Washington Gadfly

EXCLUSIVE: ICE Whistleblower Lawsuit Scheduled For Trial

Evan Gahr Investigative Journalist
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The federal complaint filed by ICE whistleblower Taylor Johnson, whose ouster is under investigation by the Senate Homeland Security Committee, is slated for trial June 27.

It could prove the most painful moments for Senate Minority Leader [crscore]Harry Reid[/crscore] since he got mauled by his own exercise equipment.

Johnson, an award-winning agent, ran afoul of Reid in 2013 by holding up a special green card for his son’s clients. His office complained to her Special Agent-In-Charge because she voiced national security concerns about the EB-5 program, which gives wealthy foreigners visas if they invest at least $500,000 in companies here.

Johnson was quickly stripped of her gun and badge without explanation. She was fired this June, supposedly for lack of candor during a 2011 drug operation that ICE never complained about until she irked Reid.

The first rationale that DHS offered for axing Johnson — improper communications with a confidential informant — quickly imploded. It turned out that the hundreds of calls to the informant that DHS cited were actually to her mother. Johnson’s complaint before the Merit System Protection Board is confidential.

But her lawyer, Morris Fischer, previously told the Washington Gadfly that DHS must prove they did not fire her for testifying at a congressional whistleblower hearing last June. The agency must also prove Johnson would have dismissed her even if she did not object to the visa program.

Fischer has said he could very well depose Harry Reid for the Los Angeles proceedings. “His finger prints are all over this.”

The Department of Homeland Security Inspector General concluded in a March 2015 report based on interviews with Johnson and other whistleblowers that some EB-5 visas were improperly approved under pressure from Reid and other Democratic bigwigs.

Fischer, who has won hefty jury verdicts and settlement for other client lawsuits against DHS, says he wants to determine who authorized ICE press secretary Gillian Christensen to trash talk Johnson off the record with confidential information.

Christensen’s conversation with this reporter, which likely violated the federal Privacy Act, is being probed by the Senate Homeland Security Committee and the Department of Homeland Security Committee Office of Inspector General. Her case is also being probed by the federal Office of Special Counsel for whistleblowers.

“Without revealing most of our game plan for this idiot’s deposition, suffice it to say that her testimony is definitely relevant with respect to the way she learned about confidential information regarding my client, persons at ICE or DHS who directed her to reveal that information and her attempts to smear a well-respected ICE agent and national whistleblower,” Fischer explained.

“There shouldn’t be surprises regarding Taylor’s retaliation,” he added. “This case will not be won through a lot of dazzling and unexpected litigation maneuvering.”

But “this is blatant retaliation” and the legal proceedings could produce “one gazillion surprises with respect to how corrupt the whole thing was.”

After all, as Johnson remarked when asked if she was surprised about being dismissed following nationwide coverage of her testimony, “My entire chain of command was appointed by Obama. They can do anything they want.”

The single mother of four has started a GoFundMe.com page for legal costs.

Evan Gahr