An FBI Tragedy: Should It Have Happened?

There was an FBI agent in Chicago who was around in the 1950s to the 1970s who wrote several books about his experience as an FBI special agent. He told how much he loved the job. But it was not like that all the time. When he first went in he began to hate it and  thought of leaving. The reason was that he was bored. It was a desk job. It had no action unlike what he was led to believe  from the John Dillinger-type publicity that it pumped out.

Then the Apalachin meeting happened. This was a great embarrassment to J. Edgar Hoover, the FBI director. He then made the Bureau switch into a new role which was  to go after the Mafia. Let the excitement begin that agent thought and it surely did reading of his exploits involving black bag jobs and electronic surveillance.

It reflected an inside look at this secretive outfit. Much of the work involved working at desks. Sometimes one could escape the drudgery and become involved in what was considered excitement which boiled down to escaping the local office.

I wrote before about this. One of the Tsarnaev brothers who were the Boston Marathon Bombers had a friend from their native country who lived in Quincy, Massachusetts. He was not involved in anyway with their bombing plot but he did have, if my recollection serves me right, some videos on his computer which were jidhadist-type propaganda. I believe he turned this over to the FBI at one point.

He had been going  back and forth with the FBI over this while maintaining his day time job as a taxi cab driver for a local Quincy Taxi company. The FBI agents knew he made no attempt to flee and that any day he could be found at his job. They got a warrant for his arrest. Had they wanted they could have asked him to come to their offices in Boston and arrested him; or they could have waited outside his house as he went to or came home from work; or gone to his work and put him under arrest. In other words, there were many ways he could have been arrested.

Instead at least three black vans filled with FBI agents showed up in the early morning hours in Quincy outside his apartment house, climbed out with their SWAT gear, surrounded the premises, entered into it, breaking down his door and making the arrest. I suggested that was not necessary but it gave the job a little juice or action.

I know little about the monster the FBI set out to arrest in Florida which resulted in the tragic deaths of two of its special agents. It was one of those early morning raids at an apartment house similar to what happened in Quincy. I wondered why they could not have grabbed the guy when he was out of his house? Did he go shopping? Did he have a job? A car? Didn’t someone put a spot on him?  Was this early morning raid to give some action?

I understand Florida with its  gun laws and cowboys and AK47s or other sub machine guns is a little bit of the Wild West. But shouldn’t that make a quiet takedown that much more compelling? I’d suggest to the FBI that early morning raids be a last resort. Put the safety of the agents first and the Dillinger days behind.