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Who Watches Over The
FBI Agent Sues To Report
By Michael J. Sniffen
Friday, Nov. 3, 2000
WASHINGTON A 20-year veteran
FBI agent went to court Friday seeking the right to report to President Clinton
and key members of Congress what he considers serious and criminal misconduct by
federal workers during a top secret, undercover national security
FBI Director Louis Freeh and Deputy Attorney General Eric
Holder have denied agent Joseph G. Rogoskey permission to relay his allegations
to Clinton, Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and House and Senate
committees that oversee the FBI.
In a lawsuit against the FBI and Justice
Department, Rogoskey said that as an undercover agent he "witnessed acts of
serious misconduct and violation of federal law by employees of the federal
government during the course of their employment."
FBI spokesman Bill
Carter said, "We understand all the allegations of
have long been appropriately addressed."
Now on paid administrative leave,
Rogoskey spent 12 years, 1987 through 1998, on top-secret, undercover operations
involving some of the government's deepest secrets that are accessible only to
Rogoskey is barred from telling his lawyer, Stephen
Kohn, any details of the operation or the alleged misconduct. Kohn said he
understands only that "it doesn't involve anyone stealing money. It involves
what they were ordered and permitted by the government to do in this
Like the FBI, Holder advised Rogoskey by letter that he
"whistle-blower-type allegations" to internal FBI
investigators or Justice
inspector general agents who "have the appropriate
But Kohn said, "Keeping whistle-blower allegations
within the institution
that authorized the misconduct does not serve the
public interest and
raises grave constitutional questions."
first reported his allegations to his immediate supervisor in late 1997,
"promptly upon observing them," Kohn said. "We don't know if the FBI has fixed
the problem," Kohn said, because Rogoskey has been on leave since the summer of
Since making the allegations, the FBI has retaliated against
Rogoskey, the lawsuit said. The suit said this included an allegation of
against Rogoskey, of which FBI investigators cleared him; efforts
superiors "to call into question his integrity"; and recently threatening
to fire him for medical reasons if he fails a fitness for duty
The FBI's Carter responded: "Any internal disciplinary or other
employment problems Mr. Rogoskey may have experienced are completely unrelated
to providing the earlier allegations."
Kohn said: "Fitness reviews are
extremely intrusive. They include
psychiatric exams, interviews with his
wife and examination of his sex life." A fitness exam was ordered of another FBI
whistle-blower client of Kohn's, Frederic Whitehurst, the FBI chemist whose
allegations led to an inspector general's finding the FBI Laboratory engaged in
sloppy science and gave biased testimony for the prosecution. "Even though
Whitehurst was found fit, the FBI tried to discredit him with material from the
fitness exam," Kohn said.
Kohn said Rogoskey has applied for workman's
compensation because two doctors concluded he suffers from post-traumatic stress
disorder caused by his work. "He has work-related injuries because they kept him
undercover too long and from the retaliation," Kohn said.
have said that agents who spend long periods undercover can suffer tensions from
maintaining dual personalities.
In the lawsuit, Rogoskey asked the U.S.
District Court here to decide
whether he can transmit his allegations to
Clinton, Albright and
congressional oversight committees, to bar the
government from retaliation and to process his workman's compensation claim
instead of ordering a fitness review.
Because of secrecy rules, Rogoskey
submitted his allegations in a sealed envelope to the FBI's publication review
clearance board in May 1999.
The agent had no publisher, wasn't seeking
compensation and did not intend to publish the material for the general public,
but wanted permission to send it to the named officials, Kohn said.
attorney Lyn Brown "denied the permission the next day by phone and said the
information in the envelope should have been transported by armed guard." Kohn
said. Freeh and Holder later upheld that denial.
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