Matt Connolly's Views on Boston, the Nation and the World

Emphasizing Criminal Justice and Politics

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

Matt Connolly's Views on Boston, the Nation and the World - Emphasizing Criminal Justice and Politics

End of Day Wednesday July 10, 2013 – An FBI Update

An FBI Informant About To Embark On A Mission

All day we dealt with the digging up of the bodies who are alleged to have been victims of Whitey. Dr. Mirer who also teaches is taking us through a step by step recovery of each body. I’m learning a lot about how to unearth a body and some new words like unarticulated which means with respect to a dead body that the bones are not lined up as you’d expect them to be in a person who was buried in a way we’ve become accustomed to doing.

Carney has been objecting every once and a while when  Dr. Mirer indicated she relied on somone else’s opinion and her own incoming up with a conclusion. I don’t see the purpose. With respect to the bodies if Whitey had nothing to do with them what difference does it make if a little hearsay evidence comes in, or alternatively, if he did have an involvement in the murder there would also be little difference.  The bodies will be identified and the cause of death will be determined. That’s the significance and essense of the testimony and it does not seem to be in dispute.

But away from the trial a bit, I saw this article in the Boston Globe.  it says: “Representative Michael McCaul, a Republican from Texas, [chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee] criticized the FBI for not appearing before the committee.” Wikipedia says McCaul “was the Chief of Counterterrorism and National Security for Texas’s branch of the US Attorney‘s office also worked under the Department of Justice‘s Public Integrity Section. McCaul was appointed Deputy Attorney General in 1998 and served in this capacity until 2002.”

McCaul said: ““The FBI has refused to appear, and continues to refuse this committee’s appropriate requests for information and documents crucial to our investigation into what happened in Boston.”

The FBI blew him off saying, “It’s an ongoing investigation and a pending prosecution.”

Sound familiar?

 

Category: Uncategorized
  • khalid says:

    Alex,

    The FBI’s creeping internationalism is nothing new. At the start WWII, there was an intense jurisdictional struggle between Hoover’s FBI, and, Bill Donovan’s OSS. FDR was wary of Hoover, and, not overly fond of his quirky personality, on the other hand, Roosevelt was captivated by Donovan, a guy who had earned a CMH commanding an infantry battalion during the first world war. Donovan was also a successful business man. Hoover just couldn’t compete. Donovan attracted excellent talent to the OSS, men like Casey, and, Angleton, to name just a couple. Hoover was consumed with jealousy, and, objected to the existence of the OSS, convinced that the FBI should handle intelligence matters both foreign and domestic. Donovan won out, and, the FBI was restricted from operating in the European, and, Asian theaters. As a sop to Hoover’s wounded pride, FDR allowed Hoover to open offices in the capitals of Latin America. When the war ended, Truman decided that the FBI should handle domestic matters, and, the OSS (soon to become the CIA)would be tasked with foreign intelligence gathering. Hoover was forced to close his Latin American offices. Ever since that, there has been undercurrent of competition between the two organizations. At times, that competition has flared into an outright bureaucratic hostility that has limited intelligence sharing between the FBI, and, CIA, to this day.

    July 12, 2013 at 1:19 am
    • mtc9393 says:

      Khalid:

      Thanks. Good summary of the history between Hoover and Donovan. What I know about it makes me believe you are right on the money.

      July 12, 2013 at 7:10 am
    • Jon says:

      Khalid,

      Nice post. If I recall correctly, the 9/11 Commission report gets into this as well and how it played a role in the inability to pick up on the 9/11 plot.

      Have you read Tim Weiner’s Legacy of Ashes? I have a friend who likes to call the CIA the organization that “can’t investigate anything”. It’s not just the FBI that seems to fail in its task time and time again.

      July 12, 2013 at 8:09 am
      • khalid says:

        ~ Jon,

        I haven’t read that title. How recent was it penned? I worked from memory on that comment. Your question sent me out to the barn to rummage through boxes of old books. No luck, but, I remember enough about two books I’d read to, perhaps, identify them. They were both memoire/exposes by former agents published in the mid to late sixties. One was titled “The FBI Nobody Knows.” It was written by one of the first Jewish guys to be recruited by the Bureau. I have forgotten the title of the second book, but, do recollect that it’s author was an agent by the name of Sullivan who had risen to the #3 position in the FBI hierarchy under Hoover. Both books are very informative, and, they are entertaining reads. Be alert for occasional whiffs of sour grapes.

        July 13, 2013 at 11:17 pm
        • mtc9393 says:

          Khalid:

          Sullivan’s book was: “The Bureau: Thirty Years in Hoover’s FBI” He was accidentally killed in a hunting accident before publication.

          July 16, 2013 at 10:12 am
    • "Alex McCoy" says:

      I knew they had a turf battle,,, but your knowledge and details give a much better hint at the dynamic involved.

      File: “Can’t we all just get along?”

      July 12, 2013 at 1:40 pm
      • mtc9393 says:

        Alex:

        Dpn’t think there are many things in that file.

        July 13, 2013 at 11:49 am
  • Firefly says:

    Matt,
    I’ll try to answer the questions like you do with William and Neal – and just let me say how much I appreciate you, first, and also all of these people who are talking with you and educating me – and try not to be intimidated by people who have so much more knowledge about the goings on.

    Paragraph 1: Funny, I felt a sense of the story being manipulated. But I’m not sure why. It’s been fairly well established, based on the fact that the three guys had ordered food from the Italian Kitchen, and there was no answer when the delivery person tried to deliver that the murders occurred on the evening of September 11, 2011. This wasn’t talked about too much at first, leaving the idea that they occurred on September 12th.

    Paragraph 2: Yes, Matt, I find it strange, very strange, that Bill Keating would feel the need to do that. And I never took it that he was trying to stick it to the FBI so much as that he’s from here and he’s not gonna take the Marathon blown up without doing something about it. Our own FBI guy, who I liked just fine, was very agitated when putting out the white hat, black hat pictures. By the time Collier was ambushed, the Mercedes guy kidnapped, and the shoot outs, he was a shadow of his former self. Hey, I still trusted him. And then he retired.

    Paragraph 3: I do notice that unidentified sources are out there. That’s what I liked about our FBI guy; he was brainy and efficient and told us what was going on. Except for those pictures. Now they were a mistake. Did someone set our FBI guy up? Or did he just figure we weren’t going to ask questions?

    Paragraph 4: I don’t know about it being a drug deal gone bad. It’s more like Dexter tries to make it look like a drug deal gone bad.

    July 11, 2013 at 4:07 pm
    • mtc9393 says:

      Firefly:

      I don’t know why you’d be intimidated since we’re all in the process of learning and one way to do it, probably the best, is to ask questions about things you don’t know. By asking we all get a chance to consider it and just because people might have some initials after their names doesn’t mean they know any more about the subject hey are discussing if it is outside their specialty. Even those lawyers with Esq may know less about the street or have less common sense than many others. No one is graded her or is insulted. We just try to do our best to learn.
      And by the way, do me a favor, and don’t pay too much attention to William and N. What I just said about not knowing things applies in spades to them.
      I’ll come back to you with your numbers:
      1. True – I’ll buy that it could have happened on 9/11. But isn’t the idea behind doing a killing on a date like that is to let the public know that was the purpose of the three murders. It’s just so many things pointing the other way like leaving 5,000 behind and the marijuana sprinkled on the body. Some say that was done to make it look like it was drug related, but if your purpose is to, for a better word, celebrate the 9/11 with a little 3 man 9/11 then why hide it by pretending it is something else. The NY Times article hinted that it was an anti-Semetic attack with two of the victims being Jews and Tamerlan being a Muslim but how would 9/11 tie into that, why not on a Jewish holiday.

      2. If Keating wanted to do something about it, he should be continuing in that mind set. I don’t hear that he has done any talking on this since his Russian junket. Why isn’t he shouting out for information from the FBI? Did he forget about it? I don’ think Deslauriers was a bad guy. He was probably taking directions from some poohbahs in DC who were telling him what to do. He was being thrown out there while they were pulling the strings. But someone has to tell us what the thought process was behind showing the photographs and setting of the madcap events that followed. Wouldn’t it have been better to keep it all in house and pass the photos clandestinely among the agents (some supposedly had interviewed him) or other local cops before alerting the bombers they had been detected.

