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Postby Guest » Thu Oct 13, 2005 10:29 am

So this is the quality of the posts that you will allow. It is highly offensive for you to publish personal contact information especially since all files related to this matter have been examined in detail and closed WITH ABSOLUTELY NO FINDING OF FAULT. You have been notified that your site has engaged in activity that is offside with the Acceptable Use Policy you agreed to when you signed up with Telus to host this site. Govern yourself accordingly.

(admin, asks if anyone can shed some light on what this person is talking about please? Sounds either like a lawyer paid to bury the truth, or a guilty party hoping to bury same. What are they referring to?)

(update 2006. SFSC is now on record in writing of having "passed" the file to the OSC, while the OSC is on record in writing of having "closed" the file without investigating anything within SFSC jurisdiction. So where is the "examined in detail part", if we are talking about Kent Shirely Allegations)
Guest
 

whistleblowers risk everything to "do the right thing&q

Postby Guest » Wed Oct 12, 2005 6:09 pm

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

October 10, 2005
Occupational Hazard
By COLEEN ROWLEY and DYLAN BLAYLOCK
EVEN as the public focuses on President Bush's most recent Supreme Court nomination, the business of the court goes on. And this week, it will take up a First Amendment case, Garcetti v. Ceballos, that is crucial not only to government workers across the country, but to all Americans concerned about free speech and national security.

While a deputy district attorney in Los Angeles County, Richard Ceballos investigated allegations of police misconduct in a case his office was prosecuting. After finding evidence suggesting that a deputy sheriff might have lied in order to obtain a search warrant, Mr. Ceballos drafted a memo to supervisors detailing the wrongdoing and recommending that they drop the case. After supervisors proceeded with the prosecution, Mr. Ceballos informed the defense of his findings, as required by law. He was subsequently removed from the prosecution's team, demoted and transferred to a different office.

Mr. Ceballos filed suit claiming that he was retaliated against in violation of his rights. His boss, District Attorney Gil Garcetti, and the California State Association of Counties argued that free speech protection only extends to public employees when an employee expresses his personal opinions - those being what he advocates as a citizen, rather than an employee. After the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, in San Francisco, ruled in favor of Mr. Ceballos, his opponents pushed for the nation's highest court to take the case.

Should the First Amendment protect a public employee's purely job-related speech? The answer will affect the rights of millions of public employees, from police officers to public hospital workers. And in particular, the principle decided here will dictate how whistleblowers are treated in government offices where the reporting of mismanagement and fraud are vital to our country's well-being, places like intelligence agencies, the Department of Energy and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Presidential administrations seem more often than not to make loyalty paramount. While loyalty in marriage, family and among friends is the glue that binds society, government employees owe their ultimate allegiance not to their supervisor or president but to America: its Constitution, laws and citizens.

The Standards of Ethical Conduct for Employees of the Executive Branch, regulations by which all federal workers are required to abide, clearly state that employees "shall disclose waste, fraud, abuse and corruption to appropriate authorities."

But no law effectively protects federal workers who report malfeasance as part of their job duties. And coverage of state workers is patchy. As a result, those workers we depend on for our safety have often faced a terrible conundrum:

either remain quiet and allow fraud and wrongdoing to occur, or speak out and risk retaliation.
When one of us (Ms. Rowley) spoke out about the F.B.I.'s pre-9/11 lapses, it was likely only the leaking of her memo to the press that saved her from professional retaliation.
[ Coleen Rowley, an FBI lawyer, was one of the three TIME Magazine 2002 "Whistleblower" Persons of the Year. Scroll down below to read that December 22, 2002, TIME article. ]
For hundreds of other nameless government truth tellers who tried to work solely within the system, however, there has been no such happy ending. Instead, they have been left with the incongruity noted by the appeals court judge who ruled in favor of Mr. Ceballos:

that while they might be protected if they took their problem to the press, they would not be protected if they tried to remedy the problem within the system.
With so much at stake in national security, is that a situation we want to let stand? A ruling against First Amendment rights would muzzle those who know security issues better than any oversight body officials can hope to create. We cannot rely solely on Congress to keep tabs on absolutely everything happening under them - such a task is impossible.

Supported by the Bush administration, lawyers for Mr. Garcetti and the California counties association are rehashing arguments that government managers have always used against granting these protections to employees - namely that providing these rights might lead to management paralysis and a deluge of litigation. But the Supreme Court in the past has dismissed these unfounded predictions, realizing that our court system is equipped to weed out frivolous lawsuits. These managers should be praising an early warning system that detects problems and maintains departmental integrity.

Now the court has a chance to clarify previous legal precedents and set the record straight. America should be encouraging those civil servants who step forward to make our country stronger. Cutting off protection is a recipe for disasters of mass proportions.

Coleen Rowley is a retired F.B.I. agent. Dylan Blaylock is the communications director of the Government Accountability Project.

An investorism ADDENDUM:

Rick Mitchell, with 27½ prior years prior employment with the RCMP investigating 200+ major fraud cases, joined the Saskatchewan Financial Services Commission (SFSC) on January 1, 2004, and he took a 1-year leave of absence 15 months later, on March 31, 2005.

It was Rick Mitchell who conducted the February 6, 2004, voluntary interview of Kent Shirley, in the presence of with Vic Pankratz, the then SFSC Deputy Director. Vic Pankratz left prematurely / took a sudden early retirement leaving the SFSC this past July / August.

Rick Mitchell was THE only SFSC investigator investigating the allegations of premeditated fraud by Kent Shirley v. Assante, et al.

AND the on-going results of Mitchell's investigation sat on Pankratz's desk for months.

It's time for the SOMEBODIES in our business press to ask / to request / to push / to demand that David Wild ( 306 ) 787-5630 Chair of the SFSC and also Chair of the Canadian Securities Administrators, remove the public service employee gag so that Rick Mitchell can finally Tell the Truth about:

the collusion amongst our 13 multiplicity Canadian securities regulators ( 10 provincial + 3 territorial ) and their SRO granted industry based associations ( MFDA, IDA and MS ) to bury their own gross malfeasance and complicity in allowing and perpetuating Assante's 1996-2003 flawed from its Get-Go business model that was based upon an extremely sophisticated and premeditated plan to pay its own Assante financial advisors an extra advisor "contingency" remuneration -- that was NOT disclosed in Assante's mutual fund prospectuses -- that rewarded its advisors when they Redemption / Switched 3rd party funds into Assante's own proprietary products.
Mitchell, Rick (ex-SFSC)
Personal Information:
Home Address:
4041 Garnet Street
Regina SK S4S 3G8
Canada
Home Phone: 306-584-5916
Cellular: 306-539-6359


http://www.time.com/time/personoftheyear/2002/






The Whistleblowers
December 22, 2002

http://www.time.com/time/personoftheyea ... intro.html


GREGORY HEISLER FOR TIME
THE WHISTLE-BLOWERS: Cynthia Cooper, WorldCom; (left to right), Coleen Rowley, the FBI; and Sherron Watkins, Enron





Cynthia Cooper, Coleen Rowley and Sherron Watkins

They took huge professional and personal risks to blow the whistle on what went wrong at WorldCom, Enron and the FBI—and in so doing helped remind us what American courage and American values are all about

By Richard Lacayo and Amanda Ripley



Posted Sunday, December 22, 2002; 4:31 a.m. EST

This was the year when the grief started to lift and the worries came in.
During the first weeks of 2002, two dark moods entered the room, two anxieties that rattled down everybody's nerve paths, even on good days, and etched their particulars into the general disposition. To begin with, after Sept. 11, the passage of time drew off the worst of the pain, but every month or so there came a new disturbance—an orange alert, a dance-club bombing in Bali, a surface-to-air missile fired at a passenger jet—that showed us the beast still at our door.

