The FBI and I: A Long Trek Over The Past (4 of 7)

The FBI continued along after Connolly brushing aside as it always had things that caused embarrassment. Then Trump got elected. He came to office with lots of baggage. For one thing, the FBI was already investigating certain things surrounding him that appeared to involve foreign interference with our country. They had received the Steele Dossier which implied Trump was a tool of the Russians. They had other information that members of his campaign were in contact with Russian agents.

Hardly could Trump take the usual position that the FBI was beyond reproach. Nor could he say that it was “the finest federal law enforcement organization in the world.” He had to do what he could to undermine it in the same way he continues to undermine the free press. He did not know what it would uncover. Clearly, as he saw it, it was not in his interest to have it go on as usual. What it was in his background causing him to attack the FBI so viciously as he has done. I assume we’ll soon be finding out. But there is no doubt he has been working diligently smearing the Bureau.

I sense that he would like to destroy it. He has said he plans to get more involved in the Justice Department. If and when he does I expect that the FBI will find its wings clipped. his is easily done by limiting its jurisdiction. Perhaps Trump will make the FBI great again by going back to its early days. He can limit it to Mann Act violations, interstate kidnappings, automobile thefts and bank robberies. As Trump continues to accrue power expect him to  transfer terrorist investigations to Homeland Security’s Border Patrol and ICE and give the rest of its responsibilities to the military.

How then is it that I’m not in agreement with Trump that the FBI should have its wings clipped after my complaints about it. It would seem I would be pleased by them. Is it because of my ill feelings toward Trump that I now support the FBI? Do I believe the FBI should be abolished and replaced by other agencies with less power and more discreet and limited objectives?  Why do I think Trump’s course will be a disaster for the country?

When I was closer to the situation I wrote in my book my suggestions for improving the FBI. When I worked investigating cases I avoided working with it because it was a one way street. I would give it information but could not get anything back in return. This was a common complaint among police officers. It was too secretive. It was because of that I refused to step back from being in charge of the John Salvi case and letting it take the lead after being requested to do so by the U.S. attorney in Boston.

I was never a fan of the FBI but I never questioned the integrity of its agents. I thought they were operating in a system where in the tradition of J. Edgar Hoover it sought to gobble up all the credit for successful outcomes. It wasn’t how I operated because getting the credit meant little; what was important was doing the job. Under Hoover the FBI had a whole division set up for the purpose of pushing out good publicity. This necessitated limiting the amount of information provided to others in law enforcement. The natural response to its stinginess with information and unwillingness to cooperate made other law enforcement officers feel the were looked down upon and could not be trusted.


  1. No reply to mtc’s query re replacement of prosecutors. Quick shift. Sweden population a bit different than US.

    Trump’s “greatest” military (natch) never saw a weapon system they did not love. (Where is my promised “peace” dividend after the Fall?)

    How many airplane orders will go south after Boeing gets its aluminum bill?

    Why is the economy “great” when it costs $900,000 for a modest home in your old neighborhood?

    Why is the entire Trump clan allowed to wheel and deal, sit in on highly secretive intelligence meetings and act on the info? It must be all that international experience they have. Big “For Sale” sign on US. ( I know–it is ok because “Hillary did it”.)

  2. You were in charge of the Salvi case? Seems it was assigned/fought for by the DA and prosecuted by John Kivlan (who, incidentally, appears to have prosecuted ALL of the high profile cases during your tenure). How were you “in charge”???

  3. Matt sez no one he prosecuted was sent to Bridgewater State?
    Matt sez “ I was just being a good German”

    Sweden’s Remarkable Prison System Has Done What the U.S. Won’t Even Consider
    By Zeeshan Aleem | Jan. 27, 2015
    The darkest manifestation of American exceptionalism may be its prison system

    Bridgewater State Hospital |
    Mass.Gov (.gov) › locations › bridgewat…
    20 Administration Rd., Bridgewater, MA 02324. … Bridgewater State Hospital (BSH) is a medium security facility housing male patients in several categories: civil commitments without criminal sentences, and on occasion, pre-trial detainees sent for competency and criminal …

    Bridgewater State Hospital, located in southeastern Massachusetts, is a state facility housing the criminally insane and those whose sanity is being evaluated for the criminal justice system. It was established in 1855 as an almshouse. Wikipedia

