Last Hope Shattered: FBI Labs Make Annie Dookham Look Good

J Edgar HooverAnnie Dookham worked in a crime lab. She performed such shoddy work that the evidence in upwards of 40,000 narcotic cases has been put in doubt. When her malfeasance was first discovered in 2012, investigations and grand juries inquiries began. By 2014 a comprehensive investigative report issued and the Massachusetts court system took extraordinary steps to address the problems she created. Fortunately, no one was put on death row or executed because of her actions. Annie was sent to prison for 3 to 5 years in November 2013.

Few in Massachusetts have not heard of Annie. I had done a few blog posts on her which ended up with a couple of interviews by some of the media concerning her. Her wrongful actions filled the airwaves for days on end.

There is another laboratory scandal. One much worse than that of Annie. It is of national import while Annie’s only affected part of the state. Yet it receives little if any news coverage.

It is the FBI laboratory scandal wherein faulty evidence sent people to death row. While Massachusetts issued report after report and acted expeditiously to clear up its problem; the FBI has hunkered down hoping that the problem will go away.

One thing we know is that unlike in Massachusetts where some of the supervisors lost their jobs, no one in the FBI in a command position has even been reprimanded. As far as anyone going to prison for the enormous damage that has been caused, even suggesting it makes me smile. The FBI rolls along like the Mississippi River as if it is above the law. Unlike in Massachusetts where the drug laboratory was investigated by outside agencies, the FBI investigates itself.

It’s not surprising then to read that “from 1993 to early 2011, F.B.I. agents fatally shot about 70 “subjects” and wounded about 80 others — and every one of those episodes was deemed justified, . . .” The article went on to note that: “The last two years have followed the same pattern: an F.B.I. spokesman said that since 2011, there had been no findings of improper intentional shootings.”

Investigating oneself means covering up ones evils. Recall the first commandment of the FBI, “Don’t Embarrass The Family.” When that is its ultimate goal, all its investigations are undertaken to protect its reputation and not to find out the truth.

The underreported problems with the FBI laboratory go back to the early 1990s. Actually, who knows how far back they really go. We learned about the problems when Frederic Whitehurst who was employed in the FBI labs uncovered and reported scientific misconduct. For doing that his fellow agents turned on him and he was suspended from his job.

You know of Annie Dookham but not Fred Whitehurst. Whitehurst’s efforts led “to a scathing 500-page study of the laboratory by the Justice Department’s inspector general . . . .”  And, the FBI had to pay 1.1 million dollars to settle a suit brought by Whitehurst.

But the FBI didn’t change its way of doing business. As I noted the other day, and as others in the news media are beginning to realize, there are a lot of people in prison who were sent there because of the FBI’s slothful and indifferent work.

Amy screwed up drug tests; the FBI got involved in putting out “flawed forensic evidence involving microscopic hair matches” that have been tracked to 2,600 cases including 45 death row cases. The FBI reviewed 160 of these cases then stopped its review. The results were quite embarrassing. Rather than seeking to undo any wrong, the FBI decided it was best to hide it, apparently deciding it was better for innocent people to be executed or imprisoned for life rather than fessing up to an error.

What actually happened is explained here. It noted “of ten percent of the cases reviewed so far, the “vast majority” contain errors”. The FBI’s errors could be more widespread since it taught the people working in state labs what to do. How many of those labs erred?

Further as the writer explained: Yet hair analysis is just one of many forensic disciplines that hinge on using a microscope to visually compare two samples and declare a match. Ballistics, fibre analysis, tyre and shoeprint comparison and tool and bite-mark analysis all take a similar approach.” These methods were all criticized in a landmark report about forensic evidence in 2009.

I never believed the that the 100% record of justifiable shootings was correct especially after seeing how the FBI agent in the Todashev killing panicked and put more than six bullets in him. My one last hope about the FBI was that the labs were on the level. Now that is shattered.


7 thoughts on “Last Hope Shattered: FBI Labs Make Annie Dookham Look Good

  1. Annie Dookham:

    What about her boss Health Commissar Auerbach who escaped untouched from his role and his accountability in this story of dereliction of duty;

    He suffers from that cardiac malady common among the spunkless, chicken heart disease.

    Like a true poltroon in the dead of night he abandoned his post.

    1. Hopalong:

      I wrote about Auerbach. When the problem at the lab first came to light he stood up and said that the buck stopped at his desk. He then went out and started looking for another job and landed one at a local college. When the problem started heating up, Auerback decided the buck didn’t stop at his desk, disclaimed all knowledge of it, said he couldn’t have done anything about it, and fled like a fox being chased by hounds to the private sector.