      3. The FBI loves to leak things to the media. In Tsarnaev’s case we heard he attacked with a knife, a sword, a pipe, a table, all from official FBI leaks but we’ve not heard what happened. My unidentified source told me that they were playing Russian roulette with him. By the way speaking of Russian, didn’t the Russians first tell us it had told the FBI about Tarmerlan before the FBI owned up to it. If the Russians didn’t tell, we’d still not know.

      4. As I said above you don’t kill to commmemerate a specific event and then disguise what you have done.

      Thanks for writing.

      July 11, 2013 at 8:05 pm
      • Firefly says:

        Matt:

        1. So it happens on 9/11/11. $5,000 is left behind. Pot is left behind. Each man’s throat is slashed, each man is laid face down with head turned to the side. Each man is in a different room.

        How about this? There were tons of money and tons of drugs there, so Tsarnaev and Todashev decide to kill the three guys and make it look like a 9/11 thing.

        Somehow Todashev is reported to have paid like $25,000 in cash for the knee surgery. He’s living with a beautiful 19 year old Russian here to brush up on her English, and his ex-wife says she was supporting him while he wasn’t working; which, speaking of working and speaking of ex-wives, how does that work?

        I live a very quiet life.

        July 12, 2013 at 7:27 am
        • mtc9393 says:

          Firefly:

          Who can know? Maybe you are right. If we are to believe the rumors out of the kiling in Florida Todashev was about to write out a confession to the murders. I’d have thought if it were to be related to 9/11, and remember that is the theory being used to connect Todashev and Tamerlan, someone would have written on the wall in blood, “remember 9/11.” My experience suggests its a drug hit and I think the state troopers investigating the case felt the same thing. We could be totally wrong.

          I’d be surprised if the report of the 25,000 was correct – I’d suggest Medicaid paid for it. The Russian beauty probably was happy to find another Russian speaker. I’ve always been surprised at the amount of money people living on the edge seem to be able to come up with.

          July 12, 2013 at 8:53 am
  • Firefly says:

    And for all the money that has gone to increased police presence and technology, nevermind armor-plated everything and SWAT teams to appear in towns that have not had a murder in decades – if ever – and for all that money, the citizens of Waltham and Cambridge were left defenseless. No one knew anything.

    Except for the Russians.

    *blink*

    July 11, 2013 at 7:11 am
    • mtc9393 says:

      Firefly”

      Thanks for bringing this up – the armaments given to our police forces can’t be to suppress an foreign enemy since there are none who’d giving passing thought to invading us – why do we have all these ” armor-plated everything and SWAT teams” appearing in every city and town of the nation? – is it to protect our government from an enemy that is lurking among us – the people – and you are right – who do we turn to for info – the Russians – yet we all walk around thinking “hey I don’t do nothing wrong so what do I care.”

      July 11, 2013 at 12:59 pm
      • Firefly says:

        I think, Matt, of Bill Keating traveling to Russia to read the documents which had been sent to the FBI and CIA. He was satisfied that we were warned.

        I looked for any follow up from the press. Maybe I didn’t look hard enough.

        And then Todashev? Have you seen the front page of the NYT?

        http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/11/us/boston-bombing-suspect-is-said-to-be-linked-to-2011-triple-murder-case.html?pagewanted=1&_r=0&hp

        There were kids going to school, living in off campus housing all over Waltham. Kids from all over the Commonwealth at UMass Dartmouth. Kids everywhere. I am well and truly frightened by a willingness to disregard their safety.

        July 11, 2013 at 1:36 pm
        • mtc9393 says:

          Firefly:

          Thanks for the article. I just read it. Some of it seems off the mark.

          Yes Keating went to Russia but don’t you find that odd that he had to do that when he’s a member of Congress. Yes, he said the FBI screwed up but since then he’s been shut down and the others on the trip with him have said the FBI couldn’t have done anything. It’s all such nonsense because we (the people) are shut out of the process. We don’t ahve the first idea of what the warning was about or what was done pursuant to it. Everyone wants to go on beyond that. No one wants to say why are Congress people who work in DC down the street from FBI headquarters going to Russia to find out what the FBI knew. If you put that in a comic book people would question your sanity.

          Notice how everything about the FBI is from an unidentified source. That could be a guy who sweeps the office building.

          The NY Times article seems to indicate that the triple murder investigation seems to have been bungled but the information the cops had at the time was that it was a drug deal gone bad and that is actually what probably happened.

          July 11, 2013 at 2:35 pm
  • Firefly says:

    I guess, notoboyo, my experience with the grunts has been different.
    They’re the ones who follow our kids around and bust them for a few grams of pot.
    And they still expect us to thank them, as some do in local talk radio, for getting up in the morning.

    Wait….

    Yeah, it’s over. it’s just hard to forget how many parents were scared to let their kids go out, terrified they’d lose their chance for financial aid. You want some stories? Call for families’ stories of abuse by grunts, as you call them. Absolute abuse.

    July 11, 2013 at 6:56 am
    • mtc9393 says:

      Firefly:

      A long time ago I wrote about the criminal justice system and how there are way too many acts that are treated as crimes; I’ve also written that there are too many juvenile courts and young people arrested for incidents that at one time were considered to be nothing. Growing up I can’t tell you how many times the Boston cops could have arrested me or my friends but just told us to wise up or would just take our beer or give us a smack.

      It all changed with the onslaught of overtime pay where cops who weren’t making that much could add to their pay by making arrests. It was also changed with the idea that society knew better how to raise individuals than parents and a no tolerant consideration where minor acts began to be treated as criminal.

      The problem with society is thinking that cops are any different than the rest of us.

      July 11, 2013 at 11:47 am
  • khalid says:

    The Russians are fond of switching acronyms; the KGB is now called the Federal Security Service (FSS). Same folks, different initials.

    July 11, 2013 at 12:57 am
    • "Alex McCoy" says:

      Khalid,
      With the “Federal” Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI’s) ever expanding “international” reach (ignoring such pesky things as good old fashioned notions of “jurisdiction” and limitation language in establishment provisions) and with the name change in Russia to the “Federal” Security Services, and with Russia having reported the Boston Bombers to the FBI which I think actually surprised many, do you think it would bear watching to see if other “regions” are restructuring their “federal” security services to report to the “Federal” Bureau of Investigation, as well? Would it stand to follow that what is happening is a major global shift which is now allowing the “FBI” to decide, not just here in Boston, but worldwide what it wants or doesn’t want to do with information? In other words, has the FBI positioned itself for a much larger, global role out there, especially now that it can since their long-standing turf battle with the CIA has been won as soon as they damaged Patreaus? In other words, maybe the FBI doesn’t share information with “Congress” because “Congress” no longer has any real power over it and worse, their acts in doing so would be considered “treasonous” and “disloyal” and maybe even “espionage” to that unnamed world body to which it seems it really reports….If we remember that law enforcement is just a job as Patty passionately asserts above, the reminder that everyone – everyone – has a “boss” might come in handy. Accordingly, Does the FBI as an organization answer only to itself, or does it too have a boss? Who? And, who in turn, is that person’s boss? (I would suspect that, under the job-boss application, that even mob bosses have bosses. Hmm. Thought building…I’ll hold off on that one for now.)

      Anyway, if the real boss of the FBI is telling the FBI to take over an International role and ignore Congress – than the FBI does not work for this country. The FBI’s “job description” has been “restructured” and, as such, they give a whole new meaning to the classification of “Ex-Pat” to use Human Resources terminology.

      Most troubling is that the American public remains ignorant – by choice. They “think that it can’t happen again, or here.” To talk of it, immediately marginalizes a person.

      So, like cows in a storm, we keep on munching away while the storm cloud builds. Like big, fat cows in a storm, we don’t even go in, hunker down and take cover. Like cows in a storm, we are getting rained on and are experiencing one helluva a “twister.” Like cows in a storm, we do nothing to avoid getting blown away or struck by lightning bolts – “double” lightning bolts, it would seem.

