignored within the NYPD. Instead of the department acting on his complaints, he says, he was subjected to retaliation by precinct and borough superiors.

Three weeks after his meeting with QAD investigators, on October 31, Schoolcraft felt sick and went home from work. Hours later, a dozen police supervisors came to his house and demanded that he return to work. He declined, on health grounds. Eventually, Deputy Chief Michael Marino, the commander of Patrol Borough Brooklyn North, which covers 10 precincts, ordered that Schoolcraft be dragged from his apartment in handcuffs and forcibly placed in a Queens mental ward for six days.


Today, he lives upstate, north of Albany, and is still hoping that the department will take his concerns seriously.

THE VOICE SHOWED TRANSCRIPTS OF the roll calls to Eterno, the Molloy College professor who has, in the past, testified for the NYPD as an expert witness, and Eli Silverman, a John Jay College professor who wrote a 1999 book on NYPD crime fighting strategies that was well received in the department.

Earlier this year, Eterno and Silverman published a survey of retired NYPD supervisors, more than 100 of whom said the intense pressure to show crime declines led to manipulation of crime statistics. (That survey was roundly attacked by the NYPD, the mayor's office, and some commentators.)

"These tapes are an independent source of data that supports just about everything we found," Eterno said, speaking for both professors. "You're seeing relentless pressure, questionable activities, unethical manipulation of statistics. We've lost the understanding that policing is not just about crime numbers, it's about service. And they don't feel like they're on the same team. They are fighting each other. It's, 'How do I get through this tour, making a number, without rocking the boat?' "

"The pressure comes from the commanding officer, because of CompStat, and you're seeing the sergeants and lieutenants trying to deal with it and translate it into actionable terms."

And the police said Adrian Schoolcraft was crazy.

They whisked him off for psychiatric evaluation against his will. But the tapes reveal crazy behavior by the bosses of the nation's largest police force.

In the next "NYPD Tapes" article, the Voice will examine the effects of these behaviors on the community—particularly the campaign by the precinct commander to "clear" corners and buildings in the precinct, as well as staffing shortages, why stop-and-frisk numbers have skyrocketed, and how training requirements were fudged.

And, in another installment, we'll look at what happened to the whistleblower himself, Schoolcraft, when he dared to question what was going on around him.

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Re: The how and why of whistleblower smears

Postby admin » Fri Apr 01, 2016 5:16 am

NSA Accused of Psychologically Abusing Whistleblowers
by CNS News
Jan. 25, 2006

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(CNSNews.com) - Five current and former National Security Agency (NSA) employees have told Cybercast News Service that the agency frequently retaliates against whistleblowers by falsely labeling them "delusional," "paranoid" or "psychotic."

The intimidation tactics are allegedly used to protect powerful superiors who might be incriminated by damaging information, the whistleblowers say. They also point to a climate of fear that now pervades the agency. Critics warn that because some employees blew the whistle on alleged foreign espionage and criminal activity, the "psychiatric abuse" and subsequent firings are undermining national security.

A spokesman for the NSA declined to comment about the allegations contained in this report.

The accusations of "Soviet-era tactics" are being made by former NSA intelligence analysts and action officers Russell D. Tice, Diane T. Ring, Thomas G. Reinbold, and a former employee who spoke on condition of anonymity. The allegations have been corroborated by a current NSA officer, who also insisted on anonymity, agreeing only to be referenced as "Agent X."

Tice, a former NSA intelligence analyst and action officer, first drew media attention in 2004 after the Pentagon investigated possible retaliation by the NSA against him.

The controversy began in early 2001, when Tice reported that a co-worker at the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) appeared to be engaged in espionage for China.

"I saw all the classic signs," said Tice, who identified the alleged spy to Cybercast News Service. The person's identity is not being published in this article for national security reasons.

