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In-Depth Interview: Journalist/Author Tom Mueller Profiles a Wide Range of Whistleblowers

Tom Mueller takes a deep dive on whistleblowers in his new book, Crisis of Conscience: Whistleblowing in an Age of Fraud.

At the start, Mueller comments on the CIA whistleblower whose report triggered the Ukraine investigation that led to Trump’s impeachment in December.

Mueller interest in whistleblowers started with his research of the False Claims Act, and how public interest lawyer John Phillips took on Johnson & Johnson for its marketing–to children–of an anti-depressant drug called Risperdal, which only had FDA approval for use by adults.  Using some of the same tactics as opioid makers like Perdue, and Johnson & Johnson, academic experts were paid to tout the drug, and whistleblowers in Pennsylvania and Texas fought to expose unethical practices.

The same John Phillips re-appears in the final chapter, appointed by Obama as ambassador to Italy.  Mueller reports his testy conversation with Phillips about Ed Snowden, whom the former crusading lawyer denounced for his NSA leaks. Mueller reports on the NSA 5, led by Bill Binney, who went through “proper channels” to reveal fraud and abuse in the internal struggle over Thinthread vs. Trailblazer surveillance systems.  Mueller adds an important layer about John Crane, a deputy inspector general who got caught in the middle, and was treated to retaliation like the whistleblowers.

We also talk about the media’s complicity in the ill treatment of whistleblowers, and replay Binney’s response to Rachel Maddow’s smears of him and his theory about the hacking of the DNC in 2016.