      Sometimes there is a whole lot more to a “name” than many think. Names. People might want to pay more attention to “names” and shifts in names – and more importantly – when there is a distinct “absence” of one, or alternatively “repetition” of certain key names/words suddenly appearing. Bureacrats spend hours laboring over what name to call a new initiative or agency and what acronym it might yield. “Brand marketing” spends billions on the “right names for products.” A person’s name can have meaning and collective conscious associated to it. For example, if I say “she is such a Marcia” or “she is such a Jan” or “she is such a Daphne” or “she is such a Velma” you get what I am really saying. A name is one of the most powerful aspects of “identity.”

      “That, my dear Shakespeare, is what’s in a name.”

      But The corollary to that is this: if one does not have a “name” they cannot be readily “identified” and therefore who can really go after him/them? Remember how difficult it was for Bush to communicate about the 9/11 terrorists until he gave them a name and all we heard over and over again in the media was “Al Queda”. He seemed however to leave out some important “family names” as indicated by the Miami Herald article linked above.

      I guess “names” are just an extension of the “if it isn’t in writing” tactic. If it isn’t in writing, and/or doesn’t have a name, it doesn’t exist – or, does it?

      July 11, 2013 at 7:28 am
      • Jon says:

        Alex McCoy,

        “Remember how difficult it was for Bush to communicate about the 9/11 terrorists until he gave them a name and all we heard over and over again in the media was “Al Queda”?”

        Not sure if you are literally saying that the Bush administration is responsible for coming up with the name “Al Qaeda” to attach to the 9/11 terrorists. If so, there is actually a history behind the term Al Qaeda. It simply means “the base” and evolved from the Mahktab al Khidmat, or Services Bureau, run by Abdullah Azzam in northwestern Pakistan during the Soviet jihad, specifically in Peshawar. Azzam was Bin Laden’s mentor until the latter allegedly (though it will never be proven) orchestrated the former’s assassination and took over the organization. The organization then evolved in the Sudan and then Afghanistan, merging with the Taliban and other jihadist groups over the years. It was a well-defined threat before 9/11, just not one the public paid attention to until 9/11.

        July 11, 2013 at 8:12 am
        • "Alex McCoy" says:

          No, no – and thank you for the opportunity to clarify – that was not what I was saying. I know that. It’s just that we the American public had not really heard of it/them until then – which begs the question does the fault adhere to those who do not put such information out there early enough as warnings (didn’t the Bush administration get advance warnings on 9/11 as it the Obama administration got advance warnings on Boston?) – or does fault rest with all of us cows in the field who do not pay attention to early signs. Yet, if they know of the early signs and we don’t – and they know of others that are involved and we don’t – as the article and new evidence from the Boston Bombings suggest – how are we happy cows ever to know and really pay attention?

          July 11, 2013 at 9:02 am
          • Jon says:

            Ok thanks, I understand. And yes, there were warnings that AQ was plotting something (well, many things) but it’s not as if the CIA had information on exactly what would happen and when. In fact, in regards to that memo received by Rice et al, or Richard Clarke screaming and trying to get the attention of the NSC
            (details escape me now), one should note that this was all happening in 2001 BEFORE the hijackers bought their flight tix, which happened sometime end of August. So even the hijackers decided very late on when they would pull it off. Bottom line, as I’ve always argued is that the failure to prevent 9/11 was a failure of imagination – that is, a failure to see and appreciate that these crazy jihadists actually were serious about flying planes into buildings and had the skills to do it. Moreover, the 9/11 Commission report describes in detail the bureaucratic failures – lack of information sharing and the famous Phoenix memo sent by SA Ken Williams to FBI HQ about putting a list together of aviation schools because OBL was possibly sending students to these schools. The recommendation was ignored. FBI’s head of CT David Frasca was responsible…and was subsequently promoted by the Bush administration after 9/11. Go figure.

            July 11, 2013 at 10:38 am
          • mtc9393 says:

            Jon:

            Agree – we need people of imagination and we have them in the FBI but it seems they are not allowed to think in imaginative ways – only in the way those without imaginations who reached the top thought.

            We will only win this war by utilizing our talent to the maximum and allowing people to think outsede the box. As for someone failing in the job and being promoted that seems to be routine in our government especially in the FBI – it’s a way to promote conformity and allegiance because if you’re put in a spot you don’t deserve you owe someone a favor.

            July 11, 2013 at 1:43 pm
          • "Alex McCoy" says:

            Hello Again Jon and thanks for more 911 insight in your response to my comments noted above and below. Where is Mr. Frasca these days precisely? Is he still in the primary chain of communication flow or lack thereof on all terror threats? Is he, in other words, a “common denominator” between 911 and Boston reviews or decisions leading to lack of action? To put it more simply – Is he the tip of the funnel?

            Question – You stated we could not imagine AQ would actually fly planes into buildings despite concrete,reliable information to that effect. Is it lack of imagination or was it complaceny and/or the state of mind – almost teenage like in youthful arrogance, sort of a sense of “it can’t happen to me – or in this case us” that we really fell prey to? Or were our leaders on it, like Frasca, nothing more than a herd of happy cows within? And if it happened before can it happen again? or are we also hamstrung by numbed beliefs that lightning can’t strike twice? Double bolts, anyone? Can’t happen again? Think the early to mid 1940′s.

            It seems with the 911 and Boston storms of terror, we lifted our heads up and moo’d a bit, and then put them right back down to graze some more, like Good Branded Cows do. I only fear that if (and when) the cow tippers out there think the cows have gone back to sleep, they’ll try to “cow-tip” us all again…milking us for everything we have and leading us to our ultimate fate as gruesome as it is, the fate that begins with an “s” but I find too horrific to even write (unless in reference to Vonnegut).

            Personally, I think we need a whole lot more Bessies and Heffers out in the field and “within” to be ringing some bells….loudly! The Whistleblower Act to wit the FBI is exempt should be amended by Congress immediately to include them and be “renamed”, “The Bell Act.”

            Just a suggestion.

            July 11, 2013 at 11:30 am
          • mtc9393 says:

            AleX:

            The cows have to mooo more and in unison

            July 11, 2013 at 1:36 pm
        • mtc9393 says:

          Jon:

          I think the name pre-dated Bush mentioning it also, but I think Alex’s point was that until the name was attached to the ones who did the 9/11 attack it was difficult defining the enemy. I should not speak for him, though.

          July 11, 2013 at 1:27 pm
          • Jon says:

            Yes, more fully catching up now and I see Alex’s point. I like the grazing analogy.

            July 11, 2013 at 11:07 pm
      • mtc9393 says:

        Alex:

        Good comment – I don’t know where to begin – so I’ll let it speak for itself. But I must say the FBI does seem to operate independently of any government but it does depend on keeping its troops in line by using the American government money supply so maybe Congress might want to put a hold on funding it to insure the boys and girls know who they are working for.

        July 11, 2013 at 1:25 pm
    • mtc9393 says:

      Khalid:

      Agree totally – imagine relying on them for information because we can’t get it from the FBI – no one would ever have believed that would happen a few years back but now it was done without anyone batting an eye.

      July 11, 2013 at 11:05 am
      • Jon says:

        Alex:

        I think you help expand and elaborate on what I meant. I can’t fully respond because I’m on my phone, but let me say first that whatever the readon 9/11 was a dramatic chilling failure of our elites. I think of it similarly to how I think of the financial crisis (which btw is more my field professionally), which is that no one believed until it was too late that housing prices would ever go down. Financial crises are notoriously difficult to predict, but regardless, when you read the 2006 Fed minutes it is remarkable how complacent the Fed was in its outlook on the housing situation. Terrible failure of our elites. Though everyone ultimately is to blame – regulators, banks, people buying houses the couldn’t afford, etc. Imagine the rate at which people were taking out interest only
        and negative amortization loans. It’s basically like thinking you’re getting an in the money call option for free.

        Anyway, I don’t know where Mr. Frasca is today. But he’s an example of what I take to be the problem – bureaucratic incompetence. The failure of our elites.

