The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) of the United States has planned to appoint a permanent representative in Dhaka, who would assist Bangladeshi authorities in joint investigative endeavours.
The plan for appointing a permanent representative was discussed with Bangladesh government officials, including Home Minister MK Alamgir and Inspector General of Police Hassan Mahmood Khandaker, during the visit of Michael S Welch, FBI Assistant Director for International Operations.
The San Francisco Police Department continues to resist meaningful oversight of its partnership with the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force. After last year pressuring Mayor Ed Lee into vetoing a strong oversight measure and signing a weaker version, the SFPD last week issued a required report that activists are slamming as “grossly inadequate.”
The Coalition for a Safe San Francisco – which includes civil libertarians and members of Muslim groups and other targets of racial and religious profiling by the FBI – last May stood with Police Chief Greg Suhr and sponsoring Sup. Jane Kim as Lee signed what they called this “historic civil rights legislation.”
But at the time, the activists told the Guardian that the value of the watered-down legislation depended entirely on how it was implemented, particularly in the annual reports on SFPD-FBI operations that it required. To ensure they were specific enough to be meaningful, the coalition says it communicated with Suhr several times asking him to include the number of joint investigations undertaken, how many times FBI requests were denied by the SFPD, and possible violations of department policy and how they were handled.
Instead, when Deputy Chief John Loftus gave the first of these annual reports to the Police Commission on Jan. 23, he spoke for only a couple minutes and said the SFPD was in “full compliance” with the ordinance and a Suhr general order banning surveillance of law-abiding citizens, offering no further details.
“We were very clear with the chief about what we expected to see,” Nadia Kayyali of the Bill of Rights Defense Committee, a coalition member, told the Guardian. She also said the report “was slipped on the agenda at the last minute,” despite assurances that the coalition would be notified and given a chance to respond. “It does show a lack of regard for the ordinance and the work that went into it.”
The activists say that Suhr broke his promise to them to include the more specific information that they sought, even after they recently followed up with messages reminding him about that assurance. "It was in the meeting where he said he would," Nasrina Bargzie with the Asian Law Caucus, another coalition member, told us. Bargzie said she was disappointed and dismayed by what the report included, "but we're going to keep pushing on it."
The controversy surrounding possible SFPD-FBI spying on people who haven't violated any laws – which is illegal under local and state law – broke almost two years ago when the American Civil Liberties Union obtained a secret 2007 SFPD-FBI memorandum of understanding placing SFPD officers under FBI command. It seemed to bypass local restrictions adopted after past SFPD scandals involving police spying on political groups.
Suhr tried to quell the controversy by issuing a general order banning officers from participating in surveillance that violates local rules or the state constitution's privacy protections, but activists pushed for a stronger assurance. The Board of Supervisors then voted 6-5 to codify those protections into city law, but Suhr objected and Lee vetoed the measure. A weaker version calling for annual reports and Police Commission reviews of future SFPD-FBI MOUs was approved unanimously by the board.
Now, it appears the SFPD has done little to soften the “trust us” stance that it has taken from the beginning, frustrating activists who had pushed for more, here and in other cities that do domestic surveillance with the FBI.
“These policies are explicit and unequivocal. San Francisco Police Department members and their Joint Terrorism Task Force supervisors are aware of and familiar with these policies,” Loftus told the commission, explaining that the SFPD did its required quarterly reviews in November and two weeks ago, finding nothing to report.
Police Commissioner Suzy Loftus asked if he could “explain a bit more” and Suhr – who was at the stand giving his report as Loftus gave his from the lectern – answered: “All San Francisco police officers are held to the San Francisco Police Department policies and procedures and the policies and laws of San Francisco, whichever is more strict. So depending on wherever they are, their fallback, if you will, is whatever the policies, procedures, laws, ordinances, and all of San Francisco.”
That answer seemed to satisfy the commission, which defended the SFPD's secretive approach rather than asking any more questions.
“Our officers will not participate in any investigation unless there is a predicate offense that is a violation of the California Penal Code or the United States code, so they will not be involved in random surveillance or random assessments or talking to people,” Commission President Thomas Mazzucco s
The Federal Bureau of Investigation has refused to provide any information about his whereabouts.
Just five months after joining the firm, former FBI Director Louis J. Freeh will succeed Nina M. Gussack as chairman of the 500-lawyer Pepper Hamilton.
Firm officials said the transition will take place later this month.
Gussack is completing her second three-year term. She will continue her full-time practice of law and serve as chairwoman of Pepper’s health effects litigation practice, a role she retained while serving as firm chair.
Freeh, 63, who was hired by Penn State University to conduct an investigation and file a report on the school’s response to the Jerry Sandusky scandal, merged his 12-lawyer, Wilmington, Del.-based firm, Freeh Sporkin & Sullivan, into Pepper Hamilton in late August.
Freeh, a native of Jersey City, N.J., graduated from Rutgers University in 1971, Rutgers School of Law-Newark in 1974 and obtained an LL.M. degree in criminal law from New York University School of Law in 1984. He began his career as an FBI agent (1975 to 1981) before becoming an assistant U.S. Attorney in Manhattan for 10 years. In 1991, President George H.W. Bush selected Freeh to serve as a U.S. District Court judge in the Southern District of New York. President Bill Clinton named Freeh as FBI director two years later. He served from September 1993 to June 2001.
ISLAMABAD, Feb 5: The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) is likely to seek assistance of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) of the US for training of its 50 old and 350 new investigators.
However, the process of appointment of over 350 investigators has been delayed because of what a NAB official called ‘litigation’ by some aggrieved candidates.
“It has already been decided by NAB chairman Admiral (retd) Fasih Bokhari that NAB investigators would be trained by some foreign agency, probably the FBI,” said NAB’s media wing deputy director Muhammad Irfan.
The main idea behind the decision, he said, was to keep NAB investigators conversant with new investigation skills and methods to investigate white-collar crimes in an effective way.
However, the decision by the NAB chairman appears to be difficult to implement because nobody is sure about the fate of NAB which, according to the government’s plan, could be replaced soon by a new institution called ‘National Accountability Commission’.
Another NAB official said that initially a batch of 50 investigation officers would be sent to the US for training.
Tainting Evidence Inside the Scandals at the FBI Crime Lab
Prologue: Examining the Examiners
The tall, graying legislator strode past the American flag onto the platform of Committee Room 226. With a quick adjustment of his black-and-white spotted tie, he seated himself at the center of a semicircular dais under the carved eagle on the hardwood-paneled wall. As the lights of six television cameras were switched on and photographers and cameramen began to jostle for position, Senator Charles Grassley of Iowa began to read slowly from three sheets of paper. It was his opening statement as chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Administrative Oversight into the Courts at hearings entitled, "A Review of the FBI Laboratory: Beyond the Inspector General's Report."
His purpose, he explained, was to help restore public confidence in federal law enforcement in general and the Federal Bureau of Investigation in particular. But the facts the senator went on to outline hardly seemed likely to do that. The hearings had had to be postponed twice, he stated, because of the FBI's refusal to cooperate by supplying requested documentation and by making FBI employees available to testify without the bureau's lawyers present. This, Senator Grassley said, was despite FBI director Louis Freeh's appeal for more oversight to another congressional subcommittee just four months earlier, when he had stated that the FBI could be the most dangerous agency in the country if "not scrutinized carefully."
Senator Grassley said the FBI was being hypocritical. "It is not the message that rings true. It's the actions. The Bureau's actions contradict the director's assertion that it is inviting oversight. And until the actions match the words, the ghosts of FBI past are still very much in the present." He went on to say that he expected the requested documentation to arrive the moment the hearings finished. In fact, within an hour, Senator Grassley had to apologize to the packed committee room for being "so cynical." The documents had arrived but were so heavily redacted as to be virtually useless, he said, holding up page after page of blacked-out FBI memos.
Senator Grassley's hearings took place in the wake of the release five months earlier of a damning 517-page report by the Inspector General's Office of the Department of Justice, the result of an eighteen-month investigation into the FBI laboratory. The investigators had included a panel of five internationally renowned forensic scientists, the first time in its sixty-five-year history that the FBI lab, considered by many -- not least, by itself -- the best in the world, had been subject to any form of external scientific scrutiny. The findings were alarming. FBI examiners had given scientifically flawed, inaccurate, and overstated testimony under oath in court; had altered the lab reports of examiners to give them a pro-prosecutorial slant, and had failed to document tests and examinations from which they drew incriminating conclusions, thus ensuring that their work could never be properly checked.
FBI lab management, meanwhile, had failed to check examinations and lab reports; had overseen a woefully inadequate record retention system; and had not only failed to investigate serious and credible allegations of incompetence but had covered them up. Management had also resisted any form of external scrutiny of the lab and had failed to establish and enforce its own validated scientific procedures and protocols -- the same ones that had been issued by managers themselves in an effort to combat the lab's known shortcomings in the first place.
But the IG's report, shocking as its conclusions were, was severely limited. It had looked at just three of seven units in the FBI lab's Scientific Analysis Section, a fraction of the lab's total of twenty-seven units.* The IG had been mandated to look into the specific allegations of just one man, Dr. Frederic Whitehurst, a Ph.D. chemist and FBI supervisory special agent who for eight years, until 1994, had worked solely on explosives-residue analysis -- trace detection, and identification of the residue left behind by explosions in the lab's Materials Analysis Unit.
For nearly ten years, until he was suspended and put on "administrative leave" just weeks before the IG's report was published in April 1997, Whitehurst had reported his own observations and what others had told him. Underpinning his complaints and their persistence were three things: the unscientific nature of so much of what was being passed off as science in the FBI lab; the culture of pro-prosecution bias rather than scientific truth that pervaded the lab, including the possibly illegal withholding of exculpatory information; and the complete inability of the FBI lab or its management to investigate itself and correct these problems.
Not only had the IG report confined itself to Whitehurst's admittedly limited sphere of knowledge within the FBI lab, it had no mandate to look into the evidentiary matters raised, to ask how particular cases might have been affected, or to look at the possibility of charges against FBI lab employees heavily criticized by the report. Given the plentiful evidence of pro prosecution bias, false testimony, and inadequate forensic work, it was only logical to assume that cases had been affected. How many people might be in jail unjustly? How many might be on Death Row by mistake? If innocent people were in jail for crimes they did not commit, how many guilty ones were walking the streets?
Senator Grassley and others in Congress quickly realized that the inspector general's report had to be the beginning, not the end. The issues Whitehurst had raised, the inspector general had investigated, and now the hearings were examining further, went to the heart of the credibility of justice and the courts in the United States. In the end, the IG's report had raised more questions than it had answered, not least perhaps the most important of all: How had this happened in the first place and how might it be avoided in the future?
The task of assessing what exculpatory evidence had been withheld, how many cases had been affected, and who in the FBI lab, if anyone, should face charges for what had been uncovered had now fallen to a task force in the Criminal Division of the Justice Department. The task force had to identify the prosecutors in each case, then release forensic documentation to them in order to allow them to decide if anything crucial had been withheld. The floodgates, in other words, were controlled by the nation's prosecutors, whose records had been built on legal victories they were now supposed to question. "Is it cynical to question whether these prosecutors are virtually the worst officials to objectively evaluate tainted evidence in their own cases? Clearly the fox is guarding the henhouse," noted Congressman Robert Wexler at the hearings.
The Justice Department refuses to provide updates as to the progress of the task force or even to name its members. However, the scale of the potential fallout is clear: just one of the numerous examiners heavily criticized by the IG's report handled more than six hundred cases in a decade of work at the FBI lab. Defense lawyers believe that thousands of cases will be affected. "The IG's report was a starting, not a finishing point," says one attorney. "I think we will be living with the ramifications of this for years, and not just in terms of the number of appeals you can expect. No defense lawyer in the country is going to take what the FBI lab says at face value any more. For years they were trusted on the basis of glossy advertising. Now the real product turns out to be a dud."
As Fred Whitehurst, a mustached Vietnam veteran sat, arms crossed, at the back of the room, Senator Grassley went on to recount that it was "the FBI's say-one-thing-do-another habit" that made him hesitant to simply accept assurances that everything was now in order at the FBI lab. "The subcommittee's investigation has revealed that systemic problems remain at the lab....The problems exist and flourish because of a cultural disease within the FBI," Grassley continued. "The question is, how will these changes ensure the integrity of the scientific process within the lab, which seeks to discover the truth, when a culture exists within the FBI to apparently cut corners and slant lab reports in favor of the prosecution, which seeks to convict. The IG report did not reconcile this dilemma. The FBI will not admit the problem exists. That is why we are here today."
During the hearings, senators would hear Congressman Robert Wexler call for legislation to ensure the FBI's "future integrity" and express outrage that Whitehurst, "the courageous whistle-blower, was out...while dozens of FBI agents who suppressed evidence, altered evidence, or testified falsely were still there." Clearly angered by what he had heard at the previous hearings four months earlier, Wexler would now accuse the IG of failing to draw logical conclusions from its own findings. How could obvious lying on the witness stand not be considered perjury? How could the systematic alteration of lab reports to make them more incriminating not be considered intentional?
The committee would hear four past and current FBI lab employees all express support for Whitehurst and the general charges he had made. They would hear Dr. Drew Campbell Richardson, an adviser to the FBI lab's deputy assistant director and a highly qualified scientist, say that the FBI lab ignored scientific evidence that did not suit its purposes. They would hear how Bill Tobin, the FBI's metallurgist, and Jim Corby, Whitehurst's former boss, had made repeated complaints about the same examiners Whitehurst had accused, only to have them ignored. And they would hear how one of those heavily criticized in the report had been promoted to head the FBI lab's Explosives Unit, despite being under investigation at the time, passing over Ed Kelso, a widely respected firearms instructor and bomb expert with twenty-five years experience.
This book seeks to explore how all this happened. It seeks to go beyond the inspector general's informative but restricted investigation of the FBI lab and tell the story that the report did not. It seeks to go beyond Fred Whitehurst's serious but limited allegations and show how what he charged applies to other parts of the FBI lab that were never investigated. We have done this with the help of hundreds of hours of interviews of current and former FBI lab staff and thousands of pages of documents, memos, lab reports, interviews, and audits, many of them only released under the Freedom of Information Act after months of stonewalling by the FBI and the IG's office. Some of these documents were the raw material of the IG's report, a number of them indicating problems with lab units and cases never investigated by the investigators.
