Some of you know that Mikki and I have been following this closely.
OSC Acts to Stop Questionable DEA Move
Transfer of Decorated Agent
May Be Retaliation for Whistleblowing
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - 8/8/06
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, the U.S. Office of Special Counsel acted to stop a forced transfer that would have sent a decorated DEA agent across the country under questionable circumstances. The reassignment of Drug Enforcement Agency Senior Special Agent Jim Waddell would have taken him from his current position in McAlester, Oklahoma to the state of New York.
OSC requested this stay with the Merit Systems Protection Board after determining that its ongoing investigation provided reasonable grounds to conclude that Waddell’s whistleblowing was a factor in the DEA’s decision to reassign him. The Board is expected to grant OSC’s stay request.
Waddell is a 15-year decorated veteran of the DEA. For the past nine years, he has served with distinction in the McAlester office. Due to his long service and expertise, Mr. Waddell also serves in the roles of Field Training Agent, Firearms Instructor, Survival Instructor, Defensive Tactics Instructor, and as the Oklahoma Coordinator for the Domestic Cannabis Eradication & Suppression Program.
Waddell blew the whistle on illegal activity and possible civil rights violations at DEA field offices in Oklahoma in late 2005. In March of 2006, Waddell wrote an anonymous letter to an official at DEA headquarters. The DEA then conducted an investigation to determine the identity of the whistleblower and determined that it was Waddell. DEA officials then chose to reassign him out of the Oklahoma office.
OSC requested a stay to complete the investigation and conduct a legal review of the information obtained to determine if the disciplinary action was taken against Waddell because of his protected whistleblowing.
Special Counsel Scott Bloch said, “Mr. Waddell’s commitment to the rule of law and proper interrogation procedures should be applauded, not reprised against. OSC believes this whistleblower’s rights must have vindication for all to see.”