In the confrontation with Iraq, in the contested effort to build a homeland defense, we all struggled to regain something like the more secure world we thought we lived in before the towers fell. But every step of the way we wondered—was this the way back? What exactly did we need to be doing differently?

And all the while there was the black comedy of corporate fraud. Who knew that the swashbuckling economy of the '90s had produced so many buccaneers? You could laugh about the CEOs in handcuffs and the stock analysts who turned out to be fishier than storefront palm readers, but after a while the laughs came hard. Martha Stewart was dented and scuffed. Tyco was looted by its own executives. Enron and WorldCom turned out to be Twin Towers of false promises. They fell. Their stockholders and employees went down with them. So did a large measure of public faith in big corporations. Each new offense seemed to make the same point: with communism vanquished, capitalism was left with no real enemies but its own worst impulses. It can be undone by its own overreaching players. It can be bitten to pieces by its own alpha dogs.

Day after day, one set of misgivings twined around the other, keeping spooked investors away from the stock market, giving the whole year its undeniable saw-toothed edge. Were we headed for a world where all the towers would fall? All the more reason to figure out quickly, before the next blow to the system, how to repair the fail-safe operations—in the boardrooms we trusted with our money, at the government agencies we trust with ourselves—that failed.

This is where three women of ordinary demeanor but exceptional guts and sense come into the picture. Sherron Watkins is the Enron vice president who wrote a letter to chairman Kenneth Lay in the summer of 2001 warning him that the company's methods of accounting were improper. In January, when a congressional subcommittee investigating Enron's collapse released that letter, Watkins became a reluctant public figure, and the Year of the Whistle-Blower began. Coleen Rowley is the FBI staff attorney who caused a sensation in May with a memo to FBI Director Robert Mueller about how the bureau brushed off pleas from her Minneapolis, Minn., field office that Zacarias Moussaoui, who is now indicted as a Sept. 11 co-conspirator, was a man who must be investigated. One month later Cynthia Cooper exploded the bubble that was WorldCom when she informed its board that the company had covered up $3.8 billion in losses through the prestidigitations of phony bookkeeping.

These women were for the 12 months just ending what New York City fire fighters were in 2001: heroes at the scene, anointed by circumstance. They were people who did right just by doing their jobs rightly—which means ferociously, with eyes open and with the bravery the rest of us always hope we have and may never know if we do. Their lives may not have been at stake, but Watkins, Rowley and Cooper put pretty much everything else on the line. Their jobs, their health, their privacy, their sanity—they risked all of them to bring us badly needed word of trouble inside crucial institutions. Democratic capitalism requires that people trust in the integrity of public and private institutions alike. As whistle-blowers, these three became fail-safe systems that did not fail. For believing—really believing—that the truth is one thing that must not be moved off the books, and for stepping in to make sure that it wasn't, they have been chosen by TIME as its Persons of the Year for 2002.

WHO ARE THESE WOMEN?
For starters, they aren't people looking to hog the limelight. All initially tried to keep their criticisms in-house, to speak truth to power but not to Barbara Walters. They became public figures only because their memos were leaked. One reason you still don't know much about them is that none have given an on-the-record media interview until now. In early December TIME brought all three together in a Minneapolis hotel room. Very quickly it became clear that none of them are rebels in the usual sense. The truest of true believers is more like it, ever faithful to the idea that where they worked was a place that served the wider world in some important way. But sometimes it's the keepers of the flame who feel most compelled to set their imperfect temple to the torch. When headquarters didn't live up to its mission, they took it to heart. At Enron the company handed out note pads with inspiring quotes. One was from Martin Luther King Jr.: "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter." Watkins saw that quote every day. Didn't anybody else?

What more do they have in common? All three grew up in small towns in the middle of the country, in families that at times lived paycheck to paycheck. In a twist that will delight psychologists, they are all firstborns. More unusually, all three are married but serve as the chief breadwinners in their families. Cooper and Rowley have husbands who are full-time, stay-at-home dads. For every one of them, the decision to confront the higher-ups meant jeopardizing a paycheck their families truly depended on.

The joint interview in Minneapolis was the first time the three had met. But in no time they recognized how much they knew one another's experience. During the ordeals of this year, it energized them to know that there were two other women out there fighting the same kind of battles. In preparation for their meeting in Minneapolis, WorldCom's Cooper read through the testimony that Enron's Watkins gave before Congress. "I actually broke out in a cold sweat," Cooper says. In Minneapolis, when FBI lawyer Rowley heard Cooper talk about a need for regular people to step up and do the right thing, she stood up and applauded. And what to make of the fact that all are women? There has been talk that their gender is not a coincidence; that women, as outsiders, have less at stake in their organizations and so might be more willing to expose weaknesses. They don't think so. As it happens, studies have shown that women are actually a bit less likely than men to be whistle-blowers. And a point worth mentioning—all three hate the term whistle-blower. Too much like "tattletale," says Cooper.

But if the term unnerves them a bit, that may be because whistle-blowers don't have an easy time. Almost all say they would not do it again. If they aren't fired, they're cornered: isolated and made irrelevant. Eventually many suffer from alcoholism or depression.

With these three, that hasn't happened, though Watkins left her job at Enron after a few months when she wasn't given much to do. But ask them if they have been thanked sincerely by anyone at the top of their organization, and they burst out laughing. Some of their colleagues hate them, especially the ones who believe that their outfits would have quietly righted all wrongs if only they had been given time. "There is a price to be paid," says Cooper. "There have been times that I could not stop crying."

Watkins, Rowley and Cooper have kick-started conversations essential to the clean operation of American life, conversations that will continue for years. It may still be true that no one could have prevented the attacks of Sept. 11, but the past year has shown that the FBI and the CIA overlooked vital clues and held back data from each other. No matter how many new missile systems the Pentagon deploys or which new airport screening systems are adopted, if we can't trust the institutions charged with tracking terrorists to do the job, homeland defense will be an empty phrase. The Coleen Rowleys of the federal workforce will be the ones who will let us know what's going on.

