In my book “Don’t Embarrass The Family” I made a handful of suggestions for changes in the FBI hoping it would escape the fetters placed on it during the 48 year reign of J. Edgar Hoover. One, perhaps the major one, was that the FBI should record all interrogation it conducts of suspects or other people who may have knowledge of crimes. This was based on the idea that in the digital age such actions are simple, that the best evidence is a person’s words, and the widespread unreliability of FBI 302s based upon an agents memory. I noted how a federal judge refused to be interviewed by the FBI unless he could review the 302 it planned to file.
Had the FBI stopped it skullduggery we would not now be in the position where we look upon its suggestion that a dead man (Ibragim Todashev) implicated another dead man (Tamerlan Todashev) in a triple homicide in Waltham with a jaundiced eye. Who can believe this when the FBI after so long a time keeps stonewalling its reasons for killing Todashev. Why would you ever kill a man with such critical evidence?
Reading the latest news we see the FBI uses its silence to have the story change in the public perception. Five months and counting the FBI has been working assiduously to try to decide how to explain how and why one or more of its agents killed Todashev who had such important evidence. It has failed to give the barest hint why Todashev would implicate himself and his buddy, if he did, in such a heinous act. Nor does it tell us if he was a suspect, why it violated his right to counsel. We are left to think that this was an execution of him perhaps because he refused to implicate anyone in that murder. Nothing else seems to make sense.
We see the facts of his killing changing in the newspaper reports. Many papers have carried these sentences in their reports over the last 24 hours speaking about the government’s revelation for the first time that Todasheve implicated Tamerlan Tsarnaev in the triple homicide in Waltham. They write Todashev: “was fatally shot at his Orlando home during a meeting with an FBI agent and two Massachusetts state troopers in May, authorities said. He had turned violent while being question, according to authorities.”
Notice the number of cops has dropped by more than half, the identity of the shooter no longer mentioned, and the false implication that the “authorities” have explained what has happened. We are left to believe someone other than the FBI agent shot him, perhaps some other felon and the FBI has been candid about the happening. Yet not one news outlet points to the inexplicable failure of the FBI to explain why Todashev was gunned down. Notice how many papers are repeating these skewed new facts. Politico, USA Today, Boston Globe, Sky News, The Guardian, etc.
The government came forward with the statement that Todashev implicated Tamerlan as a result of defense counsel filings in the Dzhokhar (Joker) Tsarnaev case. Defense counsel is seeking more information in the case which the government wants to hide. Here is the government prosecutor’s response:
“Any benefit to Tsarnaev of knowing more about the precise ‘nature and extent’ of his brother’s involvement does not outweigh the potential harm of exposing details of an ongoing investigation into an extremely serious crime, especially at this stage of the proceeding, . . . “
This makes no sense. If one or two dead men are the culprits in the triple homicide there is no one to investigate and no need for an investigation. Sometimes the “under investigation” ploy has no legs. This is one of those times. There can be no harm to revealing what was said; rather the harm that will come in trying to continue to hide what happened.
I’ve got this feeling that the chickens are going to come home to roost in this case. Rather than playing it straight, the prosecutors seem to be using the Whitey Bulger play book. What they don’t grasp is no one cares about Whitey and whatever they did to him would get the OK by the appeals court. Things are different with the Joker. People with a real stake in the outcome, the families of the deceased and the walking wounded will be watching this closely as will those interested in making Joker some type of victim. The government must play this above-board and on the level.
Joker’s defense is simple: blame his older brother for overcoming his will. The Patty Hearst defense, also known as, the Stockholm syndrome. This makes the request to know what Todashev said about his brother, and possibly Joker’s involvement in the Triple Homicide, if anything, extremely relevent. Were he involved or had he abetted the triple homicide in any manner he was subject to being blackmailed. He’d live in mortal fear that his involvement would be disclosed if he did not do what his brother Tamerlan dictated. Even if he were not involved, he could have been forced by his brother to carry the bombs or he would falsely implicate him in it.
Time to stop the games and come forward with all the evidence. We’ve already had a great tragedy with the bombing; we don’t want to compound it by doing anything that will save the Joker from facing the death penalty. It is sad to think that if the FBI acted responsibly and recorded Todashev’s statements none of these problems may exist.