Desperate Whistleblower Turns to YouTube


"What I am going to tell you is going to seem preposterous and unbelievable."

Those are a few of the first words of a video posted on YouTube by former Lockheed Martin engineer Michael De Kort, claiming that the defense contractor had built and the Coast Guard had accepted a number of boats that fall far short of government standards and leave our national security in question.

De Kort had tried going through the chain of command at Lockheed, and had contacted the government, the Coast Guard and various members of Congress, but no one seemed willing or able to help.

"YouTube was my last best shot -- I never wanted to do this publicly," he explained. "I had gone there to look at entertaining videos and saw that hundreds of thousands of people were visiting the site, and I thought that if there was something that was novel ... maybe just the fact that I was doing it would be the story."

Entertaining videos are what YouTube is known for -- today the most-viewed video on the site is a clip from the 2006 Emmy awards, with more than 240,000 views.

And although De Kort's video has been viewed only a little more than 8,000 times since he posted it on Aug. 3, his story has appeared in print, on radio and TV -- further evidence that the Internet has given the average person a way to be heard.

'Criminal Negligence'

In De Kort's video, he makes scandalous accusations about Lockheed Martin's failure to properly refit boats as part of the government's Deepwater program, which works to update and lengthen the lives of ships already in the Coast Guard's fleet.

In the video, he claims that the ships' camera surveillance system, whose aim is to allow the ships to be monitored from shore and to prevent anyone from getting on one of the ships without being seen, had vast blind spots that the contractor was aware of.

He also claims that while the ships were to be fitted with technology that could withstand the elements, a little investigation showed that the equipment the contractor had ordered would not meet Coast Guard standards. De Kort said he was told to stop investigating the technology.

Finally, he argues that the communications system, which is supposed to be secured using shielded cable so no one can listen in or interfere with it, instead used unshielded cable. In some cases, he said, the contractor even replaced shielded cable already on the ships with unshielded cable.

Furthermore, De Kort told that the vendor for the radios Lockheed Martin planned to use had told him they didn't work outside.

"These are Coast Guard guys who go out in bad weather all the time," he said. "I told them they can't have a boat where the primary means of communication doesn't work in the rain."

De Kort said all these issues were brought to the attention of his bosses at Lockheed Martin, but that his pleas fell on deaf ears.

"The situation needs to be dealt with," he said. "These things were not mistakes. They were done on purpose -- not maliciously but for several reasons. We were over budget and the mistakes we were making were so glaring, I don't think they wanted anyone to know."

A Coast Guard representative said it was cooperating with a Department of Homeland Security investigation.

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