When Tice transferred to the NSA in November 2002 he reported his concerns again, criticizing the FBI, which he labels "the Federal Buffoons and Imbeciles," for the agency's alleged incompetence. One of his emails was forwarded to NSA Security, which prompted the NSA, according to Tice, to order that he undergo a psychiatric evaluation. The NSA psychologist labeled him "paranoid" and "psychotic," Tice told Cybercast News Service.

That assessment, which Tice said was made by NSA forensic psychologist Dr. John Michael Schmidt, led to his security clearance being revoked and his firing.

All five whistleblowers name NSA psychologists as central players in what they allege is an ongoing abuse of authority by the NSA's Office of the General Counsel, the NSA Inspector General, the NSA internal security office and psychologists employed by the agency.

Tice's media profile quickly rose again on Jan. 10, when ABC News reported that he had been a source for the December New York Times article about a secret NSA surveillance program that was used to monitor the electronic communications of Americans suspected of contacts with terrorists.

Some leading Democrats charge that President Bush broke the law when he signed the secret order in 2002 authorizing the program, because he bypassed the Foreign Intelligence and Surveillance (FISA) court. The White House contends that the president has sufficient constitutional authority to order such intelligence-gathering, as well as additional powers granted by Congress three days after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Tice furnished Cybercast News Service with documents that appear to contradict the NSA's conclusion in his case. The news service verified the contents of the documents with the authors.

A letter dated Nov. 7, 2004, from clinical psychologist Dr. Evelyn Feleppa Adamo indicates that she found "no evidence" of the signs of the alleged mental disorders in Tice. On Oct. 15, 2004, licensed psychologist and family friend Dr. Sandra G. Rosswork wrote a letter indicating that she had never observed any abnormal behavior by Tice and that he was "a solid, responsible, dependable and good natured person" who was "well-liked."

A letter from Employee Assistance Service (EAS) clinical psychologist Dr. William D. Charmak notes that Tice suffered "feelings of humiliation and despair" after losing his security clearance, but did not appear to manifest paranoid symptoms. Charmak did not return a telephone call seeking comment.

An earlier confidential psychological/psychiatric report from an NSA psychologist that Tice knows only as Dr. Bache was dated July 2, 2002 and indicated that "on test results there were no indications of any outstanding difficulties." The report acknowledged that Tice had a "somewhat rigid approach to situations." The NSA declined comment on the findings of any of their psychologists.

In endorsement letters written around the time Tice's security clearance was revoked, five retired NSA and intelligence officials who worked with Tice described him as "enthusiastic," "congenial," "an engaging associate," and a "scholar of high intellectual rigor." Tice was described as possessing "sound judgment," and being well suited to the "most demanding and sensitive intelligence operations." The letters praised him for his "unparalleled professionalism" and "uncommon commitment."

"This nonsense has to stop. It's like Soviet-era torture," said Tice. "These people are vicious and sadistic. They're destroying the lives of good people, and defrauding the public of good analysts and linguists"

For a long time those who had endured the alleged abuse "were too afraid or ashamed to come forward," Tice added.


Pre-9/11 warning

Among those coming forward is a former NSA linguist who worked with the NSA for almost three decades. The former employee spoke on condition of anonymity as he is currently employed by another federal agency. He is referred in this article simply as "J."

"J" is a "hyperpolyglot" or a person who is fluent in an unusually high number of languages. Former colleagues described him as a brilliant man possessing critical skills that were "amazing."

"I believe the abuse is very widespread," said J. "The targeted person suddenly is described as 'not being a team player,' as 'disgruntled,' and then they're accused of all sorts of bizarre things. Soon they're sent to the psych people."

J first ran afoul of the process when his superiors disagreed with a report he and other agency linguists filed on Sept. 11, 1993. Their study of Arabic language messages and the flow of money out of Saudi Arabia to terrorist entities in other countries led them to conclude that Saudi extremists were plotting to attack America.
"You could see, this was the pure rhetoric of Osama bin Laden and his group, the exact same group, and we had an early indication," J said.

