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Dissenters’ Digest for June 10-23

Stonewalled, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA)

Dissenters’ Digest takes a look back at news stories covering whistleblowers, watchdogs, and government accountability. Look for it every other Saturday evening at

Contempt: A House committee voted to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt for refusing to submit documents in connection with the Fast and Furious gunwalking scandal. President Obama invoked executive privilege, for the first time, to shield the documents from Congress. The measure may soon be presented to the House for a final vote. Meanwhile, Democrats are decrying the move as a political “witch hunt.”

Stonewalled: Senator Chuck Grassley is getting stonewalled by the Food and Drug Administration over an inquiry that it’s been spying on federal whistleblowers. The Senate and related House investigations were sparked by a lawsuit filed by six FDA whistleblowers who were allegedly targeted for surveillance. The National Whistleblowers Center is representing them in court. Relatedly, the Office of Special Counsel, which is also investigating the FDA over the same matter, released a memo this week to the federal government, urging agencies not to spy on whistleblowers. Doing so, the memo said, might lead OSC to conclude that retaliation is afoot.

Looking Backwards: President George W. Bush ignored a number of the CIA’s pre-9/11 warnings, according to new FOIA documents declassified and revealed this week.

Cover-Up: An Army Lt. General is accused of blocking a corruption probe in Afghanistan to help President Obama’s re-election.

Below the Fold:

–The Supreme Court ruled federal employees challenging the constitutionality of statutes can only do so in the Merit Systems Protection Board.

–Moscow vowed ‘response’ if the United States passes a bill named for slain Russian whistleblower.

–After losing an extradition appeal, Wikileaks founder Julian Assange sought political asylum from the Ecuadorian embassy in London. President Rafael Correa will decide whether to grant Assange’s request.

–The Department of Justice is accused of undermining a FOIA ombudsman office.

–The IRS resisted using a whistleblower office to uncover tax fraud. Now it vows to do better.

–Senior executives in government are sweating a new financial disclosure requirement.

–The media apparently despises Julian Assange, whose journalistic efforts are making it look corrupt, incompetent, or both.

–Scott Bloch’s court docket is showing signs of life. Elsewhere, activists and whistleblowers are still waiting for the Justice Department to charge Bloch with criminal contempt of Congress, at a minimum.

–The Senate grilled Acting FAA Administrator Michael Huerta over the FAA’s unwillingness to listen to whistleblowers. FOIA documents will confirm or rebut his answer.

–Matt Taibbi looks at how Wall Street resembles the Mafia.

–A divided D.C. Circuit ruled a fired Library of Congress employee could not bring a constitutional lawsuit.

–The Senate appropriations committee continues to underfund the Office of Special Counsel.

–MSPB Watch takes a look at how Obama broke his campaign promise to whistleblowers and which establishment groups helped him erect a veal pen.

–Good government groups GAP and POGO are making false statements about disclosure channels for classified information and the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act.

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