        July 11, 2013 at 12:00 pm
        • "Alex McCoy" says:

          Thank you, and someday perhaps we can enter into a verbal exchange of ideas on the very recent transfer of the Libor to the IntercontinentalExchange headed here in the US/Atlanta I believe. I am certain, if further economic disasters are to be predicted, then we might not want to miss the subtle nuances of the Libor and “EURONEXT” being managed under an American umbrella now vis a vis warnings from billionaires about mega economic disasters coming up as a result of Bernankes QEs.

          Any way, Happy day Jon.

          Gotta go graze.

          July 11, 2013 at 12:38 pm
        • mtc9393 says:

          Jon:

          How could things ever go wrong when the Maestro is in charge.

          July 11, 2013 at 1:51 pm
          • Jon says:

            Matt:

            Ha! Yes indeed. And I agree wholeheartedly about the way bureaucracy stifles imagination and cultivates conformity.

            Alex: when I have more time, maybe will take up the Libor issue with you.

            July 11, 2013 at 2:50 pm
  • khalid says:

    Earlier I made a comparison between J. Edgar Hoover and the various historical leaders of the Soviet security apparatus. That comparison was not intended to be entirely pejorative. The raison detre of both the KGB and the FBI was/is to protect their respective systems from threats both internal, and, external. Louis Althusser, the French structuralist philosopher would consider both to be repressive state apparatuses (RSA). On an organizational level, they cannot be extricated, and, isolated for analysis, from the systems they serve and protect. To attack the FBI, or, KGB, effectively, one must indict the socio-economic systems they defend.

    July 11, 2013 at 12:28 am
    • mtc9393 says:

      Khalid:

      Good point but I didn’t keep up with Louis Althusser so I don’t know what to say but it does seem to make sense that you have to consider the groups with the society in which they exist.

      July 11, 2013 at 11:04 am
  • notaboyo says:

    Fully agreed most LEO’s are honest, hardworking and dedicated. A trip to the Memrioal in DC or simply a look at all the Massachusetts law enforcement officers killed proves that.

    The real problem is not the “grunts” but the higherups who allow a culture of corruption to exist. Many cops have tried and stand up to it and in the end it was usually their undoing. careers destroyed or worse.

    The real quaestion to me is why do the powers that be not only allow but seem to encourage the behaviors that leads to something like the Whitey debacle and why did DOJ pick and choose their targets when its well know many cops and agents were on the take yet allowed to receive pensions and lucrative post career jobs ala Morris.

    Why?

    July 10, 2013 at 10:48 pm
    • mtc9393 says:

      Notaboyo:

      Right on point. If we had a different prosecutor would be looking at something totally different?

      July 11, 2013 at 11:01 am
  • Another Matthew in Texas says:

    On the lighter side, I got a kick out of the globe misquoting the forensic analyst. They quote her as saying that they determined that Hussey died from “homicidal violence,ideology unknown”. I think the ideology of the killers is rather apparent… hee hee. The word that had to have been used is etiology, which basically means source. I hold 2 certifications in digital forensics and this is a pretty standard industry term, I wouldn’t expect many to know it. Ideology, however is a high school level word, I do expect someone would have checked that.

    My favorite Globe miscue came about 20 years ago, while in college. The Globe printed a letter to the editor from “Haywood Jablomi”. No,I didn’t write it but I do have a copy in my attic.

    O.k. back to thoughtful discussion….just a little whimsy to breAk things up.

    July 10, 2013 at 10:11 pm
    • Patty says:

      Tex,

      I think the reporters quoted Ms. Mires accurately. Scratch the surface and you may find she’s not all she’s cracked up to be.

      On a different note, I once heard a story about FBI Agent John Connolly getting in a shootout early in his career in some city outside of Mass. The rumors I heard were that he acquitted himself courageously in a house full of bad guys with guns.

      I knew another Boston cop who shot an unarmed teenager in the stomach out the window of his cruiser.

      The point is that shooting someone, even a bad guy, or being shot at, doesn’t make a cop a hero or courageous.

      Another friend who was an FBI Agent described to me the thrill of walking through the halls at Quantico and feeling so much a part of a brotherhood. I thought to myself at that moment that feeling he described is the seed of corruption. No doubt it was a good, pure and honest feeling. He is the nicest guy I’ve ever met. He just couldn’t see it for what it was.

      But the fact of the matter is law enforcement is a FUCKING JOB!!! It’s not your family! It doesn’t separate you from me. It doesn’t separate you from every other citizen. You are the same. You signed up for it. If you thrive on those feelings of camaraderie and kinship then you are susceptible to favoring your employment family over average citizens, the people who you are actually sworn to protect and serve. You are dangerous to all of us outside your brotherhood. If you perceive me to be at odds with any of your brothers, then I know who you will always side with. If a cop gives me a beating in front of ten other cops, I know there will be 11 identical stories against my one story. Even cops who weren’t there will join the brotherhood’s story.

      All you cops writing on here and using terms like LEO’s are just like black people calling each other Nigger. Yes, I used the N word. You are trying to separate and distinguish yourselves from the rest of society….those who enforce the thin blue line and all the rest of the world on the other side of it. If a guy is an asshole or a pussy before he becomes a cop then afterwards he’s still just an asshole or a pussy with a badge.

      To offend you further with honesty, the brotherhood bullshit is driven by fear. That’s right, most cops are pussies. Just like gays were drawn to the priesthood, inferior, insecure pussies are drawn to the badge, but more the gun. A “LEO” is merely the least qualified bureaucrat with the most amount of power over other people that we allow in our society. He is not special. His oath doesn’t make him special and his badge doesn’t. Any pussy can get dressed in a uniform and pin on a badge. The average LEO is a municipal worker just like the guy who picks up my trash. I just have more respect for the latter because he isn’t faking anything. He’ll readily admit he’s doing a shitty municipal job dealing with garbage so he can go home and take care of his family, his real family. You LEOs get divorced at higher rates because you confuse you insular drinking buddies with a real family. Guys just weren’t meant to have two families, so the kids and wife have to hit the road!

      The most effective and courageous cops I’ve known were the ones who treat it for what it is, an occupation. It’s nothing more and you’re only lying to yourself if you think it is something more. Go ahead and fake it around the barracks or the station, but you better not believe it or you’ve lost your effectiveness at what you profess to love. Only cops who know this are extraordinarily effective witnesses in court. they don’t have an ax to grind, they want their contractual 4 hour minimum court pay and then get on with their life. Juries hate cops who have that foolish brotherhood attitude. Cop after cop takes the stand each day in this country and acts like they’re some kind of martyr for the brotherhood. The jackasses don’t realize that they are alienating the very citizen’s in the box deciding the case. The same idiot cop then badmouths the jury for acquitting the poor slob at the table. The stupid cop could never fathom that he lost the case with his brotherhood bullshit. The citizens in the jury recognize clearly that that slob has a lot more in common with them than they have in common with the moron cop. LEO is not an identity. It doesn’t confer hero status. And it should never, ever be a FUCKING FAMILY!!

      A final point, i have been out drinking with cops and without fail, the cool stories ALWAYS turn to them flaunting the law. “We got shitfaced and were driving down Storrow Drive in a cruiser shooting out all four windows at the streetlights at 4: in the morning.” “Some asshole cut me off so I chased him off the highway into Charlestown and emptied my Glock at his car. I was so shitfaced, I don’t think I hit anything, so I picked up my brass and got back on the highway.” “We were doing a warrant in a house and Sarge put all the sex toys he found in the kids’ bedroom as a joke. But then the CI photographer took pictures of them, DSS took the kids, we lost the drug case, but the guy lost his kids. Ha Ha Ha”

      Fucking LEOs!! If you want a life of danger work on a commercial fishing boat. At least those guys accept the risk and don’t go crying over foolish memorials for their brothers.

      No, actually I’m just getting started…

      July 11, 2013 at 1:08 am
      • ernie boch, lll says:

        Yeah, what patty said!! Soooo effin true.
        The mit cops and Watertown cops r just using this to get laid and fame.
        They r not heroes.Nobodyvwas.
        By all accounts they failed at every task

        July 11, 2013 at 1:59 am
        • mtc9393 says:

          Ernie:

          Can’t agree. Those cops were in a gun fight. Tamerlan was a dangerous dude. They did what they had to do in the middle of the night not knowing what was ahead of them. That’s what they did which in my book makes them heroes, at least for that night.

