Friday, July 5, 2013

Snowden: Blowing The Whistle of Crucifixion

In response:

Snowden:  Blowing The Whistle of Crucifixion

When I was a young US Border Patrol Agent I "turned myself in" to what was then the "Office of Professional Responsibility" (OPR) for lying about the amount of overtime that I had worked and was paid for. 

"Penciling in" over-time was a common practice in my border patrol station and most likely all stations nation wide.  It was a practice that young agents were subtly coerced into doing because that "was the way it was done".  Who in their "right mind" is going to question the same system that puts food on their table?

I knew it was wrong.  We were federal officers sworn to uphold the law.  The overtime maximum pay then is the same that it is now: 25% of an agent's base pay for an average of 2 hours of overtime worked per work day.

Substantial?  Absolutely.  An agent's annual take home pay with overtime jumps (for example) from $50,000 to $62,000 a year.

Young, idealistic, and naïve, I thought my actions would change the system.  I had previously worked in the restaurant business where we used an actual time clock to track our hours worked.  It all seemed to me like a pretty simple to fix and the honorable thing to do.

It turned out that the INS upper management who handled my case were products of the same convoluted system.  I think that they were afraid to fire or prosecute me because of the possibility of the  media exposure to this decades-old can of worms.  They eventually fined me about $6,000 and gave me 30 days "on the beach" with no pay as my punishment.

Fellow agents were naturally pretty angry and worried - yet we all survived.  Once they figured out I was not  going to "rat them out" and that upper management was going to sweep it under the rug, all pretty much returned to normal (except I stopped lying about my overtime).

I have a small sense of how Snowden feels.  Sometimes doing what you know is right can lead to the defenders of hypocrisy attempting to crucifying you.

Thank you Mr. Snowden for having the courage to do what you know is right.  I pray for you and I pray there are more like you

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