Do We Have The The Right People In Charge Of The Boston Terrorist Attack?

Searching For Clues
A Forest Friend Trying To See If The FBI Is Up To The Job

I must continue to write about Marathon terrorist bombing. I’ve noted I have high confidence in the FBI forensic people and other top guns from DC. But the Boston SAC Richard DesLauriers leaves me wondering if he and the FBI are up to the job. He’s the guy who told us he knows who did the Gardner Museum heist but won’t tell us. NBC news tells us he closed the Whitey Bulger case in 2011 which seems a strange claim. NBC also said with respect to the Gardner: “While the FBI now believes it has identified the criminals responsible, they still haven’t been caught.”

At the first press conference after the bombing all DesLauriers told us is that he is in charge and the matter is under investigation. We knew that or at least hoped it would be. Every question he answered with, “the matter is under investigation. I can’t answer that.”

Fortunately, Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis told us some things. He quashed the rumors that there was a Saudi suspect is in the hospital. Watching both men, I have to say I wished Davis was in charge and not DesLauriers.

I thought Davis will deal straight with us. I don’t know that DesLauriers and the FBI are capable of doing that. Subsequent events have not calmed my fears.

Shortly after Davis said there’s no suspect, I read that FBI agents were searching the Revere apartment of that Saudi student who is hospitalized. I think Davis is wrong. The FBI must have something on the student.

Then I read a “Saudi official at the country’s embassy in Washington “has stated that government sources have told him that the Saudi is not a suspect but a witness.” Why do we have to learn information from a foreign government about what’s going on in an American terrorist attack? Is the FBI keeping the Saudis briefed and hiding things from us Americans. Since when do we search the homes of witnesses?

Let me be clear. I want the person responsible for this horror caught quickly. Until the criminal who did this is apprehended the streets of Boston which I, my relatives and friends walk every day are not safe from this fiend. She’s now enjoying the fruits of her success, she’ll soon want to savor another taste. I just don’t want the investigation messed up.

The FBI has taken over the investigation. I guess there is nothing that can be done about that. Back in 1994 when the Planned Parenthood clinics were attacked by John Salvi I resisted the FBI taking over that investigation. I did that because my experience had been the FBI won’t tell you what it is doing with a case. Since we were going to be prosecuting Salvi for the murders, I didn’t want our assistant district attorneys standing in the corridor outside the FBI office begging for information.

I worry about that now. I fear that the members of the joint task force like the Boston Police and the State Police will be kept in the dark by the FBI. If this happens then some people will become alienated from the investigation and good resources will be lost. The FBI won’t care because it wants all the glory for itself.

This is not a game of taking credit like the FBI wants to do all the time. It it a most serious matter that demands full cooperation by everyone. We don’t care who brings this fiend to justice as long as it is done speedily and done properly.

We’ve seen how the FBI uses selective leaks to disseminate information to its favorite reporters which we read about prefaced by the words “a federal official with knowledge of the investigation who spoke on the condition of anonymity because she is not authorized to discuss the investigation.” That has to stop. The FBI should play no favorites. It must keep us informed as to what it knows as well as it can considering the limited need for investigative secrecy.

My real concern is that I hope the FBI has put the best man in charge. At his last press conference DesLauriers in response to a question made this unnecessary evasive answer: “I’m not going to say who might or might be in custody right now.” Commissioner Ed Davis later said that “no one is in custody.”  Why couldn’t DesLauriers answer that simple question like Davis did?

DesLauriers later said: “Someone knows who did this.” Of course the fiend who did it knows. But beyond that we don’t know if others do. Maybe it is a lone wolf. Remember it took years to find the Unabomber. He acted alone.

DesLauriers’s expertise is in counterintelligence where he spent his first 23 years in the FBI. It is not in doing criminal investigations. The jobs require a different type of talent.

Right now I’m worried that the niceties of FBI politics are trumping the need for the best to run the show. I hope I’m wrong.


11 thoughts on “Do We Have The The Right People In Charge Of The Boston Terrorist Attack?

  1. Even if my perspective wasn’t influenced by what I’ve learned on this blog, I also have serious concerns about the FBI’s leadership (although, I agree with you in that I have faith in the FBI worker bees/the forensic experts et al…) The FBI double talk in contrast with Commissioner Davis is downright bizarre. The bum rush news cycle adds to the confusion (inaccurate reporting in mainstream media is an FBI hallmark after all, just saying). I can’t help but wonder how this would play out if the perpetrator was a guy with a deal, you know, like the guy in the backseat on the Halloran hit. God Bless Boston.

    1. Kid:
      I like to think that the local SAC is not in charge of the investigation but some top guy in the FBI is and he’s just the mouthpiece, like a press agent. We really don’t know what is going on because the media is making things up but hopefully the professionals are in charge.

      Your question asking how this would play out if the bomber is a Top Echelon informant or one of the FBI’s protected few like the mask man makes me smile. CAn’t You just see the dude standing in court with his lawyer alleging he had a deal with Freddy Wyshak that he could do anything he wanted as long as he kept providing information as long as he didn’t kill any more people than Martorano did at one time.