"All of us in the group had this view of a burgeoning threat, and suddenly we were all trotted off to the office of security. Then came the call to report for a battery of psychological tests," said J.

J told Cybercast News Service that he was again summoned to undergo psychiatric evaluation after warning NSA that security measures should be taken to protect against the possibility that terrorists might try to fly airplanes into buildings.

As an example of what might happen, J said terrorists might try to fly a plane from the nearby Tipton air field in Ft. Meade, Md., into an NSA high-rise building. J said NSA officials described him as "obsessed" with the idea of a "kamikaze" threat due to the time he had spent in Japan. The month was May 2001, four months before the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the U.S.

A similar scenario ensued every time J's analysis countered conventional wisdom, provided a dissenting opinion or made someone feel that their job was being threatened. J said he soon developed an irregular heartbeat due to the stress of not knowing when he next would be called for another psychiatric test.

"I believe it was retaliation, but how do you prove that?" J said. He spent the last 10 years of his career at the NSA with no promotion or raise. During that time, another linguist with critical skills left out of disgust with what was happening, J added.

"Who was going to listen to us?" asked J. "Who could do anything anyway?

"I'm still afraid they're going to screw my life over," he said. "They have long tentacles. I never even owned a computer because I know what they can do. Every keystroke can be picked up."


Agent X and the 'underground network'

Agent X, a current NSA officer, confirmed the allegations and told Cybercast News Service that psychiatric abuse as a form of retaliation was "commonplace" at the agency.

"A lot of people who work there are going through the same thing. People live in fear here. They run it like some kind of Gestapo," Agent X said.

Those targeted are "yelled at, badgered and abused," X added. "These are really good people, who start to be labeled crazy, but they're telling the truth."

Agent X also alleged that the NSA plants false evidence in personnel files as part of the intimidation campaign.

The agency also maintains a "dirt database" of inconsequential but potentially embarrassing information on employees, gathered during routine clearance investigations, said Tice. The information is kept as a means of leverage, he alleged.

Agent X said that an "underground network" has developed to discuss these issues. "It's like the Nazis have taken over."


Cybercast News Service contacted the NSA on Jan. 17 about the allegations contained in this article, involving the security department, the NSA inspector general, the Office of the General Counsel and staff psychologists such as Schmidt.

Two days later, Don Weber, senior NSA media advisor responded. "At this time I have no information to provide; however, if that changes I will email you soonest. Thanks for the query," Weber stated.

(Part 2 of this series will be published Thursday, Jan. 26, 2006)
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Re: The how and why of whistleblower smears

Postby admin » Fri Apr 01, 2016 5:19 am

NSA Whistleblowers Were Allegedly Isolated, Intimidated
by CNS News
Jan. 26, 2006

NOTICE: THIS WORK MAY BE PROTECTED BY COPYRIGHT

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(The following is the second of a two-part series on the National Security Agency's alleged abuse of employee whistleblowers.)

(CNSNews.com) - Whistleblowers who have stepped forward to accuse the National Security Agency of retaliating against them by falsely labeling them "paranoid," "delusional," or "psychotic," cover a range of political views. Russell D. Tice, a self-described conservative, believes President Bush should be impeached over the current controversy involving the NSA's domestic surveillance program. Another whistleblower, Diane Ring, is a staunch Bush supporter who supports the surveillance program.

Ring is a former NSA computer scientist who said she was ordered to undergo a psychiatric evaluation after she ran afoul of a colonel at the Pentagon. Her case differs from the others in that she was not initially a whistleblower, but believes the retaliation arose from a personal vendetta against her. The colonel had chastised Ring for missing a briefing. When Ring explained that she had been directed by her branch chief, who was her superior, to work on a classified program during the briefing period and that the directive took priority, the official reportedly "blew up."

Ring said she was first given a "management consult," instructing her to seek counseling then was pressed to see NSA forensic psychologist Dr. John Michael Schmidt. After she lodged a complaint about the alleged retaliation with the NSA inspector general, Ring said the agency moved to revoke her security clearance, "red-badging" her. "Red-badged" employees only have access to the corridors at the NSA.