As for corporate America, accounting scams of the kind practiced at Enron and WorldCom will continually need to be exposed and corrected before yet another phalanx of high-level operators gets the wrong idea and a thousand Enrons bloom. And the people best positioned to call them on it will be sitting in offices like the ones that Watkins and Cooper occupied. The new Sarbanes-Oxley Act, which requires CEOs and CFOs to vouch for the accuracy of their companies' books, is just one sign of what Cooper calls "a corporate-governance revolution across the country."

These were ordinary people who did not wait for higher authorities to do what needed to be done. Literature's great statement on unwelcome truth telling is Ibsen's play An Enemy of the People. Something said by one of his characters reminds us of what we admire about our Dynamic Trio. "A community is like a ship," he observes. "Everyone ought to be prepared to take the helm." When the time came, these women saw the ship in citizenship. And they stepped up to that wheel.

http://www.time.com/time/personoftheyea ... ooper.html


The Night Detective


By Amanda Ripley


Posted Sunday, December 22, 2002; 4:31 a.m. EST

In Clinton, Miss., the headquarters of WorldCom rises out of the moonscape of Waffle Houses and Pizza Huts like a dark steel mother ship. It is rather shocking to turn the corner and see it there, lurking behind the freeway as if it had been teleported into this tiny town. In 1999 WorldCom founder Bernie Ebbers moved the company here, to his old college town, and everything changed.



GREGORY HEISLER FOR TIME

Employees started wearing their badges around town as a sign of their achievement. A Wal-Mart Supercenter sprang up. And millions of Ebbers' dollars went to making over Mississippi College. When friends came to visit Cynthia Cooper for lunch, she would give them a tour of the facility. This is the town where she had grown up, and she was proud of this company that knew no bounds. Cooper too had ridden the wave, becoming vice president of internal audit of what was, for a time, the 25th biggest company in the country.

Last June, Cooper told the audit committee of WorldCom's board that the company had been playing dirty with its accounting practices. She knew as she said it what would happen. Within days, the company fired its famed chief financial officer, Scott Sullivan, and told the world that it had inflated its profits by $3.8 billion—the largest accounting fraud in history. The number has since grown to $9 billion, and counting. Her colleagues have been placed in handcuffs and led past TV cameras. Shareholders have lost some $3 billion since the news broke, and soon at least 17,000 WorldCom employees will have lost their jobs. In December, the company put a for sale sign on the hangar that stored its corporate jets in Mississippi.

Cooper, meanwhile, still drives to the desolate Clinton headquarters every day. She had spent her career trying to get the higher-ups to take her internal-auditing division seriously; it is only now, in bankruptcy, that WorldCom is finally doing so. Cooper, 38, a petite blond, has been given more money and twice as many staff members. Her division is probably the most secure at the company. And it is quite obvious that she is heartbroken. "There have been times," says Cooper, a woman not given to intense displays of emotion, "that I could not stop crying."

Cooper went home to Clinton in 1991, leaving a career and a failed marriage in Atlanta. She had a 2-year-old daughter and needed a job fast. So she just picked up the phone and started calling CFO s. She got a job at WorldCom—then named LDDS—as a contract employee making $12 an hour. After a brief stint at SkyTel, a paging company that would later be acquired by WorldCom, she returned to LDDS in 1994 to start the internal-audit department. The company was precocious and growing fast, and founder Ebbers and his team had little interest in the kind of financial nitpicking her division represented. But Cooper prepared to win them over. "These guys were entrepreneurs. There was a need to prove ourselves and the value of internal auditing," she remembers. "I loved it. It was a very exciting place to be. We were moving and shaking and acquiring companies."

Meanwhile, she reunited with the first man to have ever sent her a rose—Lance Cooper, the boy who had had an unrequited crush on her in high school. He heard she was back in town and called to ask her to lunch. She accepted and then called back to say she wasn't ready to date. He said he understood and asked her to call him if she changed her mind. But he called her again the next day and persuaded her to reconsider. They were married in 1993. Lance had spent 12 years as a computer consultant but never found as much satisfaction in that job as he does today as a stay-at-home dad taking care of their kids Stephanie, 13, and Anna Katherine, 1. That makes Cooper, like the FBI's Coleen Rowley, the sole wage earner.

But unlike Rowley, she is circumspect and uses few words to make big points. You can tell she is sizing you up as she chats in her friendly way. She has a disarming manner that could be described as politely tenacious. In her accounting classes at Mississippi State University in the mid-1980s, Cooper used to sit in the front row, dead center, says Phyllis Massey, her college roommate. And she would proceed to pepper the professor with questions, oblivious to her classmates' disdain. "It didn't matter if the bell was fixin' to ring. If she wanted to know something, she wanted to know," says Massey. Cooper has always had a ferocious single-mindedness. In kindergarten, remembers her mother Patsy Ferrell, her teacher called home to complain that little Cynthia wanted to stay in and talk with the teachers during recess. At about the same age, Cooper became obsessed with getting a bike. But her parents felt she was too young and told her it was too expensive. Soon after, her mother found her hosing off her tricycle in the yard. She was planning to sell it so she could buy a two-wheeler. "You know, that was right pitiful, so we bought her the bike," says her mother.

Like Rowley and Watkins of Enron, Cooper grew up in a household where money was tight. She remembers the lights going out when she was little; her father Gene Ferrell remembers her worrying over him when she noticed a hole in the bottom of his shoe he hadn't told anyone about. As soon as she could get a job, she did. Beginning at age 14, she worked at a series of local eateries, including McDonald's and Morrow's Nut House.

But the biggest challenge was the Golden Corral, Cooper remembers. The veteran waitresses could carry an impressive total of five plates on their arms. Cooper could carry only a measly two. The manager was too nice to say anything but began gradually cutting her hours until she was almost de facto fired. So Cooper's dad bought her some weights, and she began training. Sure enough, she started to reclaim hours. "She'd rush home and put on that tacky uniform and go off to the little Golden Corral," says Cooper's mother in her most bemused Mississippi drawl. Today Cooper triumphantly recalls what the manager told her after several weeks: "I did everything I could to make you quit. You were the worst waitress I ever had," he told her. "And now you're the best."

At WorldCom, Cooper desperately needed to carry more plates. The culture was so anti-jargon that Ebbers had ordered her never to use the phrase "internal control"—shorthand for the fundamentals behind auditing—again. He said he didn't understand it, says a WorldCom employee. But that is like asking a weatherman not to use the word forecast. So Cooper huddled her small team together and planned their debut. She called Ebbers, Sullivan and a few others to a meeting in the main conference room. She was going to force them to see what an audit department could do for their bottom line.

