I was successful in stopping the Executive and Legislative Branches from routinely using the forced psychiatric fitness for duty exam. The next target is to stop misuse in security clearance by psychiatric "hired guns" that the various agencies hire.
The public ought to be outraged that psychiatric professionals cook up exams to discredit targets with biased, false, misleading, distracting, and useless psychological reports.
JB: Were you ever concerned that you yourself would be a target for retaliation?
DS: Yes. I have lost my career because I advocated for a whistleblower. I have known their pain. When I went to Congress in 1978 to report my findings about the forced fitness for duty exams, I got permission from HEW [Department of Health, Education and Welfare, now the Department of Health and Human Services].
In 1992, I blew the whistle regarding the death of a patient at St. Elizabeth's Hospital in DC, and became a witness for her and her family.
I faced blowback after I was in a Parade Magazine article written by Jack Anderson [August 18, 1991, "A Haven for Whistleblower" by Jack Anderson with Tim Warner contributing] in which he praised my work exposing the government's use of Forced Fitness for Duty Exams. I had close friends who warned me I could be retaliated against.
After I was constructively retired, I spent two weeks on the Brian Hyatt case against Northrop [chapter seven in my book]. Mr. Hyatt won his case with my assistance and testimony.
JB: Lucky for both of you! How do you think your book will be received?
DS: This book is a must read for everyone who has a career. It's a must read for every taxpayer, for every patient in a hospital, every person who wants a strong defense, and wants to preserve our jobs. For anyone who believes we need to return to truth-based politics.
I wrote the book because I want America to persist. We can only continue if our policies are fact-based. The average American does not know how profound truths are being suppressed.
I expect a tidal wave of sales of Don't Kill the Messenger! once we get the word out.
JB: I like that positive attitude, Don! Have conditions for whistleblowers improved over the four decades spanning your career? How's the current president doing?
DS: Unfortunately, things are getting worse. Judges have hit a new low. Elected judges need corporate contributions. Appointed judges also have deep ties to establishments. It is sad so many judges are hostile to truth-tellers.
The Obama administration is a great disappointment. This is truly a "war on whistleblowers." Witness the VA scandal this week. Are the whistleblowers being thanked for trying to save veterans? One of my clients has tried to sound this alarm for 14 years and despite decades of service to veterans, he has been blackballed.
The system is so messed up that even the best attorneys don't know what to do. My VA client has spent his life savings and his lawyers don't know what to do - even in this crisis!
Even wealthy whistleblowers run out of funds needed for trial. All good cases are appealed by the defense if they lose so that more funds are needed for the appeal. The Brian Hyatt case against Northrop shows how this appeal process works: the trial awards dwindle as the attorneys take 40% of the court award, and the appeal takes another cut, and the IRS gets around 30% of the award. The whistleblower is then left with less than 30% of the award which could be needed by multiple appeals. The defense bleeds the whistleblower of funds and the lesson is that many whistleblowers go bankrupt.