"Pentagon Watchdog Backs Up Retaliation Claim"
Recently reported by Project on Government Oversight--
A previously nonpublic Defense Department (DoD) Inspector General (IG)report obtained by POGO raises questions about the government's effectiveness in overseeing the security of classified material in the hands of defense contractors.
The DoD IG report centers on one government agent's quest to find the truth about the storage of classified information at Boeing—the second largest defense contractor—and the retaliation that the agent said he endured as a result. The DoD IG report raises questions about how well the Boeing Company is protecting classified weapons design information in its possession.
The vast outsourcing of many of the nation’s most classified defense projects to government contractors creates unique problems because the information is out of the government’s hands. Enter the Defense Security Service, the little-known U.S. agency tasked with ensuring that contractors—for the military services and dozens of federal agencies—properly safeguard classified information in their possession.
The threat to these assets is very real. Foreign attempts to illegally gain access to sensitive or classified information more than doubled from fiscal years 2009 to 2010, according to the latest annual counterintelligence trend analysis by the Defense Security Service.
As attempted incidents of cyber mayhem are on the rise, the role of the Defense Security Service as the key overseer of the nation’s most delicate security secrets is more important than ever. However, the Service has for years come under fire from congressional investigators and the Pentagon’s Inspector General for its lackluster oversight of contractors.
In 2002, Robert Conley, an industrial security specialist with the Defense Security Service, began to investigate what he believed was an illegal “classified technology library” in Boeing’s secretive Phantom Works division that was in alleged violation of regulations on protection of classified information.
Conley alleged to the DoD IG that after he continued to raise concerns about the problems he found at Boeing, his supervisors retaliated against him and publicly humiliated him. The April 2011 report by the DoD IG Civilian Reprisal Investigations unit substantiated Conley’s allegation that Defense Security Service management reprised against him. One act of reprisal, for example, “was significant because it resulted in loss of prestige, loss of opportunity for promotion, and loss of complex and challenging work.” The report also determined that “Mr. Conley's belief, in 2002, that Boeing was illegally transferring classified technology was reasonable.”
As outlined in the IG report, Conley’s investigation of Boeing began when he was wrapping up a subcontract the firm had with General Dynamics on a Marine Corps vehicle program involving “low-observable and counter-low-observable advanced technology”; in other words, highly classified ways of avoiding enemy detection or detecting potentially stealthy enemies. The program was a special access program. Special access programs are among the most highly secretive programs in the federal government and require special security measures.