This is another “stray thoughts” post. Plucked, for the most part, from the headlines. A tacit admission that I’m short of earth-shattering material today. Shush. There’s always tomorrow.
Today, I’m concentrating on reports of tension between the FBI and the Justice Department. That’s normal day to day stuff.
But I am gobsmacked by the search-warrant negotations for TFG’s Mar-A-Lago property. You know, the one I wrote about here. What strikes me is the apparent role reversal. In the true-crime cases I’ve covered, it is most often the cops who want to go on the offensive. Prosecutors, on the other hand, are just as comfortable applying the brakes. Seeking greater proof. Demanding more (and better) evidence. That’s not a random assertion. In the criminal justice world it’s a recurring theme.
Certainly that was the case with the Robert Hansen serial murders in Alaska. On more than one occasion, charges were dropped due to an excess of caution on the part of prosecutors. Or, lacking greater certainty, there was prosecutorial resistance to taking the next step. Even — especially — when it came to search warrants.
Not with the Mar-A-Lago operation. The word of the day for the FBI seemed to be “gentle.” It was Justice who said, no, we gotta go in with a surprise search warrant. Because, the argument went, anything else risked destruction of evidence. You know, something equivalent to flushing drugs down the toilet.
They weren’t just dealing with a man who thinks he’s above the law. They were dealing with a man who thinks he is the law.
Two thoughts here: a spirited discourse on tactics and strategy is always welcome in criminal investigations, high profile or not. The hot heads are not always the smartest people in the room. Nor should they invariably carry the day. But at some point, you need to shit or get off the pot. Oh, and not soil your clothes while doing so.
Bottom line: I’m with Justice on this one. But only because they said “Go.” Had the roles been reversed, I would be with the FBI. Why? Destruction of evidence is no trivial matter. Destruction of highly classified evidence is even more egregious. Take the threat seriously. You’d think people would know that. But…
Never underestimate the stupidity of human beings. Or their vanity.
Copyright Leland E. Hale (2023). All rights reserved.
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