There was, of course, no cooperation from the FBI in the writing of this book, although we were allowed to talk to Fred Whitehurst on the same terms as the rest of the media -- essentially, without reference to specific cases. In August 1997, the authors submitted a request to interview twenty past and present lab staff; in September we were told our request had been lost; in October it was still pending. In November the authors received a letter thanking us for our interest in the FBI but turning down our request. One of the themes of this book is the FBI's obsession with how it appears rather than what it actually is. This book and its subject did not fit the Bureau's agenda.
In the Introduction and Chapter 1 we look at the state of forensic science in this country and the FBI lab in particular. We show that while claiming to have investigated Whitehurst's allegations and found no problems, management was fully aware that there were massive problems with the FBI lab, its science, its supervision, and its safety. We show that management knew that if it ever agreed to real external scrutiny, if it was ever forced to publish the research data on which its forensic tests were based, if it ever had to make public the results of its internal proficiency tests, the image of the FBI lab as the best forensic laboratory in the world would rapidly dissolve. For this, as Senator Grassley remarked at the Senate hearings, is a culture that rewards "public image-building over discovering the truth."
The extent of the lab's dysfunction becomes clear in Chapters 2 through 8, where we look at major cases the FBI lab has handled. In particular, we detail the failings of four key FBI staff members -- Terry Rudolph, Tom Thurman, Roger Martz, and David Williams -- whose practices in several high-profile cases demonstrate the dangers of the lab's modus operandi. Some of these are cases the IG looked at -- the World Trade Center bombing, the Unabomber investigation, the VANPAC case, the 0.J. Simpson trial. Others are cases the IG did not investigate or examined only partially -- the lab's role in the Ruby Ridge investigation, the Jeffrey MacDonald case, the Oklahoma City bombing.
All of these are celebrated cases involving massive forensic and other investigative resources. The FBI lab's role in all of them raises a huge and still unanswered question: If this is what happens in these high-profile, well-scrutinized cases, what is happening in thousands of less publicized ones?
In talking to dozens of forensic scientists and FBI lab personnel, one thing has become clear to us. Few were surprised at the revelations of the IG report. Many people, inside and out, have known for many years that there were serious problems at the FBI lab. Very few, however, inside or out, have chosen to speak out. With a few honorable exceptions, forensic scientists outside the FBI lab have been reluctant to take on the Bureau, which now wields enormous power throughout the profession, through training programs, research grants, and consultancy work. Many of those working inside the FBI lab seem to have been intimidated by the climate of fear that is a constant theme of Fred Whitehurst's 237 written complaints. In failing to come forward, or in some cases even to support Fred Whitehurst when he did, they have only themselves to blame for the broad-brush condemnation with which all at the FBI lab, good or bad, have now been tainted. They are in essence living testimony to what Senator Grassley describes as the FBI's "cultural problem."
*Even a recent history of the FBI lab, as this book is, presents one accounting dilemma. The number of units and actions, and even their names, have changed continuously over the years. A case in point is the Hairs and Fibers Unit, later called the Microscopic Analysis Unit, now named the Trace Evidence Unit. Ultimately, the problems described here remain, regardless of the name.
Introduction: Forensic Science the Promise and the Product
Scientific crime-solving, or sci-crime -- it is an image upon which much of the FBI's awesome reputation is based. Humans are fallible, are inclined to lie, and are often motivated by anything but the truth. The history of crime fighting in the United States is littered with eyewitnesses who misidentified a suspect, defense lawyers who persuaded juries to find reasonable doubt, and suspects who had credible alibis. The physical evidence, on the other hand, is the silent, definitive witness. The traces of explosives on Timothy McVeigh's clothes in Oklahoma City, the bloody shoe-prints left by the killer of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman in Los Angeles, the saliva traces recovered from the sealed envelope of a letter claiming responsibility for the bombing of the World Trade Center...all these offer certainty. And certainty equals proof.
The means of making physical evidence proof is forensic science, the application of science to legal processes, the application of science to crime fighting. Together or apart, the words "forensic" and "scientific" are today commonly used as everyday adjectives that imply definitive, detailed, and comprehensively argued. It is an image burnished by popular television detective series such as Quincy and the coverage of big cases by Court TV, an image epitomized by the source of the country's most famous forensic science: the FBI's crime lab.
Each year half a million people hear and see the case for forensic science when they take the public tour of the FBI headquarters in downtown Washington, D.C. The J. Edgar Hoover Building is a monstrous, sandy-brown structure that somehow exudes the brooding presence of the man whose name it bears. With an overhanging, slanting top floor -- the seventh at the front, the eleventh at the back -- the FBI's HQ looks as though it might topple onto the traffic in Washington's Pennsylvania Avenue at any moment. Passing the black-and-white photographic portraits of FBI directors and the rogues gallery of the Bureau's "Ten Most Wanted" fugitives, visitors take a narrow escalator to the only working part of the FBI they will see on their visit -- the laboratory. 61 YEARS OF FORENSIC SCIENCE SERVICE, DNA: THE SILENT WITNESS proclaims the sign that greets them. It's the sort of public relations exercise of which J. Edgar Hoover, the FBI's former director -- "The Boss" as he was known to agents for nearly fifty years -- would wholeheartedly approve. To Hoover, image was everything, a legacy that thrives at the FBI to this day.
"The examiners you see are working on real cases," says the guide, as children press their faces to the panes of glass that are all that separate the watchers from the watched. "The FBI is the only place in the United States with a full forensic lab," she adds, spinning through DNA, Firearms-Toolmarks, Hairs and Fibers, Materials Analysis, Chemistry and Toxicology, and Questioned Documents -- some of the visible components of the lab's seven-unit Scientific Analysis Section. Here the victims of serious crime -- rape, murder, violent assault -- are reduced to a piece of bloodstained clothing, a hair from the carpet, an invisible explosives residue on a nondescript piece of debris. Only if photos, tapes, or handwritten notes come in as part of the evidence do such people have the faces, voices, or hands that make them real.
What the tourists see is actually just a fraction of what makes up the FBI's Laboratory Division. The Scientific Analysis Section is one of just four lab sections located at FBI headquarters, all with a bewildering range of state-of-the-art expertise, technology, and capacity. Today's Investigative Operations and Support Section grew out of the Questioned Documents Unit, where examiners detected crime by chasing paper records. They look at everything from receipts to handwriting comparisons, targeting everyone from drug smugglers to kidnappers. Documents also handles all types of impressions -- tire treads, shoe-prints, handwriting, or typing imprints. Today this section includes the specialist polygraph, or "lie detector," unit, a computer analysis unit, a special photographic unit, and specialists in analyzing racketeering records -- illegal gambling, prostitution, loan-sharking, and money-laundering records.
The Special Projects Section is even more diverse, with seven units that handle film, video, and photographs of suspects or victims; the famous artists "impressions" of witnesses' descriptions of suspects; crime scene plans; and now computer art and design. The aging or reconstruction of faces of suspects or victims and the reconstruction of crime scenes are a specialty. This section also prepares all forms of graphics or film used as exhibits at trial and the false credentials or documentation needed by FBI agents or informants for undercover work. Here too is the Evidence Control Center, responsible for the receipt, assignment, and tracking of the thousands of lab samples that are subjected to hundreds of thousands of examinations every year.
Finally, practicing one of the oldest and best-known disciplines of forensic science, there is the FBI lab's Latent Fingerprint Section. Here the main task is developing and comparing fingerprints, palm prints, footprints, and even lip prints with some of the estimated 200 million imprint records stored at the FBI's National Crime Information Center in West Virginia. Under an automated fingerprint identification system now being developed, law enforcement officials anywhere in the country will soon be able to instantly match sample prints with those in the database by means of portable computer images.
Much of the work in all lab departments is clinical, routine, and tedious, even though the samples, which can range from soil to bullet casings, are often anything but. Yet this is by far America's biggest, most important, best equipped, and most famous crime lab. As an examiner here you never know what you are going to get -- it could be a rape one day, an explosion the next, and a product-tampering case the day after that. "Here you might start work on the case of a lifetime any day, anytime," says one employee. And it could come from anywhere. As well as its own cases -- federal crime or crime that involves more than one state -- the FBI lab takes work from state, county, and municipal law enforcement agencies across the nation. As a result, its 694 staff handled 136,629 pieces of evidence and performed nearly 700,000 examinations in 1996.
In the past twenty-five years forensic science has been transformed, "growing up so fast that even the most sophisticated researchers cannot keep up," according to Time magazine. Nowhere more so than in the heart of the FBI lab, the Scientific Analysis Section. Here the traditional scientific paraphernalia, the test tubes, gas tanks, and microscopes that recall school chemistry classes rub shoulders with infrared spectroscopes, Apple and Compaq computers, and mass spectrometers. Forensic science is now genetics and microbiology in DNA typing, nuclear physics in neutron activation analysis, analytical chemistry in infrared, ultraviolet, or X-ray spectrometry, and statistics in computerized number crunching.
These new technologies have in many cases been grafted onto a profession that in many of its traditional subfields, such as fingerprints, questioned documents, ballistics, hairs and fibers, and explosives, is not actually based on science at all but on subjective comparisons by individual examiners. Yet either way, whether the "soft" science of the traditional visual comparisons of two hairs, bullets, or fingerprints or the "hard" science of neutron activation analysis or DNA typing, forensic science ultimately cannot avoid the human factor. The examiners who do the tests, run the machines, and make the comparisons are people. At the FBI lab and the nearly four hundred other crime labs in the United States, those people have turned out to be as flawed as the eyewitnesses, juries, or lawyers who make up the rest of the judicial process.
But if scientific crime-fighting is fallible and flawed, those problems rarely come to light. One exception was in July 1994, when USA Today and the Gannett News Service published a survey. Believing that the claim that the bloody glove found on 0. J. Simpson's estate had been planted was far-fetched, the newspaper trawled legal and media databases for comparative cases. They found eighty-five instances since 1974 in which prosecutors had knowingly or unknowingly used tainted evidence that had convicted the innocent or freed the guilty. In the same period, forty-eight people sentenced to death were freed after convictions were found to be based on fabricated evidence or because exonerating or exculpatory evidence was withheld. And these were just the known cases, cases which for one reason or another had come to light or made the news. "In the United States we take science as gospel," said Ray Taylor, a San Antonio, Texas, lawyer and forensic pathology expert, commenting on the survey. "The public perception is that faking science is rare. The truth is it happens all the time."
The tip of this iceberg has been some shocking individual examples. Fred Salem Zain was a police forensic expert in West Virginia and Texas for nearly fifteen years. Hired as a chemist by West Virginia's police crime lab in 1979, he testified as an expert in dozens of rape and murder cases about tests he had never done and results he had never obtained. Despite complaints, nothing was done. Colleagues taped a magician's wand to one of Zain's lab machines in frustration. In 1989, Zain became head of serology at the Bexar County Medical Examiner's office in San Antonio, Texas. When asked to review Zain's work, a Dallas forensic specialist found rampant fraud and falsification. In one case, Zain had testified about blood evidence when no blood had even been found; in other cases he reported performing tests his lab was incapable of doing. Zain was fired. At the last count, five men jailed for rape and murder had had their convictions overturned as a result.
West Texas pathologist Ralph Erdmann, who worked as a contract medical examiner in forty counties, faked more than one hundred autopsies on unexamined bodies and falsified dozens of toxicology and blood reports. Dozens of other autopsies were botched. In one case, he lost a head. Then there was Louise Robbins, a college anthropology professor who claimed the ability to match a footprint on any surface to the person who made it. Robbins appeared as an expert witness for over a decade in more than twenty criminal cases throughout North America before her claims were seriously undermined. Her testimony helped put more than a dozen people behind bars, including an Ohio man who spent six years on Death Row before his conviction was overturned on appeal.
Michael West was a forensic dentist from Hattiesburg, Mississippi, who appeared as a scientific expert more than sixty times in ten states until 1996. At least twenty of these were capital murder cases. West became famous for his controversial use of long-wave ultraviolet light and yellow-lensed goggles to study wound patterns on a body. The equipment is standard: Ultraviolet light can enhance features on the skin. What West claimed he could see was not standard: No other forensic expert could pick up the lines and marks he claimed to see. Robert Kirschner, a former deputy chief medical examiner who testified against West, says what he did was closer to voodoo or alchemy than science. "History is full of people who claimed they could see things, from ghosts to UFOs," says Kirschner. "But claiming it and proving it are two different things."
The biggest and self-proclaimed best forensic lab in the world has not been immune to such rogues. In February 1975, an internal FBI investigation into the activities of Special Agent Thomas Curran, an examiner in the FBI lab's serology unit, revealed a record of perjury, incompetence, and falsification. At the trial of Thomas Doepel for rape and murder in Washington, D.C., in 1974, Curran testified under oath that he had a bachelor's and a master's degree in science; that both Doepel and the victim were blood type O; and that the defendant's shorts bore a single blood stain. In reality, Curran had no degree in anything; Doepel, on retesting, turned out to be blood type B; and the shorts evidenced two, not one, bloodstains.
After further complaints, FBI special agent Jay Cochran was instructed to do a full review of Curran's work. Curran's aberrations, like Zain's, were common. Curran had issued reports of blood analyses when "no laboratory tests were done"; had relied on presumptive tests to draw up confirmatory results; and had written up inadequate and deceptive lab reports, ignoring or distorting test results. "The real issue is that he chose to ignore the virtue of integrity and to lie when asked if specific tests were conducted," Cochran's report to the then head of the FBI laboratory, Dr. Briggs White stated. It was an early warning of what could happen at the FBI lab. Tom Curran turned out to have lied repeatedly under oath about his credentials, and his reports were persistently deceptive, yet no one -- FBI lab management, defense lawyers, judges -- had noticed. When they did, there was no prosecution for perjury.
Of course, every profession has its rotten apples. Forensic science is no different from the law, medicine, academia, law enforcement, or anything else. The issue is not the Zains or Currans per se, but the questions their conduct raises. How did they get into the profession? How did they get away with it for so long? Why are they not stopped and punished? Why do juries, judges, prosecutors, and even defense attorneys believe them?
Take a close look at forensic science and answers are not hard to come by. The first shock is that most forensic scientists are not in fact independent experts. About 80 percent of forensic scientists in North America are affiliated with police or prosecution agencies. Most of these work in police laboratories; many are themselves law enforcement officers, as are most of their superiors. Fred Zain was a state trooper, promoted to lieutenant; Tom Curran was an FBI special agent. The potential conflicts of loyalties and interests is obvious. Scientists are expected to retain a critical sense, to follow nothing but reason, to maintain an open mind. We expect the results, the science, to bear witness in court unencumbered by any other considerations. Complete impartiality may be an aspirational ideal, but what chance is there of coming anywhere near this ideal if the police or FBI pay your wages?
