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If it's more than 30 minutes old, it's not news. It's a blog.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

DoJ's curious concern with the public's reaction to Operation Falcon

Quick tip: Other blogs mentioning SAIC

Strange that DoJ spends so much energing monitoring discussion of Operation Falcon. What is DoJ worried about and why the concern with the videos? Quick search: Posse Comitatus, Operation Falcon and the Patriot Act

At a time when DoJ should be celebrating over Operation Falcon, DoJ shows an unusual interest in some videos. At a time when the public is asked to believe that DoJ is fully in control and is cracking down on crime, DoJ personnel are far too concerned with the public reaction to Operation Falcon.

There is a problem. I would encourage the Congressional Committees, media, and public to notice what is going on with Operation Falcon.

Video tape credibility problem

Let’s consider the RNC demonstrations in 2004. Just prior to the operation, the Manhattan District Attorney reversed himself and threw some charges out.

Apparently someone under the DA had modified the video tapes. Despite what the police offers said about the RNC protestors, the public was not actually violating the law.

To make a long story short, it appears as though two things have happened: The police perjured themselves in stating things that did not match what actually happened [nothing new]; and that the DA, despite known manning shortfalls, failed to ensure that the video technicians were adequately supervised.

It seems as though the video-evidence-photography doctoring problem is not isolated. The problem also occurred with still pictures.

Operation Falcon videos

Which bring us to Operation Falcon and the videos. Let’s recall that the press was formally invited to attend these sweeps. There are plenty of videos floating around.

Yet, it appears as though DoJ is concerned about the videos. This is somewhat puzzling.

  • Is DoJ saying that its officers staged some of the events?

  • Or is DoJ saying that despite the massive press coverage and videos, that somehow the public is not buying into the DoJ line on what Operation Falcon is all about?

    Surely, if DoJ has expertly managed Operation Falcon, there would be no reason after the event occurred to then follow-up and try to pinpoint specific individuals who were allegedly doctoring video tapes.

    It would behoove the Congress and public to look into what DoJ is concerned about. What is prompting management concern to review Operation Falcon videos?

  • Was DoJ, despite close coordination with the media, ineffectual in generating the desired public reaction?

  • Is there a reasonable basis to question the veracity of DoJ personnel in light of the NYC officer corruption cases?

  • Has the fact that doctored videos appeared in NYC raised reasonable questions in the public’s mind about the veracity and credibility of videos related to other law enforcement operations?

  • Or, has the public raised a reasonable question about the appropriateness of letting the media attend Operation Falcon raids, and then broadcast the personal details of those who may actually be unrelated to criminal activity?
    Surely, DoJ and the personnel in the Department of Justice are not worried that the public might bring invasion of privacy claims against DoJ; or that somehow a public discussion of the videos would somehow tamper the jury pool.

    Invasion of privacy

    Indeed, if it was self-evident that these alleged criminal were, in fact, guilty, why wait so long to round them up just for a PR stunt? Indeed, there may be allegations of wrongdoing, but this is not reason to ignore case law about invasion of privacy.

    Unreliable Federal Databases

    Although DoJ may have information in their files, we know from the FBI I-drive that this information is not timely used, nor is it necessarily accurate. There could be some valid 1983 claims in re the appropriately ness of the DoJ Actions.

    Let us also recall the scope of the data errors in the no fly lists. Is DoJ saying that its system, despite the problems with SAIC software upgrades, that there were no errors; and that despite the problems with ChoicePoint, there is no reason to question whether information was inappropriately released to the press and the public?

    Actually, there were coverups of the massive scope of data leaks.

    How could so many reports to the DoJ IG about the mangement problem at SAIC not get better attention?

    Continuing DoJ Management problem

    The same people responsible for investigating and overseeing SAIC's contract performance were the same ones responsible for investigating allegations of data security problems at ChoicePoint.