"I had just received a 4.5 out of 5.0 job evaluation rating 3 months prior," Ring told Cybercast News Service.

According to Ring, her colleagues told her in the hallways at NSA that they had been ordered not to communicate with her. Ring said she was assigned to spend her days in a room full of other "red-badgers." She believes the isolation was one part of an intentional campaign to break her and drive her out of the NSA.

For eight months, the former action officer from the Pentagon read books and magazines. "They had these red-badgers spread out all over the place. Some were sent to pump gas in the motor pool and chauffeur people around," said Ring. "In our room, some people brought sleeping bags in and slept all day long. Others read. I would think that would incense the taxpaying public."

Soon after being isolated, Ring said she began losing sleep and was ordered to undergo more psychiatric evaluations administered by Schmidt. Ring said Schmidt eventually reported that another doctor had diagnosed her with a "personality disorder," but according to Ring, she later produced a letter from that doctor who said he had never told Schmidt such a thing.

Like others in her position, Ring began to go to the NSA Employee Assistance Service (EAS) for confidential counseling about what she was going through. But a current NSA officer who spoke with Cybercast News Service on the condition of anonymity and is identified in this report as "Agent X," warned that NSA officials are able to obtain 'confidential' EAS records when they are attempting to retaliate against an employee.

"Their goal is to freak you out, to get inside your mind," X said.

Ring claims that NSA General Counsel Paul Caminos lied about her case before a judge, denying that he had sent an internal email forbidding anyone from supporting Ring. Ring said she was "floored" by Caminos' actions, comparing the process to being "shell-shocked."

"I served in Bosnia. We had mines going off all around us, all day long. That was nothing compared to this," Ring said.

She now plans to send a letter to the new NSA director, Lt. Gen. Keith B. Alexander, asking that he order an investigation of her case. "This is his time to shine," said Ring. "He can really clean house."

Like "J," the linguist whose account was detailed in Part 1 of this report, Ring believes that the problem at NSA involves only a few people. "The whole lot of them is corrupt though," Ring said. "There is zero integrity in the process. And zero accountability. "

'Doing a mental'

Former NSA officer Thomas G. Reinbold confirmed that the practice of "psychiatric abuse" inside the NSA is "very widespread."

"They call it 'doing a mental' on someone," Reinbold said, and it has a "chilling effect" on other potential whistleblowers, he added. "They fear for their careers because they fear someone will write up bad [psychological] fitness reports on them."

Reinbold was labeled "paranoid" and "delusional" by Schmidt after he complained to an inspector general on Feb. 25, 1994, that the federal government was guilty of contract tampering. An evaluation conducted by Schmidt eight months earlier had concluded that Reinbold did not present a mental health or security risk, according to court documents.

Reinbold was working at the time as a contracting officer representative assigned to the Naval Security Group (NAVSECGRU) at Sugar Grove, W.Va.

NSA temporarily suspended his "Sensitive Compartmented Information" (SCI) security clearance, which is more exclusive than a "Top Secret" clearance and Reinbold said he was escorted from Sugar Grove by armed naval officers.

Reinbold accused the NSA of fabricating evidence in his personnel file in order to oust him. The phony evidence, Reinbold alleged, included that he was a danger to himself and others, and that he had said "if [he] was going down, [he] would take everyone with him." During this time, Reinbold also requested that Schmidt's earlier statements, labeling him "paranoid" and "delusional" be removed from his file.

An administrative hearing held on Sept. 7, 1995, found that the revocation of Reinbold's security clearance was unjustified and that the NSA should restore both his clearance and his job. However, Reinbold was not able to get the damaging information removed from his file. He later sued, but then was forced to retire because of his diabetes. During his career, Reinbold said, he received 26 commendations and awards as well as a medal for the strategic intelligence he provided during the first Persian Gulf War.