The morning of the meeting, everyone gathered together—except Ebbers, the most important attendee. Cooper refused to start without him. After 30 painful minutes, he finally strode in, wearing his trademark sweat suit and holding a cigar, remembers an employee who was there. "What in the hell is the purpose of this meeting?" Ebbers demanded to know. Cooper, in her low, serious voice, asked him to have a seat and turned to her first slide, which defined the purpose. "He wanted to know where his next dollar was coming from," Cooper says. And she told him. Her division could find millions of dollars in wasteful operations with the use of internal controls. And indeed, over the years that followed, Cooper says, "we paid for ourselves many times over." Ebbers ended up being the last person to leave the meeting.

WorldCom started as a mom-and-pop long-distance company in 1983. But in the 1990s, it matured into a powerhouse. In 1997 it shocked the industry with an unsolicited bid to take over MCI, a company more than three times its size. In 1998 CFO Magazine named Sullivan one of the country's best CFO s. At age 37 he was earning $19.3 million a year. The next year Cooper was promoted to vice president. The stock price had gone through the roof, and she and her friends at work would sometimes talk of retiring early, taking care of their parents and starting their own businesses. Cooper harbored a girlish dream of starting a bead shop. She had even ordered a couple hundred thousand beads, which still sit in her garage.

But by early 2001, overexuberance for the telecom market had created a glut of companies like WorldCom, and earnings started to fall. Cooper was aware of the decline but not of the creative accounting fix. At WorldCom her department handled operational audits, which set company budget standards and evaluate performance, among other things. Financial audits, which verify the accuracy of a company's financial reports, were the province of the then esteemed independent firm Arthur Andersen.

It was a fluke, really, that Cooper got wind of the rotten accounting. A worried executive in the wireless division told her in March 2002 that corporate accounting had taken $400 million out of his reserve account and used it to boost WorldCom's income. But when Cooper went to Andersen to inquire about the maneuver, she was told matter-of-factly that it was not a problem. When she didn't relent, Sullivan angrily told Cooper that everything was fine and she should back off. He was furious at her, according to a person involved in the matter. Cooper, concerned that her job might be in jeopardy, cleaned out personal items from her office.

For many auditors, the word of the CFO and an Andersen partner would have been more than enough to leave the situation alone. "You have to understand," says a WorldCom employee, "Scott was probably the most respected person in the company." But, says Cooper, "when someone is hostile, my instinct is to find out why."

As the weeks went on, Cooper directed her team members to widen their net. Having watched the Enron implosion and Andersen's role in it, she was worried they could not necessarily rely on the accounting firm's audits. So they decided to do part of Andersen's job over. She and her team began working late into the night, keeping their project secret. And they had no allies. At one point, one of Cooper's employees bought a CD burner and started copying data, concerned that the information might be destroyed before they could finish. In late May, Cooper and her group discovered a gaping hole in the books. In public reports the company had categorized billions of dollars as capital expenditures in 2001, meaning the costs could be stretched out over a number of years into the future. But in fact the expenditures were for regular fees WorldCom paid to local telephone companies to complete calls and therefore were not capital outlays but operating costs, which should be expensed in full each year. It was as if an ordinary person had paid his phone bills but written down the payments as if he were building a phone tower in his backyard. The trick allowed WorldCom to turn a $662 million loss into a $2.4 billion profit in 2001.

Internal auditors, by definition, work in pursuit of a gotcha. So discoveries like this produce a strange "adrenaline rush," says a WorldCom audit employee, "and at the same time, there's a great sadness." Cooper's mother Patsy could see that the investigation had taken its toll. "I noticed a change in her countenance," she says. "There was no cadence to her speech. I noticed a lack of, well, it seemed to be energy."

On June 11, Sullivan called Cooper and gave her 10 minutes to come to his office and describe what her team was up to, says a source involved with the case. She did, and Sullivan, known for his poker face, remained calm. He then asked her to delay the audit, according to a WorldCom timeline of events filed with the sec. She told him that would not happen. The meeting was a turning point for her because she, like her colleagues in the industry, considered Sullivan the gold standard. "It was terribly disappointing," says Cooper.

The next day, Cooper told the head of the audit committee about her findings, but she still held out hope that there was a reasonable explanation. She and her team began looking for ways to somehow justify what they had found in the books. Finally, they confronted WorldCom's controller, David Myers, who admitted he knew the accounting could not be justified, according to an internal-audit memo.

That's when Cooper's heart sank. Soon after, she called her mother in exhaustion. "'There are some things terribly, terribly wrong at WorldCom,'" Patsy remembers her daughter saying. "And I was just pained at the tone of her voice." Several times Cooper told her colleagues she was concerned about what this would mean for the families of implicated WorldCom executives. "One of the things about Cynthia," says an employee who has worked closely with her, "is that if she has to step on toes, she's not uncomfortable doing that. But at the same time, she has great empathy. Those are two things that don't always go together."

A showdown was scheduled for June 20. Cooper and a member of her team headed to Washington for an audit-committee meeting of WorldCom's board of directors. Sullivan would be there to present his side of the story. "We kept waiting up until the very end for Scott to pull a rabbit out of a hat," says a person close to the case. Relations had become so tense that at the last minute, when Cooper and her colleague learned that the management team was booked at the same hotel, they switched to another one.

At the meeting, Sullivan tried to explain the accounting strategy and asked for more time to fully support his argument. The committee members gave him the weekend. But he could not convince them. On June 24 the audit committee told Sullivan and controller Myers that they would be terminated if they did not resign before the board meeting the next day.

Sullivan refused to step down and was fired. Myers resigned. The next day, WorldCom came clean about its books. Cooper went directly to her parents' house and sat down at the table in stunned silence. It was an appropriate pausing place. Cooper attributes her endurance in the investigation to her mother. "She would say, 'Never allow yourself to be intimidated; always think about the consequences of your actions.'"

Cooper, like the FBI's Rowley, rejects any attempt to link her actions to her gender. "I had two men standing right next to me," she says of her investigation. "In the end, it is what life finds in us that makes us different."

Never did Cooper imagine she would become the public face of the WorldCom audit. But in early July reporters showed up at her home and her parents' place in Clinton. Republican Congressman Billy Tauzin of Louisiana, who chairs the House Energy and Commerce Committee, had released her audit memos to the press, declaring, "This is Fraud 101." A WorldCom representative phoned her and said, "The press is calling, and they want to make you a hero." Cooper could not stomach the attention. "I'm not a hero. I'm just doing my job," she said. "There was nothing to celebrate," she remembers.

For three days after the announcement, her husband Lance recalls, she did not come home at all. "At times I felt like I was in a very dark place," Cooper says. She read and reread the 23rd Psalm: "Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me." At various times during the ordeal, she has been screamed at and she has been patronized, say her colleagues. She continued to work, keeping long hours to help the accounting firm KPMG redo Andersen's audit and staying at her parents' house because it was closer to the office. Finally, Lance piled their two kids into the car and drove to the Ferrells' house so he could see her. "I just told her, 'Don't worry about losing your job. We'll find a way.'" Lance was a cheerleader in college. He knew how to listen and knew not to try to talk his wife out of taking action. "I never once said, 'Are you sure you want to do this?'"

