Mr. Mueller as FBI Hero rings hollow, notwithstanding Nadler’s praise:
Mr Nadler praised Mr Mueller as “a model of responsibility” in his opening remarks and hinted at the process of impeachment even as he avoided using the politically fraught word.
“Director Mueller, we have a responsibility to address the evidence you have uncovered. You recognised as much when you said ‘the Constitution requires a process other than the criminal justice system to formally accuse a sitting president of wrongdoing.’ That process begins with the work of this committee,” Mr Nadler said.
Yet the convictions based on forensic evidence of the FBI’s Crime Lab from 1980 to 2000 were nullified. This Atlantic essay by Conor Friedersdorf from April 20,2015
Forty years ago, Bob Dylan reacted to the conviction of an innocent man by singing that he couldn’t help but feel ashamed “to live in a land where justice is a game.” Over the ensuing decades, the criminal-justice system has improved in many significant ways. But shame is still an appropriate response to it, as the Washington Post made clear Saturday in an article that begins with a punch to the gut: “Nearly every examiner in an elite FBI forensic unit gave flawed testimony in almost all trials in which they offered evidence against criminal defendants over more than a two-decade period before 2000,” the newspaper reported, adding that “the cases include those of 32 defendants sentenced to death.”
The article notes that the admissions from the FBI and Department of Justice “confirm long-suspected problems with subjective, pattern-based forensic techniques—like hair and bite-mark comparisons—that have contributed to wrongful convictions in more than one-quarter of 329 DNA-exoneration cases since 1989.”
That link points back to 2012 coverage of problems with FBI forensic analysis, but the existence of shoddy forensics has been so clear for so long in so many different state and local jurisdictions that the following conclusion is difficult to avoid: Neither police agencies nor prosecutors are willing to call for the sorts of reforms that would prevent many innocents from being wrongfully convicted and imprisoned, and neither the Republican nor the Democratic Party will force their hands.
But the FBI Crime Lab scandal dates back to the 1990’s
Bad Science and Forensic Fraud
Eventually, investigations were launched into Whitehurst’s allegations but failed to lead to any justice. It wasn’t until ten years later that Whitehurst was finally vindicated, when a scathing 500+ page study of the lab by the Justice Department Inspector General, Michael Bromwich, concluded major reforms were required in the lab. This included the use of forensic hair analyses, which had been used for decades in state and federal criminal cases, and was proven flawed and inaccurate more than ninety percent of the time. Some of the cases Whitehurst had reported included the 1993 World Trade Center attack, the Oklahoma City bombing, and the O.J. Simpson murder case.
As a result, the FBI agreed to unprecedented reforms. These included outside accreditation of its crime lab, the appointment of an objective and independent scientist to oversee lab operations, and the removal of various lab officials who had engaged in misconduct. The FBI pledged to review all cases potentially affected by the lab’s flawed forensic science.
In 2012 the Washington Post published an extensive review of the FBI and DOJ failures to properly review the cases impacted by the FBI lab scandal, based on Whitehurst’s research. As a result, the DOJ agreed to conduct yet another review of hair cases in collaboration with the Innocence Project and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL).
- 3,000 cases were identified by the government that had used microscopic hair analysis from FBI examiners.
- 500 have been reviewed as of March 2015.
- 268 included pro-prosecution testimony from FBI examiners.
- 257 (96 percent) contained erroneous statements from “FBI experts”.
One example of the many people falsely imprisoned is Donald Eugene Gates, who served twenty-seven years for a violent crime he did not commit before his exoneration.
For some, however, it was too late. Defendants in at least 35 of these cases received the death penalty and errors were identified in 33 (94 percent) of those cases. Nine of these defendants have already been executed and five died of other causes while on death row.
To Serve and Protect
It has taken the FBI and Justice Department more than twenty years to actually review these problems – and the government still does not know the full extent of damage caused by the FBI lab scandal.
The publication of Tainting Evidence: Inside the Scandals at the FBI Crime Lab, by John F. Kelly and Phillip Wearne was published in 1998
Mueller as head of the FBI from 2001 to 2013 puts him where in terms of a historically demonstrable cover up? The FBI was once the private preserve of the the paranoid political/sexual hysteric J. Edgar Hoover! Term limits were placed on the time any one man could hold that office, because of Hoover’s complete abuse of power.
In the Age of Trump, the Hero Worship of Mueller serves the nefarious purpose of making the Clinton/Clapper/Brennan lie of ‘Russian Interference’ based upon the ‘evidence ‘ of a CrowdStrike, not on an actual FBI investigation, according to Comey, in the American Election serve the political ends of a New Cold War. That reflects the current alliance between the New Democrats and the Neo-Conservatives as the putative Political Center.