Trekking Toward The Truth – A Journey With Others Over The Road Less Traveled

Originally dedicated to the vagaries of matters involving Whitey Bulger and the FBI but now expanded into more general topics.

TTTT - Trekking Toward The Truth – A Journey With Others Over The Road Less Traveled

§39: Judge Wolf’s Fragile Foundation: [Re-Examining Whitey Bulger: The Learning Years]

Alligator Getting Impatient Waiting for Judge Wolf

Alligator Getting Impatient Waiting for Judge Wolf

Judge Wolf in his 1999 661 page findings speaking of the 1974/1975 time frame said the FBI recognized Whitey had been deeply involved in a violent gang war. Just prior to this he wrote the written record concerning this matter is sparse. Sparse? It’s non existent.

During the hearings in front of him the only gang war that had evidence about was about the Irish Gang War. That happened while Whitey was in prison. It is unusual for a judge to pull such an assertion out of thin air and attribute something to the FBI which it had no knowledge about.  It’s an early indication of his confusing the Whitey of 1999, the time of the decision, with the Whitey of 1975.

Judge Wolf doesn’t end there. As I noted yesterday, he went on to say that when Whitey was recruited he was “widely regarded” as being brutally violent.  This is also unusual for two reasons. First Whitey’s reputation had hardly gone beyond the confines of South Boston at that time; and, he had before him practically no evidence to support this statement.

Judge Wolf wrote he came to that conclusion from “Morris’s actions.” He has all these witnesses testifying in front of him for month after month and he is limited to inferring his conclusion not from something someone said or what was contained in a document but from someone’s actions.  The person he chooses is the vile and corrupt FBI agent John Morris who admitted when he told the Boston Globe Whitey was an informant he was hoping Whitey would get murdered.

The puzzlement is why is Judge Wolf intent on making Whitey more than he is at that time. In 1999 Whitey has been at large running from an indictment since January 1995 and had been put on the FBI’s Most Wanted list. Wolf takes the reputation of Whitey at the time he is writing and bringing it back twenty or so years earlier.

This enigma can’t be solved by suggesting it is confusion that brought it about. The way he manufactured support for the basis for his conclusion makes it seem he deliberately makes Whitey more of an evil force than he really was at the time. Is this done to let others like Flemmi slip away? I can’t figure Wolf being so off base.

Wolf doesn’t let his reliance on “Morris’s actions” just hang out there. He wants to justify why he wrote that so he gets into specifics.

He writes: “More specifically, in 1974 or 1975, . . ” and sets out in detail how  Morris’s testified he was trying to get Eddie Miani a two-bit hoodlum and bookie out of Revere as an informant. On July 19, 1975, Morris placed a bomb on the gas tank of Miani’s car. He then called the Revere cops to have them discover it. Morris in his benighted mind figured the Revere cops would tell Eddie they found a bomb in his car.

He assumed Eddie would be so scared he’d run to Morris for help. This by the way is a typical FBI tactic at the time. FBI Agent Dennis Condon used it to try to recruit Whitey as an informant. He told Whitey his life was at risk with the Mullens coming down on him and his only hope of survival laid with the FBI.

Like Whitey, Eddie didn’t scare easily. Then, according to Wolf, Morris testified he went to Eddie and told him Whitey planted the bomb. Morris said he  figured attributing the act to Whitey would really scare Miani.

This makes no sense. Eddie operated out of Revere. At the time Whitey was not known outside of South Boston. If you know Boston, Revere is like in another world. There is no evidence Miani knew Whitey existed.

Further, Miani was connected with the Italians. Morris was trying to get Miani to give him information on the Mafia. How would he think Miani would give him that if some hoodlum for Southie was after him? The most likely course for Miani would have been to go to “In Town” and sic them after Whitey.

You see you have to go beyond testimony of people in trouble trying to get deals by making Whitey seem really, really bad to figure out what is going on. You have to look at the whole picture. You have to say to yourself does it make sense based on what I know of these people and their relationships.

It’s bad enough for Wolf to be accepting Morris’s far-fetched statement about Miani. He knows he has to have more than the Miani incident to support the idea that Whitey was widely regarded as brutally violent.  Judge Wolf uses two other incidents. That’s when he jumps the shark. I know I said I’d talk about it today but I can’t fit it in under my word limit so you’ll have to come back tomorrow to see what Wolf did. You’ll be amazed.


§38: Judge Wolf’s Twisting of The Facts: [Re-Examining Whitey Bulger: The Learning Years]

The Alligator Waiting For Someone To Jump The Shark

The Alligator Waiting For Someone To Jump The Shark

The last time I wrote about Whitey’s life was on March 26. We’ve read about his release from prison, his involvement in the South Boston dustup between the Mullens and Killeens and how what was happening in South Boston was small time compared to the interactions between the rest of organized crime in the Eastern Massachusetts area.

The real power was in the hands of the North End or “In Town” which was the Italian Mafia. Outside of that most of the fighters in the Irish Gang War of the 1960s had gone to see their Maker leaving a small core group of Irish gangsters in Somerville just north of Boston under the leadership of Howie Winter and a Mafia-connected Roxbury Gang that had fought in the Irish War on the side of Winter’s group.

The Winter group and Roxbury group united and opened up a garage called Marshall Motors in Somerville located in the Winter Hill section of that city. The garage served as a front for their gangster business. The location gave the gang its name: Winter Hill gang.

