The USA is in Trouble: The Reaction to the Marathon Terrorist Attack Shows Why.

The FBI leading Congress and the President.
The FBI leading Congress and the President.

Our country is in trouble. We have a secret police force, the FBI, which refuses to be accountable to the public; an enfeebled Congress that is too scared to take control; and a president who offers comforting words but fears telling the FBI to give us the answers we seek.

It’s time this stops. We should not face a shut door. We’re not to be treated as if our only right is not to know the truth. It is only the truth that will keep us free..

The president and Congress are supposed to govern with the consent of the people. Our lives and safety have been compromised by terrorism. It will happen again if we aren’t told the full circumstances surrounding the Marathon Terrorist Attack on Patriot’s Day. We can no long be given the bum’s rush. This isn’t supposed to be like Russia where the people are kept in the dark and expected to trust the leaders and the KGB.

Bryan Bender of the Boston Globe reported: “The FBI acknowledged Friday night that a foreign government had asked the US for information about Tamerlan Tsarnaev, based on information that he was a follower of “radical Islam.”  In response, the FBI investigated and interviewed Tamerlan and family members. “The FBI did not find any terrorism activity, domestic or foreign,” the bureau said. On Saturday, the FBI said it would have no further comment”

Are you surprised the FBI is now in a shut down mode? You shouldn’t be if you’ve read my book Don’t Embarrass the Family?  Tell me what you think the Bureau is now doing. Do you think it is looking to find out the truth and preparing to tell us what happened? Or do you think it is trying to find out how best to spin the issue and cover-up?  Is the FBI more concerned with itself than the country?

I’d like to know why the FBI said “foreign government” rather than Russia. Even in that little thing it can’t really level with us. I’d like to know exactly what the FBI did. I feel like I’m about to walk into a room where I will reach a long sought after goal and the door is abruptly slammed in my face. I want to know what is going on inside.

I’m not suggesting the FBI did anything wrong here. A 2010 or 2011 request from Russian to check in on a guy from Chechnya may have produced a thorough follow-up and no red flags were raised. Chechens were not known, as far as I know, to have any problems with the USA although they’re at war with Russia.

The FBI agents, if they knew that, would have that in mind interviewing the guy. They might have figured this was Russia’s problems and not ours. That’s understandable. But tell us. Did the FBI follow-up with the Russians? What was done by whom? Tell us what happened, that’s all we ask.

What did the report of the interview say? Were there follow-up meetings with Tamerlan. Were other investigations conducted? Was he put on some type of watch list? Did the FBI try to turn him into an informant? Did it play any part in his alienation from America by doing this?

Did the FBI know about his 6 month sojourn last year to Russia. What did the FBI know about his doings while in Dagestan?  When was its last contact with him? It’s reported in the New York Times that, “One month after he returned to the United States, a YouTube page that appeared to belong to him was created and featured multiple jihadist videos.” Did the FBI know that? If so, what did it do? If not, why not? Did the FBI know of his ever-increasing radical leanings? Does it know of the radical imam in the Boston area who influenced him by preaching hate about America?

The NY Times in the same article reported that Tamerlan applied for American citizenship on Sept. 5 last year. “The Department of Homeland Security, however, had decided not to grant a petition from Tamerlan for United States citizenship after officials found a record in his files that he had been interviewed by the F.B.I. His petition was held for further review.” The FBI had some concerns that it made its actions know to Homeland Security. What were they. Did Homeland Security contact the FBI?

Even more, when the FBI honed in on the two terrorists and secured their pictures, did it show them to the agents who had been in contact with Tamerlan? Did it check its files to see if anyone in the Boston area might fit that person’s description? Why did it ask for the public’s help if it could have used internal sources such as matching the passport picture of Tamerlan with the video surveillance?

How do we open the door to find out what is going on in face of the FBI’s slamming it  shut? That’s why we’re in trouble. We have no key. In the most important investigation in Boston’s history the FBI says  “it would have no further comment.”

This shows how much our politicians have failed us. I’ll explain how tomorrow

42 thoughts on “The USA is in Trouble: The Reaction to the Marathon Terrorist Attack Shows Why.

