It’s difficult to find out where this information came from but it’s all over the news that the FBI spent three months investigating Tamerlan Tsarnaev. It’d be nice if we could see the reports about what was done by whom and when, but dealing with the FBI we can’t expect to be told anything. No one tells the FBI what to do unlike with any other police force in America that is responsible to someone else such as a mayor, board of selectmen, governor, or even like a sheriff, the electorate.
Here are the facts that we’ve learned about the initial investigation of Tamerlan Tsarnaev from the FBI as set forth in its recent statement: “The Tsarnaev assessment was thorough, comprehensive, and fully compliant with law and policy.” Who needs facts when conclusions will do.
But it didn’t end there, the Boston FBI SAC Richard DesLauriers assured us that “By their very nature, and in accordance with U.S. constitutional restrictions, JTTF [which includes the FBI] members are limited in the types of investigative methods that can be utilized in an assessment.” Yesterday I underlined that statement so that you could remember it when I talked about it today.
I’ve noticed that the FBI has been putting out the idea that it did all it could under the Constitution and somehow was forced after exhausting all investigative techniques to close out the Tamerlan matter.
I don’t suppose many of you recall the name Jill Kelley. Maybe if I add to that the names David Petraeus and General John Allen. Maybe you’ll recall the investigation the FBI did back then when there was no evidence of a crime. That investigation of no crime started in the spring and it continued well into the fall. Since when is there some “time limit” on an FBI investigation.
In fact, as I noted last August,
“Right after 9/11 it eased rules on surveillance. It was given power to issue national security letters and it abused it. Last year it was reported that it planned to give the 14,000 agents the ability to act proactively and look for crimes.”
I went on: “These most recent changes in rules relate to an investigative category created in 2008 called an “assessment”. This allows agents to begin investigating people and organizations without firm evidence and without making any record of it. They can examine databases, administer lie detector tests, search people’s trash and surveil people using FBI teams for up to five times. This would be bad enough if the FBI followed its own rules but if the Connolly case which opened the door to its secret world demonstrated anything, as shown in Don’t Embarrass The Family, it is that the FBI doesn’t follow its own rules.
Why no record of what they are doing? Valerie E. Caproni, the F.B.I. general counsel said “it was too cumbersome to require agents to open formal inquiries before running quick checks.” All it involves is making a record of it like writing a name down on a piece of paper and giving it to a secretary! Why is that cumbersome when it comes to allowing an agent to use databases to mine for information on an American citizen?”
You see the truth is there is no limitation on what the FBI can do. The reason for this is that no one is watching it. It is free to do anything it wants. Remember in the 1950s and 1960s it had no problem opening the mail of Americans that came from overseas; in the 1950s and 1960s it also broke into the homes and offices of people to plant listening devices; in the late 1960s and thereafter it created a program that is still active today called the Top Echelon Informant program whereby it teams up with some top criminals to protect them and keep them safe so that it can get evidence against other criminals.
There are many other instances where it ignored the US Constitution when it felt the need to do so. To suggest that somehow there was a three month limit on its ability to investigate a foreign national who was identified as a potential terrorist is outrageous. It did not do a thorough and comprehensive assessment. Until we see otherwise, it looked like it did nothing but drop the ball.