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Excerpted From Time Magazine

We offer this page because it touches dramatically on the need for a World Reformation in times of terror. A "Good Old Boy" culture has America in its grip--loyalty comes ahead of righteousness, right up to the White House or rather down from the White House. In several industrial cases, Plutocrats overstepped themselves, their own organizations, and the laws of the land. In the Administration, loyalty to the boss has become more important than what is right for America.

See Guardian Patriots.

Time Magazine's Persons of the year were three "Whistleblowers." It is not likely to be an accident that all are women. We concur with Time; each of these people showed the highest courage and sense of what is right for America. They are the epitome of what it is that made America great. These women need to be lauded, not condemned.

That each of these women has suffered because of their disclosures only confirms the "good old boy" culture and all the defensiveness that gives rise to it. Their experiences were remarkably similar. In business or government, it is human nature showing throughindividuals look out for their own likelihood before those of their neighbors. It is also the kind of behavior that civilization is supposed to protect us from.

These women, however, were exceptional in that regard. In no case did they accomplish a fix anywhere near as complete as what is needed. That anything at all was done, and each did have an effect, is something of a miracle and a basis for optimism. Failure to reach an ideal is no reason not to try. Progressing part way beats sitting still any day of the week.

For these reasons Cynthia Cooper, Colleen Rowley, and Sherron Watkins are named Guardians on our site. Each exhibited what used to called the American Spirit by giving it all they had. And they still are.

These experiences are remarkably told by Time Magazine, 6 January, 2003.

From Time:

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

Cynthia Cooper [Worldcom] -- Amanda Ripley

"...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 billionthe 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, 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."

Colleen Rowley [FBI] -- Amanda Ripley and Maggie Sieger

"...Last May [2002], 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 powerthat's how you catch the bad guys.

"So the memothe 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 FBIwas 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 failuresspecifically, 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."

In preparation for that visit, Rowley wrote a memo to the director of the FBI. It was leaked.

"...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 runningin 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.'"

Sharron Watkins [Enron] -- Jodie Morse and Amanda Bower

"On Feb. 13 [2002], 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 ..."

"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."

"By spring 2001, the technology bubble was bursting, and Enron was slipping along with it. In late June, Watkins went to work directly for Fastow, who charged her with finding some assets to sell off. But everywhere she looked she found the same thing: fuzzy off-the-books arrangements that seemed to be backed by nothing more than now deflated Enron stock. No one she asked couldor cared toexplain what was really going on. Knowing that others had got into trouble after challenging Skilling, who by then was CEO of the entire company, Watkins began scouting for a new job and went on a round of interviews at Reliant Energy. Her plan was to sign a new job contract and confront Skilling on her last day at Enron.

"But on Aug. 14, Skilling abruptly quit, and Lay invited employees to put any concerns in a comment box. The next morning Watkins sat at her computer and tapped out her first anonymous one-page memo in a single two-hour flourish. "I am incredibly nervous that we will implode in a wave of accounting scandals," she wrote. But the next day, when Lay held a company-wide meeting and didn't allude to her concerns, she arranged a face-to-face appointment for Aug. 22. In the intervening days, she shared her worries with a friend at Andersen and drafted a longer, seven-page memo to hand to Lay. It was even more cataclysmic than the first. She had also annotated a document on one of the suspect partnerships, writing in bright blue letters in the margin: "There it is! This is the smoking gun. You cannot do this!"

"Meanwhile, Watkins was getting jumpier. She was waking up at 2 a.m. rehearsing what she would say to Lay. Though she received the Lay family Christmas card each year, the two had barely ever spoken. At one point, she faxed her mother a copy of the memo. Harrington winced at "two sarcastic parts" that sounded somewhat self-serving. The offending passages"My 8 years of Enron work history will be worth nothing on my resume"; "For those of us who didn't get rich these last few years, can we afford to stay?"were promptly excised from the final version.

"For all the dial-up, the meeting proved relatively uneventful. Lay seemed composed but genuinely concerned and said he would have attorneys look into the questionable deals. Though Watkins counseled against it, Lay suggestedand eventually selectedEnron's law firm, Vinson & Elkins, to conduct the inquiry. Nevertheless, Watkins left feeling buoyed. "I felt, 'Oh, good, now he knows,'" she says. "There was a feeling that I had done the hardest thing in my life, but I had carried the torch and dropped it off." For the first time that week, she slept through the night. In late September, even after netting $1.5 million by exercising personal stock options, Lay told Enron employees that "our financial liquidity has never been stronger." By mid-October, the company announced a $618 million third-quarter loss and a $1.2 billion write-off, tied to the murky partnerships that had worried Watkins. On Dec. 2, Enron filed for Chapter 11."

Enron executives were rewarded handsomely for their Plutocratic deviance. Enron employees lost their 401K plans.


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