  1. One of my favorite boxers was Mustafo Hamsho from NY, a Syrian Muslim, and one of my favorite Rock guys (Morning Has Broken, Where Do the Children PLay) was Cat Stevens. Never forget that Muslims have historically and do now serve America on all fronts honorably and heroically. I even have, by blood and marriage, relatives who are Muslim. But I wan’t to respond to an earlier point about not digging into Bhengazi Massacre. The same excuse is used to keep us in the blind, in the darkness: Don’t do it, you’ll jeopardize “the integrity” of our operations, the safety of our operatives. Sounds familiar? Don’t embarass the famly; don’t jeopardize the “integrity” of our corrupt judiciary, our corrupt federal prosecutors, our corrupt press . .

  2. Matt: The Commonwealth of Massachusetts must not defer to our sometimes inept and historically corrupt Federal Government on this one. We must dually process adn prosecute these two killers and their accomplices (and I suspect their are hundreds in Boston alone who aided, abetted adn gave comfort to these terrorists; who educated, taught, adn urged them on; who preached immediate incendiary violence, and told them it’s ok to throw bombs at people from Dorchester and South Boston and Charlestown and Allston-Brighton and Malden and Chinese-students studying in Boston. I’ll say it short and sweet: We’ve lost too many friends, neighbors, loved ones and family to the serial killers, terrorists, and narco traffickers. Thousands die annually in the Boston area to drug overdoses; tens of thousands end up as cocaine/heroin prostitutes/whores, victims of latter day John Martorano’s and his nefarious ilk. The foreign enemy, Terrorists and Narco-Terrorists and Trans-National Narcotic Pushers are working our streets. THE FEDS are not protecting the people of Savin Hill or Malden. We have a moral duty and constitutional duty (Federalism) to protect ourselves. 2. Immediately deport anyone—anyone—credibly “suspected” or even “fingered’ by Russia as even a “suspicious” person. GET THE RADICAL STUDENTS OUT OF THIS COUNTRY. 3. REVOKE THE JOKER’S CITIZENSHIP: HE TOOK THE OATH OF ALLEGIANCE UNDER FALSE PRETENSES; HE CAME HERE TO KILL US; HE AND HIS BROTHER AND THEIR TURKISH/CHECKEN/ RADICAL FRIENDS ARE HERE TO KILL US. 4. HIS RICH TURKISH–AND MIDDLE-EASTERN FRIENDS—GET THEIR MONEY, in great part, from NARCO-TERRORISM. Forewarned is Forearmed. ACt now to take back our goverment. I’ve got a lot of questions . . . .

    1. Bill:
      1. It’s best not to include too many things in this. The drugs are another issue. There’s no showing they are connected.
      2. I’d suggest the Russians are not necessary our friends and would be wary of letting them finger Americans.
      3. If the Joker lied, then it should be revoked, but I’m not so sure he did. He came here when he was nine.
      4. I don’t think they had rich friends since the brothers were as poor as church mice.

  3. Dear author, I have a great deal of respect for you and the life that you have led. I ran once for public office years ago in Palm Beach County.One of the things I realized as I ran is that you must have a good working relationship with not only the police union but also the police force and the chief. The idea of someone holding office anywhere and badmouthing or questioning the local FBI would doom that person in the next election. I think sometimes people are naive as to what really happens behind closed doors. A Congressman from South Boston seeking a Senate seat shows what happens when the rubber hits the road. Why would he speak badly of the local office and not think he would pay a price for that? What happened recently in Boston is a very sad thing and I do not want to belabor the point. regards to you and all those Bostonians as you deal with the aftermath of the attacks

    1. To Norwood Born…some are not as naive as you think but believe in the fundamental right to question authority (reasonably and respectfully of course) – it, is after all, the only principle which unites this country. As an aside – did you know the Boston Harbor, just beyond the Castle or Fort Independence in Southie – has a formation of islands literally in the shape of a question mark…if that isn’t symbolic of the guiding principle which encourages people in this country to “ask questions” – the principle upon our country was founded – then what is?

      John McCain wrote a book – it’s called “Why Courage Matters.” In addition to reading the books offered through this site, I highly recommend it.