Meanwhile, Cooper, a woman known as a perfectionist, was losing control over her domain at WorldCom. One day she walked into the office and found eight investigators perusing her files. All her phone and e-mail messages are being collected, to this day. And she continues to cooperate with a steady stream of investigators, from the FBI to the Securities and Exchange Commission, says her attorney, Bob Muse.

In August, Sullivan was indicted on charges of securities fraud. He faces up to 65 years in prison. The California public-employees' retirement system—the largest state pension fund in the country—is suing to regain some of the $580 million it lost in the WorldCom debacle.

Cooper still looks distantly like the Clinton High prom princess she once was, and the past nine months have not left her jaded. "We have 62,000 employees working very hard. These employees did not do this. The vast majority of WorldCom is made up of capable, honest employees trying to do the right thing. Only a handful of people were involved in any wrongdoing," she says. "I feel a personal obligation to see this thing to some kind of conclusion." When asked what that might be, she answers, "I don't know yet."

Whenever Cooper admits to having had painful moments at WorldCom, she follows the acknowledgment with a big, beaming smile. But when I hand her a picture of Ebbers and Sullivan—her former mentors—holding up their hands to be sworn in before Congress, Cooper's eyes well up with tears. She turns the picture over and says, "I don't ever want to see that again." Friends estimate that Cooper has lost close to 30 lbs. The other day she had to laugh when her skirt nearly fell off while she was talking to a colleague at the office. A safety pin saved the day.

So far, Cooper says, she is encouraged by the changes at her firm. The company has carried out many of her recommendations. And she firmly believes there is a point to all of the loss. "There really is a corporate-governance revolution across the country. Internal-audit departments are going to be taken more seriously," she says, noting that the Sarbanes-Oxley law passed by Congress last July requires all public companies to maintain internal-audit departments. She has received more than 100 letters and e-mails from strangers who want to thank and encourage her.

But she has not been personally thanked by a single senior executive at WorldCom, her colleagues say. And there is grumbling that some employees think the company could have borrowed its way out of its problems and avoided bankruptcy if she had stayed quiet. Some people who used to smile and chat with Cooper and her team by the coffee maker don't do that anymore. "What gets me angry is that after all she has done, you would think she would be rewarded," says a friend and colleague at WorldCom. "She went through a battle, one of the biggest battles in corporate America. And that promotion didn't come." Cooper will not comment on any possible resentment, except to note that a member of the audit committee did send her a grateful note and that she is looking forward to working closely with the new management team.

In November, WorldCom's new CEO, Michael Capellas, held a rally to try to light a spark in the demoralized WorldCom work force. He called members of his management team onto the stage, and the all-male ensemble sang, "If you're happy and you know it, clap your hands!" Cooper was not there; the rally was in Virginia, and she was back in Mississippi, with her team, watching via webcast.

http://www.time.com/time/personoftheyea ... owley.html


The Special Agent



By Amanda Ripley and Maggie Sieger


Posted Sunday, December 22, 2002; 4:31 a.m. EST

Coleen Rowley became enamored with the FBI's fictionalized ideal long before she heard of the real thing. Her favorite show was The Man from U.N.C.L.E., a spy spoof about two debonair agents who work to save the world from evil. In the fifth grade, Rowley wrote to the show's producers, asking to join the cadre of supersecret spies. She got a rejection letter. "They said it didn't exist," Rowley remembers. "But they told me that in the United States, we had something called the FBI. And they gave me the address."



GREGORY HEISLER FOR TIME

So Rowley wrote to the bureau and received a pamphlet titled "99 Facts About the FBI." One question was, "Does the FBI employ women as special agents?" The answer was no. Even then, she did not scare easily. "I thought to myself, That's stupid. I figured that would change eventually."

Last May, when Rowley upbraided her beloved FBI in a secret 13-page memo, she thought she was on a private rescue mission. In her view, it was not a reprimand but an act of redemption. It was not about speaking truth to power, because people like Rowley don't see much difference between the two. Truth is power—that's how you catch the bad guys.

So the memo—the one that leaked and landed her on the front pages of newspapers, that brought her to Washington to face cameras and Congressmen and that helped set off the debate over how to reinvent the FBI—was not meant to be a memo at all. It came tumbling out, almost by accident, because she couldn't hold the words inside anymore.

Since Sept. 11, the 48-year-old had muzzled her grief about the bureau's failures—specifically, about how it ignored cries from her office to take seriously the case of Zacarias Moussaoui, a French-Moroccan who spoke poor English and had signed up at a local flight school, keen to fly a 747. Eight months after the attacks, Rowley and others got a chance to tell what they knew. Staff members of the House and Senate Intelligence Committees' joint inquiry into the attacks invited her and others to come to Washington for a private interview.

"Initially, I just started writing down points that I didn't want to miss when I was going to do my interview," she says. "I went to bed Wednesday night and was up all night, saying, 'Oh! I've got to remember to say this, got to remember that.' Thursday night I went to bed thinking, Man, am I tired. Well, I couldn't sleep all night long. The same type of thing. I've got to remember this and remember that." About 2:30 a.m. Friday, Rowley had had enough. "I said, 'This is ridiculous. I'm on 36 hours without sleep. If I jot it down, first of all I won't forget it. And I won't have to keep reminding myself of things to say. I'll get it out of my system, and I'll be able to sleep.'"

So she went to the office and sat at her desk writing until her husband Ross called 16 hours later, around 7 p.m. By Monday morning, she had written 13 pages. This is more than just my own notes to myself, she decided. And she knew the memo was explosive enough for her to need some protection. Just 2 1/2 years from retirement and her family's sole breadwinner, she tacked on two sentences of self-preservation at the last minute, asking for federal whistle-blower protection. At the time, she did not know exactly what it was—nor that the legislation offered FBI employees a weak shield. The next day, in Washington, she dropped the memo off with receptionists for FBI Director Robert Mueller and two members of the Senate Committee on Intelligence.

Surely, they were too far above the fray to want to punish her. She had no appointments; she just wandered around until she found their offices, getting lost at least once. Then she walked outside and hailed a cab. "I went, 'Whew!' and collapsed in the back seat," Rowley remembers. She headed back to the airport, secure in the comfort that comes from taking a steaming load of worry and shifting it onto the boss's lap. Says her husband: "I remember her saying, 'I hope somebody reads it.'" The next evening Rowley was back in the Minneapolis FBI office, working late. The designated representative had gone home, so Rowley got the call from CNN. A reporter had heard that someone from the office had written some kind of letter. Rowley, a 22-year veteran of the bureau, says she had never imagined that her name or her letter would get out, and was uncharacteristically speechless. "It was like 'Ohmigosh! Ohmigosh!'" she remembers. "I said, 'Well, I can't help you. I don't know what you're talking about.' Click! And I ran out of the office."