The Mullen/Killeen battle put Whitey at risk. The Mullens had gained the ascendency in that matter after a handful of them gunned down Whitey’s sidekick Billy O’Sullivan on Savin Hill Avenue as he ran toward the Woods. Whitey sought the protection of the Winter Hill Gang by approaching John Martorano one of the Roxbury gang.

A shaky peace was arranged between the Mullens and Whitey who was pretty much all that was left of the Killeens. The terms of the peace was that Whitey would split the Killeen’s illegal income with the Mullens 50/50. Neither party was really happy with less than 100%.

Whitey became part of Winter Hill but was still an outsider.  Howie Winter had his old friends as did the guys in the Roxbury gang. He was more tolerated than accepted. The others had murdered many others; Whitey had yet to kill anyone.

Judge Wolf in his 661 page opus tells about what was happening at the time. He writes: “The written record of what the FBI knew about Bulger in 1974 is sparse. . . .  “ This is full support for my asseveration that FBI Agent John Connolly was not brought back to Boston in 1973 to handle Whitey or that Whitey was even looked at by the FBI as someone of importance.

Wolf goes on, “At a minimum the FBI recognized that Bulger was deeply involved in a violent gang war.” There was no gang war going on at the time. The big Irish gang war of the 1960s was over before Whitey got out of prison. So was the Mullen/Killeen dustup which ended in 1972 which was hardly a violent gang war. Judge Wolf had no evidence in front of him about the Mullen/Killeen affair.

Judge Wolf could not have been referring to the Notarangeli murders which no one had connected with Whitey until Martorano falsely stated in 1999, after Wolf’s decision, that Whitey was in a crash car. Wolf had no evidence about this in front of him about it. For him to say Whitey was deeply involved in a violent gang war and the FBI knew about it is a total misstatement of the facts.

Judge Wolf next writes:  “The FBI had also been advised the Bulger was involved in extorting money from shylocks and bookmakers.” That refers to the FBI Agent Dennis Condon memo that we already discussed where Condon had unsuccessfully tried to recruit Whitey as an informant in 1971.

Then Judge Wolf stretching to do all in his power to make Whitey into the personification of all that is evil person writes: “Morris’ actions, however, make it vividly clear that the FBI was well-aware that Bulger was widely regarded as brutally violent when Connolly sought his cooperation.”  Morris, as we know, is corrupt FBI Agent John Morris who tried to have Bulger murdered by breaching his security and telling the Boston Globe he was an informant.

He’s hardly a reliable source upon whom to depend for a conclusion that Whitey was “widely regarded as brutally violent” when FBI Agent John Connolly sought his cooperation. In late 1972 the gangsters themselves, the Boston Mafia and the Winter Hill gang had hardly heard of Whitey. John Martorano tells us he’s a “ham and egger” from Southie.  Why is Wolf making this extraordinary conclusion against the facts. Tomorrow I’ll explain how he jumps the shark by distorting the facts to justify this.


Obama’s Big Mistake re: Marathon Terrorist Attack of 4/15/13

No More Mr Tough Guy - I'm Into Understanding

No More Mr Tough Guy – I’m Into Understanding

I tend not to criticize or praise Obama because I don’t want this blog to be political. By political I mean Republican vs Democrat or conservative vs progressive; libertarian vs liberal, etc. There are many other sites out there to whet your appetite if you are into political wrangling. I’ve gingerly stepped into this area close to the political realm because of the Marathon Terrorist Attack (MTA) which involved some aspects of this blog especially as it relates to the FBI plus the obvious: that it was an attack on my city. I felt I could not ignore the enormity of it.

I’m anxious to get back to Whitey since things have happened that I’ve let that slide. I’m especially disappointed I did not get to the last hearing where Whitey himself sans-beard showed up. I hadn’t thought much would happen between now and the opening bell in early June so I hit the road for a bit. I appreciate the continuing comments and interest out there. But before going back, I have to talk about this one big mistake by Obama.

The Boston Globe talked about it in a round about way yesterday telling how Obama heard Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who I call Joker which is the way his first name is pronounced by those with a Boston accent, was captured and how he was briefed by 45-year-old Lisa Monaco, Obama’s homeland security and counter terrorism advisor, who “also is now responsible for helping determine the targets of drone attacks.”

Obama also got advise from 42-year-old White House counsel Kathryn Ruemmler on giving Joker his Miranda rights and helped Obama “conclude  that [prosecuting Joker as an enemy combatant before a military tribunal] wasn’t an option because [Joker] is a naturalized U.S. citizen entitled to a federal trial.” Monaco and Ruemmler are long time friends having worked together early in their legal careers as prosecutors in the Department of Justice.

I found it odd that the person who picks targets for the droneliminations and her buddy believe because a terrorist is an American citizen he can’t be treated as an enemy combatant.

You’ve heard of  Anwar al-Awlaki and Samir Khan. Both were active in Al Qaeda and preaching against and urging others to attack the US. On September 30, 2011 these two American citizens were dronelimated.  Then two weeks later the 16 year old son of Anwar, another American citizen got the same treatment. It is said that on the Obama Hit List, this is a secret list that contains the names of people we want to droneliminate, there are other American citizens.