      Question for you to ponder – You never indicated whether you won the race or not. If not, was it because voters thought you might not have had the courage to ask the tough questions?

      1. Alex:
        Good points but I assume Norwood lost but I give anyone great credit for running for public office. It’s not the winning or losing that counts but the trying. Norwood has asked some tough questions here so I don’t think that’s the reason he lost, if he did.

        McCain’s a good guy. Sometimes I think he lost his way a bit and got in over his head. I’ll try to get his book. One thing about him is he really showed courage in picking Sarah Palin. Although all will not agree that is the type of courage that we need. But he served his country well and even though I disagree with some of his positions I always respected him for his courage.

        1. One thing I have always learned to do is read “multiple” sources, views and takes on things. I would never watch Fox News without a juxta-position pov from CNN. Similarly can’t read the Globe without reading the Herald – the truth lies somewhere in between the lines (both said and unsaid in both). However, I respectfully disagree with your characterization that taking on Sarah Palin as a running mate was courageous – but I suspect that was your sense of humor coming through loud and clear again!

          and No, nor do I agree with everything Mr. McCain posits. However, one thing our country has to get back to is “Courage.” We are too afraid to question people, we are too afraid of fear…we are even too damn afraid of peanuts. Matt, do you know that there is a movement of fear among today’s parents that swimming is bad, that kids might drown so the way to handle that is to tell them not to go in above their knees. C’Mon! We have got to toughen up. We have to get back to instilling in our kids that it is not only noble to be brave but “life-saving” whether it’s swimming, questioning authority or responding to terrorism.

          By the way, I am in the rare minority that hates the word “try.” In fact, I’d like to get back to a society where “winning” – but winning nobly on noble principles – means something. Why is it that we have become a country where winning is only important if it’s in the context of singing and dancing on American Idol or some dancing with the B list crowd. “Winning” is actually the fruition of dedication, perseverance, steadfast commitment to a purpose, focus and heart – and as the culmination of those values it should be what our country is about. I hate “ties” and “trying win or lose that counts.” Ties and “trying” are for soccer – they have no business in contact sports and politics or the obscure merger between the two.

          Sorry – on the point of winning we must respectfully disagree. 🙂

          1. Alex:
            Sorry for the late reply, I’ve been on the road. McCain in picking Palin showed a certain kind of courage, the courage to ignore the advice of smarter people. It did a lot to cost him the election.
            The USA has changed a lot as you note with mothers now keeping their children away from swimming. I suggest it all changed back in 1973 when we eliminated the idea that everyone must be willing to sacrifice something for the country. Prior to then, all men knew they were apt to be called up to serve the country (well not all – those well connected figured they’d get out but most of us). That message was that if you are lucky enough to live here and are male, then you may have to give something back. Once the draft left, so did the idea you had to do anything for the country and to fill that vacuum the idea sprung up that you deserved something from the country. How many times have you heard someone say “get what you deserve.” When was the last time you heard someone say “you have to sacrifice for the country.”
            We do disagree on trying – without trying and failing and getting up and trying again you’ll never win.

    2. Norwood:
      Nice to hear from you as usual. Your experience in running for office is mirrored throughout the country. I’m able to speak my thoughts freely because I’m not working for anyone else, not looking for anything, not representing clients anymore (imagine me going in front of a federal judge – they coudn’t take it out on me so they’d throw the book at my client), and have a moderate life style. But you are exactly right you can never win anything in America if you appear anti-police, even if you are working to improve things for people. I admire you for having put yourself out for election. It takes guts to do that (or a bit of insanity). As I tell people we are lucky in America, and where you are is America which I was reminded of when I was there in the service and would say to someone I’m looking forward to getting back to the states, we can speak freely but there is no guarantee we won’t suffer in doing so. Thanks for your well wishes. Boston will survive.

  4. I think parents of the up and coming generations should get used to telling their kids, “Yep, Pluto used to be a planet…and the world used to have these things called “countries. The USA is now a “region.”

    They should also plan to say, “there was this thing called the CIA too but the FBI wanted to rule the world and in 2012 saw their opportunity for a “power-play”. After the FBI spied on the CIA director to come up with some dirt on him, they got their chance. So, the memo to the world at that point was clear – don’t mess with the FBI – if they can delve deep to deep-six the country’s own CIA director, than what’s to stop them from digging deep into Joe Schmo in whatever region anywhere.”