And so it was that Rowley became the FBI's public conscience. Two weeks later, she was called back to Washington to testify in the open, her Coke-bottle glasses slipping down her nose, her circa-1985 hand-me-down plaid suit crying to be put back into the closet. She issued damning indictments—agents were drowning in paperwork and lived in fear of offending the higher-ups. "There's a certain pecking order, and it's pretty strong," she said. "It's very rare that someone picks up the phone and calls a rank or two above themselves." And in the next breath she offered specific solutions: Can you give us a computer system that allows us to search phrases like "flight schools"? She was quick to admit what she did not know. When Senator Maria Cantwell asked her what advice she would give the President, she demurred. "I really can't presume to give advice at such a high level," she said. In short, she made the Congressmen look like interns on the set of the Coleen Rowley show. The only time she seemed perplexed during her D.C. visit was when a horde of reporters followed and shouted at her as she tried to hail a cab.

For Americans watching this odd display, the message was clear: This mid-level lawyer at a field office in the Midwest had higher expectations for the FBI than its top leaders. The bureau could be great, was her message, if only it put the goal of protecting Americans above the goal of protecting itself, if only agents were not rewarded for sitting still.

Seven months later, Rowley is still campaigning, albeit more warily. She talked to Time, her first interview, with great trepidation. She is afraid of being fired and afraid of appearing self-serving. "I don't want to be famous," she says. "I will not stand up in front of people unless I have something important to say." Visiting FBI headquarters after the hearing, she was popular with clerks and secretaries. "I'd get elbows in my ribs and winks," she says. In the Capitol building, janitors and police darted across the hall to thank her.

But the tough Rowley—the Rowley who packs a gun and takes it everywhere, who moves coatless through Minnesota winters and runs triathlons, who made a habit of correcting her science teacher—has been stung by a nasty backlash within the FBI. In early June, an associate called to say high-level FBI agents in Washington had been overheard discussing possible criminal charges against her. Some fellow agents, retired ones in particular, crucified her. Charles George, then president of the Society of Former Special Agents of the FBI, compared her to convicted spy Robert Hanssen, calling her behavior "unthinkable" in the society newsletter; instead of going to the Russians, she went to Congress.

And then there was the riff on loyalty from an old Elbert Hubbard essay, which Rowley received from a number of retired agents. A paraphrased version of Hubbard's words used to hang on the walls of FBI headquarters while J. Edgar Hoover was director. It read, in part: "If you work for a man, in heaven's name work for him; speak well of him and stand by the institution he represents. Remember—an ounce of loyalty is worth a pound of cleverness ... If you must growl, condemn, and eternally find fault, why—resign your position and when you are on the outside, damn to your heart's content." The copies she received had "resign your position" heavily underlined. "It wasn't even anonymous!" she says. "They signed their names! Even though that is not on the walls anymore, that is still in the hearts and minds."

The backlash bit. "I'm not the most sensitive female in the world," Rowley says. "And the people who are closest to you matter most. But you can't help having your feelings hurt when the retired agents are lumping [you] with Hanssen, who betrayed everything we stand for." She knows the culture of loyalty is a defense mechanism, but she does not excuse it. "Loyalty to whoever you work for is extremely important. The only problem is, it's not the most important thing. And when it comes to not admitting mistakes, or covering up or not rectifying things only to save face, that's a problem."

So how did Rowley get so tough? There's a certain kind of Midwesterner who looks across the long, flat plains and doesn't see any obstacles or vertical structures because, in fairness, there aren't any. In this part of America—the tiny town of New Hampton, Iowa, where Rowley grew up the daughter of a mailman who never graduated from high school and walked 14 miles a day to make his rounds—the socioeconomic topography mirrors the geographical one. Everybody is on the level because there is only one. In the Iowa where she was raised and in the Apple Valley community outside Minne-apolis where she moved with her family, hierarchy never had much of a chance. Most people drive the same kind of car, have the same kind of yard behind the same kind of weatherboard house. The houses are spread equally across the expanse, not clustered in some pecking order around a town center. The status symbol is not to have one, to invest in public life, to treat everyone like the fellow next door.

So the girl who was informed at age 11 that she could not join the FBI went ahead and started the "World Organization of Secret Spies" with friends. She became known as someone who quietly righted small wrongs from the sidelines of the school. Her close friend Jane David was her lab partner all the way through high school, when Rowley would have occasional dustups with the science teacher over his inaccuracies, but always after class. "I'd see her shaking her head, and I knew he was going to get a talking-to," David remembers. Rowley would point out errors not to embarrass him but to make sure he corrected himself the following day, David says. "She wanted to make sure the rest of us understood it correctly for our college entrance exams. She wasn't trying to show off. She wanted to help us."

Most of Rowley's friends have a story about her bullying them into doing something they didn't want to do. In eighth grade, she became convinced that David should run for student-council president against the most popular boy in the class. David recoiled at the thought, but "you don't get into many arguments you can win with Coleen." Rowley wrote her speech and made her practice it again and again. David won.

In New Hampton, the community pool was the gathering place for students in summer, and when Rowley was in junior high, she wanted to learn the jackknife dive. "But of course there was no one to teach her," recalls her friend Vicki Kennedy. "The rest of us, we didn't want to try because ... there were boys and everything." But Rowley "worked and worked and worked all summer, and she belly-flopped a lot," Kennedy says. "By the end of the summer, she could do a real pretty dive where the rest of us had been too embarrassed to try."

Her bluntness tripped her up when she applied for a generous scholarship to Wartburg College in nearby Waverly, Iowa, a liberal-arts four-year institution founded by a Lutheran pastor, where German Lutherans like Rowley's parents sent their working-class kids. One of several finalists for the Regents Scholarship, a four-year ride, she answered honestly when the panel asked her about her major. "I haven't thought much about it. I'm keeping it open," she said. The students who eventually won declared they planned to be missionaries, doctors and lawyers. "I tracked them," she says. "And within a few months, not one of them was doing what they said." Then she laughs. "Yes, I've always been a little bitter." Denied the scholarship, Rowley relied on an Iowa tuition grant designed for future teachers. Rowley quickly became a French major because those students got a free year in France. "She said what she thought and always had a firmness of opinion," remembers Moira McCluney, her French professor at Wartburg College. "And compared to the usual Iowa girls ... well, I suspect she was born like that."

After she put herself through college, Rowley—the first in her family to get a degree—went to law school at the University of Iowa, where she met her future husband Ross. And that's another tale of Rowley willfulness. He was balking at getting married, so Rowley told him she was joining the FBI and it was now or never. Two weeks later, they were wed, and soon after she was at the FBI Academy in Quantico, Va. Ross abandoned his studies in art history to follow her to Washington, and he has followed her around the world ever since, from New York City to Paris to Mississippi.