      I’m resaonably sure though whoever it is has no prior run ins with the law so he couldn’t be protected by the FBI. You have to be a criminal to get the protection. If you are straight your on your own.

      1. Matt, did you say “dude”?
        Hmmm, are you sure you are who you say you are? I can’t imagine Bill Bulger or Whitey Bulger saying “dude’. Or any other Old Harbor alum from your era. Say it ain’t so Matt, say it ain’t so.

        Question, do you have an understanding of what it would take to allow cameras in federal court. If they catch the marathon bomber could this have the right ingredients to move the cause forward.

        1. Ernie:

          Dude? Yeah, I did. Don’t know where it came from. Must have been during the days I was out West on the range chasing after all those cattle rustlers. Or else, when I was playing jazz saxophone with the Todd Svenson Trio.

          The federal courts will never, ever allow cameras into their courtrooms. Cameras mean openness, the feds like to operate in darkness. All it would take is the dudes and dudettes an the Supreme Court to say OK.

  2. I’m normaly a big fan of the Bill of Rights, but the Marathon bomber is seen on multiple video cameras committing an act of terrorism. Obama should use a drone to reach out and touch the Marathon bomber with a hellfire. Under the rationale for targeting suspected terrorists in other parts of the world it should be fine to do it in the USA. Let’s see how the they like it in Brookline when our government vaporizes a terrorist on their sidewalk as opposed to a sidewalk in Karachi. A targeted strike would also save us taxpayers some money and ass ache. Most importantly, it would reduce the whiplash the Boston media’s giving me with their desperation to be ahead. In no other profession can you be so wrong so often and still get an award!

    1. Patty:
      I don’t think the Government would vaporize the terrorist in Brookline but if he, assuming its a male, ventured into South Boston all bets are off.

      If they have the evidence to demonstrate relatively conclusively who did this, I’d have no problem with putting him in the Gulag. Why put up with the media circus. Hasn’t Obama said there are some people that just have to stay in prison forever without trial and without charges.This person surely ranks up there with some of the other people in Guantanamo so grab him and put him there; or, drop him at Castle Island and do some drone practice.

    1. Ernie:
      Definitely a death penalty case. Perhaps no case at all. The culprits might be put on the Obama hit list. Why waste time with them. Just eradicate them as we do to other terrorists. If not that, put them into the Gitmo maze – no trial ’til the war on terror ends, no charges, no nothing. It’ll be interesting to see what is done when we learn who did it but it’s no longer a state case and for all I know, the Boston SAC has never been in charge. The more I think of it he must just be a front man. The FBI must have put their best man in charge of this, whoever he is.

  3. Matt,
    If this turns out to be a lone wolf local screw-ball will there be squabble between Dan Conley’s office and Carmen Ortiz?
    If everything is local will the Feds get jurisdiction via the Patriot Act?

    If it is left with district attorney what kind of evidence will the FBI turn over to him.

    As you know Matt, unlike all other crimes state law puts the district attorney in charge of all homicide investigations. Ed Davis is among other things, trying to keep abreast of the evidence because his boys (and girls) will be the ones on the witness stand answering questions put to them by Dan Conley’s people. That doesn’t work when both parties have less than all the evidence available.

    I’m a big fan of Davis. Dan Conley, not so much. But I’m behind both of them here.

    1. Ernie:
      No. The FBI will keep the case. In the Salvi matter they backed off since they hadn’t proclaimed they were in charge plus they knew we had better prosecutors for homicide cases than they had and better homicide investigators. It is a terrorist case which brings it within the FBI jurisdiction so Conley is pretty much locked out of it. It will have to be a death penalty case — which one wonders whether like Kacynski will turn into a plea of guilty to life in prison. That way the Government can avoid a trial and the defendant the death sentence. Or, like Timothy McVeigh a straight death penalty case. That the defendant was not caught at the scene and the case may consist of a lot of circumstantial evidence the defendant may likely go to trial.
      If Conley had the case, hopefully the FBI would turn over everything to him but he’d never know if he had everything. The FBI could very well hide any exculpatory evidence. The FBI is a slippery group. As Judge Wolf noted, they withheld evidence they were suppose to turn over until after the witnesses agasint whom it would be useful had testified.
      So Dan won’t get a bite out of the case at all. I like Davis also — seems like a gutsy honest tough guy up to the job. I sense he’s not going to take too kindly to the FBI pushing his men around. I don’t know Conley at all but seems he’s doing his best as a DA. Unlike the other politicians who have crowded the oodium I though his remarks were best, brief and to the point.
      I just hope the FBI doesn’t pull its one-upmanship nonsense and get the Boston cops upset. This is not a time for infighting.

  4. I share your concern about the investigation. Such a terrible tragedy. The press conferences have been downright weird, with all those people crowding the podium. Most of them have said nothing, and the ones who spoke gave non-answers. It reeks of political opportunism. Davis is the only one who inspires any confidence.

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