How then can the president with Lisa Monaco’s assistance order American citizens be killed but he can’t send them off to Guantanamo for a military commission trial?  Why is an American citizen who actually killed Americans with a terrorist device entitled to more benefits than American citizens who  preached violence against America? Assuming Joker rather than hijacking the car and ending up hiding in the boat had thought ahead and purchased air plane tickets to go back to Chechnya or to Yemen, where al-Awlaki was killed.  Wouldn’t Obama have put him at the top of the Hit List?

It is odd that we can have a secret meeting by Administration people where American citizens are determined to be worthy of being killed but are not allowed to have similarly situated people unable to be tried openly by military commission.  It is this confusion and lack of certitude that will be dangerous to America.

The 9/11 attacks came because our prior posture toward the Muslim terrorists was ambiguous and confused. It went back to the time of Jimmy Carter when the American Ambassador was kidnapped and murdered in Afghanistan and we did nothing.  After that the Afghan government and Russians conspired for a Russian takeover which lasted until near the collapse of the Soviet Empire in 1989. The Muslims during that time appreciated the help we gave them in Afghanistan but pushed back in other areas. Under Reagan when we had our Marines blown up in Lebanon and our response was to flee. We were attacked in other areas such as a German night club and TWA flight in 1986, Pan American bombing in 1988.  The attacks continued into the 1990s at our embassies and even in the homeland with the first bombing of the World Trade Center in 1993. Our response to all this was best described as feeble. In some instances we brought the terrorists into federal court and tried them.

9/11 woke us up. We got serious and invaded two countries and put 1% of our country on a military footing and sent a clear message to terrorists that until this war is over if we think you have evil intents against America off to Guantanamo you go. The innocent and guilty were sent there and many of such will never leave. Our message was a strong one. We will not tolerate terrorist attacks on America.

We had none since 9/11. Now that we have had another one our message has again become muddied. We’re back to cuddling them in the federal court system. The Joker case will end up costing Boston many millions, will shut down parts of the city, will turn it into an armed camp and somewhat of a circus if the Joker gets the right lawyers and agrees to push this which my guess is he will (unless he is really afraid of the death penalty like Martorano and Flemmi who liked to kill people but whose legs shook like palm branches in a hurricane at the thought of their own demise).

Obama will be seen by our enemies as irresolute and weak. Up to this point they wondered. It’s too bad he and his advisers have forgotten what history has taught us.



Billy Bulger and The Worst Spy in Recent American History

XX The Spy With The FBI Connections

XX The Spy With The FBI Connections

I’ll call the person who is the worst spy XX for the present purposes. I’ll give you a few hints so you can easily figure out who this person is. XX worked for the US government. XX caused more damage to America’s interests than any other person between the early 1980s up until 2001. XX is believed to have caused the deaths  of many people who worked for the United States in foreign countries. XX also had connections with the FBI.

Have you figured out yet that it is Robert Hanssen the FBI agent who worked for the Soviets? If so you’re wrong. XX was more highly placed than Hanssen. XX had access to many more top secret documents which were passed on to the Cuban government. XX has been accused of being “directly responsible for the death of Green Beret SGT Gregory A. Fronius who was killed at El Paraiso, El Salvador, on March 31, 1987 during the FMLN attack.”

XX probably did more to undermine the USA’s interests in Latin America and the Caribbean than any other person in history. The full extent of the damage caused by XX will never be fully known. Yet in 1997 the CIA Director George Tenet gave XX a certificate of distinction.

XX had two connections with the FBI, actually more, who were very close. XX met with them on occasion while spying for Cuba. One FBI agent was L.M who worked in the Miami office. L.M was a “veteran FBI language analyst who translated wiretaps and other sensitive communications.”  Another of XX’s contact was A.M., an FBI agent who worked in Atlanta. XX called him Tito.

By now you know who XX is. If not I’ll give you a few more hints.XX was a high-ranking official in the Defense Intelligence Agency. XX was called upon to brief the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the National Security Council about Cuba while working as a spy for Cuba. XX drafted a Pentagon report on Cuba with the help of Cuban connections. Just before XX was caught another promotion was in store. XX was to receive a prestigious fellowship with the National Intelligence Council which advised the director of the CIA.

By now you must know that XX is Ana Montes. Her connections with the FBI are L.M. her sister Lucy and A.M her brother Tito. They are embarrassed and humiliated by having their sister become a spy.

Other big spies such as Robert Hanssen got life without parole; Jonathon Pollard got life without parole (he spied for an ally); Oliver Ames got life without parole; For some reason Ana only got 25 years in prison.

Ana is unrepentant. She has written from prison that “some things in life are worth going to prison for” and “I owe allegiance to principles and not to any one country or government or person.”  What does her sister Lucy the long time FBI agent say of this?  She says when Ana walks out of prison in July 2023 she’ll  offer to let Ana live in her home for a few months to get settled.

Lucy said: “There’s nothing acceptable about what she did. On the other hand I don’t feel like I can turn my back on her, because she’s my sister.”

Lucy still works for the FBI as does her brother, Tito. No one condemns them for the actions of their sister. They do their jobs and do them well.

By now you’ve guessed how Billy Bulger works into this story. He, like Lucy,  has a sibling who has committed criminal acts. Although Whitey’s actions aren’t as bad as treason, they may if proven come close to it. Nothing is worse than treason which puts us all at risk and causes more loss of life than ten Whiteys could do.

