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We’re living in a 70s paranoid thriller

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Not saying there was foul play here, of course, but it’s still wild:

A former Boeing employee who raised quality-control and safety concerns over the company’s aircraft production was found dead this week, according to authorities in South Carolina.

John Barnett, 62, was a quality manager who retired in 2017 after several decades with the company. He died March 9 of what appeared to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound, the Charleston County coroner’s office said in a statement. The Charleston City Police Department is investigating, it added.

“We are saddened by Mr. Barnett’s passing, and our thoughts are with his family and friends,” Boeing said in a statement.

The Federal Aviation Administration and lawyers for Barnett did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Barnett’s whistleblower complaint has been pending for more than seven years, according to a 2022 order denying Boeing’s motion to dismiss the case.

Barnett originally filed a complaint with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration in January 2017 alleging that Boeing retaliated against him. After nearly four years, the agency concluded that there was no retaliation, a decision that Barnett appealed about three years ago. His case has been pending since then, as the two sides have gone through discovery and prehearing motions.

Seven years, one whistleblower expert said, is a long time for an administrative proceeding on a whistleblower case when a hearing on the merits of the claim had not even been scheduled.

Where corporate malfeasance meets the American style of adversarial legalism at its most Bleak House the results are rarely good.

If you’d prefer a more contemporary paranoid thriller, this also fits:

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