          July 11, 2013 at 11:23 am
      • Jon says:

        Patty:

        To your point, Joe Pistone writes in his book that he shuns the term hero. It was a job, he says, and he was intent on doing the best job he could. Boy, did he ever.

        July 11, 2013 at 8:44 am
      • Honest Abe says:

        Hey, Patty. I just kissed you.

        July 11, 2013 at 9:10 am
        • mtc9393 says:

          Honest

          None of that on this site.

          July 11, 2013 at 1:37 pm
      • mtc9393 says:

        Patty:

        I guess I live in a bag. I never heard the term LEO before I read it earlier. Not being too bright it took me a while to figure it out. There’s much you said I agree with and some I don’t. It’s good when someone lets out their frustration at what they see is the facade put out to the world. The bottom line there are good and evil in every walk of life. I always found growing up that the toughest guys were those who spoke the least about their prowess. I also known the “band of brothers” concept having been in the Marines where you are taught your ability to survive depends on trusting the guy next to you. I also know the insularity of police departments where everyone has to go along, one of the things that allowed the corruption to sweep through parts of the FBI office in Boston and through some police departments in the country.

        You are right that the cops are like the rest of us. Wearing a uniform doesn’t change what’s inside but in my career I’ve found most I liked and admired and like me they had some idiosyncracies that made them less than angels. They still have a hard job for the most part – I never liked being in a uniform and being separated like that from others – and when the shit hits the fan its always nice to see them arrive on the scene even if you were complaining about them five minutes before.

        Thanks for writing candidly – that’s what is best about the contributors to the blog.

        July 11, 2013 at 11:21 am
      • notaboyo says:

        Patty,

        You make some very valid points but the term LEO (law enforcement officer) is only used to include all cops, federal agents etc. under one acronym, that’s all.

        And your right its just a job and many of the wrong people are drawn to it and then behave as they do but there are the ones that know it’s a job but also know it’s an important job.

        There are many cops who gave everything to the job and paid with their lives most recently as LEO Collier did.

        There are far more dangerous occupations as you say but next time you get scared from a late night noise at your house or get attacked by a rapist call a fisherman and hope they show up.

        July 11, 2013 at 2:13 pm
        • khalid says:

          When a loved one is kidnapped, or, you’re being extorted, or, you witness a terrorist act, who are you going to call? Ghostbusters?

          July 11, 2013 at 2:58 pm
    • mtc9393 says:

      Another:

      Always appreciate a break in the seriousness and a little humor. I recall a letter to the Globe once signed by “Jack Meeoff.” It might have been written by a friend of Mr. Jablomi. They both had a post mark that indicated they came from 02127 wherever that is?

      July 11, 2013 at 10:58 am
      • Honest Abe says:

        02127? Doesn’t Hugh Charton live there, too?

        July 11, 2013 at 11:30 am
  • hopalong says:

    Right On Billy

    July 10, 2013 at 9:51 pm
  • "Alex McCoy" says:

    See also:

    http://www.miamiherald.com/2013/06/05/3434887/graham-fbi-hindered-congress.html.

    July 10, 2013 at 9:40 pm
    • mtc9393 says:

      Alex:
      Thanks for the reference.

      July 11, 2013 at 10:18 am
    • Jon says:

      Alex: just read this story. See posts above in reply to Matt.

      July 11, 2013 at 11:02 pm
  • William Connolly says:

    NO ONE DOUBTS THAT MOST IN LAW ENFORCEMENT ARE HONEST, LAW ABIDING, HEROIC, EVEN THOSE WHO serve by standing by and waiting. As anyone who joined the service understands, you go where Uncle Sam or the Boss (Chief, General, Captain) sends you. So everyone who served, whether as medic, cop, soldier, sailor, airman, nurse, from Walter Reed to Vietnam to Beirut to Panama (Killed in capture of Noreiga was Navy Seal Connors from BC High, trained by tri-athlete all-American swimmer Jesuit Jimmy Kane, our friend)to Afghanistan (Captain David Connolly, BC grad, killed in crash of his helicopter; my nephew’s wife introduced David to his wife, I’m told) to Iraq: all who served had courage and put their lives on the line for others. The issues we confront are not the heroism of FBI/DEA agents, but the corruption that higher ups in the DOJ can wave the flag of “Protecting the Integrity of the Judicial Process” and refuse to testify before Congress and refuse to share information on the Boston Terrorists Massacre on Marathon Monday and on Bhenghazi where another Navy Seal from Massachusetts was killed. : The People of Boston have a Right to Know. The FBI’s interpretations of “rights” do not trump the People’s and Congress’s Right to Know. I would immediately fire everyone in the chain of command who approved, authorized or acted upon, howsoever remotely, the FBI/DOJ’s refusal to inform the People and refusal to appear before Congress. I’ve got news for the DOJ: You have not usurped our Constitution> You are not the final arbiter of Constitutional rights: THE PEOPLE ARE; WE THE PEOPLE, AS REPRESENTED BY CONGRESS, NOT YOU!

    July 10, 2013 at 8:44 pm
    • Another Matthew in Texas says:

      Another breathtaking comment, in full agreement, well said

      July 10, 2013 at 10:15 pm
    • mtc9393 says:

      William:

      Well said and the idea that it is we the people who are the ones whom must be the decision makers and to that we must be informed is the gist of what this blog is all about.

      July 11, 2013 at 8:16 am
  • n connolly says:

    The Congress has an easy way to get the info on the Marathon bombing. Cut off all funding to the FBI until they answer all questions. They’re probably too craven to do so. The State Dept. shouldn’t get a cent until they come clean on Benghazi. Can you imagine LBJ in the Senate being stiffed by an agency on some issue he wanted all the facts? Would never happen.

    July 10, 2013 at 6:44 pm
    • mtc9393 says:

      N

      LBJ let Hoover run rough shod over the American people and was probably most to blame for the FBI’s spinning into the horror it has become today. But any other agency would be rushing to go to the Senate when he was majority leader to protect it. Which only means in today’s Congress the FBI has dossiers on the leaders of both parties and are able to tell Congress to get lost. Obama should have stopped this a while ago. Congress should refuse to appoint the next director, let Mueller step down, change the legislation that enables the FBI to operate as the fourth branch of government. Who shot Tsarnaev?

      July 11, 2013 at 7:46 am
  • khalid says:

    We’ve been heavily criticizing the FBI over the Bulger affair. I’d like to temper that critique with a true story.
    Back in the late eighties a two-man armed robbery team was taking down banks in the Miami area. The FBI had tailed them for months, and, had staked out a bank in hopes of catching them in the act. Upon leaving the bank that they had just robbed, the FBI sprung the trap. One robber froze, but, the other, armed with a rifle, advanced on the agents, running from tree to tree, firing from behind cover. He killed four agents, and, badly wounded a fifth. As the thieves jumped into their vehicle, seeking to flee, the wounded agent got to his feet, and, emptied his weapon through rear the wind-shield of the vehicle killing both robbers. By anybody’s estimation those agents showed true grit. I don’t know why that story sticks in my mind, but, it does. I guess I’d like to think that a few bad apples didn’t spoil the whole barrel.

    July 10, 2013 at 6:39 pm
    • JHG says:

      The robbers were Platt and Mattix and the shoot out, the most deadly in FBI history, is known as the Suniland Shootout. There is a semi-accurate made for TV movie about it.

      Platt and Mattix were spotted in a stolen vehicle probably enroute to commit a bank robbery. They had robbed several armored cars already in their spree and had shot several guards in doing so ( none fatally). FBI agents Ben Grogan and Jerry Dove spotted the vehicle and eventually called for a felony stop. The subjects came out shooting with firepower that dwarfed the agents’. Those agents on the scene did fight bravely. One subject was killed before shooting any agent and the other sustained wounds that would kill him shortly but kept attacking. Grogan ( a veteran agent nearing retirement) and Dove ( a new agent) were the only ones killed. Gordon McNeil was gravely injured but survived. He died a few years later and many believe it was somehow related to his wounds. Ed Mireles, badly wounded, managed to operate a pump shotgun with one hand and finish the gunfight.