No one condemns Lucy for feeling an obligation because of her sibling relationship. Billy on the other had has suffered much because of his relationship. He’s lost his high position. He’s been roundly condemned in the mainstream media and by the newspaper writers who have authored books about Whitey.

Why is that? How can it be that none of us blame Lucy or Tito for Ana’s treachery yet so many blame Billy for Whitey’s actions? Is it because Billy is a person out of favor and money can be made by humiliating him? Sadly, that seems to be the only reason, greed and ganging up.

And one other thing that’s strange in this matter. Ana the master spy who is responsible for an uncountable amount of losses of life among people who were supporting America will do less time in prison than John Connolly whose conviction of the murder of one person is highly questionable.

What is it about the Whitey case that has so thwarted rational thinking and normal justice?

Reasons To Despair About The FBI’s Honesty


Spring Has Come But Oh The Joy It Came Too Late My Little Boy He Could Not Wait

Spring Has Come But Oh The Joy It Came Too Late My Little Boy He Could Not Wait

According to the Washington Post today:

“Nine months before the Boston Marathon bombing, a U.S. counterterrorism task force received a warning that a suspected militant had returned from a lengthy trip to Russia, U.S. officials said.

The warning was delivered to a single U.S. Customs and Border Protection official assigned to Boston’s Joint Terrorism Task Force, a cell of specialists from federal and local law enforcement agencies. . . .

But officials said there is no indication that the unidentified customs officer provided the information to any other members of the task force, including FBI agents who had previously interviewed the militant. . . . 

The apparent failure to alert the FBI has emerged as a significant, if slender, missed opportunity to scrutinize Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s activities ahead of the Boston attack.”

That story shows all that is wrong with this situation.

First, this was the top story in the Washington Post’s on-line edition this morning. It is based on information provided by the well known authority: “U.S. officials.” 

How is it that the headline story in one of the nation’s top papers does not attribute its information to anyone?  Why are we asked to believe a story that might have come from a driver of a mail truck? This is the type of information all of our major mainstream newspapers have been feeding us. Go back over the reports on the Marathon Terrorist Attack and see how much wrong information was written that was attributed to “officials.” 

I was once sitting in court next to a fellow assistant DA named Peter. We were off to the side in the jury box waiting for our cases to be called. The clerk called the name of one defendant on the list. He then turned to the judge and said, “the officials have not brought him in yet.”

Peter turned to me saying, “who are these officials he’s talking about? Have you ever seen them?” I realized everyone talks about officials and people seem to understand who these officials are but no one has ever shown up and said, “I’m one of the officials” nor does it appear anyone has ever seen “the officials.”

So when you read that a story is based on information given by “officials” you have to realize they don’t exist. And that’s how much credence you should give to statements from officials: none. And  remember, you can’t get something from nothing.

But that’s just the beginning of the problems with this headline story. Next, we have no idea what the warning is other than it is a warning. Did it have any meat to it? The Washington Post story doesn’t mention who gave the warning but I assume it is the Russians. Did the Russians just say “Warning Tamerlan Tsarnaev is returning to US from Russia” or did they say more?  We are left to wonder.

Then we’re told the warning went to a “U.S. Customs and Border Protection Official” who was part of Boston’s Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF). All we know is the person was single and not married. We don’t know the person’s name because she is unidentified.

We know the Russians told the FBI in 2011 that Tamerlan was a threat. Why are they now talking to a customs person? What happened? Did someone in Russia call the FBI and this “official” answered? Did the Russian send this “official” a letter? How does a gal in Russia know enough to reach out to this “official?”

Why doesn’t this “official” have a name? There aren’t that many customs people on the JTTF, Why didn’t the reporters tracked her down and asked if this is true?

If you think this is a poorly reported story to be the lead in a top mainline media news source, you have to read what happened next.  The article says “there is no indication that the unidentified customs officer provided the information to any other members of the task force.” Do you know what that means?  This customs “official” who has become a customs “officer” either did give the information to others or she didn’t. When we read “no indication” that means she may have or she may not have. It’s meaningless.

However, after that we start to get an idea what this is all about. We read the end of the previous sentence, “including FBI agents who had previously interviewed the militant.” Boiled down the story says an unknown person says an unknown customs officer who worked with FBI agents who interviewed Tamerlan about his possible terrorist activities may or may not have told them about the unspecified warning of his return to Boston.

To make things worse, it concludes “The apparent failure [the possibility that the customs officer told them is still left open] to alert the FBI has emerged as a significant, if slender, missed opportunity to scrutinize Tamerlan”  Have you ever figured out how something could be significant but slender? Isn’t that like saying he had a good but poor chance to win the race?

Or is it saying that even if it is shown the FBI knew Tamerlan was back there is nothing that it could have done? That, of course, is nonsense. There are lots of things it could have done.

Is the FBI worried the Russians can probably show they communicated with the JTTF. Unable to deny that, the FBI puts it on a customs person even though the FBI agent might have received the call. But it’s not sure whether the story will fly. So it hedges its bets in case there is a record showing the FBI knew this.

