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National security whistleblower posts tell-all video on YouTube

Thursday, August 31, 2006 by: NewsTarget
Tags: whistleblowers, YouTube, online video

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(NewsTarget) Former Lockheed Martin project manager and engineer Michael DeKort has stirred up a hornets' nest with his 10-minute video on YouTube.com. During the video, he charges his former company of shoddy workmanship on security upgrades for Coast Guard vessels.

"What I am going to tell you is going to seem preposterous," DeKort begins on his video, going on to say there are critical blind spots in the security cameras of some Coast Guard ships, that the systems for classified communications have gaps allowing spies to listen in, and that Lockheed's oversights were a waste of tax dollars that endangered Americans.

"It may be very hard for you to believe our government and the largest defense contractor in the world is capable of such alarming incompetence," DeKort said.

DeKort said that he went through the chain of command at Lockheed to discuss the flaws, then called the Navy, and even brought it to the attention of congress, but he said that nothing seemed to happen until he publicly posted his accusations on YouTube.

Whistleblowers often find it hard to get their message heard, according to a report by CBS News, noting that the site did not have a reputation for serious content. The popular web site is better known for entertaining home movies and videos.

DeKort said he didn't think much would come of his video, but added, "I thought, well, 'Maybe if I create a video, put it on YouTube, the fact that somebody is willing to do that and they're willing to challenge Lockheed Martin and the Coast Guard in doing so, maybe that will draw some attention.'"

That attention came when someone from the Navy Times saw the video and wrote about it in the military newspaper, garnering more attention for DeKort's whistleblowing in a few weeks than all the time he had spent trying to raise awareness through regular channels.

Lockheed Martin stated that DeKort's claims are unfounded, but the Homeland Security inspector general has said he is investigating the claims. The Coast Guard said it had already "taken the appropriate level of action with respect to each of (DeKort's) stated issues."

"Video sites like YouTube and Google Video now give whistleblowers an opportunity to go public with important information without being censored, threatened or killed," said Mike Adams, a natural health reporter who had talked with whistleblowers in the health industry. "This demonstrates the power of the Internet in exposing fraud, corruption and scandals that governments and corporations would rather keep hidden," he said. "More whistleblowers should consider using this distribution model."


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