Have you seen this FBI “Seeking Information” poster? It has the picture of the two men shown in this post. The wording on it is: “The FBI is asking for the public’s assistance in locating these two unknown individuals. Closed circuit television recordings indicate that these individuals allegedly located a piece of luggage on the sidewalk, removed an improvised explosive device from the luggage, and then left the vicinity leaving the device behind but taking the luggage.. . . The FBI is interested in speaking to these people and recovering the luggage.”
The matter at issue is a bombing that occurred in New York City last Saturday on September 17. It has received much publicity. The poster was published on Wednesday, September 21.
Is it possible that two people could have picked up the suitcase, taken out a pressure cooker and placed it on the sidewalk, walked off with the suitcase and not have any idea that what they discovered may have an important connection to the bombings?
If you knew something about the men, what would you do? If you call the FBI and identify them you’ve put them in a position where they will end up in prison. The reason is that four days have elapsed and those men should have come forward sooner. Their failure to do so can be construed as obstruction of an FBI investigation. However, if it can be shown that you knew the men and did not come forward then you can be charged with interfering with an FBI investigation.
Do you remember what Judge Young in the federal district court in Boston said to Khairullozhon Matanov? He scolded him saying: “All we asked you was to give us a hand. All we wanted was for you to help us out, and you didn’t do that. . . . Instead, you gave these officers a swerve.” It should make you a little concerned that you are not helping out the government by disclosing the identity of your friends.
The judge did not stop there. He went on to say: “I’m not talking about a duty to country. I’m talking about a duty to humanity. You failed that.”
Matanov had eaten dinner with the Tsarnaevs after they set off the Marathon Bombs on April 15, 2013, but knew nothing about their actions. When he saw their photographs on television three days after the bombings he panicked. He was totally innocent of anything connected with the bombings.
He felt a oblligation to come forward. He had some violent jihadist type videos on his computer. He figured just to be safe he should delete them. He then went to the Braintree police.
He told them of his connection with the Tsarnaevs. Before he could say Jackie Robinson the FBI descended on him. He went through more than five grilling and gave up his computer. In giving information to the FBI he tried to distance himself from the Tsarnaevs lying to an agent about some of his innocent contacts with them. Nothing he did actually obstructed the investigation.
He’d be indicted for those lies and also for deleting the videos from his computer: he was said to be obstructing the FBI investigation. His home was raided at 5:00 am a little over a year after the bombing by three FBI SWAT teams even though had they waited a couple of hours they could have arrested him as he left his apartment to go to work. A year after his arrest Matanov was before the federal judge in Boston to be sentenced. He had pleaded guilty to three counts of lying to the FBI and destroying records on his computer. He was sentenced to two and a half years in prison. It was during that sentence that he heard those words.
The way the FBI treated Matanov was totally unnecessary. It should have given him a pass. His sins were minor and understandable. He had nothing to do with the masacre. Its pursuit of him sends a message to anyone else who knows something about a terrorist act that it is best not to disclose it. You too can end up in the same situation as Matanov.