"It is quite common to find laboratory facilities and personnel who are, for all intents and purposes, an arm of the prosecution," notes James Starts, a professor of law and forensic science at George Washington University in Washington, D.C. "They analyze material submitted, on all but rare occasions, solely by the prosecution. They testify almost exclusively on behalf of the prosecution....As a result, their impartiality is replaced by a viewpoint colored brightly with prosecutorial bias." William Thompson, a professor of criminalistics at the University of California, Irvine, agrees: "The culture of such places, run by police or agents, for police or agents, is often just inimical to good scientific practice. The reward system, promotion, incentives...in the end your pay check is based on successful prosecutions, not good science."
Nowhere is this truer than at the FBI laboratory in Washington, the pinnacle of the forensic science mountain in the United States. Institutional bias here is enshrined in the limitation of the availability of the lab and its services to state and federal law enforcement agencies. The FBI lab works for the prosecution and no one else. It is reinforced by the FBI lab's reluctance to give or take second opinions. Generally, evidence submitted to the FBI laboratory cannot be taken elsewhere, or vice versa, even though that might be considered the peer review deemed essential by scientists. The FBI lab is happy to clear suspects and frequently does. However, defense teams need to get a court order and be prepared to share any findings with the prosecution if they want to use the government-funded facility. Indeed, the lab is even off-limits to defense experts who want to observe testing.
The prosecutorial attitude was made clear by one lab veteran now working privately: "People say we're tainted for the prosecution. Hell, that's what we do! We get our evidence and present it for the prosecution." In the FBI laboratory "getting results," the declared aim of FBI director Louis Freeh, means securing prosecutions. But that is only part of the story. Those on the public tour staring through the viewing windows of the Scientific Analysis Section of the FBI laboratory might be surprised to learn that many of the white-coated figures hunched over microscopes or spectrometers are FBI agents. Some have science degrees, but many, particularly, ironically, those in the most senior positions, do not. They are FBI men and women working for an FBI laboratory.
For more than twenty years the FBI resisted replacing its special agents who work in the laboratory with civilian scientists. Even now, after several years of replacing agents with such personnel, FBI agents continue to run the lab, occupying virtually all the senior management and examiner positions. FBI special agents bring an "extra dimension" to the analysis of physical evidence, the FBI insists. The ideal lab specialist "stands in the shoes of the investigator in the field, whom he is serving," as John McDermott, a senior FBI official, put it to a congressional subcommittee in 1981.
Serving the investigator or serving justice? Close liaison between examining agent and investigator, the core of the FBI's argument, can easily create bias that is often so subtle as to be unconscious. In the first place, there is simply the method of working. "Sometimes they're [the investigators are] pretty confused about what they want, so we'll call them up to find out what they're trying to prove," the then FBI Firearms Toolmarks Unit (FTU) chief Jack Dillon told one author. "Often we can suggest some better ways of doing it." By "doing it," of course, Dillon means trying to build a case for prosecution. "That is what I have come to call putting the cart before the horsing around," says Professor Starts. "They're effectively running the investigation backward, starting with a hypothesis of guilt, then going out to try and prove it. That is not science. These people aren't scientists."
Second, there is suggestive incrimination. Numerous studies have shown that advance warning of the results anticipated, even something as simple as looking for a match or positive identification, is significantly more likely to produce those results. In just one example, experiments in 1975 demonstrated that a witness told by police that a suspect was in an identification lineup was seven times more likely to pick out a suspect than those advised only that a suspect might be present. Expectations can be unconsciously passed on, verbally and nonverbally.
One good example of suggestive incrimination comes from Evan Hodge, a former FTU chief at the FBI laboratory. In an article entitled "Guarding Against Error" he tells the story of a police inspector who took a 1911A1 model .45-caliber pistol to a lab for confirmation that it was a murder weapon. "We know this guy shot the victim and this is the gun he used," the examiner was told. "All we want you to do is confirm what we already know so we can get the scumbag off the street. We will wait. How quick can you do it?" The examiner gave them their instant identification. The suspect confessed and led the police to a second pistol, also a .45, also a 1911A1 model, which lab tests demonstrated was the real murder weapon. "We all do this [give in to investigative pressure] to one extent or another," Evan Hodge admitted, arguing that the only solution is to remove the sources of it from the laboratory completely."
Investigators in the field, and the close contact the FBI lab advocates with them, are one source of pressure. There are many more. Prosecutors are one. Politicians, another. The public, yet another. Few criminal cases today do not lean on forensic science, and as the search for the means to combat crime has intensified, so have the expectations. At the FBI, major cases like TRADBOM (the bomb attack on the World Trade Center in New York City) and OKBOM (the Oklahoma City bombing) get the sort of priority, as well as the public and political attention, that is, in itself, a source of pressure. These cases are too big to leave unsolved in the lab, too big to lose in court. The government will throw infinite investigative and legal resources at them. Lower down the crime lab chain, the stakes may be just as big locally. Careers may depend on results. "Don't expect to get re-elected as a district attorney in this country if a particularly heinous crime goes unsolved on your patch," notes one southern lawyer.
Fred Whitehurst's complaints stemmed from such pressures, in particular the culture clash between the needs of science and the needs of law enforcement that are accentuated by the dominance of a law enforcement ethos rather than that of science in the FBI lab. Many accused him of being unable to make the distinction between pure and practical science. Yet Whitehurst is actually quick to acknowledge the uniqueness of the forensic process within science. The forensic scientist seeks to link a sample to an individual, to a substance, to distinguish it from other specimens in a way no other scientist would even attempt. The forensic scientist's standard fare is the sort of degraded, soiled sample that a research scientist would trash if it ever came near his or her laboratory. The forensic scientist's goal is not pure knowledge but practical supposition.
Whitehurst's contention is simply that such ends have to be underpinned by scientific method, proven protocols, and validated procedures or they yield no proven truth, the ultimate aim of both law and science. Forensic science has to use procedures and processes that have withstood traditional scientific scrutiny -- i.e., been subjected to publication and peer review, the sort of "institutional skepticism" that is the cornerstone of the scientific process. Forensic science examinations should be fully documented, subject to cross examination, and the results and process available to the defense. The reality is somewhat different. The openness, democratic debate, public dissemination, and protracted research that are the hallmarks of proper science contrast sharply with the secrecy, haste, and authoritarian hierarchy of the crime lab.
For years, some lawyers and many scientists have argued that forensic science is hardly a branch of science at all in its refusal and institutional inability to accept or conform to scientific norms. With relatively little research done in forensic science itself, there has been a propensity to adopt or adapt half-baked research done elsewhere. The result: Time after time definitive research in the field of forensic science has only been done after questions have been raised about the accuracy and reliability of its procedures, usually in court. The FBI lab, with the biggest forensic science research facility in the country -- the Forensic Science Research and Training Center at Quantico, Virginia -- has been at the center of many of the resulting disputes.
The forensic history of voiceprints -- the claim that a spectrograph could be used to produce a unique pattern for any single individual's speech -- is particularly instructive. With limited research concluded, a number of courts ruled voiceprints admissible. Only when scientists from other fields challenged the spectrograph research and a major scientific controversy erupted did the FBI ask the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) to review voiceprint technology. An NAS evaluation committee quickly concluded that the theory had not been validated. Yet, incredibly, many courts continued to allow the admissibility of voiceprints long after the NAS study had been published.
Those that present science to the public at public expense are surely obliged to understand its basic precepts. Yet many in the FBI lab do not, as Chapters 2 through 8 of this book amply illustrate. Court records throughout the country are littered with examples. In a recent aggravated assault and burglary trial in Montana, FBI fingerprint expert Michael Wieners asserted that a fingerprint experiment he had done was "scientific" but not "completely scientific." It was not surprising he could not tell the difference. Challenged about his familiarity with peer-reviewed literature on fingerprints, Weiners replied: "Peer reviewed? Could you explain that?"
Complaints about such ignorance preceded Fred Whitehurst's arrival at the FBI lab in 1986. In 1981, three prominent independent forensic scientists criticized FBI science and testimony, citing three cases in a paper delivered at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences (AAFS) in Los Angeles. The first was a bank robbery case in which the FBI examiner seemed to have been unable to distinguish between a class characteristic and an individual characteristic in identifying a canvas bag, despite having a master's degree in forensic science. In the second case, a rape and murder with semen, blood, saliva, and hair samples, the paper criticized the FBI's typing procedure. The critics also pointed out that two FBI hair examiners who had studied the same hair specimens had disagreed on such fundamentals as how many samples there were, whether they had been bleached, and whether they had pulled roots. The third case involved gun residue on a shooting victim's hands that could have exculpated his wife, the defendant, yet had not been mentioned by the FBI examiner.
The authors of the paper stressed that they did not consider these cases aberrations. These case studies were, they claimed, typical of the problems that occurred repeatedly in crime labs and courts. They noted that FBI lab practice was considered standard by many courts, but emphasized that they were not singling out the FBI laboratory. The Bureau did not see it that way. Shortly after the presentation, a former head of the FBI lab, Thomas Kelleher, Jr., charged that the authors, Peter Barnett, Ed Blake, and Robert Ogle, Jr., had violated the code of ethics of the AAFS in making the presentation. They had, Kelleher claimed, misrepresented the role of the lab and the conclusions of FBI examiners. Thus, the actual leveling of the charges became the subject of an investigation by the AAFS's ethics committee.
Ultimately it was decided that there was not "sufficient evidence of misrepresentation of data" by the authors to support the FBI's allegation. "The FBI's allegations were preposterous. I think we made them look ridiculous," says Ed Blake, a longtime critic of the FBI's forensic science. "We chose the FBI lab to show that crime labs could get it wrong because we thought they were big enough to take a little criticism," chuckles Robert Ogle, Jr. "Fortunately, there was someone with a scientific background on the ethics committee. They just said: 'Look, this is bullshit. You can't bring ethics charges against people for giving a scientific paper at a scientific meeting.'"
Years later, Whitehurst's charges and his treatment would mirror those of these three, whose observations, along with Whitehurst's, would be vindicated by the inspector general's report. As the three critics pointed out in a letter to Professor Starts's quarterly newsletter, Scientific Sleuthing Review, their paper cited "errors or insufficiencies on the part of the original examiner...management deficiency...[and] a lack of knowledge." The IG report, sixteen years later, cited "failures by management" and "significant instances of testimonial errors, substandard analytical work and deficient practices." The damage done to confidence in crime labs in general and the FBI lab in particular might have been avoided if the substance of their charges -- not the fact that they had been made -- had been addressed back in 1981, the three pointed out. But the FBI lab was incapable of addressing these issues or indeed of changing anything about the way it operated. Indeed, the very manner in which the FBI handled Whitehurst's complaints -- dismissing them, burying them, then attacking the messenger rather than the message -- illustrated how little the culture of the FBI lab had changed since 1981.
At the core of what the critical experts were alleging is the poor practice that riddles the FBI lab and much forensic science in the United States. Documentation is a case in point. Examiners have proven remarkably loath to write up their bench notes in any adequate scientific manner. No names, no chain of custody history, no testing chronology, no details of supervisory oversight, no confirmatory tests, no signatures -- such omissions are quite normal in FBI lab reports. What the reports do contain is obfuscation and overstated conclusions written in an often incomprehensible style that some experts have termed "forensonics." Undefined terms such as "match" or "identical to" are common; chronicled scientific procedures and protocols to justify them are not.
The motive seems to be to say as little as possible as unintelligibly as possible with what passes for scientific jargon and process. Numerous conversations with former FBI lab personnel and attorneys have left no doubt why. Since lab reports are "discoverable" and have to be handed to the defense, the FBI lab believes that as little as possible should be given away. The approach to research is no different. The publication of findings or methodologies might be used to undermine the prosecution of cases, so the rule that has evolved is to avoid dissemination. In short, the FBI's interpretation of the adversarial approach on which the U.S. judicial system is based works to serve neither science nor truth.
As such, the FBI lab's reports have shocked those outside the U.S. forensic science community. "If these are the ones [reports] to be presented to court as evidence then I am appalled by the structure and information content....[T]he structure of the reports seems to be designed to confuse," concluded Professor Brian Caddy, head of the forensic science unit at Strathclyde University in Scotland on being shown the FBI lab's forensic reports in the Oklahoma City bombing case."
Much the same goes for protocols or established procedures. Traditionally, many FBI forensic scientists have not used protocols -- the recipes for analyses and the touchstones of scientific procedure -- despite the fact that all scientists accept that not using them produces only experimental, not proven, outcomes. Indeed, in some crime labs, established protocols do not even exist. "Basically what we've got is a kind of oral tradition, like medieval English, the Venerable Bede, instead of a regular scientific protocol manual," claimed Stephen Jones, Timothy McVeigh's first defense lawyer in the Oklahoma City bombing case, who has looked into FBI lab procedures in some depth. "The advantage of the oral tradition, of course, is that no one knows what it is."
Such shortcomings are often accentuated in court. Here pressure from prosecutors is direct. All too often the important caveats that punctuate forensic science, phrases such as "including but not excluding," "possible but not certain," "compatible with but not incompatible with," are forgotten. All too often "could" becomes "did," an opinion becomes a fact, tests that only suggest are said to prove. Even if the forensic scientist is sufficiently guarded, prosecutors or even judges are often less so.
"The expert may say something quite guarded like 'was similar' and within minutes you'll hear the prosecutor reinterpret that as a definitive identification," complains Professor Starrs. "How many times do you hear the word 'match.' What the heck does it mean? It must be the most overused word in forensic science." Indeed, surveys have demonstrated that there is no agreement on the definition of such key terms among forensic experts themselves.
In the cauldron of the courtroom, testifying beyond one's expertise becomes common, especially under the FBI's system, where auxiliary examiners, often civilian scientists, actually do the tests, but principal examiners, invariably FBI agents, have tended to do the testifying. All too often the fingerprint expert is invited to comment or even speculate on the bloodstains, the firearms expert on the nature of the bomb explosive, the documents examiner on the toolmarks. When only one expert is appearing in a multidiscipline case, it's tempting for prosecutors or defense lawyers to go for an opinion; it's also tempting for examiners to embellish, exaggerate, or even lie about their credentials. The case of the FBI's Tom Curran, who was variously a zoologist, a biologist, and a psychologist for different court appearances, is exceptional only in degree."
