UPDATE: (08/07/08) "The Case Against Bruce Ivins: The evidence that he was the anthrax killer is compelling, but an independent review is still needed."
According to the Washington Post ...
"The Justice Department and the FBI were right to release some of the records and explain their case to the public, thus allowing victims and their family members, the media and the public a closer look. No doubt this access to the information will lead to healthy probing of the government's case. But that is not enough. Although it would be no substitute for the testing of a judicial trial, an independent third party should be tapped to perform that task, weighing the validity of government allegations and analyzing the legitimacy of government conclusions. Such a third party could also examine allegations that the FBI hounded Mr. Ivins; if the allegations are unfounded, an independent assessment would benefit the agency. There is also an urgent need to explain how a man presumably as disturbed as Mr. Ivins was could have maintained a security clearance that allowed him to work with such deadly substances."
Original blog entry ...
Unfortunately, over the past few Administrations, the people seem to not only have less faith in their political leaders and both the Administration and Congress, but there is a giant shadow cast upon the government’s law enforcement investigators.
Ruby Ridge – a simple case where government malfeasance escalated into a catastrophe that left an innocent woman dead. Killed by a sniper who would later be deployed to Waco and embroiled in further controversy.
Waco Siege – Where law enforcement agencies leaked news of the raid the the media who were seen “in position” to record the law enforcement attempts to serve a search warrant. To this day, it is unknown who fired the first shots or how this action against citizens of the United States got so far out of hand that 76 people, including 21 children, died that day. Especially when it was found that they could have picked up the cult’s leader any Saturday as he visited town for his usual ice cream.
Centennial Olympic Park Bombing - Richard Jewell, a true hero who help save lives, was excoriated by the press based on selected law enforcement leaks to the media. He was later found to be completely innocent as the true culprit confessed to the bombings.
Wen Ho Lee – another instance of law enforcement leaking to the media and a botched case of alleged espionage involving nuclear secrets.
And now the anthrax case …
Steven Hatfill -- Again, we find federal law enforcement agencies selectively leaking information to the media resulting in a “person of interest” being presumptively being found guilty of the crime; having been tried and convicted by the media. Hatfill recently received millions in a government settlement to drop any potential lawsuits against the government.
Bruce E- Ivins – And, once again, we find scurrilous stories finding their way into print. Including the tidbits that the government apparently offered Ivins’ son $2.5 million and the sports car of his choice if he would provide evidence linking his father with the anthrax case. Or how agents allegedly displayed dead anthrax victims to his hospitalized daughter.
With the exception of Richard Jewell who was declared factually innocent, I have no idea whether or not any of the above people were actually guilty of the crimes with which they were charged or if law enforcement investigators acted inappropriately by using information from disreputable confidential informants and were guilty of using a complicit media to generate favorable publicity for the agency.
Therefore, when I see the Washington Post publishing a story about the alleged guilt of Ivins in the anthrax case and also see that there is a substantial indication of government heavy-handedness to close a nationally-important case … I wonder if the case really died with Ivins or will someone else come forward sometime in the future.
As you read the following report, bear in mind that this is a man working with deadly biological agents; working for and being supervised by other government employees.
According to the Washington Post …
“Late last fall, Bruce E. Ivins was drinking a liter of vodka some nights, taking large doses of sleeping pills and anti-anxiety drugs, and typing out rambling e-mails into the early morning hours, according to a fellow scientist who helped him through this period.”
“It was around the time that FBI agents showed Ivins's 24-year-old daughter pictures of the victims who had died in the 2001 anthrax attacks and told her, ‘Your father did this,’ the scientist said. The agents also offered her twin brother the $2.5 million reward for solving the anthrax case -- and the sports car of his choice.”
“Before he died July 29 of a Tylenol overdose, Ivins, 62, had two inpatient stays at Maryland hospitals for detoxification and rehabilitation and attended two sets of therapy sessions with a counselor who eventually sought court protection from him.”
As you will see later, the so-called mental health counselor is allegedly somewhat less than a highly-trained psychiatric healthcare professional and may have been susceptible to outside pressure to provide testimony.
“Ivins had just returned from a four-week stay at a psychiatric hospital in Western Maryland in late May when he wrote the fellow scientist in recovery a calm, six-sentence e-mail. ‘I hope,’ it said, ‘that both of us avoid relapsing into our previous substance abuse.’ Since his death, Ivins's long-term mental health and the psychological effects of the investigation have become increasingly prominent questions.”
“The counselor he saw for group therapy and biweekly individual sessions, who would eventually tell a judge that he was a "sociopathic, homicidal killer," had a troubled past. Jean C. Duley, who worked until recent days for Comprehensive Counseling Associates in Frederick, is licensed as an entry-level drug counselor and was, according to one of her mentors, allowed to work with clients only under supervision of a more-seasoned professional.”
