Whistleblower Turns To YouTube

In a crudely produced 10-minute video, engineer and former Lockheed Martin project manager Michael DeKort charges there were serious flaws in some work done by Lockheed to upgrade security on Coast Guard vessels.

He calls it a waste of tax dollars that jeopardizes the safety of Americans.

As CBS News correspondent Sharyl Attkisson reported on The Early Show Wednesday, it isn't all that unusual for whistleblowers to find it tough to get noticed.

What is unusual, she says, is how DeKort is getting his message out.

He went through his company's chain of command. He called the Navy. He even went to Congress. But he says things seemed stalled until he videotaped his allegations and posted them on the popular Web site, YouTube.

"What I am going to tell you is going to seem preposterous," DeKort begins on the video.

Among other things, he alleges there are critical blind spots in some Coast Guard ships' security cameras, and gaps that could enable spies to listen in on classified communications with agencies such as the FBI.

"It may be very hard for you to believe our government and the largest defense contractor in the world is capable of such alarming incompetence," DeKort says on his video.

YouTube isn't exactly known for its serious side, Attkisson says. Hundreds of thousands of people visit daily to post or watch offbeat home movies and entertaining videos.

DeKort may be the first to use YouTube as a whistleblowing tool in a government contracting case, she adds.

He explained, "I thought, well, 'Maybe if I create a video, put it on YouTube, the fact that somebody is willing to do that and they're willing to challenge Lockheed Martin and the Coast Guard in doing so, maybe that will draw some attention.' "

DeKort says he didn't really expect much to come of it. But, someone from the Navy Times saw his video, wrote about it, and now his story has gotten more public attention in just a few weeks than in all the months he spent rattling the cage through traditional means.

As for the allegations, the Homeland Security inspector general is investigating. The Coast Guard says it's already "taken the appropriate level of action with respect to each of (DeKort's) stated issues." And Lockheed Martin says the claims are without merit and don't pose safety or security issues.

Whether or not DeKort's unconventional video ends up getting results, Attkisson concludes, his method of delivery is definitely getting attention.