The Sh!t that should be on your local news, but isn't

The Sh!t that should be on your local news, but isn't

Witch Hunt Against Whistleblowers Launched By National Reconnaissance Office

Posted: 15 Aug 2012 06:56 AM PDT

RT News - Allegations that the National Reconnaissance Office financially mishandled contracts caused such an outrage at the agency that its deputy director reportedly launched a witch-hunt on whistleblowers within the NRO.

Air Force Maj. Gen. Susan Mashiko, the deputy director of the National Reconnaissance Office, has made what is being described as "an illegal threat of retaliation against the whistleblowers," McClatchy Newspapers reports. These allegations come following a report from McClatchy that a "series of allegations of malfeasant actions" associated with contracts coming out of the NRO office have prompted the agency's higher-ups to launch an investigation.

"You're talking about a lot of money at this agency and a culture within the intelligence community that isn't really comfortable with the idea of transparency," former Inspector General Eric Feldman tells the outlet. "Generally speaking, people in that agency are ethical but there is a certain dependency on contractors and closeness with contractors that can create an awkward environment."

 McClatchy reveals that Gen. Mashiko has allegedly attempted to reprimand whistleblowers linked to the NRO for coming forth about allegations of illegal activity within the agency, prompting even her own superiors to launch an investigation into attempts to silence the staffers.

According to documents obtained by McClatchy, current NRO Inspector General Lanie D'Alessandro has opened an official probe into Gen. Mashiko following claims that her tenure with the federal agency has been marred by a "history of intimidation," according to other staffers.

"This is bureaucracy run amok. These practices violate the rights of Americans, and it's not even for a good reason," former NRO officer Mark Phillips told McClatchy during their initial investigation.
The documents suggest that the deputy director did not address concerns made over inappropriate conduct within the agency, instead aggressively seeking a way to silence the whistleblowers that went to the press.

"Now, rather than pledging to address the underlying issues, General Mashiko has responded with threats of reprisal against those who revealed the information to the IG," the inspector general writes in one memo obtained by McClatchy. "It is this threat of reprisal, by one of the most senior leaders in the NRO, that constitutes the violation of law."

One source within the NRO speaking of the latest revelation says even though IG D'Alessandro has agreed to open up a probe, "people are going to be reluctant to talk with NRO's inspector general now."

"Four directors went to the IG," Mashiko allegedly told a senior officer, according to a report authorized by the inspector general and made available to McClatchy. "I would like to find them and fire them."

Phillips told McClatchy reporters during their first report that he was reprimanded after asking the agency's attorney to investigate malpractice tied to the polygraph screenings of prospective employees of the NRO, a federal spy agency staffed by members of the US Air Force and the CIA.

Massive Sinkhole Forces Evacuation Louisiana

Posted: 15 Aug 2012 06:53 AM PDT

Rt News - A potentially explosive and radioactive sinkhole near Assumption Parish, Louisiana has led local authorities to order a mass evacuation. After the now 400 feet deep hole was discovered on August 3, the mayor of the town ordered between 100 and 150 households to vacate their homes.  The same day, Gov. Bobby Jindal issued a declaration of emergency.

Bubbling water in the sinkhole and in nearby areas, where there has been oil and gas exploration in the past, led authorities to believe that it might have caused the release of radioactive material. While state tests did not detect radiation, a nearby road, Highway 70, was ordered shut after officials discovered the sinkhole caused a 36 inch natural gas pipeline to bend, heightening concerns that explosions might occur. To make the situation even more combustible, the hole neighbors a well containing more than a million gallons of liquid butane, a highly flammable vapor.

Officials hypothesize that the spontaneous depression was caused by the collapse of a defunct cavern owned by Texas Brine Company. On Saturday, the mining outfit agreed to authorities' demands to offer relief to victims "After Pressure from State and Local Officials," according to a press release from the Governor's Office.It also pledged to help investigate the structural integrity of the mine linked to the disaster. Drilling equipment is expected to arrive in the next few days, according to company president Mark Cartwright, and testing is expected to begin soon thereafter. But it might take the company 40 days to get into the cavern.

Residents are infuriated that the situation has put them at risk caused them to uproot temporarily.
"We want to know when we can come home and be safe," one local woman told Texas Brine officials at a community meeting on Tuesday, according to ABCNews. "Because you all go home after a days work. You're safe, but we're not."