I tell you my hopes the FBI would tell the truth about this are fading fast with the innumerable stories it has put out. This story has gone from the FBI having no previous warning about terrorists in Boston, then to only one report in 2011, then to a second report in 2011, and on to not knowing Tamerlan went on the trip to Russia, but back to knowing, and finally to not knowing he returned because the case was closed, but then to someone on their task force knowing but hedging on whether it knew it in case someone can prove that it did and it has to change its story again.

I’m not sure why this doesn’t bother our president or our members of Congress. I’d think they’d want to get to the bottom of this. Apparently they don’t. It shows the enormous power of this secret police force in America. It is reason to despair when we see it can spin out tale after tale without fear of being held to account for any of its falsities.

FBI Openness: Will It Ever Happen?

Looking For The The FBI To Tell Us The Truth

Looking For The FBI To Tell Us The Truth

I wrote yesterday that Congressman Rogers said Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s trip to Russia escaped detection by the FBI because he used an alias. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said Monday that Tsarnaev’s name was misspelled and Tsarnaev’s correct name never went into the system. Then it was reported “Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said Tuesday that the government’s internal system “pinged” when Tamerlan Tsarnaev left the U.S. for Russia last year, in a statement that appeared to conflict with earlier suggestions that the trip went unnoticed.” Then we hear the CIA and others had him listed.

Putting all that together we have one highly placed insider saying they missed Tamerlan trip to Russia because he used an alias, another similarly situated saying it wasn’t that but it his name was misspelled, and a final one in a like position saying we knew all along that he went to Russia. I guess that’s what happens with spinning. It gets one’s head spinning.

I’d suggest to the FBI that rather than saying as it did last Saturday, “no further comment,” it’d be best to say: “we’re gathering the facts and we’ll hold a press conference and tell you what we can about this.” Then when the members of Congress like Rogers who are anxious to help it want inside information, tell them you’ll let them know after the facts are figured out. Suggest to him the best way to help is let you do your job.

From what I’ve been reading the FBI at its press conference in this case would say (which it is finally getting out to the press though friendly members of Congress and “high placed sources”) that: ““The name of the dead Boston Marathon bombing suspect was included in a federal government travel-screening database in 2011 after the FBI investigated the man at Russia’s request. . . . An airline misspelled Tsarnaev’s name when it submitted the list of passengers on Tsarnaev’s flight to Russia in January 2012″  but still the Homeland Security Department picked it up and checked his name “through government databases, including the terrorist watch list.”

“U.S. officials recognized that Tsarnaev, the subject of a 2011 FBI inquiry, was on the flight. He . . .  faced no additional scrutiny because the FBI had by that time found no information connecting Tsarnaev to terrorism.”

The FBI should come out and tell us that: “In 2011, Russia asked the FBI to look into Tsarnaev Tsarnaev [saying he] had changed drastically since 2010 as he prepared to leave the U.S. to join unspecified underground groups.”  Having received the Russian request, “The FBI interviewed Tsarnaev and his relatives and didn’t find any terrorism activity. FBI agents conducted an “assessment,” an inquiry with a relatively low level of intrusiveness . . . [to] obtain publicly available information, check government records, peruse the Internet and request information from the public. . . . [I]t checked U.S. government databases and other information to look for derogatory phone conversations, possible use of online sites associating with promoting radical activity and associations with other persons of interest, Tsarnaev’s travel history, plans and education.

The FBI did not find any derogatory information on Tsarnaev and a criminal case was not opened. The FBI shared its results with Russia in the summer of 2011. The FBI asked Russia for more information on Tsarnaev but never received any.” It thereafter closed out its case against him.

If that is what happened then we have a starting point.  We don’t have it unless the FBI lays out what it did. We’ve seen that what it did is not enough The FBI can admit this. It should point out where it failed and what it will do to tweak its system. I’d suggest it keep the case in an active status even though no one is working on it actively so that if the person’s name pops somewhere else it will be notified. It can pull the person’s file every 6 months up to five or ten years for a review.

The FBI should never slam the door shut on something as important as this.  It shouldn’t expect surrogates to get the story straight. It should forget the embarrassment, especially if it did what it was supposed to do, and tell us what went right and what went wrong. We know J. Edgar Hoover wanted us to believe his agents were supermen.  But we don’t. We realize they are just like the rest of us and are fully capable of making mistakes. It really is time for the FBI to open up and level with us.

FBI Spin: Unnecessarily Adds To The Confusion

Former FBI  Agent 1989–1994; member of the Former FBI  Agents Society, Begins the Spins

Former FBI Agent 1989–1994; member of the Former FBI Agents Society, Begins the Spins

When the FBI said on Saturday it wasn’t going to comment anymore, I expressed my chagrin noting all the questions that were up in the air.  I stated I wasn’t suggesting the FBI did anything wrong, but I thought that we deserved some answers. The 9/11 Commission had been critical of the FBI and I wondered if it had changed at all.

The tragedy in the FBI not being responsive is that it seems it is hiding something. This is so especially when last Sunday — two days after the Big Chase and Shelter In — House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) pictured above jumped up to defend the FBI’s handling of the Marathon Terrorist Attack especially the manner in which it handled the matter involving deceased Boston bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev.

I don’t suppose that Mike Rogers was a former FBI agent had anything to do with him hurrying out with his opinion. My reaction was great concern that a man in his position is imbued with the FBI’s culture of “not embarrassing the family.” I asked myself is he interested in our nation’s best interest or protecting the FBI.