Incredibly, forensic scientists do not have to establish competence by obtaining a license or certification -- even from their peers. There are no federal requirements and, to date, no state has demanded them. There are, to be sure, professional bodies. The American Board of Criminalists conducts very general proficiency tests, the American College of Forensic Examiners holds ethics exams, and perhaps the most highly regarded, the American Academy of Forensic Sciences, is a professional body whose members elect and promote each other on merit. But membership in none of these is a prerequisite to work. There is no certification or minimum standards for a very simple reason -- the profession as a whole has opposed it. As long ago as 1976 certification boards were established in five areas of forensic science in an effort to establish peer-based bodies that would review credentials, run qualifying exams, agree on ethical standards, and certify practitioners in their particular fields. Guidelines were put to the nation's crime lab personnel in a referendum. They rejected them by a 2-1 vote.
Some such as Ed Blake see the forensic science profession as a sort of medieval guild, with crime lab directors, led by the FBI lab and its management, acting as the police chiefs, employing, as they do, four-fifths of the profession. Certainly the failure of the professional associations to assert themselves has left a vacuum crime lab directors seemed to have filled, in deciding who will practice and on what terms. As David Stoney has remarked, in the absence of certification and thus effective sanction, there is, in many ways, no forensic science profession as such: "What are the entry requirements? Employment and function. One joins the profession when one is hired by a crime laboratory and one begins to write reports and testify in court.
In the 1970s, the FBI lab began to flex its muscles to organize the crime labs of the country to fill this vacuum. In 1973, Duayne Dillon, a criminalist from California, stunned an audience at an AAFS meeting by stating that the greatest impediment to the widespread adoption of criminalistics in the U.S. judicial system was the existence of the FBI laboratory. He was actually well intentioned; Dillon was referring to what he saw as the isolation and exclusivity of the FBI lab and its belief that there was no need for other crime labs in the United States. It was also well aimed; Dr. Briggs White, then the director of the FBI lab, was sitting in the audience. Furthermore, it was brilliantly timed; J. Edgar Hoover had died the previous year and Clarence Kelley, keen to shed a little light in the Bureau, took over the FBI in July of that year.
It made sense for the FBI to encourage the development of local crime labs; it reduced the Bureau's workload. It also made sense to link new crime labs to Washington, where there was expertise, information, and resources. That year, the FBI lab started training courses for non-FBI crime lab personnel. The following year, in 1974, Dr. Briggs White was appointed chairman of what was named the American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors (ASCLD), an organization designed to improve cooperation and communication among crime lab directors in the pursuit of "common objectives." A quarterly magazine, Crime Lab Digest, began publication shortly afterward. In 1976, the FBI proposed setting up the Forensic Science Research and Training Center (FSRTC) in Quantico, Virginia, on the grounds of its training academy. By 1978, the thirty-nine-thousand-square-foot facility was under construction.
By the early 1980s, the FBI was the overwhelmingly dominant force in servicing the rapid expansion of forensic science facilities, training everyone from managers to technicians; developing new forensic science techniques, ranging from toxicology to hair identification; and funding research in academia and private industry across the country. Duayne Dillon could not have imagined the consequences of his criticism. "ASCLD and FSRTC gave huge power to a federal agency that had not been active in forensic science organizations," he said years later. "Suddenly the FBI lab's clout increased enormously."
The FBI's new power and the enhanced status the country's crime lab directors enjoyed as a result of being more closely associated with the bureau was a fatal blow to the possibility of any agreed on, enforceable ethical code in forensic science. Every two or three months, Professor Starts, best known for the spotlight he sheds on the profession in his quarterly newsletter, Scientific Sleuthing Review, gets a phone call from someone in a crime lab. "They say, 'I know the defense attorney isn't going to ask the right questions and they're going to convict this guy. What should I do?' Or: 'They said the guy's on the brink of a confession and they want me to fabricate a fingerprint report,'" he reports. Starrs has become a sort of confessor figure because as long ago as 1971 he started arguing publicly for the adoption of an ethical code. What he proposed nearly thirty years ago could be as useful today. On personal issues, Starts suggested:
1. No consideration or person should dissuade the forensic scientist from a full and fair investigation of the facts on which opinion is formulated.
2. The forensic scientist should maintain an attitude of independence, impartiality, and calm objectivity to avoid personal or professional involvement in the proceedings.
3. A forensic scientist should not tender testimony that is not within his/her competence as an expert, or conclusions or opinions within the competence of the jury, acting as laymen.
On procedures, Starts advocates:
4. Utmost care in the treatment of any samples or items of potential evidentiary value to avoid tampering, adulteration, loss, or other change of original state.
5. Full and complete disclosure of the entire case in a comprehensive and well-documented report, to include facts or opinions indicative of the accused's innocence and the shortcomings of his/her opinion that might invalidate it.
6. Forensic scientists should testify to the procedures undertaken and the results disclosed only when opinions can be stated in terms of reasonable scientific certainty.
7. That unless there are special circumstances of possible intimidation or falsification of evidence, a forensic scientist for the prosecution should permit the defense to interview him/her before the trial, an obligation that should not be contingent on the approval of the prosecutor.
Meet Richard Wershe. To other convicts in the Michigan penal system and the handful of DEA and FBI agents who once employed him as an informant, Wershe is known by the more memorable moniker, White Boy Rick.
Wershe was a baby-faced, blond-haired teenager who grew up in the the middle class fringes of Metro Detroit in the 1980s. Around the time he hit puberty, he transformed into White Boy Rick, a prolific drug dealer and teenage prodigy in the cutthroat and vicious streets of the Motor City. He ranked as high in the public imagination as such colorful Detroit drug heavyweights as the Chambers Brothers, Maserati Rick, the notorious Best Friends. By the time he was 16, he was dating the beautiful black niece of the Mayor of Detriot. White Boy Rick had arrived.
He had also been recruited as one of the DEA's prized confidential informants two years earlier, when he was 14. According to Wershe, a federal narcotics task force consisting of officers from the Detroit Police Department, the FBI and the DEA pushed him into the role of drug lord and played up his image. "They turned me into an urban legend," Rick says from a payphone at the Oaks Correctional Facility, near the eastern shore of Lake Michigan.
"I was just a kid when the agents pulled me out of high school in the ninth grade and had me out to three in the morning every night. They gave me a fake ID when I was 15 that said I was 21 so I could travel to Vegas and to Miami to do drug deals." Rick ended his relationship with authorities after serving two years as an informant. Less than a year later, he was arrested for possession with intent to deliver 650 grams of cocaine. He wasn't even 18.
Wershe was pinched on the same Detroit street where he grew up, carrying the drugs, $25,000 in cash, and driving a shiny new Ford Thunderbird that was registered in his girlfriend's name. She was five years older than him, married to Eastside drug kingpin Johnny Curry, and, as luck would have it, the niece of Mayor Coleman Young. Authorities later found eight kilos of cocaine that they linked to Wershe. On January 15, 1988, he was convicted and sentenced to life in prison under Michigan's draconian 650 lifer law, which has since been abolished.
- Read the entire article at AlterNet.
HELENA — So far, the 2013 Legislature appears to be no more receptive to medical marijuana than the 2011 session was.
The House Human Services Committee on Friday tabled — and almost certainly killed -- four medical-marijuana bills by Rep. Kelly McCarthy, D-Billings. The bills all died on 12-4 votes, with 10 Republicans and two Democrats opposing the bills, while four Democrats backed them.
McCarthy’s bills were intended to fix the 2011 medical-marijuana law, Senate Bill 423, which has been challenged in court. He tried to remove those provisions in the law that District Judge James Reynolds of Helena has twice blocked with preliminary injunctions, most recently in January.
“We were hoping to make SB423, as enjoined, permanent so the legal gymnastics could stop and all parties could get on with their lives,” McCarthy said afterward.
By his own description, McCarthy is one of the least likely lawmakers to sponsor these bills. Now a banker, he served in U.S. military intelligence for 23 years and participated in some interdictions to intercept illegal drugs being smuggled.
Members of the Montana Cannabis Information Association met with McCarthy during his campaign and explained the challenges they face.
“I made a commitment to help them if and when I got elected,” McCarthy said.
McCarthy wasn’t surprised his bills went down.
“I understand that I’ve burned a bit of political capital on this one, but everyone deserves representation,” he said. “When I didn’t see too many other legislators wanting to take up the challenge, I leaned into the strike zone and took one for the team. I didn’t think we’d win, but I didn’t let that stop me from giving my best shot.”
His bills ran headlong into the stiff opposition of another former drug-fighting federal employee, House Human Services Chairman David Howard, R-Park City.
Howard, a retired FBI agent and chief of law enforcement for the Bureau of Land Management, told the committee how he spearheaded an effort in the 1980s to chop down thousands of illegal pot plants. It took place near the King Range National Conservation Area in northern California, near Garberville, which the BBC has dubbed America’s “marijuana heartland.”
Howard denounced marijuana as “a poison” and “a joke” on Friday after blasting it as “a scourge” two years ago.
If any medical marijuana-bill passes the 2013 Legislature, it likely will have to clear Howard’s committee. That isn’t likely.
Over in the Senate, Sen. Dave Wanzenried, D-Missoula, has a pair of medical-marijuana bills that will be heard this week in the Senate Judiciary Committee.
To Kill a President: Finally – an Ex-FBI Agent Rips Aside the Veil of Secrecy that Killed JFK by M. Wesley Swearingen
To Kill a President: Finally – an Ex-FBI Agent Rips Aside the Veil of Secrecy that Killed JFK by M. Wesley Swearingen seeks to uncover new information about the assassination of President John F. Kennedy and identify the groups who conspired to kill him.
According to Swearingen, Lee Harvey Oswald did not act alone in assassinating Kennedy as was claimed by the FBI, the Warren Commission and other investigating bodies. Instead, he argues that rogue CIA agents acting in concert with the mafia and certain Cuban exiles plotted to kill Kennedy. Swearingen contends that the conspiracy was covered up by the FBI, an effort that continues to this day through the agency's unwillingness to disclose key details about the events surrounding Kennedy's death.
"I want to set the record straight," Swearingen says. "The truth is my inspiration. Upholding the Constitution and exposing government corruption is my sole purpose."
A 25-year veteran of FBI field work, Swearingen was employed by the bureau in 1963 when Kennedy was shot in Dallas. Citing internal sources and information not previously released to the public, Swearingen claims that Oswald was an FBI informant who was known to government officials prior to the assassination. He argues that the statements and actions of FBI and CIA personnel indicate a cover-up, one that he believes included CIA-trained Cuban exiles and American mobsters.
"Names are named, associations are made, reasonable conjectures are served and Swearingen comes across as the real deal," explains a Kirkus Discoveries review. "He virtually dares readers to prove him wrong."
To Kill a President: Finally – an Ex-FBI Agent Rips Aside the Veil of Secrecy that Killed JFK is available for sale online at Amazon.com and other channels.
About the Author
M. Wesley Swearingen is a former FBI agent and the author of FBI Secrets: an Agent's Expose. A U.S. Navy veteran who served during World War II, Swearingen later graduated from Ohio State University and joined the FBI while it was directed by J. Edgar Hoover. Following his retirement from the FBI in 1977, Swearingen was involved in several lawsuits against the bureau related to wrongful imprisonment and civil rights violations. A licensed private investigator, Swearingen has appeared in several documentary films about the FBI and earned the California Attorneys for Criminal Justice's President's Award.
According to a Memphis jury’s verdict on December 8, 1999, in the wrongful death lawsuit of the King family versus Loyd Jowers "and other unknown co-conspirators," Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated by a conspiracy that included agencies of his own government. Almost 32 years after King’s murder at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis on April 4, 1968, a court extended the circle of responsibility for the assassination beyond the late scapegoat James Earl Ray to the United States government.
I can hardly believe the fact that, apart from the courtroom participants, only Memphis TV reporter Wendell Stacy and I attended from beginning to end this historic three-and-one-half week trial. Because of journalistic neglect scarcely anyone else in this land of ours even knows what went on in it. After critical testimony was given in the trial’s second week before an almost empty gallery, Barbara Reis, U.S. correspondent for the Lisbon daily Publico who was there several days, turned to me and said, "Everything in the U.S. is the trial of the century. O.J. Simpson’s trial was the trial of the century. Clinton’s trial was the trial of the century. But this is the trial of the century, and who’s here?"
What I experienced in that courtroom ranged from inspiration at the courage of the Kings, their lawyer-investigator William F. Pepper, and the witnesses, to amazement at the government’s carefully interwoven plot to kill Dr. King. The seriousness with which U.S. intelligence agencies planned the murder of Martin Luther King Jr. speaks eloquently of the threat Kingian nonviolence represented to the powers that be in the spring of 1968.
In the complaint filed by the King family, "King versus Jowers and Other Unknown Co-Conspirators," the only named defendant, Loyd Jowers, was never their primary concern. As soon became evident in court, the real defendants were the anonymous co-conspirators who stood in the shadows behind Jowers, the former owner of a Memphis bar and grill. The Kings and Pepper were in effect charging U.S. intelligence agencies – particularly the FBI and Army intelligence – with organizing, subcontracting, and covering up the assassination. Such a charge guarantees almost insuperable obstacles to its being argued in a court within the United States. Judicially it is an unwelcome beast.
Many qualifiers have been attached to the verdict in the King case. It came not in criminal court but in civil court, where the standards of evidence are much lower than in criminal court. (For example, the plaintiffs used unsworn testimony made on audiotapes and videotapes.) Furthermore, the King family as plaintiffs and Jowers as defendant agreed ahead of time on much of the evidence.
But these observations are not entirely to the point. Because of the government’s "sovereign immunity," it is not possible to put a U.S. intelligence agency in the dock of a U.S. criminal court. Such a step would require authorization by the federal government, which is not likely to indict itself. Thanks to the conjunction of a civil court, an independent judge with a sense of history, and a courageous family and lawyer, a spiritual breakthrough to an unspeakable truth occurred in Memphis. It allowed at least a few people (and hopefully many more through them) to see the forces behind King’s martyrdom and to feel the responsibility we all share for it through our government. In the end, twelve jurors, six black and six white, said to everyone willing to hear: guilty as charged.
We can also thank the unlikely figure of Loyd Jowers for providing a way into that truth.