  2. Matt:
    I am starting t worry about you.
    Do I have to remind you of the FBI crime family mantra?
    ” don’ embarrass the bureau” no that is not it.
    It is ” admit nothing.deny everything and file counter allegations.
    You gotta cut back on your consumption of Cape Cod Salt Water Taffy, eh?
    It is really making your cajones grow.

    just kidding….

    you can reach FBI lab whistlower Dr Frederick Whitehust in North Carolina
    where he is practing law. We brought him to speak at our 6 th annual conference
    investigating crimes committed by FBI agents .We also booked him to speak
    at Harvard Law School courtesy of Professor Charles Ogletree. I drove him down from Maine for the speaking gig.Later in the evening we had dinner at my friend
    Lloyd Fillion.’s Brownstone home where I had invited my friend Ed Tatro to
    join the table and ask Fred questions about the FBI Lab and the JFK assassination.
    Wait a minute the Maine Whisper Stream news service beeper just went off.
    This just in …..

    Taxpayer funded FBI agents arranged to have forensic investigator Angela Clemente given a life threatening beating
    after she had murder charges filed against FBI agent Lyndley De Vecchio
    I call Angela every month or so to see how she is

    Thursday, August 21, 2014Last Update: 6:13 AM PT

    FBI Ordered to Cough Up Outdated Mafia Docs

    – The FBI must give a terminally ill mafia expert the name of a special agent allegedly involved in agency corruption, and other related information, a federal judge ruled.
    Forensic analyst Angela Clemente sued the FBI on July 21, 2008, alleging that Special Agent Lindley Devecchio and others helped cover up murders and other violent crimes committed by agency informants, like Colombo family capo Gregory Scarpa.
    Clemente has spent the last decade researching the FBI’s relationship with Scarpa, aka “The Grim Reaper” or “The Mad Hatter,” who served as an FBI informant since 1961.
    Devecchio was charged with aiding and abetting four murders in 2006, but the judge dismissed the case after finding that Scarpa’s former mistress lacked witness credibility.
    After Clemente requested an unredacted copy of the FBI’s file on Scarpa under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), U.S. District Judge Paul Friedman directed the agency to supplement its Vaughn index of about 192 sample documents.
    U.S. District Judge Barbara Jacobs Rothstein deemed the FBI’s search adequate in 2012 but directed the agency to reprocess the 1,153 pages.
    Meanwhile another Washington, D.C-based federal judge heard Clemente’s request to expedite a 2011 FOIA request she made for records pertaining to Scarpa.
    U.S. District Judge Thomas Hogan noted earlier this year that Clemente is running against the clock for the information because doctors tell her she is unlikely to receive a life-saving liver transplant on time.
    Clemente did not receive any files until June 2013, and although the FBI first said it had 1,420 responsive pages, it later identified about 30,000 additional documents.
    Hogan’s January decision granted Clemente’s request for the FBI to increase its customary FOIA release rate of 500 pages per month to 5,000 per month, in light of her ill health and the public importance of her research.
    Rothstein, the judge on the 2008 case, granted the FBI partial summary judgment Monday.
    “Here, plaintiff raises the same arguments that this court has thrice addressed and rejected; the court declines to address those arguments yet again,” Rothstein wrote.
    Citing findings by U.S. District Judge Paul Friedman, the first judge on the case, Rothstein said that the content of some records supports “the FBI’s assertion that they were created for law enforcement purposes,” and thus exempt from disclosure.
    The FBI must supplement its Vaughn index, however, to clarify its attempt to ascertain the life status of those whose information it redacted from the responsive documents, the ruling states.
    “While this court finds that these individuals have a substantial privacy interest here, such an interest may be diminished if the individuals are deceased,” Rothstein wrote. “The court is unable to appropriately balance the privacy interest at stake against the public interest in disclosure until this court knows the life status of the affected individuals.”
    The FBI must disclose “names of an FBI support employee and a third party who are still living and continue to maintain a privacy interest,” the judge ruled.
    “Given the facts of this particular FOIA request – namely that plaintiff implicates FBI agents in wrongdoing and that the document in question dates back to 1965 – this court finds that the public’s interest in disclosure outweighs the FBI agent’s privacy interest,” Rothstein wrote.
    The FBI has 30 days to supplement its affidavit, according to the ruling.

    1. All it takes is one determined Judge. World events are changing rapidly, why not domestic events? The locked door is within reach of being opened. Rothstein= the next Judge Wolf? On a much larger scale.

      1. Rather:

        I’d like to think so but when it comes down to it no one wants to take on the FBI.

    2. MS:

      The likelihood of the FBI ever leveling with someone even pursuant to a court order is extremely remote.

      The FBI’s first commandment is: “Don’t Embarrass The Family” without a doubt. That is why it will, to quote you, “admit nothing, deny everything and file counter allegations.”

      You, of all people, from your extensive reading should know that. Any book written by an FBI agent if it does not spell that out clearly you can read between the lines that they live in mortal fear of doing anything to put the Bureau in a bad light. Why else is it that every time they shoot someone it is justified. The only organization with a perfect record.

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