      Not to take anything away from those on the scene but they did not know where they were when they radioed the local police for help prior to the stop. They repeatedly put themselves on South Dixie Highway when they were actually a street east of that. Large numbers of local officers representing overwhelming firepower were searching the parking lots on Dixie Highway for the agents when the shooting started.

      As a result of the shooting the FBI dropped the 9mm as their service weapon and went to a larger caliber (better knockdown power) weapon. New regulations re the wearing of bulletproof vests were enacted as not all of the wounded were wearing theirs.

      All in all it was a very sad day in South Dade county, one that many of us will never forget. I have visited both Ben and Jerry at the Police Memorial in Washington DC. They were both friends of mine. Regardless of anyone’s animus to any particular LEO, a visit to this memorial will put the sacrifices of LEO’s as a whole in perspective.

      July 10, 2013 at 7:39 pm
      • khalid says:

        Thanks, JHG, for the correction. I was off the mark. I don’t think I saw the movie, but, may have. Thirty years is a while back. I guess my point is the agents involved showed great heroism, and, a selfless determination to do their duty. Again, thanks for the facts.

        July 10, 2013 at 8:30 pm
        • JHG says:

          Khalid

          You basically had the facts correct and your intentions in posting were right on point re this instance. And it was a longtime ago. Although it seems like yesterday morning.

          July 10, 2013 at 9:02 pm
          • Jon says:

            Thanks JHG and Khalid.

            July 10, 2013 at 9:56 pm
          • Doubting Thomas says:

            JHG and KHALID- Thank you for that story and facts surrounding it. I truly appreciate your sincerity and politeness of semi correcting each other. You guys are awesome with what you bring to the table with your comments.

            July 11, 2013 at 7:07 pm
      • mtc9393 says:

        JHG:

        Thanks for the information about the shooting. No one questions the bravery and dedication of those men and women.

        July 11, 2013 at 8:14 am
    • Jon says:

      Thanks for that comment Khalid. I do think Matt has a point that though we have only learned about Boston, the odds are probably pretty high that we’d find wrongdoing in other offices. That said, I still think the FBI is an essential institution and has had a lot of successes against the bad guys. I like to use the example of Joe Pistone because what that guy did was remarkable, but there’s your example and many others.

      I would also add that I include myself as among the Americans who acquiesced to the Patriot Act, wiretapping, etc in support of the GWOT. I still do. I never felt personally threatened by the government, and I am fairly convinced that the powers granted by the Patriot Act, the FBI’s transformed focus on intelligence and preemption of terrorist acts before they occur, and the general change in focus of our government to trying to prevent terrorist acts before they occur rather than waiting for them to happen and then prosecuting them as a matter of law enforcement – all these and more have made us safer at the expense of tolerable encroachments on liberty.

      We all know there’s a balance between security and liberty. The debate is about where to draw the line. I tend to think liberty has no chance without security and am willing to grant enhanced powers to ensure security. I think we are far from ever having to live like the Russians under Beria or the East Germans under the Stasi.

      But that said, the ghost of J Edgar Hoover does haunt us. From what I have come to understand, Hoover vehemently denied for years that the mafia existed, and his denials were partly motivated by fear of the stain that such a failure of law enforcement would be on his “spotless” agency. That’s the purity of the brand being more important than the efficacy of the brand. That’s what Matt calls “don’t embarrass the family”. And what it does is breed a culture of bureaucratic self-preservation in which the sanctity of the individual is nothing compared to the sanctity of the bureaucratic mission and reputation. That’s what I take to be the legacy of Hoover and the true nature of the threat we have on our hands. It is a danger that justice can be easily undermined when the evidence begins to be filtered through the faceless, nameless forces of bureaucratic damage control, and legal cases are built to ensure that individuals bear responsibility but in fact such individuals are being scapegoated as if that’s enough to wash out the sordid legacy of what is actually the real endemic problem of bureaucratic incompetence, ineptness, and even iniquity.

      That’s what this Bulger case has taught me. That you have a culture in which being a street agent with lots of informants (Connolly) makes a supervisor (Morris) so jealous that he gets tempted to the dark side over so many years, and when it all threatens to blow up in his face, he sits down with a reporter to out a guy as an informant (even worse, it now seems Whitey was never actually an informant) to try to get him killed.

      This is astounding – a supervisor helps falsify files, takes bribes, etc – basically, allows the culture of corruption to thrive – and then when he thinks he’s going to get caught, he tries to get a guy killed, and when that doesn’t work, he turns on the guys he supervised (testifying against him, not to mention denying him promotions, etc).

      Connolly was no angel either it seems. But this Bulger history was about much much more than Connolly. It is about Morris, C-3, maybe the whole Boston office. And it seems it is Connolly alone who is left to serve 40 years for what seems the sins of an entire FBI field office. And no one cares. As far as the FBI is concerned, justice has been served. The only missing link is not the astounding lack of responsibility taken by the bureau for its ineptness, but Whitey Bulger himself. Once Whitey is shipped off to ADX or wherever, the bureau and the DOJ will make a toast as if this sordid chapter in its history has been put to rest. It has become a story about Bulger and Connolly, when it seems more and more it is a story about how the culture of a bureaucracy for a time in its history became rotten to the core.

      And yet, the FBI still does many good things. It is just unfortunate that the bureau seems to act as if justice is served because the good outweighs the bad, not stopping to think that, hey, maybe someone else should investigate whether one, just one, of those 150 shootings might not have been on the up and up (just as a statistical matter, one would think there is some small probability that one shooting might have been errant). That maybe it would be good to show up to a hearing of the House Homeland Security committee to answer questions about an “ongoing investigation”. It is this insularity of bureaucratic culture that I take to be the real problem, not the many good people who work there and help protect us every day.

      Matt et al – sorry I keep articulating the same general theme in recent posts. But I’m still in shock at how my view of the FBI has changed over the last few months.

      July 10, 2013 at 9:50 pm
      • mtc9393 says:

        Jon:
        Thanks for your thoughtful post but I do have a couple of comments I have to make about it in the spirit of open discussion and learning.

        No one doubts the FBI has had a lot of successes. That is not the best measurement of it. Even a Major League baseball team that comes in last place in a league has had a lot of success in the few games that it won. But we don’t judge it by its successes but by its overall performance. I had a lot of success in some things when I played football in high school but my overall performance was such that I found the bench under me most of the games. Some success means little.

        The FBI is not essential as it is now constituted, which Khalid noted that it is like a 4th branch of our government. If we do not know what the largest police force in our nation’s history is doing and it can keep us from this knowledge ths under the guise of “under investigation” then to me it does sound more like the Stasi especially when you consider what it has done with informants and also its recent decision to allow agents to investigate people without opening files on the investigation. We still await information on the killing of a Todashev, a man in FBI custody.

        I think you err on your willingness to give up the liberties to the government in order to become more safe. You could be really safe if you allowed the government to confine you in ADX, Florence, Colorado. You’d never have to worry again.

        You are right it is a balancing factor but when you don’t know what one side on the see-saw is doing then you’re not going to keep the balance. From today’s perspective you may think we are different from a Soviet style state. I’m sure the Germans in the 1920s felt they were safe from what they discovered falling upon them in the 1930s. It was one of the most liberal and open countries welcoming everything (Berlin was supposedly a den of iniquity) but a sinister force was rising within that country.

        How do you guard yourself against such a force coming in America when you want to put in the hands of the government the powers it can use to subjugate you? How do you protect yourself when you have no objection to losing your privacy to the government? What if it decides to change what is considered permissible and then goes back looking for those who did what is no longer allowed if you have done those things?

        The argument that I feel safe, I’ve done nothing wrong, so let the government do whatever it wants seems to me to be foregoing the obligation of a citizen in a country that was formed with a great concern about limiting the power of the government. How was it we survived the early 1900s anarchist and Communist threats and then the Cold War with much more formidable adversaries than Al Qaeda without surrendering our vital liberties? 9/11 was a horror but it was one that did not demand a response that set up a police state like atmosphere where everything we do is subject to being watched as we now see has been done thanks to Snowden. He is considered a traitor because he told us what we should know about out government actions.