Mike Rogers was out there spinning. I suggest, and I’ll explain this more tomorrow, this was unnecessary. I’d guess that someone in the FBI figured out after the weekend that it’d be best not to hide what it had done. It has begun to set out what it did, although through “people not authorized to speak” and if what is coming out is true, then the FBI did all it should have done.

Here is what we heard from Rogers about the FBI: “I don’t think they missed anything – you can’t ask them to do something with nothing, I think they were very prudent and very thorough, by my review. . . . They had information from a foreign intelligence service that they were concerned about his possible radicalization. And so they went from there. The F.B.I. did their due diligence and did a very thorough job about trying to run that to ground. And then asks some more help from that intelligence service to try to get further clarification. And unfortunately, that intelligence service stopped cooperating. So what happens is that case gets closed down.”

After hearing that I’m supposed to think it’s the Russians fault. The Russians told the FBI Tamerlan was a terrorist. The FBI did a “very through job” but we are not told what it did. At some point the FBI asked for more information from the Russians. We’re told nothing about the request. Did it ask once, twice or more times. Who asked? An lowly agent or a someone highly placed in DC. Then  we’re told the Russian’s stopped cooperating? What does it mean the Russians “stopped cooperating,” did they say they weren’t going to do anything or was it one message to the Russians wasn’t answered and the file was closed?

My reaction is, “Come on Congressman, be specific. Facts not conclusions. We’ve been attacked by terrorists. “Due diligence” doesn’t cut it. What exactly did the FBI do and what did the Russians do”.

How does a case against a terror suspect get closed down just because the Russians don’t cooperate? Is that FBI policy? We have a person suspected of being a terrorist in our midst, in America, and we don’t pursue it because the Russians don’t respond to our request for more information. That also doesn’t pass the believability test. If that’s what really happened how can you say they “were prudent and thorough?” 

I’m saying to myself “all we are asking Congressman Rogers is not to tell us things are all right and that our eyes and minds are lying to us. Let us see the records. Let us know what was given to the FBI, what it did with the information, and how it missed the biggest terrorist attack since 9/11.”

Congressman Rogers went on to say it was likely Tamerlan was radicalized during that six month stay. “He, we believe, may have actually traveled on an alias to get back to his home country. In that seven months, six and a half months or so, becomes extremely important. So you know he had some radicalization before he left. You know that he didn’t probably travel on his own name or some variation of his own name. And when he comes back, he has a renewed interest in that radicalization belief process.”

Do we know any of this or is this something Rogers is throwing out as a smoke screen? Is this the new line the FBI is trying to spin out that there was confusion about what he did when he went back home because he changed his name? Does that mean they were still following him in 2012? How does it make sense that a foreign national is able to leave the US using some other name and return with that alias? If I leave my middle initial out of some form when I travel abroad I’m immediately stopped.

Rogers rushed in to help it the FBI but he made matters worse. We now had more questions than we had before. I’m sure someone inside the FBI saw the spin was hurting it.  Other members of Congress were demanding answers. The public wasn’t buying it. Finally someone realized it had to change its approach.

She came up with a novel idea. Let’s stop hiding. Let’s tell what really happened. And from what I’ve read over the last few hours that’s what the FBI seems to have done.

Tuesday: USA Is In Trouble: Our Leaders Have Failed Us

Sun Sets on The American Flag

Sun Sets on The American Flag

Yesterday I pointed to the many questions that remain unanswered about the Marathon Terrorist Attack (MTA). I told how the FBI is now in shut down mode. I said we’d never get the answers to our questions.

The reason why is there is no one that controls the FBI. It does what it wants to do without oversight. A look at a couple of events in Boston shows this.

The Boston Globe talking about the Marathon Terrorist Attacks reports“US Representative Stephen Lynch, whose district includes parts of Boston, said Saturday that he has a number of questions for US and Russian officials about what they knew about the brothers, and when.” 

That couldn’t be the same Congressman Stephen Lynch who was concerned about the FBI’s use of Mafia Bigwig Mark Rossetti as a Top Echelon informant after the FBI told us at the end of the debacle involving Whitey Bulger that it wouldn’t do such things anymore. When it was revealed that the FBI in Boston told this Mafia chief that its job was to keep him safe, the Globe reported: “Lynch said in an interview yesterday that he has demanded a briefing from the FBI’s Washington offices on the guidelines the agency must follow in handling informants, particularly those with criminal histories. The request was granted and is being scheduled, he said.” 

That Globe report was on August 11, 2011. 20 months ago. He still hasn’t had a briefing on this simple matter. 20 months of being pushed around by the FBI. Lynch has lost interest. Apparently it is easier to run for US Senate than to take on the FBI. His opponent now has similar concerns but he too has feared holding the FBI to account.

Lynch went on to say according to that article, “he believes Congress must ultimately play a role in getting more answers and determining if the attack could have been stopped.”  We all believe that, Congressman. But the actions of yourself and your fellow Congressmen tell us it will never happen since it will involve questioning FBI actions which you fearful of doing.

Remember 9/11? Remember the 9/11 commission report. Here’s what the N.Y. Times said about what it found. “Information sharing within the F.B.I. . . .  is sluggish, in part because the bureau’s field offices have excessive autonomy and in part because the agency is mysteriously unable to adopt a modern communications system. The F.B.I. is an excellent police department, but that is all it is. Of all the agencies involved in intelligence and counterterrorism, the F.B.I. comes out worst in the commission’s report.”  As far as it now appears, nothing has changed.

