Book Excerpt

Don’t Kill the Messenger! © Donald Ray Soeken


Putting His Life On The Line . . . For Freedom 

During the months that followed Whitehurst’s ethics showdown in San Francisco, life in the explosives lab became almost unbearable, as the besieged truth-teller was reviled endlessly by his office mates and by angry executives in the FBI chain of command.  Increasingly, Whitehurst found himself being treated with disdain and outright hostility by his colleagues.  Deeply frustrated and disillusioned by the retaliation, he nonetheless somehow managed to keep his cool.

         “The reprisals were really brutal at times,” he remembers today, while describing how his spouse Cheryl – a longtime FBI employee herself – was also harassed and intimidated constantly during the first few years after he went public with his observations during the Psinakis trial.  “It got so bad that Cheryl started waking up at 1:30 in the morning, night after night, and just puking her guts up.  It hurt me like hell to see what they were doing to both of us . . . but especially to her.  Honest to God, I don’t know how I managed to survive some of those days.”

         He hung on as best he could, however, while working hard to keep his job performance at the highest possible level.  Amazingly, his employee evaluations during this stressful period – performance reviews that were assembled yearly by FBI Case Supervisor James Corby – remained consistently “Outstanding.”

         “Jim Corby saved my life,” notes Whitehurst.  “In spite of the fact that the FBI brass was doing its best to shut me down, he had the courage to write honest evaluations of my on-the-job performance during the early 1990s.  That showed a lot of integrity and honesty on his part, and I owe him a debt that can never be repaid.  He acted in a way that was consistent with the highest ideals of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.”

         During February of 1993, as Whitehurst continued to hold on by the skin of his teeth, the Bureau finally came up with a strategy that seemed likely to dislodge the whistleblower from his shaky perch and send him into early retirement.  

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Don’t Kill the Messenger! © Donald Ray Soeken