Loyd Jowers: When the frail, 73-year-old Jowers became ill after three days in court, Judge Swearengen excused him. Jowers did not testify and said through his attorney, Lewis Garrison, that he would plead the Fifth Amendment if subpoenaed. His discretion was too late. In 1993 against the advice of Garrison, Jowers had gone public. Prompted by William Pepper’s progress as James Earl Ray’s attorney in uncovering Jowers’s role in the assassination, Jowers told his story to Sam Donaldson on Prime Time Live. He said he had been asked to help in the murder of King and was told there would be a decoy (Ray) in the plot. He was also told that the police "wouldn’t be there that night."
In that interview, the transcript of which was read to the jury in the Memphis courtroom, Jowers said the man who asked him to help in the murder was a Mafia-connected produce dealer named Frank Liberto. Liberto, now deceased, had a courier deliver $100,000 for Jowers to hold at his restaurant, Jim’s Grill, the back door of which opened onto the dense bushes across from the Lorraine Motel. Jowers said he was visited the day before the murder by a man named Raul, who brought a rifle in a box.
As Mike Vinson reported in the March–April Probe, other witnesses testified to their knowledge of Liberto’s involvement in King’s slaying. Store-owner John McFerren said he arrived around 5:15 pm, April 4, 1968, for a produce pick-up at Frank Liberto’s warehouse in Memphis. (King would be shot at 6:01 pm.) When he approached the warehouse office, McFerren overheard Liberto on the phone inside saying, "Shoot the son-of-a-bitch on the balcony."
Café-owner Lavada Addison, a friend of Liberto’s in the late 1970’s, testified that Liberto had told her he "had Martin Luther King killed." Addison’s son, Nathan Whitlock, said when he learned of this conversation he asked Liberto point-blank if he had killed King.
"[Liberto] said, ‘I didn’t kill the nigger but I had it done.’ I said, ‘What about that other son-of-a-bitch taking credit for it?’ He says, ‘Ahh, he wasn’t nothing but a troublemaker from Missouri. He was a front man…a setup man.’"
Is the cybersky falling? U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Brighton, and former Gov. John Engler, now president of the Business Roundtable, believe so.
They are correct.
"The sky is falling, the sky is falling" cried Chicken Little. Today, that cry remains an idiom indicating a belief that disaster is imminent.
Yet, what if the crier is right and there is pending disaster that we do not take heed of?
This is exactly the dilemma that Rogers faces in his attempt to get the country to pay attention and protect ourselves against a massive cyberattack. Rogers is warning us of the potential cyberattack that could cripple our economy, wiping out our entire financial system and power grids — the computer networks that help run our entire country's infrastructure.
Simply imagine a sci-fi movie — complete with enemies able to unleash a computer virus so powerful that it might shut our country down. Frightening enough for you?
Rogers, chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and a former FBI agent, believes in this level of devastation being threatened by terrorist organizations and foreign governments. Clearly, he is in a position to know.
Flannery, Greg . REACH OUT AND TAPE SOMEONE . In These Times MagazineMarch 1989 issueThis article appeared in the March issue of the national publication INTHESE TIMES.It details the massive illegal FBI wiretap program placed on US Presidents, members of Congress, Judges, people of color,local politicians during the 1970's thru the 1980's. This was before thePatriot Act.More important it details how FBI agents working with local police were committing voter fraud and arson.see link you will have to cut and paste it into the url box https://docs.google.com/viewer?url=http://126.96.36.199/PERIODICAL/PDF/InTheseTimes-1989mar22/12-14/note I checked this link and it works
Greater Pittston Friendly Sons of St. Patrick President Jimmy Clancy announced Colonel Frank Noonan, Pennsylvania State Police Commissioner, will be principal speaker at the 99th Annual St. Patrick’s Day Banquet on March 17 at the Woodlands Inn & Resort.
Atty. Jarret Ferrentino will serve as toastmaster and James “Jay” Duffy will as Grand Marshal. Atty. William “Billy”Anzalone is General Chairman.
The Man of the Year award will go to Mark Casper and W. Francis Swingle Award recipient will be former Major League baseball player Andy Ashby.
Colonel Noonan was nominated by Governor Thomas W. Corbett to serve as the 21st Commissioner of the Pennsylvania State Police on Jan. 18, 2011. As commissioner, he exercises administrative, command, and fiscal authority and responsibility over the department. He oversees a budget of more than $876 million and commands a statewide complement of more than 6,000 enlisted and civilian employees, which includes more than 4,400 State Police Troopers.
As the commissioner, he is empowered by statute to assist the governor by enforcing the law and preserving the peace through the detection of crime, apprehension of criminals, and patrol of the highways. He serves as Chairman of the Municipal Police Officers Education and Training Commission.
Following his retirement from the FBI in 1998, Noonan was appointed Northeast Regional Director for the Attorney General’s Bureau of Narcotics Investigation. He was promoted to Chief of Criminal Investigations for the Office of Attorney General in July 2009. He received the Linda E. Richardson Commitment to Excellence Award, which is the most prestigious award given by the Pennsylvania Narcotics Officers’ Association, in 2009.
Sun Feb 17, 2013 9:22 pm
In this ground-breaking interview, famed FBI whistleblower and Boiling Frogs Post founder Sibel Edmonds lays out the thread connecting NATO’s Gladio operations to Turkish paramilitaries and ultra-nationalists, and how the operation continues through cooperation with terrorists and the Islamization of Central Asia and the Caucasus. From Abdullah Çatlı’s remarkable life (and death) to the rise of Fethullah Gulen’s $25 billion (CIA-supported) Islamic network to the NATO takeover of the Afghan poppy crop in the wake of 9/11, you won’t want to miss a moment of this riveting conversation.Part 1
Sibel Edmonds of BoilingFrogsPost.com joins us for the second part of our series on Gladio B, the NATO-directed effort to radicalize, enable and protect Islamic terrorists to further their own geopolitical ends. This time we discuss recent events, like the US Embassy bombing in Ankara and the catch-and-release of Osama Bin Laden’s son-in-law in Turkey, before going back to the 1990s for more on the roots of the Gladio B operation and its tie-in to stories like that of Yasin al-Qadi. We shine a light on the FBI agents who were working on shutting down terrorist finance networks, and how they were shut down by elements of the State Department and the CIA. We also answer comments and questions from listeners of our first conversation.Part 2
Sibel Edmonds of BoilingFrogsPost.com joins us for the third part of our series on Gladio B, the NATO-directed effort to radicalize, enable and protect Islamic terrorists to further their own geopolitical ends. In this edition we discuss the Hood Event, the Gladio A / B transition, Israel’s role in funding both sides of the regional conflict, and how the Kurds have been used and abused by every would-be regional power in the area. Sibel also takes questions on Ayman al-Zawahiri and begins to discuss Huseyin Baybasin (aka “Europe’s Pablo Escobar”) and the NATO-protected heroin operations in Europe.Part 3
Photo by Michael McMullan // Buy this photo
Ernest Withers, who covered many of the major events in the civil rights movement of the 1950's and 60's, in his studio in February 1990.
Ernest Withers, at right, was a witness to the turmoil of 1968 in downtown Memphis. (Courtesy Special Collections/University of Memphis Libraries)
A legal settlement finalized Monday is expected to unearth photographs and records documenting the late Ernest Withers’ secret work as an FBI informant in Memphis during the civil rights era.
The agreement between the FBI and The Commercial Appeal allows the newspaper to access portions of 70 investigative files in which Withers participated as an informant.
Those 70 cases, ranging from the FBI’s investigation of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. while in Memphis in 1968 as well as examinations of his Southern Christian Leadership Conference, the NAACP and the black power and peace movements here, represent a fraction of the celebrated photographer’s work for the FBI between 1958 and 1976.
As part of the settlement, the FBI released a statement reporting that agents were authorized to pay Withers $20,088 between 1958 and 1976 but could not confirm how much he actually received.
That’s a signficant sum for the notoriously tightfisted FBI which paid its informants sparingly — the vast majority got nothing. Though the FBI’s Memphis field office had scores of informants reporting on “racial” matters and civil unrest here in 1968, records show only five of those informants were paid. Much of Withers’ pay is believed to have come after 1967.
The settlement also requires the FBI to pay $186,000 in attorney fees and legal costs the newspaper accumulated since filing suit in 2010. In turn, the newspaper agreed to drop its lawsuit, which it did Monday in U.S. District Court in Washington.
The settlement, believed to be the first of its kind involving a civil rights era informant, is expected to provide a rare look inside the FBI’s domestic intelligence operation that kept a close eye on black America in search of Communist and militant influences.
“This is a big win for the cause of open records and for civil rights in America for that matter,” said Chris Peck, editor of The Commercial Appeal. “After two years, hundreds of thousands of dollars in court costs, and many hours of reporting The Commercial Appeal has prevailed in its effort to get a more detailed picture of the extent of the spying and informing done in Memphis during Dr. King’s life and up until the time of his death.
“This settlement and the documents and records that will be released as a result of it, clearly will help Americans better understand the complicated role the FBI played in the Civil Rights era.”
The terrorists apparently would win if Google told you the exact number of times the Federal Bureau of Investigation invoked a secret process to extract data about the media giant’s customers.
That’s why it is unlawful for any record-keeper to disclose it has received a so-called National Security Letter. But under a deal brokered with the President Barack Obama administration, Google on Tuesday published a “range” of times it received National Security Letters demanding it divulge account information to the authorities without warrants.
It was the first time a company has ever released data chronicling the volume of National Security Letter requests.
National Security Letters allow the government to get detailed information on Americans’ finances and communications without oversight from a judge. The FBI has issued hundreds of thousands of NSLs and has even been reprimanded for abusing them. The NSLs are written demands from the FBI that compel internet service providers, credit companies, financial institutions and businesses like Google to hand over confidential records about their customers, such as subscriber information, phone numbers and e-mail addresses, websites visited and more as long as the FBI says the information is “relevant” to an investigation.
In each year from 2009 to 2012, Google said it received “0-999″ National Security Letters.
But in its talks with the authorities over releasing figures, Google said national security was on the mind of the Obama administration.
“You’ll notice that we’re reporting numerical ranges rather than exact numbers. This is to address concerns raised by the FBI, Justice Department and other agencies that releasing exact numbers might reveal information about investigations. We plan to update these figures annually,” Richard Salgado, a Google legal director, wrote in a blog post.
Salgado was not available for comment.
The off-duty FBI agent who opened fire from his bedroom window on two punks breaking into his car in Queens last July will not be charged with a crime.
Word of the charges being dropped, first reported by The Post today, was officially announced by Queens DA Richard Brown.
The men who allegedly tried to break into the agent’s vehicle also won’t be charged, sources said.
“No one is being charged with anything,” said one source to The Post yesterday in advance of the announcement.
The incident occurred as the agent’s wife heard a car alarm go off while nursing their newborn at 5 a.m. One of the alleged thieves, 23-year-old Adrian Ricketts, was shot in the back.
But prosecutors decided not to file charges against anyone involved in the incident because the G-Man, Ricketts, and Ricketts' alleged accomplice Andrae Ricketts, wanted immunity from prosecution in exchange for testifying to a Queens grand jury.
"The district attorney's office will not choose sides with regards to this incident. It was our intention to submit the entire matter to a grand jury," said Queens assistant district attorney Robert Hanophy in court today. "It appears that the attorneys for the agent and the Ricketts have agreed to have their clients not testify against each other."
Nick Rossi has been hired as a deputy staff director for the Republican staff of the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee. Rossi was a Republican staff director for the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. He has worked as a Republican chief counsel and chief investigator for the Senate Commerce Committee and as a Republican chief counsel for the Senate Judiciary Committee. He also has worked for the FBI as an attorney and special agent.
Applications are being accepted for an Army board that will nominate soldiers to attend the FBI National Academy at Quantico, Va., in 2014.
The zone of eligibility includes:
• Military police captains and majors in area of concentration 31A.
• Military police warrant officers in grades CW2 through CW4 who hold military occupational specialty 311A, CID special agent.
• Military police enlisted soldiers in the ranks of sergeant first class through sergeant major who hold MOS 31D, CID special agent.
• Military intelligence captains and majors in AOC 35D.
• Military intelligence chief warrant officers in grades CW2 through CW4 in MOS 351L, counterintelligence technician.
• Military intelligence enlisted soldiers in ranks sergeant first class through sergeant major in MOS 35L, counterintelligence agent, and 35Y, chief counterintelligence and human intelligence sergeant.
Although nominations for academy attendance will be made by a board that meets May 20-24 at Human Resources Command, final acceptance will rest with the FBI, which will conduct file reviews, interviews and background checks.
Selected soldiers will attend the academy during one of the 10-week sessions during 2014 as follows: Jan. 12-March 21, April 6-June 13, July 13-Sept. 19 and Sept. 28-Dec. 13.
Applications must be processed through a soldier’s chain of command to arrive at HRC no later than May 15, and in accordance with instructions in MilPer Message 13-056, dated Feb. 26.
Rep. Mike Rogers is a frontrunner for the GOP nomination to the senate seat that is being vacated by Carl Levin.
U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers, the Republican who represents Rochester and Rochester Hills, is a front-runner for the GOP nomination to the state's next U.S. Senate race, according to a poll released Tuesday.
On Saturday, Rogers said he was considering a run for the Senate seat that Democrat Carl Levin recently announced that he would vacate in 2014.
"I am giving the Senate race serious consideration," Rogers told the Detroit Free Press.
Rogers has served since 2001 as the representative for Michigan's 8th District, which includes the Rochester area following last year's Congressional redistricting. He also serves as the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee and is a former FBI agent.
In the automated survey of 1,170 likely Republican voters conducted Monday, 31.11 percent of respondents said they would support Rogers for the GOP nomination to the senate seat, according to a news release from Murray Communications-Portable Insights-Combat Data, which conducted the poll.
Scott Romney, the brother of presidential candidate Mitt Romney, received 29.74 percent of the votes; former Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land received 20.85 percent of the votes. The margin of error in the poll was 2.86 percent.
Why won't the Department of Justice (DOJ) investigate electronic vote fraud? Is it because the DOJ and FBI have long been involved in it, themselves?
Meet Craig C. Donsanto, head of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Election Crimes Branch, Public Integrity Section (from 1970-present).