We can argue until the cows come home whether the FBI could have stopped 9/11; but it seems with the Marathon Terrorist Attack there’s some real concerns that must be addressed. I asked some of the many obvious questions yesterday.

Yet we’re again facing a shut door. How can this be in a free country that the people have waited 20 months to find out why the FBI is still protecting guys like Rossetti and now won’t tell us anything that it did with respect to protecting us from guys like Tamerlan Tsarnaev.

How can it be in America that the one group that is supposed to control the FBI, our elected representatives in Congress, is afraid to confront it?  I’ve listed in my book Don’t Embarrass The Family fifteen steps that should be taken to make the FBI a better agency. Had some of them been done, we wouldn’t be where we are today.

What about our president, Barack Obama?  Won’t he help us beyond his nice words? This MTA happened on his watch. It happened under the leadership of the present director who seems to have done little to change that detective agency since 9/11.

Obama must appoint a new strong director who will straighten this agency out and open the doors? If he keeps the same one who is already two years beyond his statutory limit he is content to give us the same type FBI we saw under J. Edgar Hoover, one that protects itself and not the people.

Let me remind Obama of what he said: “My Administration is committed to creating an unprecedented level of openness in Government.  We will work together to ensure the public trust and establish a system of transparency, public participation, and collaboration. Openness will strengthen our democracy and promote efficiency and effectiveness in Government.”

What is it Obama? Will you walk the talk or take a walk. The fat is on the fire. Do you want a strong America for the people or one where our leaders hide from the people for fear of embarrassment? If mistakes were made, admit them so they won’t happen again.

We have four dead Americans and many seriously maimed and injured. We want to know if this could be prevented. We don’t have 20 months or more to wait. We have to know what is going on behind the walls of the FBI.


The USA is in Trouble: The Reaction to the Marathon Terrorist Attack Shows Why.

The FBI leading Congress and the President.

The FBI leading Congress and the President.

Our country is in trouble. We have a secret police force, the FBI, which refuses to be accountable to the public; an enfeebled Congress that is too scared to take control; and a president who offers comforting words but fears telling the FBI to give us the answers we seek.

It’s time this stops. We should not face a shut door. We’re not to be treated as if our only right is not to know the truth. It is only the truth that will keep us free..

The president and Congress are supposed to govern with the consent of the people. Our lives and safety have been compromised by terrorism. It will happen again if we aren’t told the full circumstances surrounding the Marathon Terrorist Attack on Patriot’s Day. We can no long be given the bum’s rush. This isn’t supposed to be like Russia where the people are kept in the dark and expected to trust the leaders and the KGB.

Bryan Bender of the Boston Globe reported: “The FBI acknowledged Friday night that a foreign government had asked the US for information about Tamerlan Tsarnaev, based on information that he was a follower of “radical Islam.”  In response, the FBI investigated and interviewed Tamerlan and family members. “The FBI did not find any terrorism activity, domestic or foreign,” the bureau said. On Saturday, the FBI said it would have no further comment”

Are you surprised the FBI is now in a shut down mode? You shouldn’t be if you’ve read my book Don’t Embarrass the Family?  Tell me what you think the Bureau is now doing. Do you think it is looking to find out the truth and preparing to tell us what happened? Or do you think it is trying to find out how best to spin the issue and cover-up?  Is the FBI more concerned with itself than the country?

I’d like to know why the FBI said “foreign government” rather than Russia. Even in that little thing it can’t really level with us. I’d like to know exactly what the FBI did. I feel like I’m about to walk into a room where I will reach a long sought after goal and the door is abruptly slammed in my face. I want to know what is going on inside.

I’m not suggesting the FBI did anything wrong here. A 2010 or 2011 request from Russian to check in on a guy from Chechnya may have produced a thorough follow-up and no red flags were raised. Chechens were not known, as far as I know, to have any problems with the USA although they’re at war with Russia.

The FBI agents, if they knew that, would have that in mind interviewing the guy. They might have figured this was Russia’s problems and not ours. That’s understandable. But tell us. Did the FBI follow-up with the Russians? What was done by whom? Tell us what happened, that’s all we ask.

What did the report of the interview say? Were there follow-up meetings with Tamerlan. Were other investigations conducted? Was he put on some type of watch list? Did the FBI try to turn him into an informant? Did it play any part in his alienation from America by doing this?

Did the FBI know about his 6 month sojourn last year to Russia. What did the FBI know about his doings while in Dagestan?  When was its last contact with him? It’s reported in the New York Times that, “One month after he returned to the United States, a YouTube page that appeared to belong to him was created and featured multiple jihadist videos.” Did the FBI know that? If so, what did it do? If not, why not? Did the FBI know of his ever-increasing radical leanings? Does it know of the radical imam in the Boston area who influenced him by preaching hate about America?

The NY Times in the same article reported that Tamerlan applied for American citizenship on Sept. 5 last year. “The Department of Homeland Security, however, had decided not to grant a petition from Tamerlan for United States citizenship after officials found a record in his files that he had been interviewed by the F.B.I. His petition was held for further review.” The FBI had some concerns that it made its actions know to Homeland Security. What were they. Did Homeland Security contact the FBI?

