Federal Biologist Faces Firing For Emailing Environmentalists

This is a story from PEER (Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility). It looks like it may be another case of Bush Administration’s illegal politicization of the executive branch bureaucracy. Numerous laws have been passed over the years to make the non-appointed public employee immune from partisan poltical pressure and retaliation.

Federal Biologist Faces Firing For Emailing Environmentalists.

Fortunately the new House majority back in Washington is gearing up numerous investigations of possible wrongdoings in the past six years. Justice may be on its way.






  1. Jon Way Avatar

    How sad. Do we live in a democratic society anymore, where people like scientists can voice their view?

  2. Robert Hoskins Avatar
    Robert Hoskins

    No, we’re living in an increasingly fascist society. Why else do you think that George II keeps talking so loudly about freedom but doing everything possible to crush it?

  3. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    It’s hard to give an exact name to the regime change that U.S.has suffered lately, but it’s clear to me that the subordination of science to powerful interests, the ideological views of one party, and to 17th century religious beliefs is going to quickly reduce the United States to poverty.

    Of course, the Republican Party may be on its to long term minority status. Reversal of the Republican regime might be 2 years away. Right now they are forming a circular firing squad in some states and among party factions.

    As always, my disclaimer that control by the Democrats will hardly be heaven. The comparison is relative.

  4. kt Avatar

    What happened to Mr. Wahl at BuRec (and it is worth reading his Declaration at the PEER link) is pefectly in keeping with the neo-con plan to break the federal government.

    Six years of Bush has driven nearly every responsible or knowledgeable or caring BLM, Forest Service or Fish and Wildlife Service employee in this neck of the woods into retirement or “hiding” doing nothing but paper shuffling within the agency. The people in charge now are cronies of cattlemen or other industry, often arrogant, and stupid to boot. Part of the plan is incompetence at every level, so the agency is rendered ineffective.

    Perfect example: Idaho BLM. Bushco implanted K. Lynn Bennett, an elderly retired ex-good-ol-boy BLM’er and RANCHER as State Director who reigned for several years. He recently went back out to pasture – but the legacy is clear – incomprehensible gibberish in “rangeland health” documents where any problem stems from “historic” grazing and not the gazillion cows out there right now pooping in our springs and streams. I’m hopeful that , maybe, in the end – this is going to come back to bite the Cattlemen who through Craig and Crapo implanted Bennett as head of BLM, Secrist as head of the Owyhee-Bruneau. We’ve managed in the darkest days of the past few years to shoot down some of the worst BLM schemes with lawsuits – like challenging the Bush Grazing Regulation changes that would have cut out public involvement and given the cowboys everything they want.

    And NOW, in places like the Owyhee, the documents the BLM Management is issuing are so poorly done and full of obvious and blatant lies that they are sitting ducks for legal challenges.

    Bennett placed extra special emphasis on getting rid of knowledgeable staff by spending millions of tax dollars to move the Owyhee BLM office to Marsing so it could be more under the boot heels of the Owyhee Cattlemen (Crapo’s buddies in the Owyhee Initiative). This move alone got rid of several knowledgable staff. At the same time that Bennett was moving to dumb down the agency, the Owyhee Initiative was moving forward to try to legislatively establish Local Cattlemen Control of public land and the functions of BLM, and make the BLM irrelevant.

    End result (right now): Even more severe damage to streams, sage grouse habitat, etc.as public lands ranchers fail to meet standards, engage in willful trespass, etc.