Photo of Craig Donsanto (left) and Ernest Locker Jr., former special agent at the Federal Bureau of Investigation, spoke at IFES and discussed their careers investigating electoral fraud. Source: http://www.ifes.org/newsinbrief.html?title=U%25S%25%20Election%20Fraud%20Experts%20Speak%20at%20IFES
The Cincinnati Bell-FBI scandal: Leonard Gates, a Cincinnati Bell employee for 23 years, testified that in the late 1970's and 80's, the FBI assisted telephone companies with hacking into mainframe election computers in cities across the country. He spoke with agents from both the DOJ (U.S. Attorney Kathleen M. Brinkman) and FBI (Agent Love), but to his knowledge, neither agency took further action. Leonard Gates 1987Deposition, plus 1985 Background Material from Jim Condit, Jr.//Pandora's Black Box & http://www.votefraud.org/expert_strunk_report.htm (contains case number)
Excerpt from Nov 1996, Pandora's Black Box by Philip M. O’Halloran of Relevance, The Cincinnati Election Wiretapping Scandal:
Lewis and other skeptics of the vote-fixing scenario like to insist that there has never been any evidence of a "conspiracy" to fix elections by computer. But then, most of those we interviewed on both sides of the issue had never heard of the case of Leonard Gates of Cincinnati, Ohio. An employee of the Cincinnati Bell telephone company, Gates was watching a local t.v. news story, in which a Cincinnati man named Jim Condit was charging that the election system was vulnerable to vote fraud in the Hamilton county election process.
He based his charges on his experience as a candidate for city council in 1979, when, after an election night computer crash, Condit and seven other "feisty challengers" had suddenly "fallen to the very bottom of the heap" of 26 candidates. Gates called the station and later contacted Mr. Condit, telling him he knew firsthand how his votes were robbed. They met and shared information and ultimately Gates testified in Condit’s Cincinnatus PAC (political action committee) lawsuit against the Hamilton County Board of Elections.
The suit had earlier been decided against the plaintiffs and Gates took the stand during the appeal. He swore under oath that he was ordered by his Cincinnati Bell superiors to wiretap the election headquarters’ phones lines to provide a link-up between the county’s vote-counting computers and parties unknown on another phone line somewhere in California.
The following are excerpts from the Cincinnati Post of October, 30th, 1987:
Cincinnati Bell security supervisors ordered wire-taps installed on county computers before elections in the late 1970s and early 1980s that could have allowed vote totals to be altered, a former Bell employee says in a sworn court document. Leonard Gates, a 23-year Cincinnati Bell employee until he was fired in 1986, claims in a deposition filed Thursday in Hamilton County Common Pleas Court to have installed the wire-taps. Cincinnati Bell officials denied Gates’ allegations that are part of a six-year-old civil suit that contends the elections computer is subject o manipulation and fraud. Gates claims a security supervisor for the telephone company told him in 1979 that the firm had obtained a computer program through the FBI that gave it access to the county computer used to count votes. [Emphasis added].
Cincinnati Bell security supervisors ordered wire-taps installed on county computers before elections in the late 1970s and early 1980s that could have allowed vote totals to be altered, a former Bell employee says in a sworn court document.
Leonard Gates, a 23-year Cincinnati Bell employee until he was fired in 1986, claims in a deposition filed Thursday in Hamilton County Common Pleas Court to have installed the wire-taps. Cincinnati Bell officials denied Gates’ allegations that are part of a six-year-old civil suit that contends the elections computer is subject o manipulation and fraud.
Gates claims a security supervisor for the telephone company told him in 1979 that the firm had obtained a computer program through the FBI that gave it access to the county computer used to count votes. [Emphasis added].
The FBI refused comment and Cincinnati Bell spokesmen vehemently denied the allegations, claiming Gates was a "disgruntled ex-employee", yet, according to Condit, the company ultimately admitted that one of its vans was involved in the wiretapping, although it claimed they were commandeered without the company’s knowledge. The Post continued:
In the deposition, Gates claims he first installed a wire-tap on a telephone line to the county computers before the 1977 election at the instruction of James West, a Bell security supervisor. Gates contends both West and Peter Gabor, security director, told him to install wire-taps in subsequent elections. Both men declined comment Thursday. In the 1979 election, which is the focus of the deposition – Gates said he received instructions in the mail from West about installing wire-taps on county computers in the County Administration Building at Court and Main streets. The wire-taps were installed on the eve of the election at Cincinnati Bell’s switching control center at Seventh and Elm Streets and terminated in a conference room in the building, Gates alleges. In the deposition, Gates described in great technical detail installation of the wire-taps. At about 8:30 p.m. on election day – Nov. 6, 1979 – Gates said he was called by West and told something had gone wrong, causing the elections computer to malfunction. At West’s instructions, Gates said he removed the taps. The elections computer shutdown for two hours on election evening due to what was believed to be a power failure, Condit Sr. has said. Gates said West told him they "had the ability to actually alter what was being done with the votes."Gates said West told him the Board of elections did not know about the taps and that the computer program for the elections computer "was obtained out of California, and that the programming had been obtained through the FBI..."Shortly after the 1979 election, Gates said he met with the late Richard Dugan, former Cincinnati Bell president, to express his concerns that the wire-taps were done without a court order. "Mr. Dugan said it was a very gray area... This was just small compared to what was going on. He told me just, if I had a problem, to talk to him and everything would be okay, but everything was under control," Gates said [Emphasis added].
In the deposition, Gates claims he first installed a wire-tap on a telephone line to the county computers before the 1977 election at the instruction of James West, a Bell security supervisor.
Gates contends both West and Peter Gabor, security director, told him to install wire-taps in subsequent elections. Both men declined comment Thursday.
In the 1979 election, which is the focus of the deposition – Gates said he received instructions in the mail from West about installing wire-taps on county computers in the County Administration Building at Court and Main streets.
The wire-taps were installed on the eve of the election at Cincinnati Bell’s switching control center at Seventh and Elm Streets and terminated in a conference room in the building, Gates alleges.
In the deposition, Gates described in great technical detail installation of the wire-taps.
At about 8:30 p.m. on election day – Nov. 6, 1979 – Gates said he was called by West and told something had gone wrong, causing the elections computer to malfunction. At West’s instructions, Gates said he removed the taps.
The elections computer shutdown for two hours on election evening due to what was believed to be a power failure, Condit Sr. has said.
Gates said West told him they "had the ability to actually alter what was being done with the votes."
Gates said West told him the Board of elections did not know about the taps and that the computer program for the elections computer "was obtained out of California, and that the programming had been obtained through the FBI..."
Shortly after the 1979 election, Gates said he met with the late Richard Dugan, former Cincinnati Bell president, to express his concerns that the wire-taps were done without a court order.
"Mr. Dugan said it was a very gray area... This was just small compared to what was going on. He told me just, if I had a problem, to talk to him and everything would be okay, but everything was under control," Gates said [Emphasis added].
[Editor’s Note: This scandal’s alleged FBI connection raises the possibility of U.S. law enforcement and/or intelligence involvement in electronic vote-rigging.]
Another Cincinnati Bell employee, named Bob Draise, admitted to being involved in a second phase of the illegal operation, which involved wiretapping several prominent Cincinnati political figures including a crusader against pornography named Keating and the Hamilton County commissioner, Allen Paul.
Jim Condit told Relevance that, as a result of the ensuing scandal, Draise was convicted and five Cincinnati police officers, who were allegedly involved in the wiretapping operation, abruptly resigned. The alleged involvement of the FBI was never pursued and the Bureau itself did not follow up on the Gates allegations. In spite of all the evidence, the appeal by the plaintiff failed and the issue was laid to rest.
FEDERAL COMPLICITY IN VOTE FRAUD - excerpts from Lynn Landes's 2007 'REPORT TO CONGRESS'
The unique vulnerability of electronic voting technologies has been long known to federal authorities.
“If you did it right, no one would ever know,” said Craig C. Donsanto, head of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Election Crimes Branch, Public Integrity Section (from 1970-present) in a July 4,1989 Los Angeles Times article about electronic voting machines and vote fraud.
So, why hasn't Donsanto sounded the alarm and informed Congress of this threat?
Donsanto has the reputation of a gatekeeper. He was featured in the Colliers' book, VoteScam, for his unwillingness to investigate evidence they collected over the years of rampant vote fraud involving voting machine companies, the news networks' exit polls, and election officials in Florida and other states.
Furthermore, Donsanto made it official department policy that no federal investigator should enter a polling precinct on election day, nor should they begin any serious investigation of the voting process until after the election results are certified. It is this policy that gives those who commit vote fraud ample opportunity to destroy evidence and cover their tracks. (See official policy: http://www.thelandesreport.com/Donsanto.htm)
There is more to be concerned about than obstruction of justice within the DOJ. It appears that elements within the FBI may have not only been aware of computer vote fraud, but participated in it. The following are excerpts from the Cincinnati Post of October 30th, 1987:
"Cincinnati Bell security supervisors ordered wire-taps installed on county computers before elections in the late 1970s and early 1980s that could have allowed vote totals to be altered, a former Bell employee says in a sworn court document. Leonard Gates, a 23-year Cincinnati Bell employee until he was fired in 1986, claims in a deposition filed Thursday in Hamilton County Common Pleas Court to have installed the wire-taps. Cincinnati Bell officials denied Gates’ allegations that are part of a six-year-old civil suit that contends the elections computer is subject o manipulation and fraud. Gates claims a security supervisor for the telephone company told him in 1979 that the firm had obtained a computer program through the FBI that gave it access to the county computer used to count votes." (See: http://www.ecotalk.org/Pandora'sBlackBox.htm)
No state could match the staggering number of Voting Rights complaints due to voting machines and other election irregularities as Florida did in the 2000 presidential election. Yet the Bush Administration's DOJ under Attorney General John Ashcroft did not send federal observers to Florida to monitor the voting process in 2002, although federal observers were sent to several other states. This was surprising news to many people and organizations who were told by DOJ officials that "Justice" would be down there in force.
Even if federal observers had been sent to Florida, how would they 'observe' the accuracy of the voting machines there?
"They wouldn't know that," says Nelldean Monroe, Voting Rights Program Administrator for the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) in a phone interview. Her agency is responsible for the recruiting and training of federal observers who are sent by the DOJ to monitor elections if violations of the Voting Rights Act are suspected.
In a November 21, 2002 e-mail Monroe elaborated, "The only observance of the tallying of the votes is when DOJ specifically requests observers to do so. This rarely occurs, but when it does, it is most often during the day following the election when a County conducts a canvass of challenged or rejected ballots. In this case, federal observers may observe the County representatives as they make determinations on whether to accept a challenged or rejected ballot. Federal observers may also observe the counting of the ballots (or vote tallying) when paper ballots are used." (See e-mail: http://www.thelandesreport.com/nelldeanmonroe.htm)
In other words, federal observers can only observe people, not machines, counting paper ballots. Monroe confirmed that there is no training and no opportunity for federal observers to observe the accuracy of voting machines.
Under Section 8 of the Voting Rights Act, 42 U.S.Code § 1973f, federal observers may be authorized to observe "... whether persons who are entitled to vote are being permitted to vote ...(and) whether votes cast by persons entitled to vote are being properly tabulated..."
America's nontransparent voting process (i.e., voting by machine, absentee, early, or secret ballot) violate those provisions. Federal observers cannot observe "whether persons who are entitled to vote are being permitted to vote” (and) “whether votes cast are being properly tabulated."
Under "Prohibited acts" in §1973i, the "Failure or refusal to permit casting or tabulation of vote"...can result in civil and criminal penalties. "No person acting under color of law shall fail or refuse to permit any person to vote who is entitled to vote...(and) Whoever...knowingly and willfully falsifies or conceals a material fact... shall be fined not more than $10,000 or imprisoned not more than five years, or both."
Requiring voters to use voting machines, rather than allow them to mark and cast their own votes, constitutes "failure or refusal to permit casting". Any result produced by a machine is circumstantial (i.e., not direct) evidence of the intention of the voter.
Fundamentally, nontransparent voting makes the role of the federal observer moot and the Voting Rights Act unenforceable.
2005: From Dan Kennedy http://medialogarchives.blogspot.com/2005/06/notes-on-deep-throat.asp
Yesterday afternoon, Wendell Woodman, a freelance political columnist based at the State House, in Boston, blasted out an e-mail containing a column he wrote in 1995 in which he speculated that Felt was Deep Throat. The column was preceded by an introductory note stating that Woodman had actually fingered Felt as far back as the early 1970s.
Here is the column - and you've got to love the Florida voting-fraud angle. Some things never change. I've fixed a few spellings of names.