        I had a hand, however slight, in reviewing the Patriot Act right after it was proposed in light of 9/11 as I was an ad hoc legal advisor to a congressman. I went along with most of it but I recall writing in my critique of it that the FBI was seeking changes in some of the provisions just to make things easier to do; that is, they could still accomplish the same thing but it took a little effort to do it, the effort was a necessary safeguard, but the FBI didn’t even want to make that effort.

        Hoover really feared recognizing the Mafia because he felt if his agents got involved in investigating it they would be corrupted by it. His hand was forced so he had to go along with it but he doubled down on keeping things in house to avoid any embarrassment. You then rightly note: “the sanctity of the individual is nothing compared to the sanctity of the bureaucratic mission and reputation.” This will result in, as you note: “justice can be easily undermined when the evidence begins to be filtered through the faceless, nameless forces of bureaucratic damage control, . . .”

        We do disagree on the amount of liberty we are willing to surrender. If we could be sure that only good people would be in the positions of power then perhaps I would be less likely to complain. But that is not something we can guarantee – people in power resent dissent or criticism. I see it every day when the investigators in this case who I know ignore me because they are incensed I would dare criticize what they had done. It is an easy step to start declaring people who complain are enemies. History has taught us that the government doing it will have great support and those supporting it will say: “I don’t criticize the government so I have nothing to worry about.”

        You note: ”the FBI still does many good things. It is just unfortunate that the bureau seems to act as if justice is served because the good outweighs the bad,. . . “ I can’t accept that. We do not know if the good outweighs the bad. We know nothing about what goes on behind the wall surrounding the FBI.

        July 11, 2013 at 10:48 am
        • Jon says:

          Thank you Matt for such a thoughtful reply. I can’t full respond because I’m on my phone, but let me say I agree with a lot of what you say, but the main point of agreement is the need for oversight. Much of what I argue on national security does implicitly assume a degree of trust in the integritu of those charged with my security. But one can’t trust human nature blindly. Hence the need for oversight.

          I would say too that the existence of this blog and thousands of other outlets is testament to the freedoms we still enjoy. That’s one of the reasons I do not fear the state. My gripe is with the failure of elites and the ways in which the culture of bureaucracy can be manipulated by ill-intentioned men, or when the bureaucracy becomes staid and inflexible and so loyal to its mission it is unable to adapt to a changing world.

          You are right about Hoover’s fear that his agents would be corrupted. I had forgotten about that. But I’m in agreement that such is another example of the absurd dictates of bureaucratic hubris that this blog has uncovered.

          As for Snowden, I do believe in the need for secrecy. When the NYT ran its Dec 2005 article on wiretapping, AQ simply stopped communicating as it had been communicating. There are indications the same is happening now. You can’t tip your enemies like that. Not to mention the diplomatic problems. Hollande was all up in arms, but I don’t think that was about spying other than doing what he must do as a leader of a sovereign country. I think the subtext was that Hollande now had an excuse to delay discussions of the Trans-Atlantic trade union, which threatens protections for the French film industry. It’s an example of profound diplomatic repercussions.

          I agree with you that we don’t know if the good outweighs the bad. In fact I thought about that after I posted. That’s why I am in agreement about the need for oversight.

          Ultimately, I see all these failures, including the financial crisis (see my reply to Alex McCoy), as a failure of our elites. But I think we still have a society of vibrant free exchange, as evidenced by this blog, that is under no threat of being dismantled. That said, we could do much much better if the FBI were not so insular and actually subject to some Congressional oversight.

          I know we criticize Hoover, and rightfully so. But though I’m not an expert on Hoover, I have to think he was still a man and not a caricature, a man concerned about many things, one of them our safety. But he should never have been the seat of government, and may he be forever maligned for that.

          July 11, 2013 at 12:24 pm
          • mtc9393 says:

            Jon:

            Hoover may be very responsible for us having the freedoms we enjoyed through the latter part of the 20th Century by using somewhat questionable means to destroy what he thought were enemies (anachists, communists, 60′s radicals) to the American way of life. I believe the guy was a good American who was interested in keeping America free and providing liberty to its people and was never a threat to them. His agency he felt was his private domain, his family and his creation, so he wanted that to be without stain. Perhaps he gets maligned because the people that came after him did not understand what he was trying to accomplish and perhaps because the lesser beings than him took over running the agency after him did not know that Hoover might have done things much differently had he lived longer. I’m convinced a Connolly could not have existed had Hoover been in charge during those times and he still had his mental facilities.

            I also agree for the need for secrecy on some things but disclosing our government is violating the rights of the American people is not something that should be kept secret. For to say that is, then there can be no check on the government. Whenever secrets are leaked out the government will cry traitor to America. We have to know what the government is doing and too often it is hidden.

            To see how absurd things have begun, read this article that was called to my attention by one of our group
            http://www.miamiherald.com/2013/06/05/3434487/graham-fbi-hindered-congresss.html

            It concerns whether the FBI hid things from the 9/11 committee. Senator Graham says it didn’t disclose what it should have done. It released some document on the 9/11 matters that it kept hidden for years. Now when the people are seeking more it starts citing “national security” as a reason it won’t comply — this is about 9/11 – what national security issues could be involved with that?

            I keep stressing it is not the agents it is the culture of the FBI that needs changing. Reagan used to say “trust and verify.” That’s what we need for the FBI – someone to look over its shoulder outside the FBI and outside DOJ – we’ve already seen the DOJ’s OIG has already been compromised.

            July 11, 2013 at 2:20 pm
      • Doubting Thomas says:

        Hey Jon sorry I have not had a chance to email, I am hunting for an old mob documentary to send you titled “Mob Stories”, it is 5 individual stories with Nick “The Crow” Caramandi and Tommy Delgiorno, from Philly family [Scarfo] They got a guy named [Fat Jackie Giacomo] from Jersey a real character, got a hitman named Big Dominick something from Gambino family. check youtube if your interested with that title if you want see it sooner. did you get to read Pistone’s book? if you did it comes with a cd of taped calls between LEFTY [Joe's sponsor] and Joe talking about a mob guy named Anthony Mirra trying to shake them down. Mirra was a very sick individual. I am a sucker for a good wiretap. anyway take care down in DC and happy hunting for the facts of the underworld.

        July 11, 2013 at 7:30 pm
        • Jon says:

          Doubting:

          Thanks for the suggestion. I’ve watched a few documentaries on the Philly guys. Also familiar with Lefty, Joe, and Mirra (yes, I read Pistone’s first book). It was actually Mirra who introduced Joe to the Bonnanno family (Joe had first been hanging with a crew in the Colombo family), and this almost became the basis for a war in the family toward the end of Joe’s operation about whether Joe belonged to Lefty or Mirra. That might be what the “shakedown” was about – Mirra trying to reclaim Joe. Mirra was a nasty guy that nobody liked, but he made a lot of money and that how’s he survived.

          You can send me anything you want on Philly. I have a soft spot for the city because that’s where I spent my undergrad years (at Penn).

          July 11, 2013 at 10:56 pm
    • mtc9393 says:

      Khalid:

      I never doubt the FBI is chock full of good men and women who do an excellent job. I want to post a blog on this because somehow people get the impression that I’m against the agents. I’m not. It’s I think they’d be so much better if they were relieved of the bureaucratic burdens put on them by an obsessively secrete agency that lives in mortal fear of embarrassment that doesn’t recognize it is embarrassing itself even more by the way it is functioning.

      July 11, 2013 at 7:42 am
      • Jon says:

        Matt,

        Full agreement with you and Reagan. Trust but verify.

        Thanks for the thoughts on Hoover.

        July 11, 2013 at 2:32 pm
        • "Alex McCoy" says:

          Mtc9393 and Jon – Great intellectual substance to the back and forth, as usual. Regarding the statement “Trust and verify” by President Reagan, it is well said. However, given all that has occurred, I’d like to recommend the order of those words might be changed up a bit:

          “Verify – then Trust” [so long as verification is aprropriately and independently second-sourced at least and trust is warranted of course].

          Government wants the people to have “faith” in “it” and “blind faith” at that; whereas the People want to have “trust” in it. This is where many a “relationship” goes bad. Faith and trust are not the same things.

          Trust is “earned” continuously and overtime. Faith is best reserved for the Divine.