    But that then presents a problem…While the FBI was digging into Patreaus’ love affairs in order to “turf-battle them out” – they missed a terrorist or two and their activities to and from Russia and downloading jihadist materials? What are their priorities again – an extramarital affair or terrorism? Oh, ya, it was just to position themselves as the alpha dog on the worldstage.

    Speaking of the worldstage, How many students do you think (in the US and in the countries in the EU) know that there is European Union “Flag” representing the “European Union” as a “country” according to the World Bank? Yes, the “EU region” has its own flag – blue with 12 little stars but the stars don’t even represent all the countries in the EU,rather they represent loosey goosey terms.

    Personally, I think the world has undergone a massive “intercontinental refinance and restructuring” plan and I think there is evidence to back this up.

    In fact, did you know that there was something called an “IC Refin” plan – whatever that stands for – and Semion Migolevich – the head of the Russian mob; the “Brainy Don” – who is still on the FBI’s Most Wanted List by the way – was a part of it under his gem of a company called Inkombank which had ties to Pennsylvania and Canada and some New York derivative suit involving money laundering that did not occur too long ago?

    The real kicker? Semion Migolevich apparently “got away” having been “tipped off” from someone in another country’s local “law enforcement” bureau.

    Does that somehow sound a little too “eerily” familiar?

    Well if that doesn’t do it, how about this – Mr. Migolevich, he reportedly has connections to a certain family – the LCN in New York.

    And my oh my – his getting “tipped off” happened just a few months after another “FBI Most Wanted” got “tipped off” from someone “supposedly inside law enforcement.”

    1. Russian Mob, Mafia, Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), Albanian-narco-traffickers, Turkish narco-traffickers, Afghanistan produces 70% of world’s Narcotics and Afghan farmers are doubling-up on quotas (demand from narco-traffickers); Cartels are flourishing in Mexico and LA and Detroit, Philly and Boston—hundreds of thousands of US citiznes’ lives are lost and destroyed by Narcotics—-Narco-Terrorism— and the FEDS are focusing on Probation Officers (look up Wyshak) and 70 year old City Councilman Chuck Turner of Boston. We’ve seen enough blood on the streets of Boston! Another Boston Massacre! Citizens of Boston! Citizens of the Commonwealth! Take charge of this investigation; The Narco-terrorists are walking our streets. We have inherent rights of self-defense–God-given rights!
      I remember Wacko Hurley standing in front of St. Augustine’s Cemetery on Dorchester Street saying, “The South Boston Allied War Veterans Council over-rules the Supreme Judicial Court . .. ” If you don’t get it, read “From Trial Court . . .” or brush up on what the citizens of Boston do when a Higher Power fails to protect their lives, liberties, and freedom. We have the inalienable right to walk our streets fearlessly. Get the narco-terrorists and their cohorts out of this Commonwealth! Pronto! Dig it?

  5. I have to disagree with the thrust of the arguments today. The US is experiencing a normal increase in executive authority. This is exactly the imperial presidency described by Schlesinger. Congress has been unable or unwilling to muster the political will to restrict the presidency, but it has not lost the authority. Remember, this is not the first imperial presidency and each time the people’s representatives rose to the challenge.

    The War Powers Act, investigations into CIA (executive branch) overreach, Iran/Contra investigations, Nixon’s impeachment etc. I use historical examples but the riposte is the same. During an emergency the President makes a power grab, and once the emergency wanes the legistlature and generally the Court steps up. Bush had military commissions struck down, his unlawful spying brought under FISA and congressional approval, and his torture program ended. He was not impeached but his policies were cripled.

    Matt, you have great questions to ask the FBI. After 9/11, the 9/11 commission did an amazingly extensive report on our security blunders and the facts that day. Do you question whether a similar panel wouldn’t rise to the occasion now?

    You feel the FBI is unchecked? File a FOIA request and find out how they handle such situations. Don’t think you got all the paperwork? Challenge in court. Want subpoeana power? Petition your congressmen to saddle up.