No, Diane Sawyer was not "Deep Throat," as Rabbi Baruch Korff, an old confidante of President Nixon, suggested Monday for the amusement of AP.Diane may be Deep Flattered. But "Deep Throat" was Mark Felt.The Associated Press attributed the rabbi's guess to the fact that Diane was an assistant to White House Press Secretary Ron Ziegler in 1972. AP promptly added Diane into the sauce with former FBI director L. Patrick Gray and then-National Security deputy Alexander Haig as Throat candidates.Author Bob Woodward of the Washington Post and "All The President's Men" insists the source who helped him and fellow reporter Carl Bernstein break the Watergate story was a guy.That would be Mark Felt.After three Miami television stations projected the results of the September, 1970 primary elections in Florida's Dade County "down to the last digit" as soon as the polls closed, Henry Petersen, who headed the U.S. Justice Department's Criminal Division, was instructed to begin an investigation.Throughout 1971 and into 1972, the Nixon White House - notably Attorney General John Mitchell and Nixon aides H.R. Haldeman and John Ehrlichman - received regular briefings. Richard Nixon, who was sure that vote fraud in Illinois and Texas had cost him the presidency in 1960, was a fanatic on the subject and in 1972 ordered Petersen to accelerate the probe.As soon as FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover died on May 2, 1972, a 27-year-old Justice Department employee named Craig C. Donsanto signed Petersen's name to a "courtesy" letter telling Democratic Congressman Claude Pepper of Miami that all hell was about to break loose. Pepper learned that Democratic National Committee offices based at the Watergate ostensibly were in cahoots with a California computing firm anxious to corner the market on the new computer voting industry and that Dade County had been a guinea pig.Promising him assistance in his career, Pepper prevailed on Donsanto to stamp a "National Security" embargo on the FBI file. That file is still classified. But two Miami reporters, Kenneth and James Collier, managed to obtain copies of it - at about the time Bob Graham was elected Governor of Florida in 1978.One of the three TV stations implicated in the 1970 fraud case was WPLG-TV of Miami, an affiliate of the Washington Post and Newsweek, and the property of Post owner Katharine Graham, who is Bob Graham's brother-in-law. The call letters WPLG were a tribute to her late husband, Philip L. Graham.The Watergate burglars (from Miami, you will recall) did not break into the Watergate to tap a telephone. It doesn't take six people to do that. They were looking for evidence of vote fraud and conspiracy.Thanks to Donsanto's counterfeit letter to Pepper, the offices were germ-free. They didn't even leave milk and cookies for the six burglars.Thanks to a grateful Claude Pepper, Craig Donsanto quickly became chief of the Justice Department's Public Integrity Section and, by 1984, was Special Prosecutor in the Voting Fraud Section, responsible for all federal voting fraud cases in the United States. Gives you a warm feeling, right?Although Petersen's case was derailed by the treachery in his office, those who were party to those matters viewed the Watergate debacle as a race between Nixon and the Post to see which would nail the other first.New to his job as Acting Director of the FBI at the time of the burglary, L. Patrick Gray was forced to rely on the judgment and expertise of the man who had been J. Edgar Hoover's aide and confidante - Mark Felt.As a junior departmental attorney whose new Godfather was Claude Pepper, Donsanto scored more career points for himself at Justice by feeding everything he had on the case to Mark Felt.The currency of choice is Washington is information, favors.Perhaps Mark Felt did feed some of that to Gray, but certainly Gray would not have passed it along to the Post from his tenuous role as "Acting" director of the FBI. That identifies the crafty Mark Felt as "Deep Throat." That conclusion is not a stretch (indeed, it's unavoidable) once we rid ourselves of the nursery rhyme about six burglars trying to tap a telephone.When in 1982 the Colliers invited Washington Post Assistant Managing Editor Bob Woodward to view a six-hour videotape of voting fraud in Dade County and inquired "what Katharine Graham knew and when she knew it?" Woodward replied, "Don't start a war with me on this."As late as 1983, the State Attorney for Dade County, a lady named Janet Reno (ring a bell?) was urging the Governor of Florida to name a special prosecutor to press the so-called Votescam case. But the Governor, a future U.S. Senator named Bob Graham (ring a bell?) refused her requests.By 1984, expecting a challenge from Gov. Graham for her U.S. Senate seat in 1986, Republican Sen. Paula Hawkins sponsored an order to create a special select Senate committee on voting abuse, and prevailed on then-Attorney General William Smith and two of his deputies to view the video.Everything is under lock-and-key, at least in Florida.Bob Woodward's source on a private Oval Office conversation between President Clinton and a member of his cabinet (related in his book, "The Agenda: Inside the Clinton White House") will be revealed 74 years from now, he promises. In another book, "Veil", he related a 1986 deathbed confession of CIA Director William J. Casey about Iran-Contra thusly: "I believed."Why a comatose patient fresh from a craniotomy would pass that along to the man who brought down Nixon just because he snuck by a committee of CIA security men at Georgetown Hospital is curious. If he was hoping that Woodward would pass it along to the Roman Catholic Church, he got his wish. It's on page 507.As to the other matter, "Deep Throat" was Mark Felt.
No, Diane Sawyer was not "Deep Throat," as Rabbi Baruch Korff, an old confidante of President Nixon, suggested Monday for the amusement of AP.
Diane may be Deep Flattered. But "Deep Throat" was Mark Felt.
The Associated Press attributed the rabbi's guess to the fact that Diane was an assistant to White House Press Secretary Ron Ziegler in 1972. AP promptly added Diane into the sauce with former FBI director L. Patrick Gray and then-National Security deputy Alexander Haig as Throat candidates.
Author Bob Woodward of the Washington Post and "All The President's Men" insists the source who helped him and fellow reporter Carl Bernstein break the Watergate story was a guy.
That would be Mark Felt.
After three Miami television stations projected the results of the September, 1970 primary elections in Florida's Dade County "down to the last digit" as soon as the polls closed, Henry Petersen, who headed the U.S. Justice Department's Criminal Division, was instructed to begin an investigation.
Throughout 1971 and into 1972, the Nixon White House - notably Attorney General John Mitchell and Nixon aides H.R. Haldeman and John Ehrlichman - received regular briefings. Richard Nixon, who was sure that vote fraud in Illinois and Texas had cost him the presidency in 1960, was a fanatic on the subject and in 1972 ordered Petersen to accelerate the probe.
As soon as FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover died on May 2, 1972, a 27-year-old Justice Department employee named Craig C. Donsanto signed Petersen's name to a "courtesy" letter telling Democratic Congressman Claude Pepper of Miami that all hell was about to break loose. Pepper learned that Democratic National Committee offices based at the Watergate ostensibly were in cahoots with a California computing firm anxious to corner the market on the new computer voting industry and that Dade County had been a guinea pig.
Promising him assistance in his career, Pepper prevailed on Donsanto to stamp a "National Security" embargo on the FBI file. That file is still classified. But two Miami reporters, Kenneth and James Collier, managed to obtain copies of it - at about the time Bob Graham was elected Governor of Florida in 1978.
One of the three TV stations implicated in the 1970 fraud case was WPLG-TV of Miami, an affiliate of the Washington Post and Newsweek, and the property of Post owner Katharine Graham, who is Bob Graham's brother-in-law. The call letters WPLG were a tribute to her late husband, Philip L. Graham.
The Watergate burglars (from Miami, you will recall) did not break into the Watergate to tap a telephone. It doesn't take six people to do that. They were looking for evidence of vote fraud and conspiracy.
Thanks to Donsanto's counterfeit letter to Pepper, the offices were germ-free. They didn't even leave milk and cookies for the six burglars.
Thanks to a grateful Claude Pepper, Craig Donsanto quickly became chief of the Justice Department's Public Integrity Section and, by 1984, was Special Prosecutor in the Voting Fraud Section, responsible for all federal voting fraud cases in the United States. Gives you a warm feeling, right?
Although Petersen's case was derailed by the treachery in his office, those who were party to those matters viewed the Watergate debacle as a race between Nixon and the Post to see which would nail the other first.
New to his job as Acting Director of the FBI at the time of the burglary, L. Patrick Gray was forced to rely on the judgment and expertise of the man who had been J. Edgar Hoover's aide and confidante - Mark Felt.
As a junior departmental attorney whose new Godfather was Claude Pepper, Donsanto scored more career points for himself at Justice by feeding everything he had on the case to Mark Felt.
The currency of choice is Washington is information, favors.
Perhaps Mark Felt did feed some of that to Gray, but certainly Gray would not have passed it along to the Post from his tenuous role as "Acting" director of the FBI. That identifies the crafty Mark Felt as "Deep Throat." That conclusion is not a stretch (indeed, it's unavoidable) once we rid ourselves of the nursery rhyme about six burglars trying to tap a telephone.
When in 1982 the Colliers invited Washington Post Assistant Managing Editor Bob Woodward to view a six-hour videotape of voting fraud in Dade County and inquired "what Katharine Graham knew and when she knew it?" Woodward replied, "Don't start a war with me on this."
As late as 1983, the State Attorney for Dade County, a lady named Janet Reno (ring a bell?) was urging the Governor of Florida to name a special prosecutor to press the so-called Votescam case. But the Governor, a future U.S. Senator named Bob Graham (ring a bell?) refused her requests.
By 1984, expecting a challenge from Gov. Graham for her U.S. Senate seat in 1986, Republican Sen. Paula Hawkins sponsored an order to create a special select Senate committee on voting abuse, and prevailed on then-Attorney General William Smith and two of his deputies to view the video.
Everything is under lock-and-key, at least in Florida.
Bob Woodward's source on a private Oval Office conversation between President Clinton and a member of his cabinet (related in his book, "The Agenda: Inside the Clinton White House") will be revealed 74 years from now, he promises. In another book, "Veil", he related a 1986 deathbed confession of CIA Director William J. Casey about Iran-Contra thusly: "I believed."
Why a comatose patient fresh from a craniotomy would pass that along to the man who brought down Nixon just because he snuck by a committee of CIA security men at Georgetown Hospital is curious. If he was hoping that Woodward would pass it along to the Roman Catholic Church, he got his wish. It's on page 507.
As to the other matter, "Deep Throat" was Mark Felt.
Billy Sharp has been appointed the new Tuscaloosa County Sheriff.
Sharp retired from the Alabama Criminal Justice Center, where he worked as an investigator, a chief investigator and field agent over a span of 28 years. He was a volunteer instructor with the Alabama Peace Officers Standards and Training Commission for 33 years. Sharp oversaw the FBI's National Crime Information Center system and state databases while at the Criminal Justice Center.
Sharp's new position is effective immediately.
The company that placed this press release with PRWeb is responsible for its content. It is not edited by the Albany Times Union.
Cisco Principal Security Strategist for Cisco, Patrick Gray, will be a keynote speaker at Vanguard Security & Compliance 2013. His speech will address current data security threats posed by organized crime and state-sponsored actors, highlight the newest cyber criminals and examine the latest tactics employed by predators.
Las Vegas, Nevade (PRWEB) March 19, 2013
Vanguard Integrity Professionals today announced that the award-winning, twenty-year veteran of the FBI and the Principal Security Strategist for Cisco, Patrick Gray, will be the opening keynote speaker on June 24th at Vanguard Security & Compliance 2013. Now in its 27th year, Vanguard Security & Compliance is the world’s largest educational forum dedicated to modern information technology security training for large enterprise servers and the networks to which they are connected.
Gray’s speech, entitled “The Confluence of Data Security Challenges,” will explore the current threat landscape by highlighting the newest cyber criminals and examining the latest tactics employed by these predators. Gray will address how organized criminal groups, collectives such as Anonymous, and state-sponsored actors utilize social media, social engineering, advanced persistent threats and malware to compromise networks world-wide both large and small. “I look forward to participating in the Vanguard Security & Compliance 2013 event. One of the key pitfalls facing us today is the misperceived level of trust in network and enterprise-wide security,” Gray stated. “There are numerous factors that can undermine network security which may not be readily apparent. This will be the focus of my presentation.”
“We welcome Patrick as a keynote speaker at Vanguard Security & Compliance 2013. He always delivers an insightful and entertaining security presentation that attendees appreciate,” said Steven Ringelberg, chief operating officer at Vanguard. “Patrick’s keynote will provide attendees with a better understanding of the difficulties of network security, and why it is important to have defense-in-depth within your enterprise, particularly at the server level, to be able to deal with inevitable network penetrations.”
Gray joined Cisco as principal security strategist after previously serving as director of X-Force operations at Internet Security Systems. At ISS, Gray was one of the creators of the X-Force Internet threat intelligence center and also served as director of the penetration testing and emergency response teams. Prior to joining ISS, Gray spent 20 years as a special agent for the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Based on his work with ISS and the FBI, Gray has first-hand knowledge of the hacking community, and its aims and methodologies as it attacks government, ecommerce, energy and financial entities.
One of Gray’s assignments was in the FBI Intelligence Division where he was responsible for global counterintelligence investigations. Another assignment was as supervisor of a special operations group that ultimately morphed into one of the FBI’s first regional cyber-crime squads. Gray continues to work closely with the FBI and other U.S. Government agencies and serves as advisor to the National Infrastructure Advisory Council for the Department of Homeland Security.
About Vanguard Security & Compliance 2013 Vanguard Security & Compliance, June 24-27, is committed to providing security practitioners with immediate knowledge and hands-on skills to secure their enterprise and mitigate risks using emerging security technologies and techniques. Since its inception, the event has been responsible for providing more than 10,000 IBM® System z® security practitioners with z/OS® and RACF® security training to ensure the protection of their critical infrastructures. Each year as the security threatscape and regulatory environment evolves the training advances to address today’s toughest security and compliance challenges.
For a complete list of sessions and program tracks, or to learn more about Vanguard Security & Compliance 2013, visit http://www.go2vsc.com
In the post-9/11 era the chief instrument of repression of personal freedom has been the government’s signature anti-terror legislation: the Patriot Act.
I was going to title this page “Senator Chuck Grassley Wakes Up,” but upon a closer reading of the article I realized he was only stirring a little. I’m talking about an article I read regarding our old friend Mark Rossetti the murderous Mafia captain who was a Top Echelon informant for the FBI, the one who in 2010 an FBI agent was overheard telling him that his job was to keep him invisible and safe.
Grassley is upset because Rossetti is a Whitey Bulger redux: the FBI protecting a man believed to have murdered people so he can continue his gangster ways.
You may recall a Congressional committee delved into the FBI’s use of Whitey Bulger and others and in 2004 issued a report titled: “Everything Secret Degenerates” The FBI’s Use Of Murderers As Informants.” The first paragraph of the Executive Summary read: “Federal law enforcement officials made a decision to use murderers as informants beginning in the 1960s. Known killers were protected from the consequences of their crimes and purposefully kept on the streets. This report discusses some of the disastrous consequence of the use of murderers as informant in New England.”
In its conclusion the Committee wrote that it “is committed to ensuring that these abuses are not repeated.” It then notes that: “FBI Director Robert Mueller has undertaken re-engineering the administration and operation of human sources.” It continues by pointing out all the changes being made by the FBI to prevent similar future situations. It concludes by saying: “The Committee will examine these reforms to ensure that they are being implemented and to ensure that, as implemented, they are effective.”
When the Mark Rossetti situation was publicly disclosed in 2011, Congressman Steven Lynch was highly upset. And well he should have been. He was part of a minority that attached its own views to the Committees Report. Lynch’s position was the Committee’s work was not done and that it should decide “what actions must be taken legislatively, through regulation, by oversight activity, or some combination in order to prevent a continuation or recurrence of similar events in the future.”
What has happened? The Committee and Congress did nothing. They went to sleep believing its job was done. The FBI said it had changed when it didn’t. It continued to do what it had always done. The FBI had again successfully bamboozled Congress because like Old Man River it just keeps flowing along.
I’ve criticized Congressman Steven Lynch for dropping the ball in this matter because as a member of the Committee and being from Whitey’s home town of South Boston he knew of the “disastrous consequences” that follow from keeping murderers safe. He too lacked the nerve to go up against the FBI.
Senator “Don’t call me Charlie it’s Chuck” Grassley a Republican from Iowa who has been in Congress for 40 years spoke about Rossetti saying: “It’s very difficult with the use of a Rossetti or a previous person that they wouldn’t know it’s going on and there wasn’t some knowledge of it. And if there isn’t knowledge of it there ought to be, otherwise the FBI is not doing its job.”