Friends say Rowley was the top marksman in her class. And she wanted to set the two-mile running record for women. During her first days at Quantico, Rowley heard that a woman can run it faster when she isn't on the pill. So she stopped taking birth control—and quickly became pregnant. She kept the news to herself for three months, even when she had to throw herself on the ground, belly first, from a dead run during weapons training. She didn't set the record then. "I was worried about pushing too hard because I was pregnant," she said. But she and a friend did set it in 1984 and held it for several years.

Rowley quickly made a mark. In 1984 she escorted Colombo crime-family boss Gennaro Langella on his "perp walk" in front of the news cameras, and she helped keep tabs on other big-time mafiosi in New York City. In the '90s she won an FBI award for her work on the Andrew Cunanan case, a shooting rampage that started with two deaths in Minnesota and ended with the death of Gianni Versace in Miami. When Minneapolis agents nabbed longtime Symbionese Liberation Army fugitive Kathleen Soliah, Rowley handled questions from the press.

Her hyperactivity at work is mirrored in her personal life. She walks fast with the long strides of a runner; she speaks without a filter—just a few words will set her off on a discourse about heart disease or what's wrong with the criminal-justice system. Her fiercest exclamations are "Well, heck!" and "Oh, my gosh!" She often leaps to her feet to make a point, waves her arms, pounds her fist and attempts impersonations of the characters in her stories, practically dancing in place while Ross lies on the turquoise leather sofa and the kids go about their business. When imitating FBI higher-ups, she lowers her voice several octaves, tucks her chin in, squares her shoulders and sways side to side. Her routine imitating her mother Doris Cheney involves a higher pitch. A sure sign that Rowley is uneasy is when she becomes still and her hands start gripping each other.

During one interview, Ross stood beside a reporter so he could signal Coleen when to stop talking. Other times he interrupted. "Are you sure you want to say that, Coleen?" he'd say. Or the more direct "No! Stop! Don't say any more!" Her memo reflects her stream-of-consciousness narrative style. "No wonder why the FBI headquarters is mired in mediocrity!" she wrote in a footnote. "That may be a little strong, but it would definitely be fair to say that there is unevenness in competency among Headquarters personnel."

Rowley doesn't like to keep track of her keys, her purse or her four children. "I'm such a Type A," she admits. "I have no patience. It's hard for me to do homework. Ross is so much better." Ross has been a stay-at-home dad ever since Coleen was in training at Quantico and someone had to stay home with the baby. He takes care of every detail of the household. He's the one the four kids—Tess, 21, a student at the University of Minnesota; Bette, 17, a high school senior; and grade-schoolers Meg, 9, and Jeb, 7—come to when they need their homework checked or pears sliced. He pays the bills, fixes meals, sets the alarm clock and does the Christmas shopping. They've collaborated every year of their 22-year marriage on the homemade Christmas card. She does the drawings; he does the deadpan humor.

Behind the wheel of the family's beige Windstar minivan, Rowley is the first to admit, she is an aggressive driver, passing slower-moving cars on a two-lane highway at every chance. It's hard to tell her exact speed, since the speedometer is broken. The needle swings between 70 and 100 m.p.h., even when she's braking. Every now and then, Rowley pounds the dashboard above the gauges. "This is what Ross does," she says with a shrug.

The night Rowley got the call from CNN, Ross had been watching a TV interview with a Senator. He could tell the man had read her memo from the comments he was making. "I said, 'Oh, my gosh, he's read it!'" Ross recalls. As Coleen drove up the driveway, Ross ran down to meet her.

If Rowley is willing to take on the big questions about the FBI, she remains a stickler about its smallest rules. Because FBI employees cannot accept gifts valued over $20, she refused to accept a ride in a rental car paid for by TIME, and she handed over $30 to cover her dinner. She forwarded a check to ABC correspondent John Miller when he sent her his book on terrorism, paying the full $24.95 retail price. Her frugality is legendary. She wanted to take the subway to testify on Capitol Hill but finally relented and accepted a ride from friends. When she inadvertently bought a Vanilla Coke recently, she took one sip, declared it awful, then drank it all because she could not bear to pour it out. She has two business suits—one that she bought for her FBI interview in 1980 and the one, given to her by her mother-in-law more than 15 years ago, that she wore to testify in June. "Stuff doesn't wear out," she explains. Her daughter Bette feigns outrage: "She used red yarn to patch my jeans! Red on the butt, red on the pockets!"

In the days after the hearing, Rowley received a flurry of concerned letters from fashion consultants, hairdressers and ophthalmologists who yearned to make her over. These she disregarded effortlessly. "It wasn't loud!" she says in response to a letter from a designer criticizing her plaid suit. "It was black and gray. How can that be loud?" Rowley's friends have recently succeeded in a longstanding crusade: they persuaded her to replace her oversize glasses, telling her that lightweight lenses would save her time and energy while running because she wouldn't need to keep pushing them up.

But in the months that have passed, so much has not happened. What if Rowley was wrong about the FBI's potential? What if no one at headquarters is capable of the kind of imagination the times demand—the kind of fearlessness that she has shown them? Rowley has so far refused to accept this possibility. But she has been "a little disillusioned," says her friend Jane David. And she has had some reason to be. When Rowley walked into her office on the morning of Sept. 11 and saw the Twin Towers burning on TV, she immediately thought of Moussaoui. For three weeks her office had been trying—and failing—to get FBI headquarters to allow a request for a search warrant of his computer. Agents had had him arrested for overstaying his visa while they looked into his past. As Rowley wrote in her memo, French officials and other intelligence sources established that Moussaoui was affiliated with radical fundamentalist Islamic groups and activities connected to Osama bin Laden. Minneapolis agents pushed headquarters for approval to dig deeper, fearing—before Sept. 11—that he might be part of a larger scheme to hijack commercial jetliners. He has since been indicted as a co-conspirator.

It will never be known whether the agents could have prevented the attacks if they had received the green light earlier, Rowley is quick to point out. "[But] it's at least possible we could have gotten lucky and uncovered one or two more of the terrorists in flight training prior to September 11th," Rowley wrote in her memo. And yet, three days after the attacks, Director Mueller expressed his shock that terrorists were training on U.S. soil: "The fact that there were a number of individuals that happened to have received training at flight schools here is news, quite obviously." Six days after the attacks, the rhetoric became even bolder. Said Mueller: "There were no warning signs that I'm aware of that would indicate this type of operation in the country." Worrying that the new director had not been well briefed on the Moussaoui case, Rowley and her colleagues repeatedly tried to get a message to Mueller so he could modify his statements. But they received no response. After more information about the Moussaoui investigation became public, along with a memo from a Phoenix agent who had noted a pattern of Arab men signing up at flight schools, Mueller still insisted that the FBI could not have done anything to limit or prevent the destruction. Only after Rowley's memo was made public did Mueller revisit his assessment, with a feeble double negative: "I cannot say for sure that there wasn't a possibility we could have come across some lead that would have led us to the hijackers."