“Shortly before she sought a ‘peace order’ against Ivins, Duley had completed 90 days of home detention after a drunken-driving arrest in December, and she has acknowledged drug use in her past.”
“In a 1999 interview with The Washington Post, Duley described her background as a motorcycle gang member and a drug user. ‘Heroin. Cocaine. PCP,’ said Duley, who then used the name Jean Wittman. ‘You name it, I did it.’"
Less than a sterling character and possibly open to coercion by the authorities?
“The same week, Ivins angrily told a former colleague that he suspected his therapist was cooperating with the FBI. On March 19, police were called to Ivins's home and found him unconscious. He was evaluated at Frederick Memorial Hospital.”
“Duley, seeking the protective order against Ivins, testified before a Frederick County judge last month, saying that Ivins had said during a July group therapy session that he had bought a bulletproof vest and a gun to carry out ‘a very detailed plan to kill his co-workers’" When she sought to have him committed, she said, he threatened her. To this day, Duley is the only person who has said publicly that Ivins intended to kill. In court testimony, she said she was cooperating with the FBI.”
A pattern emerges …
Do we begin to see a pattern: an overly politicized agency wants to generate positive media coverage or resolve issues which may lead elected officials, their superiors or, heaven forbid, the media to question their ability to properly discharge their sworn duties? Little or no progress is being made on case involving heavy national-level media attention. Resorting to the use of confidential informants and heavy-handed tactics, investigators or, more likely their superiors, start conditioning the battlefield by leaking tidbits to the media which portray the agency in a positive light, demonstrating that they are making progress towards a successful resolution of the matter at hand.
Unfortunately, some agency leaders and possibly investigators failed to understand that their job is to simply develop the facts for later use by the judiciary. And that they are sworn to protect the innocent as well as assist in the prosecution of the guilty. A process where law enforcement makes no judgement, conceals no facts, creates no evidence, remains open to alternative theories and suspects and does not try to spin the case, one way or the other, in the media.
This is not meant to disparage the efforts of thousands of decent law enforcement agents and their support teams whose actions will be tainted – both explicitly and implicitly – by the failures of their leadership and co-workers.
In the final analysis, how can the American people be assured that the real perpetrator has been caught and that the American people are free from yet another danger of almost unbelievable magnitude?
What can YOU do?
We need to elect national leaders who will de-politicalize the nation’s intelligence gathering and law enforcement agencies.
We need to support our intelligence and law enforcement agencies with adequate budgets and stop imposing “implicit” deadlines to produce results for political purposes or to attract favorable media attention.
We need to enforce rules and regulations against leakers – not to be confused with whistleblowers – but leakers who are leaking for the sole purpose of gaining positive media attention or for prejudicing the public’s perception of the case. Sometimes which results in the large-scale tainting of the jury pool and ensuring a pre-ordained verdict due to the heinous nature of the criminal act.
But most importantly, we need to elect leaders who will not unduly damage law enforcement activities by appointing political hacks to head up either intelligence or law enforcement agencies.
Urge your elected Congressional representatives to enact what I call the “Janet Reno” rule: forbidding the President or any member of the Administration or the Congress from improperly interfering with any law enforcement investigation involving a United States citizen. Make the penalty severe: impeachment, loss of retirement, loss of professional credentials and carry a fine which must be paid personally.
It is time that we remove the ambiguity from our prosecutions and let the chips fall where they may. That is to say, undue influence for political purposes will not be tolerated by the American people and there will be severe consequences for those who attempt to tamper with our Constitutional rights.
We also should demand justice for the two Border Patrol agents, Ramos and Compean, who were railroaded into jail based upon faulty and suppressed evidence and possible judicial misconduct – purely for political purposes.
In my humble opinion, I see Barack Obama engaging in further cronyism and continuing the policy of politicizing the nation’s institutions whereas I believe that John McCain would refrain from interfering in law enforcement activities just to make a political point.
It is time to return America to the nation I grew up with: where values trumped politics and people did the right thing because it was the right thing; and not because it may have been politically expedient. Our nation is not perfect, we have our secrets and necessary covert actions – but American citizens should never be falsely accused or prosecuted for political reasons or we become our own enemy and all liberty is lost.
Do not vote for any candidate or current politician who is willing to subvert the safety, security, sovereignty and economic strength of the United States or limit an individual's right of self-defense for their personal philosophy, power, prestige or profits.
Quote of the day: “The only thing worse than a man you can't control is a man you can.” - Margo Kaufman
A reminder from OneCitizenSpeaking.com: a large improvement can result from a small change…
The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane. -- Marcus Aurelius