Government Whistleblowers: Speakers' Bios

Document Date: January 26, 2005

Ann Beeson, ACLU Associate Legal Director
Watch an excerpt of Ann Beeson’s speech at the press conference >>

Ann Beeson is the Associate Legal Director of the American Civil Liberties Union, where she is currently leading efforts to stop the erosion of civil liberties in the name of national security. She has filed three legal challenges to surveillance provisions in the USA Patriot Act that greatly expand the FBI’s power to demand personal records and conduct wiretaps. In one case, a New York judge recently struck down the national security letter provision of the Patriot Act in a landmark ruling. Ms. Beeson also represents national security whistleblowers who have suffered retaliation for exposing security breaches and government misconduct. As counsel to several national organizations, Ms. Beeson filed a Freedom of Information Act demand for records about FBI spying on political and religious groups and is coordinating a nationwide advocacy project to end FBI spying. In the book The War On Our Freedoms, she wrote the essay, “On the Home Front: A Lawyer’s Struggle to Defend Rights After 9/11.”

As co-chair of the ACLU International Human Rights Task Force, Ms. Beeson is also spearheading efforts to expand the ACLU’s use of international human rights law and strategies in the areas of national security, immigrants’ rights, women’s rights and criminal justice. For example, she has contributed to two reports that describe the devastating effect of unlawful detention and deportation on immigrants and their families: “America’s Disappeared: Seeking International Justice for Immigrants Detained After September 11,” and “Worlds Apart: How Deporting Immigrants After September 11 Tore Families Apart and Shattered Communities.” Ms. Beeson also convened a landmark national conference for over 250 social justice advocates in October 2003 entitled “Human Rights at Home: International Law in U.S. Courts,” at the Carter Presidential Center.

Return to main Whistleblower page.

Ms. Beeson has litigated in numerous federal and state courts around the country. She has argued twice before the United States Supreme Court in Ashcroft v. ACLU, a challenge to the federal Child Online Protection Act, which would have criminalized protected speech among adults on the Internet. She was named a “Global Leader for Tomorrow” by the World Economic Forum, and one of America’s Top 50 Women Litigators by The National Law Journal.

Bill Doyle, Father of 9/11 Victim
Bill Doyle is the father of Joseph Doyle, a victim in the 9/11 World Trade Center attack. Doyle is a member of the Coalition of 9/11 Families, board member of the World Trade Center United Family Group, treasurer and board member of the 9/11 Families for a Secure America, and co-lead plaintiff in the 9/11 Families United to Bankrupt Terrorism. He also serves as either a board member or consultant to many other 9/11 organizations throughout the country. He is recognized as having the largest outreach to the 9/11 families including the physically injured through his own support group network.

Danielle Brian, Executive Director of the Project on Government Oversight
Danielle Brian has been the Executive Director of the Project On Government Oversight since 1993. She frequently testifies before Congress and appears on or is quoted in major national media such as NBC, CBS and Fox News; the Washington Post, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, and USA Today ; and National Public Radio. She has conducted numerous investigations leading to major reforms and cuts in wasteful spending in such areas as commercial airliner safety, oil industry fraud on public lands, children’s health care, government secrecy, and defense contractor waste and fraud.

Before becoming Executive Director, Ms. Brian worked with POGO from 1986-1990 as a Senior Research Associate and conducted investigations leading to the cancellation of the Army’s Sergeant York Division Air Defense Gun, one of the largest weapons ever. From 1990 to 1993, she worked first as a producer for television documentaries and then as a policy analyst at the Arms Control and Foreign Policy Congressional Caucus.

Ms. Brian currently serves on the board of Taxpayers for Common Sense and HALT: Americans for Legal Reform. Ms. Brian earned her Masters degree in International Relations from the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University in 1990. She received her Bachelors degree in Government from Smith College in 1985.

Mike German, FBI Whistleblower
Watch an excerpts of Michael German’s speech at the press conference >>

Mike German was a highly regarded FBI agent working on domestic terrorism cases for 16 years before resigning in frustration in Summer 2004.

In the early 1990s, he successfully infiltrated a white supremacist group that was plotting to blow up synagogues and a church attended by African Americans. After the Oklahoma City bombing, he again went undercover, joining a militia group that was conspiring to harm federal agents. Both cases led to prosecutions and more importantly, prevented terrorist acts.

His whistleblowing concerned a case that, according to NBC Dateline, “involved a potential nightmare scenario: meetings between a home-grown militia type terrorism organization, and an Islamic terrorist group during which they discussed possible cooperation.” German alleges that the FBI fumbled the case and then, after he blew the whistle, falsified records in order to cover its mistakes. German reported his concerns to the chain of command. Despite the fact that he was one of the few agents who successfully prevented terrorist acts before 9/11, the Bureau still retaliated against German.

Return to main Whistleblower page. In an April 2004 letter to the Senate, German said: “Opportunities to initiate proactive investigations that might prevent terrorist acts before they occur, which is purported to be the FBI’s number one priority, continue to be lost, yet no one is held accountable.” After Coleen Rowley blew the whistle, much was made of a new FBI disclosure policy to protect whistleblowers, but German’s case shows that the new system fails to do so.

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