    Public accusations without credible evidence

    Recall, at the 1996 Olympic Bombing trials, Richard Jewel was labeled as a person of interest. Yet, with time, he rose above the attacks and showed how abusive law enforcement can be, even to one of their own.

    Despite the innuendo, Mr. Jewel showed himself willing to do the right thing, stand up to the arrogance within law enforcement, and demonstrate for all that law enforcement is not to be trusted, nor is their management necessarily anything but reckless.

    Mr. Jewel serves as a reminder of how far a nation will go to find their man. In the case of Mr. Jewel, despite his presumed innocence, he still had to suffer through the trauma of a public trial, and the ridicule of having his integrity questioned.

    In this spirit, so too should law enforcement be equally second guessed. Recall that the officers in New York have apparently fabricated evidence to support unfounded convictions.

    Recall also that officers and the district attorney’s office have worked together to create, fabricate, and doctor evidence to leave a false impression on the court.

    Also, recall that in the wake of Operation Falcon, the public is being asked to only focus on what DoJ is saying, but forget about the abuses in New York and Atlanta. Congress needs to find out what DoJ is worried about.

  • Is DoJ worried about claims in re invasion of privacy?

  • Have members of the press in appropriately broadcast the arrest of people, who like Richard Jewel, are simply convenient targets and scapegoats?

    Sibel Edmonds and Mr. Daniel Convertino have shown us how far DoJ will go to assert their agenda, regardless the facts. Sibel Edmonds was brave enough to say that misconduct was wrong, yet DoJ refused to reform.

  • Is there still a problem within DoJ that a new Senate Judiciary Chairman needs to look into?

  • Why is DOJ concerned with the videos available for the public?

  • If the press has been full primed to broadcast the video information, why is DoJ worried what the public is saying?

    Unreliable government statements in Federal Courts

    Surely, just as we saw with WMD and the abuses in Guantanamo, DoJ knows that it can send its stool pigeons before the US Supreme Court and once again lie about abuses.

    “There is no torture problem, Mr. Justice,” despite the roomfuls of photographic evidence the contrary.

    If DoJ was above reproach, and it stood on firm ground, there would be no reason to have any concern what the public may or may not think about Operation Falcon.

    But DoJ remains concerned. Somehow, despite the overwhelming number of videos taking during Operation Falcon, DoJ remains concerned.

    The public’s concerns with Operation Falcon appear to be an unreasonable distraction for DoJ. Surely, if there is a problem with the Operation Falcon videos, DoJ would gladly keep the committee, IG, and other interested parties informed.

    DoJ is run by someone who wants the past to go away

    Yet, the legacy of DoJ is to the contrary. Where there were abuses, Mr. Gonzalez was quick to condone torture. Where there was a mess to clean up, FBI agents failed to come forward.

    DoJ officers and management were slow to act

    Where there were allegations of misconduct, the FBI and US NAVY at Guantanamo failed to keep the Joint Intelligence Committee apprised of the misconduct, and failed to timely notify the Congressional leadership of the abuses.

    Time and time again, DoJ and Mr. Gonzalez in the White House were given ample opportunities to speak out, stand for the rule of law, and make their position clear. Yet, on each count, Mr. Gonzalez chose to feign stupidity.

  • Is such a man above the rule of law?

    Of course not, as the public has the right to honest services. So too should the newly Senate-Confirmed lackey be called before the Congress to explain Operation Falcon.
    Congress, the media, and the public need to be inquisitive

    DoJ has a problem. It has many questions and very few answers.

    Something has changed. Despite the overwhelming support for Mr. Gonzalez, DoJ is suddenly worried about the public’s reaction to Operation Falcon.

    No longer can DoJ rely on the blind obedience of the public to lap up the DoJ version of events.

    It appears as though DoJ has been unable to convince the entire civilian population that it should be trusted. In deed, at a time when the abuses and misconduct at Guantanamo, Afghanistan, and Abu Ghraib continue to rise and leak out, there seems little to be going in DoJ’s favor.