    A Court Visit To The Cell At Bridgewater State Hospital Where A Mentally Ill Man Died | WBUR News
    WBUR › news › 2017/12/07 › bridgewat…
    bridgewater state
    Dec 7, 2017 · A viewing was held at Bridgewater State Hospital Wednesday in the trial of three former guards accused in the 2009 death of Joshua Messier. From left, the guards on trial are John Raposo, Derek …

    Class Returns to Ask: Can Sweden’s Progressive Legal System Find its Way to U.S.? – News – Hamilton College
    Hamilton College › news › story › studen…
    Jun 14, 2017 · Twelve Hamilton students visited Sweden for a two-week study trip, looking at Swedish prisons, … areas of the Swedish criminal justice system, feel free to contact me at and I’ll …
    Why Scandinavian Prisons Are Superior – The Atlantic
    The Atlantic › archive › 2013/09 › why-…
    Sep 24, 2013 · Yet inside the four high-security prisons I’ve visited in Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Finland, … This is all possible because, throughout Scandinavia, criminal justice policy rarely enters …

  4. Just a reminder folks that Matt made his
    living putting men and women and children
    in prisons like Bridgewater State

    also see

    Frank Serpico
    Retired Police Detective, Author, Lecturer: b. 1936

    “A policeman’s first obligation is to be responsible to the needs of the community he serves…The problem is that the atmosphere does not yet exist in which an honest police officer can act without fear of ridicule or reprisal from fellow officers. We create an atmosphere in which the honest officer fears the dishonest officer, and not the other way around.”
    1971: Became the first New York City policeman in history to testify about widespread corruption in the department.
    1972: Received the NYPD’s higest award, The Medal of Honor.
    After being shot and testifying about corruption in the NYPD, Serpico lived in Europe for nearly a decade.
    Al Pacino played Serpico in the 1973 movie about his life.

    • MS:

      Bridgewater is not a prison. As a prosecutor I put no one in Bridgewater. Didn’t prosecute children.

      You want a society without prosecutors and prisons, tell me where you expect to find one.

  5. John King McDonald

    Catch your breath. Now let’s try, again, no giggling :


    ( Just keep chanting that! Ideology has its obligations )

  6. John King McDonald

    Look into the camera and please try not to laugh every time you read the cue card. You are embarrassing the family :


  7. Someone predicted Trump’s tenure as president would be a disaster. But the opposite is true. The military is stronger. The economy is booming. The judiciary is vastly improved with Gorsuch type appointees. His energy program is a significant upgrade. Better trade deals on the horizon will enhance our domestic outlook. North Korea could be a breakthrough for peace. Trump has been a home run. Happy days are here again. 2. The Russian collusion case appears to be a total fraud. Even Christopher Steele said the dossier was raw intelligence and had only a fifty-fifty chance of being true. Yet the FBI used it as the foundation of it’s probe and even used it to get FISA warrants. Comey said the investigation started in July 2016. So it is two years old and no one has seen any evidence of collusion. The entire matter looks quite similar to the Duke Lacrosse case and the Probation case in Boston. Both manufactured cases by corrupt prosecutors and promoted by a dishonest media with a political agenda. FAKE NEWS. 3. What happens four months hence? The election takes place. The Republicans will keep the Senate. Conservatives will dominate the Supreme Court. Will Mueller’s probe be over? Trump will likely fire Sessions and Rodenstein. Their replacements will close down the Mueller office. A new special counsel will look into the crimes committed by Mueller, Comey, McCabe, Strzok et al. Justice will finally be done.

    • NC:

