Census Bureau warns employees against speaking
with the media
21, 2007 – As a result of a news tip provided to us through our Whistleblower web page last month, the Muckraker Report has been investigating a story
involving potential theft, corruption, cover-up, and kickback schemes within the Department of Commerce’s U.S. Census
Bureau. Although our investigation is ongoing, it is apparent that there is more
to this story than the 1,137 lost, stolen or missing laptops from the U.S. Census Bureau as reported by the Department of Commerce on September 21, 2006.
September 22, 2006, the day after the Department of Commerce issued its press release, the story of the missing laptops splashed
across the United States. Headlines such as Census Bureau Loses Hundreds of
Laptops - The New York Times, 1,100 Laptops Missing From Commerce Dept. - The Washington Post, Commerce Dept:
More than 1,100 laptops missing since 2001 – USA Today, Commerce reports losing 1,137 laptops – The
Washington Times, Commerce Department Has Lost 1,137 Laptops Since 2001 – The Wall Street Journal, reached into
nearly every newsroom nationwide.
prompted the Department of Commerce to issue its September 21, 2006 press release? WTOP
News Investigative Reporter Mark Segraves submitted a Freedom of Information Act to the Department of Commerce and obtained documents that revealed
the missing, misappropriated or stolen laptops. The September 21st
press release hints of damage control with the intent to deceive.
Muckraker Report recently obtained a copy of an internal e-mail from sources inside the U.S. Census Bureau that substantiates
the fact that it was the Segraves FOIA request that compelled the government to come forward and admit that 1,137 laptops
were lost, stolen, or missing. What is even more troubling though is the fact
that the leadership within the Department of Commerce sought to control the magnitude and impact of the story by prohibiting
department employees from speaking to the media. This e-mail suggests an exaggerated
effort to conceal information from the public.
17, 2006, Assistant to the Associate Director for Information Technology and Chief Information Officer, Thomas J. Meerholz,
sent an e-mail to all staff within the Bureau. The subject line read, FOIA
Request regarding Census laptops.
body of the e-mail reads exactly:
received a FOIA request regarding the number of missing of stolen Census laptops between 2001 and 2006 and the data residing
on those laptops.
anyone from the media contacts you regarding ANY aspect of the request or the general subject you are to refer them to the
Public Information Office (PIO) at x33030 and are not to answer their questions of have discussions with them.
A scanned copy of the e-mail
is found here.
inside the U.S. Census Bureau told the Muckraker Report that they took this e-mail as a mild threat. Clearly, the leadership in the Bureau and the Department of Commerce desired to get in front of the story
and provide enough information to satisfy the corporate media while hiding from the public, the rest of the story.
to our sources inside the U.S. Census Bureau, there is much more to investigate and report.
Our sources indicate the
following issues that should be aggressively investigated.
· Truckloads of missing equipment to include;
· Documents being altered or destroyed to conceal
the volume of missing or stolen assets
missing or stolen equipment as surplus with no record
· Hundreds of personal
computers designated for the metropolitan area public school system – missing
· The Lockheed Martin
contract that has increased the unreported, yet real cost of the decennial U.S. Census tenfold and climbing
o Alleged kickbacks associated with contract
o Purposeful alteration of proven Census methodology to justify the need to bring in a outside contractor
o Creation of unnecessary data gathering methodology by Lockheed Martin in which the Bureau did not have the expertise
in-house to justify initial contract of a $500 million. Final costs for 2010
U.S. Census are expected to easily surpass $1 billion.
side note to this story is that our sources within the U.S. Census Bureau attempted to illuminate the point that this
particular Lockheed Martin contract was not in the best interest of the American people.
They told the Muckraker Report that a number of years ago they contacted the Washington Times regarding the Lockheed
Martin contract and its suspicious manifestation. They point out that the U.S. Census Bureau had been conducted decennial
censuses with great success for hundreds of years without a government / private sector merger. Why start now?
Times reporter told our sources that his paper could never do such a story because “It goes straight to the White House
and the newspaper would lose its White House contacts if they ever ran such a story.”