The experience may have cut into her faith, but it did not extinguish it. Rowley remains devoted to the FBI and is in many ways a dream employee. "Honestly, I would not want to do anything else," she says. She has no tolerance for whining and, she says, "I hate the term whistle-blower." She wakes up early in the morning, drinks a pot of coffee and goes running—in Minneapolis, in December. She flatly rejects any suggestion that her memo has anything to do with her gender. "There are plenty of women who have been co-opted, who don't do the right thing. And there are plenty of men who do," she says. Unlike other gun-toting officials, she doesn't swagger or puff up in unsettling circumstances. And she has no illusions about her own perfection.

"Oh, boy, I have made mistakes," she says, in her flat Midwestern accent. Rowley half-jokingly asks everyone, from fellow agents to college students, if they'll come buy a burger from her one day if she gets fired. But she cannot seem to stop herself from going on to pitch those students on the job opportunities at the bureau. And she continues to send e-mails to headquarters suggesting investigative and legal strategies. She has sent about a dozen since her notorious memo. None have received a substantive response. "I'm sure they think I'm crazy Coleen Rowley," she says.

Since her public testimony, she has received hundreds of phone calls at her Minneapolis office from every kind of person who feels wronged by the criminal-justice system. Most have dubious claims. The few legitimate gripes do not generally fall under the bureau's jurisdiction. It is an enormous distraction, and it's clear she wishes the calls would stop. And yet Rowley feels obligated to check out every story. After all, she says, "they might have a point."

http://www.time.com/time/personoftheyea ... tkins.html


The Party Crasher


By Jodie Morse and Amanda Bower


Posted Sunday, December 22, 2002; 4:31 a.m. EST

On Feb. 13, the day before she gave the first of two damning testimonials to Congress, Enron vice president Sherron Watkins spent the afternoon in a cluttered conference room in the Rayburn House building on Capitol Hill. It was a cram session of sorts, a final chance for Watkins, her attorney and congressional staff members to review the dozens of subpoenaed documents she would be quizzed on the next morning. As they ate cold pizza, someone drew her attention to an e-mail titled "Confidential Employee Matter" that had been written by one of Enron's external lawyers. "Per your request," it began, "the following are some bullet thoughts on how to manage the case with the employee who made the sensitive report." Her eyes skipped halfway down the page: "Texas law does not currently protect corporate whistle-blowers. The Supreme Court has twice declined to create a cause of action for whistle-blowers who are discharged ..."



GREGORY HEISLER FOR TIME

Her pulse quickened. "I'm reading this and I'm thinking, Oh my God, it's [dated] two days after I met with Ken Lay. Talk about shoot the messenger. I can't believe they looked into firing me," she says, sounding wounded even now in the retelling. "It was a horrible response. There's nothing in there to remind them to remember the code of conduct, the vision and values." This was how hard Watkins had fallen for Enron. Here she was, almost six months to the day since she first warned chairman Kenneth Lay of "an elaborate accounting hoax." Her boss had long ago confiscated her hard drive, and she had been demoted 33 floors from her mahogany executive suite to a "skanky office" with a rickety metal desk and a pile of make-work projects. The atmosphere had grown so ominous that she had called office security for advice on self-defense. But still, Watkins simply could not fathom that this company, the one she had tried to save from itself, had considered taking away the job she loved.

The next morning Watkins appeared before the tangle of cameras in her periwinkle blazer, with her pastor seated directly behind her. For five hours, she patiently explained the intricacies of the financial schemes that had allowed the energy giant to conceal billions of dollars of debt in dubious partnerships. Though Watkins had not worked in accounting for a decade, she knew the arcane material cold, making it sound as simple and intelligible as long division. She was relaxed enough to give the Representatives a taste of her piercing Texas wit. But her square jaw clenched whenever she spoke about her feelings for the company. She firmly indicted several top executives, yet she insisted that Lay was a "man of integrity." And she spoke almost wistfully of Enron's "electric" atmosphere, of people "energized to change the world." It was Valentine's Day, and she was still very much in love.

For months afterward, Watkins faithfully went to work each day. In the absence of any real assignments, she could only bear witness to all that she had wrought, looking on as Enron auctioned off everything down to the sign at its headquarters (price: $44,000) and as the firm's esteemed accountants, Arthur Andersen, went down in their own wave of scandal.

Only now, a year later, has she begun to think of fashioning a life without Enron. In November, she left her $165,000 job. But her future is shaky. She plans to start a global consulting firm to advise company boards on governance and ethics, though CEOs privately chuckle at the thought of opening up to the gimlet-eyed Watkins. The first to speak out, Watkins has had the most time to acclimatize to her strange new existence. Unlike the FBI's Coleen Rowley and WorldCom's Cynthia Cooper, she does not shy away from describing herself as a whistle-blower or suggesting that her gender may have played a role in her decision to act. She alone has been flirting with celebrity, earning up to $25,000 on the speaking circuit and sharing a $500,000 advance to co-author a book.

At the same time, Watkins is the most self-critical of the three. She regrets "naively [thinking] that I would be handing Ken Lay his leadership moment," regrets not taking her concerns to a higher authority. To get by, she has cloaked herself in her family and church. "Her faith," says William Vanderbloemen, her pastor at Houston's First Presbyterian, "was sharpened." But so, markedly, was her despair. "There were some very bleak moments throughout when you're just so disappointed with human nature, with the power of greed and the power of denial, trying to rationalize that you've done nothing wrong," she says.

Things were different back in T
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whistleblowers

Postby Guest » Sun Oct 02, 2005 9:29 pm

from an oprah show last week

FAA air traffic controller Anne Whiteman spoke out to management about unsafe air traffic control practices that had placed lives in danger

she was ostracized, punished, intimidated and pushed aside at work for her "non team" play or her choice to question the way things are done.

People (including management) at work tried as hard as possible to make her life at work as difficult as possible. They made every effort to get rid of her, including allowing circumstances that placed the safety of the air travelling public at risk. This was done to flights under her supervision in additional efforts to be rid of her. Her job became a risky place to be by the actions of her co-workers.

Her life became a living hell.

She appears to be one of the professional types who was simply too professional to look the other way when co-workers failed to properly do the job. Speaking out was the only way she could see to correct the situation and her co-workers have retaliated against her.

This sounds all too familiar to anyone who researches the topic of whistleblowing and management retaliation against those professionals who refuse to accept less that professional behavior.

We should be thanking people like her for making the public aware of bad practices. And punishing those bulllies, criminals or fraud artists who claim professional status without delivering same.
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