Category Archives: FBI

Another Execution?

I got this e-mail from New Yorkers Against the Death Penalty:
Thomas Arthur is scheduled for execution on December 6 in Alabama. The state is pursuing his execution despite what appears to be a moratorium on executions in the USA pending the US Supreme Court’s examination of the constitutionality of lethal injections. In addition, Alabama has not granted Thomas Arthur’s request to be allowed to conduct DNA testing of evidence relating to the crime.

The Innocence Project wrote Governor Riley that “We believe that the Arthur case easily fits within the category of cases where DNA testing should be granted… In fact, DNA testing has the potential to conclusively prove that Mr Arthur was not the perpetrator of this crime and to identify the real killer.”

For more about the case, please visit here (PDF) or here.

My long-standing opposition to the death penalty was also exercised by this story on 60 Minutes a couple weeks ago in which “FBI’s Bullet Lead Analysis Used Flawed Science To Convict Hundreds Of Defendants” over a 40-year period, and the agency never notified local officials about the bogus methodology. I don’t know if any of the cases are capital cases, but clearly, many people were wrongfully imprisoned, some for decades.

And that really ticks me off.
ROG

There's a lozenge for that

W. Mark Felt? What a disappointment.

If you were of a certain age (and a certain political persuasion), you might have spent hours trying to figure out just who was Deep Throat, Bob Woodward’s secret source during the investigation of the Watergate scandal during the Nixon administration. The existence of DT came out in Woodward and Carl Bernstein’s best-selling book “All The President’s Men.” In the hit movie based on the book, Hal Holbrook played the mysterious character.

Felt, who was second-in-command at the FBI in the early 1970s, was on the short list of most Watergate observers. According to a Vanity Fair article, Felt felt that disclosures about his past somehow dishonorable, but at the age of 91 found it desirable to clear the air, if only for his family’s sake. Conversely, his family believes he should receive praise for his role in exposing the Watergate scandal before he dies.
There were always a number of people suspected of being the background informant for the reporter: Assistant Attorney General Henry Peterson, deputy White House counsel Fred Fielding, White House press officer Diane Sawyer (yes, the one now on ABC News), Nixon press secretary Ron Zeigler, White House aide Steven Bull, speechwriters Ray Price and Pat Buchanan, White House counsel John Dean, FBI director L. Patrick Gray, Nixon advisor Alexander Haig, former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and even former U.N. ambassador (and later president) George H. W. Bush.
I never believed it was Zeigler (too loyal), Buchanan (too verbose) or Dean (too obvious). Haig, Kissinger and Bush weren’t on my consideration list, either. Gray probably had the most to gain, being squeezed out of power by Nixon’s loyalists. My pick, though, was none of these. It was current Supreme Court Chief Justice William Rehnquist, who was Assistant Attorney General in the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel. The increased recent interest in Deep Throat, Woodward’s renewed promise to reveal the source only after DT’s death, and Rehnquist’s failing health obviously led me in the wrong direction. Glad I didn’t have money on it.

But pardon my political naiveté: I had no idea that there would be a debate 30 years after the fact over the propriety of the leaks – “Was it criminal?” I read recently. Clearly, Felt was a reluctant hero, but a hero nonetheless. What were his options? Tell Attorney General John Mitchell? A criminal. How about White House Chief of Staff H. R. “Bob” Haldeman? Also, a criminal. So the chief law enforcement person for the country, and the head political operative, not to mention their many minions, could not be trusted. And President Nixon himself? My favorite Watergate term: “unindicted co-conspirator.” I believe Mark Felt did the right thing, and I hope he lives out his remaining years in peace.