Even more, when the FBI honed in on the two terrorists and secured their pictures, did it show them to the agents who had been in contact with Tamerlan? Did it check its files to see if anyone in the Boston area might fit that person’s description? Why did it ask for the public’s help if it could have used internal sources such as matching the passport picture of Tamerlan with the video surveillance?

How do we open the door to find out what is going on in face of the FBI’s slamming it  shut? That’s why we’re in trouble. We have no key. In the most important investigation in Boston’s history the FBI says  “it would have no further comment.”

This shows how much our politicians have failed us. I’ll explain how tomorrow

Understanding Miranda In The Context of The Marathon Terrorist Attack

I'm Not Referring To This Miranda.

I’m Not Referring To This Miranda.

I’ve told this story before. It’s appropriate I tell it again. I was a young lawyer during the days when the Warren Court was changing the law in a very substantial manner when it came to defendant rights. It started applying the guarantees in the Bill of Rights to the states using the mechanism of the 14th Amendment. No longer could the states violate a person’s Fourth or Fifth Amendment rights.

We were confronted with terms like “fruit of the poisonous tree” that forbid the government from using information at trial which was discovered after an illegal action by the government. The Supreme Court ventured into the area of admissions and confessions under the Fifth Amendment. Concerned that people did not know their rights before they gave statements to the police, it set out in the Miranda decision certain standards the state had to meet before it could use a person’s statements which contained admissions or confessions against her.

These became known as the Miranda warnings. You’ve all heard them. A person in custody must be told she has, the right to remain silent, anything she says can be used against her, and she has the right to a lawyer’s presence prior to being questioned.

Miranda came down in 1966. My story involving this criminal I’ll call Henri took place a few years after Miranda but during the time when the Warren court seemed hell-bent on finding more reasons to invalidate or improve police actions.

Henri wanted to hire me to represent him. Henri had had prior brushes with the law, at least that’s what he like to call his prior arrests. He told me that this time he’d been arrested inside a building with burglar tools. He was caught cold by a couple of Boston cops as he was jimmying open a safe-type container looking for money.  After listening to his sad tale, I told him I’d be glad to do what I could but I didn’t see much chance of beating the case. He’d have to plead guilty and I’d see what type deal I could work out for him but it probably would involve him doing some time.

He shook his head suggesting I didn’t understand. I asked him what’s wrong. He said I didn’t get it. I wasn’t asking the right question. After a bit back and forth he said, “you didn’t ask me if I’d been Mirandized.” I agreed. It had nothing to do with the case.

Miranda applies to out of court statements the state plans to use in court against the person. In Henri’s case the state didn’t need any admissions from him, it had him cold. He even hadn’t made any admissions.

He didn’t like my answer. He’d been told if he didn’t get his Miranda rights he couldn’t be prosecuted. He went off to get another lawyer who agreed that the failure to give a Miranda warning when one wasn’t necessary was a bar to a prosecution.

Now with respect to the captured terrorist, Dzhokhar “Joker”  Tsarnaev, Miranda raises its head and you may be confused when you hear people complaining he should be given his Miranda rights and provided an attorney. Remember my experience with Henri and you won’t get confused.

There is no need to give him his Miranda rights. The FBI now has enough evidence to convict him. If Joker clams up, it will not affect the FBI’s case in the slightest. In other words, nothing he says is needed to convict him. So the FBI should feel free to work him over until it gets every last bit of information out of him since it does not need to use it against him in court. Miranda only prevents the statements from being used in court. The Fifth Amendment’s prohibition is against forcing a person to incriminate himself, not to incriminate others.

You may hear talk of a “public safety” exception to Miranda. That’s really a side issue. The Supreme Court did say Miranda does not have to be given if the cops are looking for information that is necessary to protect the public safety. For example, if the cops get information Henri had planted a bomb in a building and arrested him, they would not have to wait while the bomb ticks away to question him and until a lawyer showed up.

Here the FBI is alleging there may be more bombs out there or other associates planning attacks or persons with bomb supplies who may threaten the public. It’ll say in that circumstance Miranda doesn’t apply and will try to use any statements Joker makes as additional evidence against him. If it succeeds all it will do is make a strong case stronger.

So while many will yell Joker is being treated unfairly it’s a tempest in a teapot. It makes those who pretend they are the last guardians of our civil liberties feel good. I find myself in the uncomfortable position as a person who values our civil liberties and rights as much as any other person, if not more so, agreeing with Senator Lindsey Graham and some other Republicans that Joker should be treated as an “enemy combatant.”

I’m convinced his brother Tamerlan was trained in bomb making and terrorism by radical Islamists in Russia with whom he became associated. Joker joined in with him to terrorize Americans and commit an attack against us. Joker who was educated in Cambridge, had American friends, and our values decided to join in a plot to attack and terrorize us on Patriot’s Day during our celebratory marathon.

We’ve used our drones to eradicate American citizens who were just preaching against us calling them “enemy combatants.” We’ve got to keep constant and strong in our approach to terrorism. Now’s not the time to show weakness. The  victims of the Marathon Terrorist Attack deserve this. Let’s not put them and their families through the torture of a federal court hearing in Boston. Ship Joker off to Guantanamo and give him a trial when the War on Terror ends.