    Alexis de Tocqueville wrote that Americans get the Government they deserve. He meant we get the government we ourselves build. We haven’t been deserving of open government because we don’t work for it. But I have absolute faith that history will repeat itself and most of us will.

    1. Jim P:
      Contrary voices are always welcome and yours especially. You talk about the pendulum swing of power between the executive and the legislative branch. You tell how over the years as the presidency gained more powers but the gain was eventually lost when Congress asserted its authority. But throughout all this, one group in the executive branch has defied any attempt to limit its power or open itself to scrutiny and that is the FBI. We’ve seen the Church Committee report that spelled out the many misdeeds by the FBI’s from the warrantless electronic interceptions, the mail openings of mail from overseas going to American citizens, from the breaking and entering into private dwellings, and cointelpro operations putting out disinformation to groups of Americans that got other Americans killed.
      So while the president will accrete extra power and then lose it the FBI continues to grow larger and larger. Its ascendancy and independence goes unchallenged and mostly unnoticed. For the most part the FBI does an excellent job from all we can tell. But in circumstances like this, when questions arise about fact situations, it should be willing to level with the people. My complaint is that it shut the door not that it may have done something wrong. We now see that it is defending itself through selective leaks to favored Congressmen in high positions. One (Durban) I hear suggests the answer is to give the FBI more power.

      There should be a 9/11 type commission narrowly focused on getting the truth. We know the FBI was tipped off that Tamerlan was a radical. We know that Tamerlan proved himself a dangerous radical taking American lives. We don’t know what happened between the tip off and the Marathon attack. A commission can tell us. I’m not looking to scapegoat anyone or throw a rogue agent to the wolves, I’m hoping that whatever it was that went wrong will be admitted and changes will be made. In my book I proposed 15 changes to the way the FBI operates. I’d like to see an outside body look at the FBI and suggest necessary changes and bring us out of the Hoover era which unfortunately we still seem to be in. I’d like to see Congress forced to either accept the changes or to reject them in whole. Nit picking won’t bring about changes that are needed.

      I know you re right when you suggest there are thing I could do other than complain like file a FOIA request (I’ll get a 100 pages with 99% blacked out). How would I know if I got all the paper work? Go to court to have the redactions removed. Really a pointless exercise. Even Judge Wolf couldn’t bring the FBI to heel and was left to complain about its obstructionism and threatening it with contempt and even that failed. As for my Congressman, he can’t even get a simple answer out of the FBI. I have done work in Congress and let me assure you that is a dysfunctional body so little hope lies there. Do you know there is no wireless internet access in the Congressional office buildings? Starbucks puts them to shame.

      Alexis de Tocqueville in his travels through America had many poignant observations. Like him, I do the best I can by writing about what I see wrong. He’s right about we get what we deserve. IF no one cares that we have a secret police that has accrued as much power as any other secret police force in the world and it hides its actions behind high walls then there is nothing that can be done about it.

    2. Please file your own FOI request and ask the names of all “suspects” involved in the bombing of Boylston Street: Good luck!

  6. FBI missed Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s Russia trip because of misspelling

    The FBI did not know that Tamerlan Tsarnaev, the older Boston Marathon bombing suspect who was killed in a firefight last week, took a six-month trip to Russia because his name was misspelled, Sen. Lindsey Graham said.

    Mr. Graham, a South Carolina Republican, told Fox News Monday that he had spoken to an assistant director at the FBI about the agency’s failure to monitor Tsarnaev after interviewing him in 2011 after a tip from from the Russian government that he could be dangerous. Late Friday the FBI said it found nothing “derogatory” after that initial questioning

    1. Henry:
      Sounds like we are being well protected. Also sounds like the FBI is spinning the Congressmen trying to hold off a full inquiry. We need to see the reports and the mispellings, etc. We don’t need them washed through friendly Congresspeople offering excuses for it.

  7. Chris Stevens was a tight-rope walker who specialized in performing without a net, and, like Karl Wallenda, he knew he might fall. Nothing can be accomplished by churning up memories and records of the Benghazi attack. An endless public re-hashing of events will only endanger those still working in Libya.

