He alleges this in his initial thrust back at the government in his attempt to avoid being sent to the Florida or Oklahoma prison system. Fed Penitentiary ADX may be a cleaner version of Hell but sitting in either Florida or Oklahoma facing the death penalty would be the dirty version of Hell with thousands of devilish felons haunting his every minute. Whitey’s real purpose in doing this is to terrorize the FBI as I noted so that the FBI will pressure others to give Whitey what he wants.
You’d think it makes no sense for the FBI to be frightened over such a frivolous claim. It seems doubtful any judge would even entertain it. The FBI has no authority to let people commit homicides so end of the issue. The government can’t murder people!
Wait. The government can executed people. The feds executed Timothy McVeigh. Oklahoma, Florida, Texas and a dozen or so other states have a death penalty and use it. I know these are done after lengthy and open judicial process but they’re still government killings.
But not all government killings need judicial process. Today during our amorphous war without end, our War on Terror, the government kills people it deems are threats to our nation. No judiciary is involved and the procedure that is used to decide who is to be the victim is veiled in secrecy. Terror knows no national boundaries. The world is the battleground. We kill people deemed terrorists in any country where they live
Our drones are the new guillotines effectively eradicating this threat in the same manner as the old ones were used in the French Revolution and with the same due process rights. Secret government committees based upon secret evidence using secret standards decide who lives or dies by the drone.
(This is an aside so I ask your forbearance. Drones are operated from the safety of air conditioned government offices in the US by trained persons. They wear flight suits sitting in their office chairs before a monitor. There is a movement afoot to give these persons some type of combat medal like the Distinguished Flying Cross.)
We give the president as head of the executive the right to authorize others to kill people. The president delegates this power to some others. These others will delegate certain duties down until the drone operators who press the kill button believe they are authorized to kill the target of that day and anyone associating with it.
Our killings are also done in the war against drugs. In Honduras in the past week or so DEA agents firing from a helicopter killed four people traveling on the Patuca river. Two were pregnant women.
If we accept that the executive can authorize these killings, then we have to ask whether the FBI as part of the executive was authorized by the president to likewise kill people in the war against crime, which is as vague as the war against drugs or terror. In Whitey’s case it would have been the war against the Mafia.
Whitey’s lawyer Carney is asking a basic question – surprisingly one that has not really been asked and answered before – what crimes is the FBI authorized to commit or to allow its agents (like informants) to commit. Drone operators are authorized by the president to kill people suspected of being terrorists. DEA agents are authorized by the president to kill people suspected of being involved in transporting drugs. Do FBI agents have the same powers against people involve in crime?
In my book, “Don’t Embarrass the Family” I note that FBI Agent John Connolly did not bring this issue up at trial in his defense. I suggest this was a great failure. When he carried his badge (what the FBI agents refer to as their “creds”) he had rights and duties beyond that of the average citizen.
What these are we do not know. The FBI prefers to operate behind opaque walls and to designate any agent as rogue whose actions become public. Carney knows this. He wants to have the issue brought out into the open air. It is the thought that its actions will be brought to the light of day that compels the FBI to push for Whitey to get a deal. It wants the Whitey years closed forever and for the people to forget its former agent John Connolly who is rotting away in a Florida prison still proclaiming his innocence.