  5. mike Avatar

    I agree with kt and, without going into details that will only serve to endanger me, I’m in a perfect position to know. At their seldom publicized core and surrounded by their carefully cultivated bodyshield of underling stooges who pitifully believe that they are actually also in the club, the neocons are people who have the resources to buy their own governmental services and gated environments, don’t want to pay their share of the governmental services or environment needed by the “little people,” and sure don’t want to be pestered by any of the rules, regulations, restrictions, or taxes that they believe should only apply to the “little people,” hence the mindset of our current president who once opened a GOP fundraiser by greeting the crowd as “his favorite kinds of people… the haves and the have mores.” To the neocons, our meddling system of democratic government is just a nuisance; they want the “freedom” to use their resources, mostly inherited resources that they don’t want impacted by any “death taxes,” to do as they please and not be bothered with the “little people” and their NEPA, EPA, OSHA, ESA, LWCF, zoning and other community regulations getting in the way. Thus, the ultimate objective of the neocons is to find ways to bankrupt our system of government, by cutting taxes while waging profligate incompetent wars that only benefit neocon contractors and other rightwing interests; to undercut confidence in our government, by hiring and promoting incompetent civil servants and squashing all others; and to replace our democratic government with a new feudalism that ranks “stakeholders” on the basis of their wealth and “property rights” and tries to “privatize” as much of the public realm as possible and put it on a “pay as you go” basis because they want to eventually put “corporate governance” on the same or higher level as our public governmental entities. This is the reason that every neocon stooge is always spouting trashtalk about “freedom,” while undercutting the freedom of scientists to speak about any problems that the neocons don’t want addressed; “death taxes,” which are only a problem for our new American oligarchs; “stakeholders,” which only applies to those with the economic/political power to pick the civil servants who will implement the processes; “property rights,” because they know that they will eventually inherit it all; “privatization,” as an essential part of the plan; “pay as you go,” as the perfect neocon crowd control mechanism because they will eventually be the only ones who can afford to be there; and “corporate governance,” because that is where they want it to end up.

  6. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    I think you are correct about these goals, MIke.

    Our good fortune, is that they installed an incompetent as President, and he is accidentally doing a better job destroying the American military than the public sphere. The neocons can’t be happy about that, nor anyone else.

    Bush’s failure in the polls makes it likely now that if there is another terrorist attack, the neocons won’t gain more power, but they will be blamed as happened with Hurricane Katrina.

  7. Wolfy Avatar

    Mike, good comments. I hope that somehow the future will not be as you have describe. I have seen the blunt end of the stick being weilded by the current adminstration. The “little people” in the government agencies are reminded constantly to promote the party line and not to rock the boat. I see this very often. Going against the establishment can be a CEE (career ending event) for a “civil servant”. That title sounds so ironic, now.
    Mr. Wahl probably thought he was “serving the greater good” and “having transparent” processes” by revealing the lies of his superiors. Its cases like this that put the fear into government employees. They have their careers, retirement, and reputation on the line. Most gov’t. employees I know do not do the jobs they do for the money. They work for the gov’t. because they care about their mission. The real kicker is that the admins fired Mr. Wahl’s wife as well. This sounds more like administrative genocide than getting rid of a whistleblower. I too have friends that belong to environmental groups. I constantly ask myself when I talk to them “Will this get me fired?”
    Mr. Wahl’s mistake was using his gov’t. computer. They have spy programs on every gov’t computer now that record all the information going in and out of the computers. Its very similar to 1984 with Big Brother watching over you. My advise: never leave a paper (or digital) trail.

  8. Alan Gregory Avatar

    A good friend of mine is a retired Fish and Wildlife biologist. He encountered a CEE-like event some years ago when a certain pork-barreling congressman went after him over a highway project. I too used a government computer during my Air Force days and urge the same caution that Wolfy notes above.

  9. esc Avatar


    You have to understand that the current govt is executing the terrorist attacks, including 911. Start research reputable websites such as st911.org where professors are being intimidated. The amount of corruption is truly amazing.


Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University. He was a Western Watersheds Project Board Member off and on for many years, and was also its President for several years. For a long time he produced Ralph Maughan’s Wolf Report. He was a founder of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He and Jackie Johnson Maughan wrote three editions of “Hiking Idaho.” He also wrote “Beyond the Tetons” and “Backpacking Wyoming’s Teton and Washakie Wilderness.” He created and is the administrator of The Wildlife News.

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