    1. You are wrong! Everything will be accomplished by dredging up the mudflats and unearthing the evil beneath!


    1. Jim:
      I suppose we’ll have to wait for answers on the Marathon Terrorist Attack for as long as we’ve waited for an full inquiry into Benghazi and then for a good bit more. You’ve noticed that for many years the only heads that seem to roll are those on the lowest ranks. No one in the upper echelons seems to be responsible for anything, no one resigns when their people screw up, and everyone just sits back and hopes we forget. It seems to be working since few heads have been cut down. If the people don’t demand answers none will be forthcoming. I’m still waiting for the FBI to tell us why it used a known murderer Rossetti as a top echelon informant when it said it wouldn’t do those things again after it used Whitey and then put Connolly in prison for doing it. 20 months and counting for it to come up with that answer on a clear cut situation. How long do you’ll have to wait for an answer on Benghazi?

  9. How many other Muslin radicals were the FBI notified of by the Russians? What was done? How many are currently in the USA? How could three photos of Tamerlan be in Government custody ( passport. FBI and Cambridge Police) and the public is needed for the identification? Something is amiss. 2. If D A Conley and Commissioner Davis announced that they were seeking murder warrants against Jamar Tsarnaev how would the feds react? They could also charge Winter, Weeks, Martorano, Nee and Salemme with murder. Their rationale could be that the Feds have let too many get away with murder. The Feds have released from custody all the killers of the Savin Hill victims ( Veranis, O’Toole Barret, Connors and O’Sullivan) i.e. Martorano, Nee and Weeks. The local D A could say he is not taking a chance with the killer of another Savin Hill victim Martin Richard( grandson of Jake O’Brien). He is going to protect the citizens of Dorchester irrespective of Federal indifference. JUSTICE for Dorchester JUSTICE for Savin Hill JUSTICE for Martin Richard could be his battle cry. A substantial jurisdictional battle would ensue. Conley and Davis become national figures exposing the shortcomings of the American government. Lets open that can of worms. 3. Remember what happened in the Madoff case. A BC grad Harry Markopolis notified the SEC on multiple occasions that Madoff was running a Ponzi scheme. The SEC ignored his complaints for a couple of years before reluctantly conducting an investigation. Of course the SEC cleared Madoff. Billions were stolen from the victims. Is the FBI just another feckless bureau of the government or something better? Time will tell. Let’s hope the FBI doesn’t conduct it’s own review and finds everything is in order. IT isn’t.

    1. N:
      1. Maybe something is not amiss. Maybe it is business as usual. The FBI just drops the ball and then refused to talk about it anymore. You know the old ditty “who takes care of the caretakers daughter while the caretaker’s busy taking care.” There is no one watching the FBI except itself. The FBI motto is: “Screw Up, Clam Up” We just have to note the people need to know what happened. How many guys in Boston have the Russians told us about. I’d bet it’s no more than the fingers on your right hand.
      2. When the Feds tried to take over the Salvi case we said we were going to get the murder indictments. They backed off. DA Conley should get murder indictments against Joker as should the Middlesex DA for the MIT cop. Remember the separate sovereign approach the feds use when they want to try people twice; well the MA DAs should recognize they too are separate sovereigns and proceed to protect the people of their counties or at least have a back up alternative to the feds if they mess up their case. By the way, the most egregious action by the feds is releasing Tommy Sperrazza from custody. How can they take a MA prisoner convicted of two counts of First Degree Murder by Bob Banks and take him out of our jurisdiction and then release him? No one can figure that one out.
      3. Madoff had a secret agreement with the feds that he could run a Ponzi scheme as long as he didn’t get caught by someone else the SEC would not bother him. It’s like J.Edgar told his guys they could break into buildings as long as they didn’t get caught.
      I’m hoping the FBI comes out and levels with us. As Paul said, if the FBI had something to flaunt we’d be reading all about it. It’s silence is ominous. Was Tamerlan working with the FBI?

      1. Dear Matt,

        In response to the comment that there are no checks and balances over the FBI, I wanted to point out that there is an Office of Inspector General (OIG) assigned to the Department of Justice which is designed to impose some form of oversight to the FBI.