          July 11, 2013 at 3:01 pm
          • mtc9393 says:

            Alex:

            Agree but perhaps we should say, “verify, trust and verify.”

            July 11, 2013 at 7:34 pm
          • Jon says:

            Alex: I agree.

            July 11, 2013 at 10:57 pm
        • Doubting Thomas says:

          Matt and Jon – The conversation you two had was a like a history lesson I never received. Thank you for the EXCELLENT dialogue and knowledge!!

          July 11, 2013 at 7:48 pm
          • Jon says:

            Matt,

            Finally got to read the story on the Sarasota investigation that the FBI kept secret from the 9/11 commission.

            Unacceptable.

            July 11, 2013 at 11:00 pm
          • mtc9393 says:

            Jon:

            Imagine all the things the FBi still holds secret. Think of the JFK and MLK assassinations. If it would do it in the most significant attack on mainland soil in our history (outside of the early days like 1812) there is no reason it wouldn’t do it in many other things of less importance. Remember there was only one plane cleared to leave the US after 9/11 and that was one which was filled with Saudis. The Saudis and the Bush family had a special relationship.

            July 12, 2013 at 6:55 am
          • Jon says:

            How interesting it would be to know about a Saudi connection, and for the FBI to have held back is just unacceptable. If I recall the article correctly, information is now coming out that contradicts the FBI’s claim that it found nothing.

            Just unacceptable.

            July 11, 2013 at 11:01 pm
          • mtc9393 says:

            Jon:

            It needs someone to watch over it

            July 12, 2013 at 6:56 am
  • khalid says:

    The ghost of J. Edgar Hoover haunts us. He considered himself above the law much as Derzhinsky, Yagoda, Yezhov, and, Beria, did. Hoover nurtured that attitude in the organization he built over the course of his long career. After 911, for the sake of national security, the citizens of America acquiesced in the destruction of their own freedom. We have only ourselves to blame. Is the imagined safety we gained worth the trade?

    July 10, 2013 at 5:22 pm
    • mtc9393 says:

      Khalid:

      J. Edgar did not consider himself above the law, he believed he was the law. Do you know when he was in power the FBI agents referred to FBI headquarters as the Seat of Government – think of that – Hoover had his agents believing he was in charge of the government which he was in a senses. His ghost, as you put it, still permeates every movement of that agency and like a cancer will ultimately destroy the freedom we have in America when we have a group of people who are accountable to no one – and blatantly say it which is hard to believe.

      Freedom is a precious thing. It has to be guarded since there are those who would like to take it away. If I had a precious diamond I would make sure it was safe and watch over it. Americans have not done that. Osama bin Laden has accomplished much more than he could ever dream of doing. He made us turn over our liberties and freedoms to a government thinking it would protect them. Would you give your diamond to the government agents to hold?

      July 11, 2013 at 7:37 am
    • mtc9393 says:

      Notaboyo:

      Maybe some people are beginning to see we have a fourth branch of government that is unelected and responsible only to itself. How can a Congressman complaing about the FBI. Doesn’t he know he’s in charge of it.

      July 11, 2013 at 7:31 am
  • notaboyo says:

    The FBI will be extremely embarrassed if the truth that the Joker’s brother was an informant who double crossed the Bureau so, as we know, the Bureau will do anything to avoid that.

    Again the mishandling of informants led to more deaths in Boston at the hand of the FBI except now one was a cop. The civil siut would be worth millions.

    July 10, 2013 at 4:45 pm
    • mtc9393 says:

      Notaboyo:
      You are absolutely right. What this shows us is the FBI’s unwillingness to open and candid leads to all sorts of problems not the least is the speculation among people that there is more to the story than we are being told. The FBI is clamming up because it says the matter is under investigation (and being prosecuted). You could say that the assassination of JFK is still under investigation. Things can be under investigation for as long as you want to keep the investigation open – we’ve heard from a Boston cop who is in charge of the cold case unit that considers all unsolved homicides to be under investigation.
      The part of the story behind the Russian tip and the bombing has no significance to any investigation or prosecution. The reluctance of the FBI to tell us what it did after the Russian tip to the MTA (Marathon Terrorist Attack) can only have us conclude that something was not done right. What could it be? One thing is the Joker’s brother was providing FBI information or was a double agent who duped the FBI.
      My sense is Tamerlan wasn’t but then I was asked by Kevin Cullen in 1988 if Whitey was an informant and I laughed at his suggestion saying he’s a target, you don’t have guys at that level as informants. It turns out, by the way I was correct, he wasn’t an informant but because of the FBI manner of operation he was treated like one and protected. We know the FBI operates by its own rules and seems subject to no one. As you aptly note, this could be its biggest embarrassment and most costly bungling ever if he was one.
      And speaking of that, what about its putting out the photographs of the terrorist suspects. Didn’t it know that if they were in the area that would spook them into some further violence? Good points.

      July 11, 2013 at 7:00 am
  • khalid says:

    Wa-llahi!

    The United States has three branches of government: executive, legislative, and, judicial. Does the FBI now constitute a fourth branch? How can they refuse a summons to appear before a congressional committee? Whatever they are concealing must be extremely embarrassing. Perhaps, Dhzokar Tsarnaev can shed some light on the question of his brother’s connections. Does the press have any access to him? Who’s representing him? One would think that a competent defense would require a thorough investigation of his brother Tamerlane’s possible link to the Feds. The Internet has been crackling with suppositions regarding such a relationship. I also wonder if Dhzokar knows how Todashev fits into the puzzle. Do you think the Feds would let him cop a plea in return for silence?

    July 10, 2013 at 3:14 pm
    • mtc9393 says:

      Khalid:

      That actually is a good point. I’ve been suggesting the FBI is out of control but you put it nicely by suggesting it is our fourth branch. I don’t get it that the Congress people have to cry to the press about their inability to have the FBI respond to them. It’s like a parent complaining his 8 year old kid won’t listent to her. The timidity of Congress when it came to the FBI is a long story going back to the early days of J. Edgar who got things on the leaders, like Senate majority leader LBJ, and let him know that unless he kept his hand off the FBI he’d have little left to do with his hands as far as the government was concerned. The FBI doesn’t control all Congress but has enough on the leaders to make them let if function as you put it like an independent branch.

      Joker (as you know that’s he phonetic spelling of how we’d pronounce Dhzokar’s name here in the Hub) may have some light to shed on the brother’s relationship. Remember how embarrassing it was to see our congress people traveling to Russia to find out what our FBI was told. No one seemed to see how odd that is for us to be depending on Russian information; how soon we forgot the Soviet Union’s master disinformation campaigns.

      He had competent defense counsel – appointed by the court – people with great experience representing terrorists who, like with Whitey, we are paying for. I’m sure they will get to the bottom of it – but they will have to weigh the prosepect of a death penalty sentence or making a deal to keep Joker alive – any deal will require their signing all sorts of statements keeping their mouths shut.

      I don’t know how much he would know about Todashev – I don’t know how close her was to Tamerlan all along or was it just recently they binded – lots we don’t know but the silence of the FBI on things we should know leads to the speculation you talk about on the net and to the undermining of our faith in our governent. Good points – thanks for making them.

      July 11, 2013 at 6:38 am
  • pat mac says:

    did they let whitey fight the joker kid in the steel cage that’s whats everyone wants to know and what the hell is up with the jokers supporters wheres all the southie though guys bustn heads. not a good look. its joke.

    July 10, 2013 at 2:22 pm
    • mtc9393 says:

      pat mac

      I had a chance to stay in the court and take a peek at the Joker but I had a frind waiting with a couple of cold beers over in Winchester so I went where I fel I was obliged to go. Whitey and the Joker were in the same lock up area at the same time – I’m sure they had a nice talk. I left the courthouse around a little after 2:00 and went up to see the crowd standing outside the courtroom. They were quite quiet and orderly. A lot of young people who were his contemporaries, a few women with scarves but nothing that would incite the rabble. I hope the bustin heads days are over. In a country of over 310 million you’ve got to find all kinds. I agree it’s hard to understand how anyone could support him but then again it is hard to figure out how anyone could do what he did.

      July 11, 2013 at 6:24 am

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