    DoJ has not changed. Rather, they are just less adept at hiding their in competency. For some reason, it cannot shake the credibility problem. And the officer misconduct at the RNC demonstrations shows what law enforcement is capable of doing.

    Let us hope that there are people like Sibel Edmonds within DoJ who are willing to step forward before there are more abuses like those inflicted upon people like Richard Jewel.

    Then again, given that DoJ is being run by a man who claims not to know all that much, it’s not surprising why DoJ would be confused about something so simple as the constitution and the right of the citizenry to publicly question the government, which has of late, grown into the habit of not deserving much more than scorn and well-founded contempt..

    The central problem is that the President has lied, the Senate approved someone to be DoJ Attorney General who is not above reproach, and there remains a man at the helm of DoJ who deserves to be put on a very tight leash.

    Congress shows no willingness, despite its error, to ensure that the cess pool in DoJ gets cleaned up. This should be no surprised. Rather than send in a cleaning crew, they’ve simply sent in the man from the White House who is surely going to make the mess far stickier before all is done.

    Here are some questions that DoJ needs to start answering:

    DoJ Management problem: Excessive concern with civilian population that has proven malleable

    Management has shown up to this point contempt for the public outrage over the Patriot Act. Yet, it is curious that in the wake of the President’s waning public support for the war in Iraq and Social Security, that DoJ management has some explaining to do.

  • Why is DoJ, despite the massive public relations effort and videos, showing an unusual interest in how the public is reacting?

  • Why is DoJ, despite the lies of the US solicitor before the Supreme Court, not simply smug enough to once again lie about what is on the video tapes from NYC and Operation Falcon?

    DoJ Veracity problem: Apparent signs of limitations of government public relations efforts

    We saw prior to the invasion of Iraq, Guantanamo, and the RNC demonstrations, that DoJ will go along with the momentum and do little to ensure that the citizen’s right to protest is asserted.

    Yet, DoJ now appears to be part of the problem. It has failed to actually use the information its agents were receiving, yet goes to extraordinary lengths to capture through intimidation and torture information that is otherwise not admissible as evidence.

  • Why is DoJ, despite the track record of officers lying, committing perjury, and engaging in other misconduct, not simply engaging in another public relations campaign to force the civilian population to lap up the story about Operation Falcon?

  • Why is DoJ not simply deploying the advertising agencies to create more ads and spew forth more nonsense, just as we saw done in re WMD prior to the invasion of Iraq?

    DoJ Credibility problem: Unexpected public backlash against DoJ

    It should come as no surprise that the public in the wake of the RNC demonstration video doctoring is having some second thoughts about the government.

    Moreover, there is a reasonable basis to question whether DoJ OPR and FBI agents in the field have been actively rebuffing verbal complaints about officer misconduct. Agents continue to rebuff information, demand information be in writing, and that written information is subsequently rejected as “we’ll get to that later.”

  • What questions does DoJ management face to explain the lack of public support for Operation Falcon?

  • What, in the Operation Falcon playbook and plan, did not adequately account for the public doubt and backlash against DoJ?

    DoJ PR Problem: Officer misconduct has broad implications for DoJ

    If AG Gonzalez would like the support of the Congress and the American public, then the AG needs to come clean as to why he remains concerned about the public backlash against Operation Falcon.

    It remains unclear that despite the AG’s hands off approach to intervening against torture allegations while he was in a position to influence the president while White House counselor, that the AG is now going to take a stance that more assertively promotes the rule of law or stands up for human rights in the face of mounting evidence that his agents are not reliable.

  • Why does DoJ believe that the misconduct of officers in NYC would somehow be kept at arms length when the public interacts with federal law enforcement?

  • Is DoJ surprised that the public is linking the officer veracity problem in NYC with the credibility of the nation’s federal agents, or lack thereof?