        For example, this 2010 report found that the FBI had abused its authority in its issuance of National Security Letters (NSLs) under the USA PATRIOT Act. See, e.g., Office of Inspector General, U.S. Department of Justice, A Review of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Use of Exigent Letters and Other Informal Requests for Telephone Records, January 2010. Retrieved from While not perfect, the OIGs for the DOJ and other agencies were created with a mission to detect and prevent fraud, waste, and abuse in government and designed with the core ideals of integrity, objectivity, and independence. By design, the OIGs lacks the statutory authority to actually implement reforms and corrective action — that is reserved for agency leaders and for Congress.

        Each year, OIG recommendations go into a “Compendium of Unimplemented Recommendations” and remain there until action is taken upon them. As I mentioned in an earlier post, the power is there, if the right people were in a place to wield it wisely and well. Ultimately, President Obama is the top of the chain of command; he appoints the Attorney General, and he asked FBI Director Mueller to remain on board after his ten-year term expired in 2011. Ultimately, those who hold oversight authority in the chain of command hold the power to act, should they choose to. Congress holds the power to act, should it choose to. The power is there; the information is there; the oversight is there. The problem comes is choosing what exactly to do with it.

        Thus, I would frame the problem not as one in which the FBI is doing whatever it wants; there is more at play, and even if the change of pace is not at the formal direction of the White House, the EOP has the authority to intervene. There are no checks and balances between the FBI and the President; they are part of the same branch, and the President ultimately oversees that branch.

        While the OIG is not a panacea, it is an oversight mechanism, a source of information and accountability, even if it only comes in the form of informational transparency, where the ax is put down when investigations, audits, and evaluations are complete, reports are issued, and that arsenal of information lies in wait for others to act.

        We may dismiss the OIG as ineffective or a tool of the FBI Director, and certainly OIGs have been political at times, in violation of the Inspector General Act of 1978, as amended. Yet as we all remembered recently, the law is really only what we make of it — how we act, or not, that is where the answer (and naturally, the question) shall always lie.


        1. Jay:
          Thanks for you usual informative post. The OIG does not really seem to be the answer that I am looking for. I’m asking how do we find out truthfully what information the FBI had on Tamerlan. I don’t see the OIG having that as part of its mandate to get us that answer. It seems all it can do is to recommend to the FBI that it provide that answer.

          But you really are on point, as usual, when you note “the power is there, if the right people were in a place to wield it wisely and well.” You go on to note: The power is there; the information is there; the oversight is there. The problem comes is choosing what exactly to do with it.

          The problem boils down as I see it to an ineffective Congress and an indifferent president and a powerful bureaucracy that can do whatever it wants. J. Edgar Hoover used to have his agents refer to FBI Headquarters as the Seat of Government. Under normal circumstance is you asked where is the seat or government in England, France, Germany or Japan, one would hardly expect another to say it was with the secret police of that government. During the Soviet days when East Germany existed one wouldn’t be surprised if the answer came back Stasi. Hoover never wanted to be accountable to anyone. He made the FBI is what we see today and little has changed in its attitude that it must be left alone to do whatever it wants to do and no one can look behind its doors.

          Maybe a more powerful OIG is necessary or a division in the DOJ designed specifically to deal with matters like this that may arise. How to prevent such groups from being undermined or taken over by the FBI is an issue for another day. All that could be corrected if Obama appointed someone strong who felt an obligation to change things and make the FBI more open and responsive to us. I hope Obama recognizes the problem. At a minimum he must not reappoint Mueller. If he does that we are guaranteed nothing will change.

          1. Jay, I agree with Matt with respect to OIG. In my case after almost 7 years of getting no response from normal usdoj channels, even with congressional help, the usdoj oig referred my case to criminal division. This was in 2009. And, I have yet to be contacted by anyone in criminal division. The experience has been like being caught in a traffic jam, and you spot what you think is a way out. You have the feeling of movement, until you find out that you only been detoured back into the same traffic jam. Unless someone sets the rules that include a time frame for the review and response, the process looks great on paper, but in reality is no real remedy. But, I do agree with you. The remedy is there just waiting to be implemented by someone with the political will to git’r done.