"I gave 29 years of my life to the intelligence community," Rienbold said. "They couldn't get me out the door fast enough. There are very good people, getting screwed and going through hell," he told Cybercast News Service.

Some of the whistleblowers plan to ask U.S. Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) for help. While Diane Ring wants her job back, or at minimum, to be allowed to resign with her security clearance intact, Tice believes there is no reason for optimism. "Our time is over," Tice said he told Ring. "But we can make a difference for those who come behind us," he added.

Cybercast News Service contacted the NSA on Jan. 17 about the allegations contained in this report, including those involving the security department, the NSA inspector general, the Office of the General Counsel and staff psychologists such as Schmidt. Two days later, Don Weber, senior NSA media advisor responded. "At this time I have no information to provide; however, if that changes, I will email you soonest. Thanks for the query," Weber stated.

Dr. Don Soeken, founder and director of Integrity International, a whistleblower advocacy group, supports the public stance taken by the whistleblowers. Soeken became a whistleblower himself while employed as a psychiatric caseworker for the U.S. Public Health Service in the 1970s. He told Cybercast News Service that he discovered the government employees sent to him with diagnoses of mental illness or imbalance were actually whistleblowers who had no mental problems. Soeken's superior backed his findings, which eventually led to hearings on Capitol Hill.

"When this retaliation first starts, there's a tendency by bosses to use code words like 'delusional,' 'paranoid' and 'disgruntled'" said Soeken. "Then they use psychiatric exams to destroy them. They kill the messenger and hope the PR spin will be bought by the public."

Tom Devine, legal director for the Government Accountability Project, a Washington D.C.-based non-profit advocacy group, told Cybercast News Service that "psychiatric retaliation" is a knee-jerk reaction against whistleblowers.

"It's a classic way to implement the first rule of retaliation: shift the spotlight from the message to the messenger. We call it the 'Smokescreen Syndrome.'" Superiors investigate and brand the whistleblower for anything ranging from financial irregularities, to family problems, sexual practices, bad driving records or even failure to return library books, Devine said. "It's a form of abuse of power."

Beth Daly, senior investigator for the Project on Government Oversight (POGO), said whistleblowers in the intelligence community have no real protection due to flaws in the Whistleblower Protection Act. "You have to go through the inspector general or the director of the CIA to let them know if you're going to Congress and what you're going to disclose. And inspector generals are notorious for revealing who whistleblowers are," Daly said.

On Feb. 14, U.S. Rep. Christopher Shays (R-Conn.), chairman of the House National Security subcommittee, will begin hearings to investigate the allegations of security clearances being revoked as a form of retaliation. Vince Chase, an investigator with the subcommittee, told Cybercast News Service that three panels of witnesses would testify and that the focus would be on the lack of protections for national security agency whistleblowers.

Some intelligence agency whistleblowers had been skeptical about the proceedings, believing that their concerns would not be accurately represented by witnesses such as inspectors general. But the subcommittee has now invited Russell D. Tice to testify, as well as the organization to which he belongs, the National Security Whistleblowers Coalition (NSWBC).

Prof. William Weaver, senior advisor to NSWBC and a legal expert in governmental abuse, is expected to emphasize the lack of oversight and direct accountability. The Concerned Foreign Service Officers Coalition, an NSWBC partner, will be offering written testimony as well.

Former FBI language specialist Sibel Edmonds, president of the National Security Whistleblowers Coalition, praised the development in a letter sent Jan. 25 to supporters. "This shows once again that we may be powerless in pursuing our own individual cases and going against the monstrous government brick wall of abuse," Edmonds wrote, "but together, collectively, as a coalition of now 70+ (national security) whistleblowers, we have a voice, a mighty powerful one indeed."

Meanwhile, Agent X, Russell Tice and the other whistleblowers quoted in this report believe other former NSA employees might be better able now to come to terms with what happened. "They probably feel alone, but this shows they're not alone. There are a lot of people who this has happened to," Agent X said.
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