      Trump has separated children from parents and can’t put them back together again; he has associated with people who have pled guilty to indictments for doing things while working for him; North Korea is a mess with no chance for peace because Trump is so delusional. You tell how the economy is booming. It is doing so under the trade deals in effect prior to Trump taking office. He has changed nothing until the present time and we’ll see how well we do when he starts tearing down the old deals that have worked so effectively. Remember Trump inherited the economy established under Obama. His energy program relying on coal truly takes us back to Teddy Roosevelt’s White Fleet time. Trump has caused racism to flair up in this county with his anti-other rallies and his demeaning the presidency with his low life attacks on average people.
      America has lost respect throughout the world except in Israel and Russia. Strange companions. The Judiciary is setting us back 50 years or more again to the time of Teddy Roosevelt’s robber baron days. The military is hardly stronger, it is richer. It is overloaded with generals and has not been tested outside of a small group of special forces in years. Yes, best you look to the horizon because nothing in the present is better unless you were a 1% beneficiary of his tax cut; certainly if you needed an ambulance after having your leg caught on the T you’r not too happy nor are the other people who need health care that Trump is taking away from the poor.
      2. The Mueller investigation began in May of last year. Several indictments and convictions. Steele dossier proving almost 100% correct. Russian collusion is there as Mueller will show us.
      3. Why is Trump firing the investigators. Why has Trump bashed the investigation since day one. If he was so innocent why not encourage it. If there was nothing there why attack it. You want another special counsel when you are attacking the appointment of Mueller. You sound like Alan Dershowitz. By the way, don’t count your chickens on the Supreme Court. Very likely in November Democrats will gain the majority in both houses of Congress after we’ve seen seven US senators, also known as Putin’s patsies, come back home after spending fourth of July in Russia telling us we’ve been too harsh on the Russians. Hmm, wonder what they got for thst.

  8. Matt: There is a lot of fixing to be done throughout the federal government: downsizing, streamlining, and eliminating overlapping, redundant functions; also returning more functions/power to the states. The FEDS, in a nutshell, are too big for their boots. (except Military which US must maintain as best in the world, but even there we don’t have to do all the heavy lifting for NATO, SEATO, other allies . . .) Plus good riddance to the war mongering neo-cons. Smaller, more efficient government; axe the lard!) Read Pat Buchanan’s The Never Trumpers Aint Coming Back . . .(N.B.on a personal note, I’m a conservative, traditionalist Independent.)

    Intergovernmental Cooperation is good, but too often redundant.

    There should be no “joint public-private partnerships” . . .the public sector is comprised of public servants whose duty is to the public, to regulate the private sector in accordance with duly enacted laws . . .private corps, which can be public-minded, are to be independent of government and beholden to stockholders . . .to make profits, stay in bz, pay workers, make sellable stuff folks want/need

    In that regard, I’m PRO-UNION (private sector), ANTI-GOVERNMENT UNIONS (oftentimes bargain against the best interests of the public: check out some salaries, benefits, step raises, retirement deals of FEDs.)

    You think Trump has something to worry about from FBI or FEDs . . . .only from the partisans, the corrupt public servants, the ideologues who hire all pro-Dem, pro-Hillary investigators, or FBI agents who swear to “stop” Trump.

    Trump has no more to worry about than anyone of us from a DOJ/FBI run amok. . . .Remember Harvey Silverglate’s book about any American Citizen today could be charged with three Federal Crimes, the statutes and regulations are so bloated and obscure and some FEDs, like Wyshak’s Office, so corrupt in administering them, that they single out innocent probation officers, Boston cops, motel owners, students, etc to persecute. They could single out anyone on this blog, whose comments they don’t like or whose politics they don’t like or who’s a friend of Bill Bulger, to persecute on specious charges. They have in the past and will in the future until they and their ilk are eradicated from public service. Loose cannons. Corrupt FEDs. Power Abusers.

    A diseased finger cannot be treated until the bandage is taken off, the infected, rotten, maggot-ridden flesh exposed, and medicines applied directly to the festering wound. We have covered up open festering wounds in the DOJ’s investigatory and prosecutorial wings . . .we’ve had them for two decades, at least. Expose them. Treat them.

    During the last election, some FBI were singling out Trump and today that phony “Russian Collusion” investigation continues with an all-Dem, all pro-Hillary team barking up an empty tree.

    Just saying . . .

    • Bill:

      We volunteered for 74 years to do the heavy lifting for NATO to bring peace to Europe. We succeeded. It was our choice and it paid off well freeing that continent from Russian influence and allowing the people to choose their governments for themselves – most choosing liberal democracy which we urged. We did that selfishly because two wars within Europe drew us into them and we lost many Americans lives there. With peace we’ve lost none during 74 in Europe due to war. We are a liberal democracy. We are not a Russian oligarchy despot type government ruled by one man and his many supplicants who kill their opponents or rule them ineligible to run against them and then hand pick some dupes who they allow to run. Trump wants us to be more like Russia.