          2. Matt, Jay, et al: The President adn Congress must reform things. I didn’t vote for Pres Obama, but I like him as a man. He’s a good man! He’s a quick study; honest; a great American; he serves us well. (I’m a conservative/libertarian). Our liberal President has been good on the War on Terror and I think he’ll step in and straighten out this FBI/DOJ anti-American “Don’t Trust the People of Dorchester/Southie/Brighton/Everett/Malden/Revere” attitude the FEDS have shown us recently and in the past by concealing info from us and lying to us . . . . . etc;

            1. Bill:
              Let’s see what Obama does when Mueller’s term expires in September. He’s inconsistent on terrorists, not a good thing to be. Those American citizens in foreign countries who preach against America he gives a droning to; the one at home who actually kills 4 Americans he puts in the legal system. Do you think it is a keep the guessing strategy?

              1. Matt,

                With respect to your comment about putting the Marathon bomber in the system, I for one think that if a blog such as yours here would be established for that trial we all may better understand what went so very wrong, and perhaps that would be better than Gitmo where it would be out of sight out of mind, until the next terrorist decides to act.

              2. Jean:
                The problem with putting him in the system is the FBI (and other cops) have a reason for not disclosing anything about the investigation. If Joker went to Gitmo we could have an investigation into why the two Marathon Terrorist bombers slipped through the net. Now we won’t know what went wrong for years because of the fear of prejudicial publicity. We’ll be inundated with rumors from unnamed sources. Right now everything is confusing due to all the spin which is compounded by the Russians being involve.

                Also, one or two things will happen now that he is indicted: Joker will become a hero and his trial turned into a circus with Boston being shut down during his trial; or, he won’t go to trial and plead guilty to avoid the death penalty. This will all depend on who he has for lawyers. You can bet your last dollars that there are lawyers out there trying to get in on the case not to help Joker but to get the publicity. This could be the worst decision Obama has made.

              3. Matt, A hero is a person who is held in esteem for superior qualities, and or deeds. I am troubled that you be concerned that the Patriot Day bombers would be put into a “hero”category. And, that this concern should prevent ant US citizen from getting a full and fair trial. If the US rule of law cannot take the scrutiny of blogs such as hours then Pandora’s Box is truly empty.

              4. Jean:
                I was unclear as to whom he will be a hero. Those with an abiding hate of freedom will seize upon his defiance of the USA as someone to look up to. I see as soon as he got his Miranda rights he stopped talking They’ll be many who’ll rush to his defenses under the disguise of being interested in protecting our civil rights when in their hearts they savor the little bit of anarchy he brought to Boston. I can hardly wait to see his lawyer line-up. It’ll surpass anything OJ could imagine. In times of war, and as best I’ve been informed we are still in the War on Terror droneliminating people all over the war it isn’t necessary to give people who attack America the benefit of a trial. Joker is as much an enemy as those who left IED’s on the road to kill our troops in foreign lands. His act is much worse since it was directed at civilians and in his own country. I’m for either trying these people in our courts like those held in Guantanamo or treating them like enemies and putting them before military tribunals. The confusion of the Obama administration in this regard is sad.

      2. Matt & N,

        Your allegations about Bernie Madoff having a deal with the SEC, are pretty sensational. Are they public knowledge? Have they been investigated? Or they only well known to insiders but unprovable?


        1. Jeff:
          I thought it was common knowledge the Bernie had some connection with the SEC that allowed him to get away with a lot of the things he was doing. I forget the specifics but the newspapers carried stories about it

  10. Do you think the Bureau would be in the back row playing second fiddle if they had something to flaunt?

    1. Paul:
      I think you summed it up perfectly. I wish I had made your comment that the title of my post.

    1. Notoboyo:

      It could be a turning point. When the FBI went after the Mafia or Winter Hill or Connolly no one cared if they hid what they did. Right now no one seems to notice in the euphoria of the capture and killings of the terrorists the FBI is trying to walk away from this and hide. I don’t think it can work here. Too many people know what happened and are affected by the Marathon Terrorist Attack. All will want to know what happened. The rogue agent theory where they tossed Connolly out to be ground up won’t work. It’s time to see what is working and what isn’t. This case will tell us a lot. Maybe the FBi did everything possible it could do, if so we’ll all be happy; if it is hiding things, we have to know that also.

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