He went on to say, “Going back a ways, don’t you have an FBI agent that was convicted of some wrongdoing because he was involved in this process as well? Doesn’t that tell you something about the local office probably being out of control?”
The FBI responded with its typical disingenuousness saying an internal review involving thousands of documents is still underway. No one seems to suggest that if the FBI takes two years to investigate this simple matter then that in and of itself is proof something is wrong.
Grassley was asked about the FBI guidelines which we have seen are just there for cover. Grassely didn’t think changing them would make a difference because the FBI worked “with Rossetti, and that’s a conflict with the original guidelines.”
It is more than the guidelines, Grassley said, “There’s something in the culture of the FBI in this particular part of the country that needs to be dealt with.” The FBI replied, “FBI leadership has full confidence in FBI Boston management and employees.”
That is about the same response it made back when the issues involving Stevie Flemmi and Whitey first came up.
Senator Grassley explained: “I thought it was pretty clear after Bulger as an example, now Rossetti coming out and not having learned any lessons. There needs to be big changes. I’m not running the FBI but this has been going on too long. There have to be big changes,”
Therein lies the problem. Senator Grassley after 40 years in Congress doesn’t understand what is happening. First, this is not a local problem. We only know of the FBI’s abuses because we’ve lifted the lid on the Boston office. No other FBI office has been examined as closely as Boston. Congress seems afraid to look any further than Boston. I’ve always been taught that If one barrel in a lot is rotten you can assume others are.
Next Grassley should understand that it is his job to run the FBI. In our system of checks and balances, when the executive runs amok, Congress has the obligation to do something about it. The FBI has been acting wrongfully since it introduced the Top Echelon program, in the 1960s. Grassley and Lynch and many others in Congress know it. They know, or should know, the FBI will not change. Grassley said the “FBI is not doing its job.” Well, Congress, neither are you. The 40 year sleep continues.
Raleigh, N.C. — Gov. Pat McCrory on Thursday named the commanders of three North Carolina law enforcement agencies under his control.
McCrory named Col. William Grey to lead the State Highway Patrol, FBI agent Gregory Baker to head the Division of Alcohol Law Enforcement and Clayton Police Chief Glen Allen as chief of the State Capitol Police.
"We are indebted to these brave men and women who put on the uniform every day and to their families," McCrory said, calling law enforcement the "fine line between our freedom and our safety."
Grey, 52, of Cary, has been with the Highway Patrol for 22 years, including a stint as chief of its special operations unit, according to McCrory, who said Gray "understands leadership by example."
The governor cited Trooper Michael Potts, who was shot last month while making a traffic stop in Durham, as an example of the dangers law enforcement officers face in their daily duties. He said he plans to invite Potts to the Executive Mansion for steak and lobster dinner once the trooper's jaw heals from the shooting.
"I'm proud of the black and gray," McCrory said of the Highway Patrol. "We're going to bring pride to that uniform across this state and among all the personnel."
The agency has seen numerous officers resign, face discipline or be fired in recent years for infractions ranging from profiling young women for traffic stops and animal abuse to drunken driving and having sex on duty.
The State Capitol Police also was scarred recently when acting chief Tony Asion and another officer were fired amid an internal investigation of outside employment by officers on the force. Gray has served as acting Capitol Police chief in recent weeks.
"The demands of a law enforcement officer can be overwhelming at times, and we appreciate the commitment it takes to provide loyal service to this state," McCrory said, adding that he expects all officers to "uphold the agency's highest standards and give us your best."
"People are looking at men and women in uniform for respect, and we will follow through with that," he said.
Baker, 49, of Raleigh, has served with the FBI in Raleigh, Charlotte and Washington, D.C., and has worked closely with local law enforcement agencies, which the governor said is a key role for ALE.
Tom and Audrey live on a nesting platform built about 15 years ago. The two of them, as well as an earlier pair of ospreys that used the platform, have been watched through a camera for years by the property owner, a former FBI agent who now runs a security consulting firm.
The property owner, who asked not to be named so as not to draw onlookers to his house, set up his own camera on the nesting platform several years ago. He shared the camera’s feed over the Internet with friends, but only five people at a time could watch.
Then he was approached by colleagues with a company called Earth Security, who had been working with the Chesapeake Conservancy on finding a spot for a high-quality wildlife camera.
“It’s something I wanted to do, but I couldn’t invest the kind of money that it was going to take,” the property owner said.
Installing the camera wasn’t exactly a piece of cake, said Scott McDaniel of Glen Burnie-based Earth Security.
McDaniel obtained a 3-megapixel camera usually used for outdoor security footage, mounted it 20 feet in the air on a pole above the nest and ran wires to the property owner’s house, where it was hooked up to a dedicated high-speed Internet line.
McDaniel used a video transcoder developed by Earth Security’s parent company, Skyline Technology, that allows the video to be broadcast to large numbers of Internet viewers. For now, the osprey cam website doesn’t work on Firefox or on mobile devices, but fixes are in the works.
McDaniel said it has been cool to use his company’s technology to promote wildlife.
“It’s amazing that they are unbothered by the camera being there. The camera is sitting there staring at them, and they’re like, ‘Whatever,’” he said.
The NAB chief said that the relevant wings had been directed to facilitate the ECP in holding fair and free elections and election cells had been set up at the NAB headquarters and provincial regional offices.
He said that the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) saved Rs200 billion from being swindled by intervening in projects and procurements worth Rs1.5 trillion during last year.The NAB chairman in an interview with this agency said that the bureau had tried to nip corruption in the bud, which was manifested by its intervention in high profile cases, involving huge somes of money. The small-scale cases were to be tackled by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), Anti-Corruption Establishment, police and other departments like Customs and Taxation, which had their own courts.
He said despite manpower shortage NAB had revitalised its functioning when it was on the verge of collapse. “Currently, we are running our affairs with 28 per cent strength. Though we have recruited 260 new investigators, the shortage still exists,” the NAB chairman added.
He said the new officers, who would be trained in six months, would strengthen the enforcement. Around 40 of the new investigators would be sent abroad for further training on the basis of their performance. NAB, in that regard, had already made arrangements with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the investigation and anti-corruption agencies of the European Union.
He said NAB would empower the regulators to advance meritocracy, fair play and transparency, to promote awareness and combat corruption, which had eaten up the very core of the country’s system.
Replying to a question, Fasih said today’s NAB was different from the one headed by General (retd) Amjad, who had the full backing of the army. “At that time the NAB recovered Rs180 billion from tax and loan defaulters as the main force behind that recovery was the armed forces.
But later, NAB’s recovery dropped to a single digit. However, having no such backing, the NAB has recovered Rs25 billion during last year,” he said.He ruled out the impression that the NAB was still being used as a tool for political victimization, saying it had always worked independently and would continue to perform its functions.
When asked about the slow investigation process, the NAB chairman said that probing financial crimes was a highly complex and complicated process. White collar criminals were highly intelligent and savvy in financial dealings and regulations and finding prosecutable evidence against them to secure conviction under the current outdated Evidence Act was time consuming. The investigators also need modern training, he added.
“To deal with white collar crime is not as easy as it seems to be. Unfortunately we do not have innovative and advance expertise to prove and investigate the forensic evidence,” he remarked.
Despite being a time-consuming process, we are striving hard to complete the probes as early as possible, he added. “I have already directed the NAB operations and prosecution wings to actively pursue all high profile cases, including rental power producers (RPPs) and Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (Ogra) cases so as the references can be filed if sufficient court-worthy evidence is available,” Fasih Bokhari added.
About the suo moto notice taken by the NAB on tax evasion of telecom companies, Fasih Bokhari said the case was under investigation and its findings would be shared with the media.
Cellular companies may be more important for media organisations because of their commercial interests on account of advertisements, but NAB will not spare any corrupt individual or institution, he added.
Richmond FBI Special Agent in Charge Jeffrey C. Mazanec presents Fredericksburg resident Doris Buffett with the 2012 Director’s Community Leadership Award for the Richmond Division.
Fredericksburg philanthropist Doris Buffett is to be honored Friday by FBI Director Robert Mueller for her service to the community and contribution to public safety, the FBI’s Richmond Division announced today.
She is recipient of the 2012 Director’s Community Leadership Award for the Richmond Division, an honor that recognizes “commitment and contribution to public safety and awareness,” according to the FBI statement.
McEachern, a former FBI agent, was announced as the new police chief on April 4 following the retirement of former chief Tommy Mangham. McEachern was an officer at the Opelika Police Department from 1974 to 1988.2nd readsee link for full storyhttp://www.archives.gov/research/jfk/select-committee-report/part-2d.html(b) The inciting of violence by informants issue The committee investigated the possibility that the violence that interrupted the sanitation workers march in Memphis on March 28, 1968, leading to Dr. King's return to the city, was provoked by FBI agents or FBI or law enforcement informants working within a militant organization known as the invaders. The Invaders came into being in late 1967 when a number of Black youths, politically conditioned by the Vietnam war, the civil rights movement and economic conditions in Memphis, created what they envisioned would be a coalition of groups to challenge the established leadership of Memphis. The coalition came to be known as the Black Organizing Project; its most widely known group was the Invaders. The committee found evidence that some members of the Invaders, resorting to inflammatory rhetoric and acts of violence, encouraged the disturbances that marred the sanitation workers march. In its investigation of the Invaders, the committee took testimony from several former members (the organization had since been disbanded), some of whom had provided written releases authorizing the FBI to turn over their files, investigative or informant. In addition, the committee reviewed reports of Invader activities in the files of the FBI and the Memphis Police Department, and it took testimony from FBI agents who controlled informants in Memphis and monitored the activities of groups and individuals connected with the sanitation strike. Finally, the committee took testimony from Marrell McCullough, an undercover Memphis police officer who had infiltrated the Invaders in 1968. ALSO SEE. MEMPHIS POLICE DEPARTMENT
Why was an MPD security detail assigned to Dr. King withdrawn on April 3, 1968?
CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Cuyahoga County spent more than $5 million over nearly eight years to develop a computer system for its prosecutor's office that is still not being fully used and is not linked to the system used by the courts, a new study concludes.
The inability of the two systems to communicate has resulted in "significant duplication of effort," according to the study, which was produced by a team that included local attorney and former FBI agent John McCaffrey and former County Administrator Tom Hayes.
Former FBI agent, and chief of the Bin Laden unit, Kevin Foust said it was unfortunate that early media reports claiming investigators in Boston found and destroyed several unexploded devices were untrue.
Foust, now a major with the Virginia Tech Police Department, was the resident-agent-in-charge of the Roanoke office of the FBI before he retired.
He was also chief of the Bin Laden unit on September 11, 2001.
Foust said, the fact that investigators haven't linked the bombings to international terrorists yet, leaves a strong possibility it was a case of domestic terrorism.
He also said agents in the field would be looking hard at social media for videos and cell phone pictures taken at the scene.
see link for full storyhttp://www.law360.com/articles/433802/ex-fbi-agent-solyndra-cro-named-girls-gone-wild-trustee
UC Berkeley’s new Police Chief Margo Bennett has a storied past that could have been a true-crime novel.
The tale, recounted in various newspaper, magazine and TV accounts — even a book — started back in 1991 when Bennett, then an instructor in interrogation at the FBI Academy, met and had an affair with best-selling author Patricia Cornwall, who was researching a novel at the Quantico, Va., headquarters.
That affair fueled an already explosive relationship Margo had with her FBI agent husband, Eugene Bennett, who she had fingered to the FBI as trying to defraud the agency of more than $17,000.
He was indicted for fraud, and Margo promised to testify at the trial. But just a few days before she was to go on the stand, Margo says her husband shot her repeatedly with a stun gun, gagged and blindfolded her and stuffed her in the trunk of a car. She said he then drove her to a remote location, telling her that others involved in the fraud had kidnapped their two kids and that she need to recant her story.
She did, leaving prosecutors stunned.
But after confiding to a friend and her attorney that she had feared for her children’s safety, a new trial was ordered. Following a plea deal, husband Gene landed in prison for a year.
In 1996, after he had been released and their divorce was still in progress, Gene showed up at Margo’s church. He donned a ski mask and pulled a gun on the minister, shackling the man’s arms and legs and placing explosives around the man’s waist. Gene ordered the minister to telephone Margo and lure her to the church.
When a suspicious Margo arrived, her masked estranged husband came lunging toward her. She pepper sprayed him, then ran into back office before reaching for her pistol and firing.
“There was no way I was going to get out of there without firing a shot,’’ she said. “It missed him by less than an inch.’’
Her husband fled.
He was soon arrested, and at his subsequent trial it was revealed that he had been plotting to murder and torture Margo and frame her for bombing the minister. He was convicted of several charges, including attempted murder, and sentenced to 23 years in prison.
Paul Tiao, a senior cybersecurity adviser to FBI Director Robert Mueller, has joined national law firm Hunton & Williams as a partner in the Washington office, the firm announced last week.
Tiao is joining the firm’s privacy and data security practice at time many major law firms are building or expanding data protection practices to meet demand from companies as they increasingly grapple with moving sensitive data onto Internet-based systems and keeping their information secure.
Tiao advised Mueller on cybersecurity, electronic surveillance and other national security issues, and helped form cybersecurity policy positions and legislative language. He was previously a trial attorney in the Justice Department’s civil rights division, and in private practice at District law firm WilmerHale. In 2010, he was nominated by President Obama to serve as inspector general of the Labor Department, but the nomination was later withdrawn.
Former Norfolk Police Chief Bruce P. Marquis was training police in Central America as a contractor for the State Department when he got sick about three weeks ago.
What started with flulike symptoms quickly worsened, and Marquis was flown from a hospital in Belize City, Belize, to one in Florida to be treated for a rare pneumonia. His wife, Traci Marquis, said that a nurse told her he nearly died, and that a doctor said he was lucky to be alive.
"He's getting better, but anyone who has seen him in his heyday - a very healthy individual - he is not the same individual today," she said.
"It's been horrific."
Marquis, 61, retired April 1, 2011, after about seven years as Norfolk police chief. He was previously an FBI agent and chief of police in Hartford, Conn. His wife said he began working for several companies with State Department contracts, and the work took him to Europe, South America, Central America, Africa and the former Soviet republic of Georgia. Countries he worked in included Moldova, Uganda, Ecuador, Tunisia and India. He arrived in Belize City in mid-March to help train officers in policing and investigations.
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