M E M O R A N D U M
TO: Reporters and Editors
RE: FBI Whistleblower Jane Turner
DA: Tuesday, August 14, 2007
Sen. Chuck Grassley issued the comment below about the end of the FBI’s campaign against Jane Turner, a former child-crime agent for the bureau who suffered retaliation for reporting misconduct by FBI officials. Today the Justice Department rejected a request by the FBI to continue appealing a jury verdict that found the FBI guilty of illegal retaliation against Agent Turner.
Sen. Grassley’s comment:
“It’s good news that the Justice Department will put an end to the FBI’s effort to dodge accountability with endless appeals. Now the FBI needs to accept responsibility by imposing real consequences for the bureau officials whose conduct resulted in this verdict. Someone other than the taxpayer needs to pay, or the retaliation won’t stop.”
Sen. Grassley has called on the FBI director to discipline FBI officials who retaliate against agency whistleblowers, including Agent Turner.
For Immediate Release
Tuesday, February 27, 2007
Grassley: FBI Should Discipline Supervisors Found to Retaliate Against Agents
WASHINGTON – Senator Chuck Grassley has asked FBI Director Robert Mueller about the agency’s plans to discipline supervisors who have been found to retaliate against agents who report wrongdoing.
Grassley’s questions come following a decision by a Minnesota jury in favor of Special Agent Jane Turner, who alleged that FBI supervisors falsified negative performance reviews in retaliation for filing an equal employment opportunity complaint.
“The high standards of the FBI do not allow for anything less than the truth. It’s time for the supervisors who retaliated against Jane Turner, and any other whistleblower for that matter, be held accountable,” Grassley said. “This jury verdict is vindication for Agent Turner. She had the courage to stand up alone, in the face of resistance, and say what happened was wrong.”
Grassley has been an outspoken advocate for Turner since an Inspector General report showed agents improperly removed items from the site of the 9-11 terrorist attack in New York City. In a letter to Mueller dated February 26, 2004, Grassley wrote “As a sworn federal agent, Agent Turner had a duty and obligation to report such misconduct. Her reward was continued hostility, and the FBI eventually initiated termination proceedings against her…Moreover, the appearance of retaliation is, unfortunately, consistent with what has happened to previous whistleblowers.”
Here is a copy of Grassley’s letter.
Via Electronic Transmission
The Honorable Robert S. Mueller, III
Federal Bureau of Investigation
935 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20535
Dear Director Mueller:
On many occasions you have assured me that you will not tolerate retaliation against FBI whistleblowers. A federal jury sitting in Minneapolis, Minnesota, recently returned a substantial judgment against the FBI in a civil suit brought by former Special Agent Jane Turner. The jury found merit in Agent Turner’s allegations that FBI supervisors falsified negative performance reviews in retaliation for filing an equal employment opportunity complaint.
Given that her allegations have now been substantiated, I am writing to you to for information about how you intend to hold supervisors accountable for the acts of retaliation. Please provide detailed written answers to the following questions:
During the past five years, how many FBI supervisors have been disciplined for acts of retaliation? Please provide a description of the facts in each case and the discipline imposed.
What disciplinary actions, if any, will be taken against FBI employees for their involvement in and/or approval of the acts of retaliation against Agent Turner?
Please describe the role of Supervisory Special Agent Craig Welkin in the retaliation against Agent Turner and explain whether Welkin will be subject to discipline, and why or why not.
Please describe the role of Supervisory Special Agent James “Chip” Burris in the retaliation against Agent Turner and explain whether Burris will be subject to discipline, and why or why not.
Please describe the role of Supervisory Special Agent James Casey in the retaliation against Agent Turner and explain whether Casey will be subject to discipline, and why or why not.
Actions speak louder than words. Now that a jury has substantiated retaliation by the FBI in this case, I am anxious to find out what the FBI will do to demonstrate that your commitment to protecting FBI whistleblowers is more than just words. Unless retaliators are held accountable, the FBI culture will not change. Please provide me with written responses to these questions before March 7, 2007.
Charles E. Grassley
United States Senator
cc: Chairman Patrick Leahy
Senate Committee on the Judiciary
Ranking Member Arlen Specter
Senate Committee on the Judiciary
FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT:
Stephen M. Kohn (202)342-6980
Marshall Criswell (202) 342-1903
Robert Hill (612) 735-1985
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
FBI WHISTLEBLOWER WINS FINAL JUDGMENT
After a Nine Year Fight Department of Justice
Withdraws Appeal and Court Enters Final Judgment
in Favor of Former Special Agent Jane Turner
August 14, 2007. The Department of Justice vetoed the request of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”) to continue appealing a Half Million Dollar jury verdict which found the FBI guilty of illegally retaliating against one of its top child-crime agents. As a result, on August 10, 2007 the FBI’s appeal was summarily dismissed and the Court, and final judgment was entered on behalf of Jane Turner.
The FBI campaigned against Jane Turner for over nine years, first attempting to block her bid to have her case heard by a jury, and then attempting to get the jury verdict overturned. After losing one round of battles before the Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, losing in front of a jury and losing its attempt to have the trial judge dismiss the verdict, the FBI filed another round of appeals in the Eight Circuit. After three months of review the Department of Justice determined that the FBI’s vindictive campaign against former Agent Turner had no merit and unilaterally withdrew the appeal. On August 10, 2007 the Eight Circuit entered final judgment for former agent Turner.
“The FBI’s conduct in this case was a disgrace,” said Stephen M. Kohn, Jane Tuner’s lead trial attorney. “The FBI ruined the career of its top child-crime agent in North Dakota , recklessly spent millions of dollars in taxpayer monies trying to silence Agent Turner and tried improperly tried to get the Department of Justice to cover-up their misdeeds. The jury, the judges and finally the Department of Justice itself saw through the FBI’s nonsense, and put an end to Jane Turner’s nightmare. The FBI must be held accountable. The General Counsel of the FBI, who authorized the improper legal campaign against Agent Turner, even when the evidence clearly indicated that FBI managers engaged in misconduct and FBI Inspection Reports were falsified, must be fired,” Kohn added.
Minneapolis attorney Robert Hill, who served as Agent Turner’s co-counsel, blunted stated: “The FBI must be cleaned up. Too much is at stake for the American people to accept an FBI which violates the law, retaliates against its own agents, misspends taxpayer monies and ignores its essential law enforcement duties.”
As a result of the final judgment, Jane Turner will obtain the maximum allowable compensatory damage award under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and reimbursement for all attorney fees and costs incurred. The total judgment is expected to exceed one million dollars.