Holding the Government Accountable

Senator Schumer Feeds Off Whistleblower

Senator Schumer (D-NY) was all too happy to jump into the fray with news today of a Justice Department report on the failure of the Bureau of Prisons' failure to translate correspondence from terrorists housed inside U.S. prisons. Schumer was quoted in the Washington Post and in an Associated Press story that went out on the wire.

In 2005, Senator Schumer came to our attention when his staff leaked a memo to NBC News about the issue. This memo was written by Bureau of Prisons whistleblower Joe Mansour. Schumer's publicization of this memo exposed Mr. Mansour to retaliation by the Bureau, as well as to terrorists who realized that Mansour had been secretly translating their correspondence and raising concerns about their efforts to coordinate terrorist attacks. The Inspector General report released yesterday (pdf) confirms everything that Joe Mansour was raising concerns about. Yet Senator Schumer has done virtually nothing to help Mr. Mansour after essentially throwing him under a bus by exposing his identity as a whistleblower.

Despite the difficulties and the retaliation faced by Mansour, including death threats, a two-rank demotion, and a more than $10,000 pay cut, Senator Schumer's only weak action to help Mansour was a letter to the Bureau with no followup. When it appeared that Mr. Mansour would be forced to return to work at a prison where terrorists were rumored to be eager to harm Mr. Mansour, Schumer was no where to be seen, despite the efforts of this organization.

The Bureau of Prisons continues to retaliate against Mr. Mansour today, but nothing has been done. The U.S. Office of Special Counsel, which is also investigating Mansour's case, has also done absolutely nothing. Senator Schumer's actions exemplify why whistleblowers don't or shouldn't trust Members of Congress and often prefer to go to the media--which are perceived as better at protecting their identities.