Developments over the past week further crystallized how high-ranking officials escape accountability for their criminal acts in Washington while well-intentioned low-level government employees, including whistleblowers, face punishment for calling attention to illegal conduct and abuses of power. In spite of the fact that former Justice Department lawyer Thomas Tamm is
The US government gave the ACLU the equivalent of the middle finger in response to a FOIA request for records on the “targeted killing program.”
Amnesty International USA urged the inspector general for the Justice Department to investigate why the department has failed to examine human rights violations documented in the Senate report on CIA torture. In a letter dated September 21, AIUSA alleges the Justice Department failed to review evidence regarding the department’s role in human rights violations, which were committed by the CIA.
Last week, the Justice Department announced they were changing their policy on letting corporate executives walk away scot-free without criminal charges. This week, the Department of Justice announced it will let every executive of General Motors (GM) walk away scot-free with no criminal charges for defrauding consumers and misleading regulators on a faulty ignition switch that killed over 120 people.
In a challenge to the constitutionality of the National Security Agency’s phone records surveillance program, President Barack Obama’s administration claims whether Verizon Wireless participated in the program is a state secret. This is remarkable given there is irrefutable evidence from government documents of Verizon Wireless’ involvement in a similar challenge to this program.
After years of being mocked and ridiculed for failing to prosecute even one of the major Wall Street criminals that brought the global economy to its knees in 2008, the Justice Department now claims it will finally start enforcing the law on cases that involve criminal wrongdoing by corporate executives.
On September 3, the Justice Department announced a new policy which will require the FBI, Marshals Service, Drug Enforcement Administration, and the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives to get a warrant when using Stingray surveillance in domestic crime investigations. But the new policy contains a potentially major “exceptional circumstances” loophole that is undefined and could fuel further abuses of privacy.
On August 26, activists delivered 260,000 signatures to the Justice Department, demanding a federal investigation of Sandra Bland’s suspicious death in a Texas jail. Although officials ruled her death a suicide, many suspect she was murdered and, regardless of her official cause of death, her needless arrest during a traffic stop directly led to her demise.
A study by a consultant hired by GM has led to a nearly ten fold increase in the number of deaths linked to the faulty switches. The new estimate, released on August 21 by a consulting group led by famed attorney Kenneth Feinberg, puts the number of deaths from the defected ignition switches at 124. Previously, GM said it only knew of 13 deaths.
The Justice Department has requested a federal appeals court revisit and reverse its decision to revive a lawsuit against former Justice Department officials, who allegedly violated the rights of Arab or Muslim immigrants when they were detained in the immediate months after the September 11th terrorist attacks.